Ricardo And His Girls

ricardo and his girls

from the archives ~

baby frisco and ricardo

• Baby Frisco and Ricardo •
photo taken May 2010
~ now, Frisco is as tall as Daisy, and his horns are like handlebars ~

I have the answers!

OH MY!  Questions came hard and fast.
And fun.  Here you go:

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?
Easter egg hunts.

Gonna stay in Wyoming? Or do you intend to move elsewhere at some point?
I have stopped trying to predict the future.

Do you prefer cake or pie?

Does mike like fruity/food smelling candles like most other guys out there?
He DOES like fruity/food smelling candles!  I HATE them.  I only like beeswax candles.

I’m wondering if you’re up to finishing your the story about the stalker…
Yes. It’s coming.

Do you prefer a western saddle with a smooth leather seat or with the suede seat?
I love the look of a smooth leather seat but I use a barrel racing saddle, love them so much.  And they seem to always have the suede seat.

Have you started working with your spinning wheel yet? And will you ever consider spinning alpaca fleece?
Not yet, hoping to start in January.  My spinning mentor raises alpacas and I would love to spin their fleece ~ the Suri alpaca fleece is absolutely exquisite and I do believe that handspun Suri yarn is the epitome of luxury….

Do you find it easier now to buy gluten free products now that the public is so much more aware? Have you thought about another gluten-free living book?
Yes!  It’s wonderful.  My local groceries have now started carrying GF items just in the last year.  Hooray!  I’d love to do another GF cookbook – the first one was a really basic manual, essential in its own right, but I’d love to expand and share even more.  Though there are so many more people doing it really well now, in both blogs and books… in 2004, when I wrote Eating Gluten Free, there were very few quality books and resources and recipes available.

Does music hold a significant place in your heart, and are there any die-hard favorite groups/artists whom you will love forever and always?
Yes, but not as significantly as it did when I was in my 20’s.  I always had music on in my 20’s, but with Charlie’s arrival, I started listening to it less.  And now I really love silence.  It drives Mike crazy, my silent house!  As far as listing favorites… too hard!  Too much!  And it changes with my mood.

What is your favorite thing to do during the evening?
It depends on the evening!

How often do you have guests from out-of-town come and stay with you or visit you?

Do you make your gifts or buy them, make your ornaments on the tree (if you have one)?
Make ’em both!

What is the meaning of life according to Shreve?
Live with honor.

Have you ever thought of brewing your own beer – as you are so gluten conscious?
I really don’t drink very often, so, no.

Have you ever had any side effects from your IUD? I remember reading that you have one, and I can’t find anyone else to ask… I’m considering getting one myself.
Cramps were way worse for the first few months.  But that tapered off.  And a few days of pain each month, for me, is a small price to pay for constant, worry-free, hormone-free birth control.  IUD’s are the most common form of birth control worldwide – just not in America.

What did you do to celebrate your 16th birthday?
Lordy, Owen, what a way to make me feel old!!  Ummmm….I honestly cannot remember.  I do remember buying a car for myself the week before I turned 16.  I started working when I was 14 in order to save enough by the time I was 16 to buy my own car.  It was a bright red 1967 VW Bug.  Loved that car.

If chloe, charlie, and eli could each write to santa and ask for something, what do you think those things would be?
I think they would all ask for 1,000 acres.  And so would I!

I recently started drinking my coffee with honey in stead of sugar. Got the idea out of your book of course. Now everyone around me thinks I’m crazy – tea with honey, ok, but coffee, what the…?! I try to tell them how good it actually is (and so much more healthy than sugar of course), but no one is willing to give it a try. If not for reading this in your book more than once, I would have reacted the same as everyone else does.. So, here’s my Q: Did you invent the combination, or are we Europeans such a strange people?
I’ve never known anyone who takes honey in their coffee.  I think I’m the strange one (but BRILLIANT!)

Would you consider raising cows as food?  You seem very emotionally attached to them, and wonder if you could do this in the future.
This is one of those half-written posts ~ stay tuned!

If this was 1860, would you be a pony express rider?
Ha!  Great Q.  But I’ve never really thought about living in the 1800’s; I fantasize about living 10,000 years ago.

You’ve done so much. What are you most proud of?
DOING it.  The act of doing.  It’s easy to dream and it’s easy to talk; it’s harder to DO.

Who are some of your favorite artists?
If I could own one original work – any original work, money no object – it would be something from Michael Parkes.

Have you seen any aerial events in your time in areas of low light pollution? As an example,my mother & I one summer in 1951 were sleeping outside on an uncovered second floor porch in Rosebud,SD. We enjoyed watching shooting stars, IDing constellations etc. Once we saw a silent explosion. It started as an expanding ball that turned red, purple & yellow. It burst into a hugh cloud that faded in a few minutes. We were never able to find out what it was.
Yes, once.

Is Charlie a cuddler?

What types of food/meals do you most commonly eat?  Do you make most of your food at Mike’s, or do you prepare simpler meals at your cabin?
I mostly cook here, either for myself or for the two of us, and Mike cooks at his house for himself or for the two of us!  It depends on the season – in summer, I pretty much live off of smoothies made with kefir I make from Daisy’s milk and fresh fruit.  In winter, elk stew is a mainstay….

What about the Gaucho with the green boots ? No more sighting of him in the blog ? Will Monsieur Ricardo run for Mayor on the farm ? Will Ellie settle down and marry feral Kitty girl ? Will Daisy knit a sweater for Frisco so he does not get sick anymore ? Will she get a new hat soon ? Will Mike finally turn around when you take his picture so we can check out the blue eyes? Will Charlie make his singing debut on a CD soon ? Will Chloe get pregnant ?  When is the next video coming ? And I drank too much coffee again.
He works hard on his ranch, sightings are few and far between.  But all your comments made his day!  He’s a good guy. / Most definitely. / Doubtful, hes a bachelor, I think. / Ha! / Ha! / Don’t hold yer breath! / I’ve got something even better in the works. / No, she’s spayed. / Don’t hold yer breath!

What are the top places you’d recommend going to in Wyoming?
I’m terrible for these kind of recommendations –  I only know the places around here and none of ’em have road signs or anything!

Do you have a favorite gluten-free food that you really miss?
I thank the gods that I was not living in NYC when I found I was gluten-intolerant.  Giving up NYC pizza would have been too, too hard.  Since I don’t live there I can pine for it but it’s a non-issue.

Has Charlie ever encountered other coyotes? If so, how did he respond?
Our one physical encounter is in the book!  He’s never acknowledged the ones we hear howling nor has he ever howled back – it’s like he doesn’t know he’s related to them.

What’s going on new in your kitchen, Shreve?
A lot of nothing.  I’m starving right now.  Send me a casserole.

Can you get young (Thai) coconuts in Ten Sleep?  i just got your wonderful cookbook, and found myself wondering that when i got to the carrot soup. There are none to be found here in the snowy mountains of British Columbia. Any suggestions for a substitute? ( i can definitely relate to someone who used the oven for general storage, by the way :) )
NO, darn it!  I have actually contemplated the construction of a very, very tall greenhouse so that I might grow my own coconut palm.  Oh, how I loved walking to Chinatown in SF and hauling home a bag of young coconuts to feast upon.  For the recipe, you could use cow milk or cream or almond milk but it will not be as light as the original.  And really, there is no substitute for a young coconut.  Did you know you can get a blood transfusion with the water from young coconuts and live?  Ah, they are wonderful….

I know Charlie isn’t a dog, but given the opinion of coyotes in your area, do you have any opinions on BSL (breed specific legislation)?
Don’t know anything about this so I can’t offer a real opinion, only that canines are like kids.  Behaviour has so much to do with their environment, with the people around them, with the manner and degree of attention given to them, and their activities.

Do you have that longing to never leave the great wide open?  Or, do you find a restlessness creeping into your heart as you get older . . . ?
Restlessness as I get older?  HA.  I’ve been restless since birth.  But there are many ways to explore….

Do you ever want children?
Not of my own.  But I’ll be taking my godson during his teenage years.  His mother and I have already arranged it.

Favorite time of the day?

Once you’ll have learned to spin, will you try to spin Charlie’s “wool”?
But of course!

How do you eat marshmallows?  Or radishes?
Burned, in layers.  Raw, chomp chomp.

What is the origin of your name?
It’s a family last name.  Some of you know Shreve & Co., purveyors of diamonds and fine silver in San Francisco; that was my great-great-great grandfather.  His son lost the fortune and I grew up a pauper.  But I would go in there as a kid and they would give me loads of their stationery since it had my name on it.

I’m not sure you’ll have an answer for my question, Shreve.  When I read this post, my mind filled with a most vivid image: a meadow filled with the hardy plants of our desert state, but all green with the frantic quickening of spring.  Rain has just gone through, and a late morning sun has burst through the clouds, turning the drops on each plant to emeralds and rubies and sapphires.  It smells of water and fresh plants, and a hawk cries as it wheels in search of who might be venturing out for a drink.  Here, right in front, is some tall and wild daisy, the flowers neither blue nor purple but some color between them, some with faces turned toward the sun holding all the secrets of life in amethyst mirrors, and others looking down as if to admire their glass slippers before the spell expires and they disappear.  What does it mean?  Why do your words here bring me such an out-of-season and unrelated vision?  Why does it make me feel happy and hopeful?
Your vision comes from you.  I’m just a catalyst.

What did you used to want to be when you grew up?
A panda scientist, a long haul trucker, a cowboy, and a pirate.

Left, right or ambindextrous?
I write really well in mirror writing.  I once turned in a high-school essay written entirely in mirror writing.  My teacher made me read it to the class.

What do you use to keep your face and the rest of your body moisturized in the harsh winter weather?
Ah!  This is one of the half-written posts!  Coming soon, I promise.

Have you finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay yet?
Yes!  Loved the series.  Your other questions were too much for my brain, even with numbers!

If you could only use one condiment for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tamari sauce.

If you lived in Maine, what kind of car would you get?
Is this a trick question?

Did you EVER get the boots you wanted????
Not yet!

How do you deal w/the extreme coldness of winter, while still caring for everything on the farm?
Wool gets me out the door, then the exercise keeps me warm.

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently since moving to Ten Sleep?
I never think that way.

Does Charlie perhaps think he’s a dog?  Or a cat, like Eli?
In a way, yes.  He’s bonded with Eli and dogs and so he responds emotionally and verbally with them, not with coyotes.

What’s your favorite movie?
The Girl On The Bridge.

Knowing you love honey – have you ever heard of Manuka honey?  It’s strictly from New Zealand where there are Tea Tree flowers.  The honey is harvested from the bees who pollinate these flowers therefore it’s got natural antibiotic & healthful properties.  Expensive but…
Loveeeee manuka!  Love the word!  (though all raw honey has natural antibiotic & healthful properties:)

When helping out with the beef cows, do you ever drool when seeing an especially muscular one that just looks tasty?
OK.  To be perfectly honest, Baby made me drool when he was younger.

How would you describe your relationship with Mike now? Kids? Marriage?
We are so happy together.  We’re partners in every sense of the word.  Kids?  No, see above; Mike has two daughters and I have never had the desire to have my own.  And I highly doubt we will ever get married.  Mike’s done it, it didn’t work, and he’s in no hurry to do it again; I’ve never wanted a wedding nor feel the need.  I’m just missing that chip, I tell ya!

As you’re a fence- and home-builder and all-around handywoman, do you have a favorite tool; a screwdriver, utility knife, or claw hammer that you tend to carry around and use for lots of things?
I have knives stashed everywhere.  Not a day goes by that I don’t reach for a knife for something or other.

What pets, if you had any, did you have before you moved to Ten Sleep? And how many siblings do you have?
I grew up with a dog and a cat and I have one sis!

Chloe and Charlie sing to you. Do you ever sing back? What are their/your favorite songs, or does it depend on the mood and the moment?
Well of course!  We sing together, and I have sang to Charlie since the beginning.  I always sing to him.  They’re always made up songs basically describing whatever I or we are doing.

Where and how do you see yourself in 30 years?
See answer to question #2.

What is your best advice to those who want/need to allow themselves the freedom/courage to make major changes overcoming the fear that restrains them?
Life is pain.  Life will always be hard, it will always break your heart.  So you might as well be deliriously happy and challenged in the in-between times.

Thanks all!
Questions are closed for now.
Save ’em and I’ll do this again sometime.

Ricardo Puts His Best Face Forward


The Cattle In My Yard

cattle in the yard
I took this photo in early July and began writing this post back then, but then This Summer happened and I never finished!  So now I shall.  These are the cattle that spent the summer with me here at home.  Sir Baby has since joined them, as of about a month ago.  More on him, soon!

Here we have Daisy, of course, the matriarch, ring leader, cow princess.  Frisco, her calf, is beside her; he melts me.  And Ricardo the goose still thinks he’s a cow.

TR, the steer on the left, is a Farmily member I’ve not yet mentioned.  He was born last summer to one of Mike’s very old cows that has since gone off to cow heaven after a very long and lovely life.  Since he was born midsummer, much later than the rest of the calves who were born in March, he was not branded nor banded (castrated).

When all the cows and calves came home for the winter, this male calf had to be separated from the bunch as he would have bred all the heifer calves by spring, which would have been a disaster.  We did castrate TR eventually, but in the meantime, he and Sir Baby hung out together with Houdini and Sunshine away from the girls.

He was Sir Baby’s first bovine friend (Baby was an only child with Daisy, his adopted mom, for the first summer and fall of his life), and I was so happy to have TR help socialize Baby in the ways of cattle.  Playing, headbutting, all that normal stuff that Baby had never had opportunity to do.  TR was much bolder yet much smaller than Sir Baby so I felt they were evenly matched.  TR, I suppose I should mention, stands for The Runt.

After Sir Baby left to go spend the summer impregnating heifers, TR bonded with Frisco, who, at 5 months, had grown to about the same size as TR.  And TR, after befriending Frisco and spending all his time with him and Daisy, BEGAN SUCKING DAISY!!!  Even now, she is content to nurse two very large steers.  It’s a truly ridiculous sight – Frisco and TR are nearly as tall as she but she stands patiently as they flank her, one on each side, suckling every drop of milk she has to offer.  (I separate her from the boys at night so that I may get milk each morning; then they drink from her throughout the day.)

TR was meant to be sold to a neighbor for them to fatten and dine on but since my emotions govern my checkbook I bought TR from Mike instead and told the neighbors they had to find another steer to eat, this one was family.  He can be a pain sometimes, he manages to get his head stuck everywhere and he’s still so runty and quite pathetic looking, but he’s a good little steer.  He’s smart, he’s sweet, he is a friend to Sir Baby and Frisco, and he showed me when Daisy was cycling this summer – though he can no longer get the job done, he still has The Urge when a cow comes into heat.  He’s important around here.

The other adult cow in this picture is 16.  She was with the herd on the day we trailed to the mountain.  There’s a short stretch of BLM from Mike’s back gate to the dirt road that goes up the mountain which should have taken us about 20 minutes to cross with the cows.  They’d been that way before, and there’s a trail through the sagebrush and the yucca.

tryin to trail

The blasted YUCCA.


Cows LOVE yucca flowers. It’s like dessert to them. And so, instead of trickling towards the mountain in a smooth, easy line, the cows scattered across the BLM, hiding in draws, running every which way to munch on yucca.


This is not what trailin’ cows are supposed to look like. They are supposed to look like THIS. But thanks to the yucca buffet, they were milling around, headed every direction, and were nearly impossible to move once they had latched onto stalk bursting with delicious blossoms.

Mike and I – it was just the two of us, which would have been fine if not for the yucca being in bloom – were going insane.  We’d circle the scattered cattle from the back and, by the time we got them herded into the bunch, the cows in front had scattered.  We raced around trying to gather the cows and get them moving forward, screaming at eachother, sweating, frustrated… it was not pretty.  That 20-minute stretch took us three hours.  Once we hit the dirt road and the yucca plants were behind us, the cows strung out in a perfect line and ambled straight up the mountain like angels.

The next day was 100 degrees by 10am.  And there was a lone black cow standing at the back fence.  I jogged up to her and opened the gate, knowing she’d be wanting water and hoping to get her locked in the corrals.  She belonged on the mountain.  I opened the gate and then circled around her on foot to run her in but she went crazy and ran back out into the BLM.  Very odd behaviour.  I chased her a bit, to no avail; it was too hot to try to herd a crazy cow on foot by myself, so I left the gate open for her and went home.  I knew she’d come in eventually to get water.  When Mike got home I had her held in the corral.

Her bag was very tight (ie, her udder was very, very full), which meant her calf was up on the mountain without her.  We figured she was hiding in a draw eating yucca during the morning madness of the day before and we missed her, and meanwhile, her calf had traveled up the mountain with the herd.  So we loaded her in the horse trailer and drove her up the mountain and dropped her off at the very top.  That way, she’d have to walk through all the other cows and calves to get to the mountain spring for water, our hopes being that in doing so, she’d find her calf and all would be well.

The next morning, she was standing at the back gate again.

I couldn’t believe it.  She’d walked all the way down the mountain, by herself, in the dark, and come back home.  I went out to try to herd her in and again, she ran off like a crazed beast whenever I circled around her.  So again, I left the gate open and left her.  When Mike got back, she was still standing out beyond the fence so he went out on his 4-wheeler to bring her in, and we planned to load her in the trailer again and drive her up the mountain again to try to unite her with her missing calf again.

As Mike circled through the sagebrush just beyond the fenceline, he saw a tiny black baby calf nestled beneath a bush!  The mystery explained!  This cow had not lost her calf; she had HAD her calf the morning we trailed to the mountain.  She had left the group when all the cows scattered for yucca, had gone off by herself to have her baby, and had stayed behind.  Her udder was so full because her baby was a newborn and not drinking as much as she was producing.

When we drove her up the mountain, we were unknowingly taking her away from her baby.  And this is one of the reasons I love cows so much.  Generally speaking, they are incredible mothers.  A cow will do anything for her baby.  This cow hoofed it, quite literally, down a mountainside in the dark to get back to her hidden calf.

Ever since then, she and her calf have been here at the homestead with Daisy and Frisco and TR.  And from that first day when we brought the new little calf in, Frisco has been IN LOVE with her.  He dotes on her and sleeps next to her and she’s now a feisty little tomboy, with both Frisco and TR wrapped around her tiny hoof.

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