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Posts Tagged ‘Clearview Ranch’

Turning the Mares Out

Posted on: July 1st, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 1 Comment
Hank enjoying some green grass

Hank enjoying the green grass we have right now.

It’s no secret that I love photography.  The problem is that with these digital cameras now days, I take so many pictures I often forget to go back and look at what I’ve shot.

Today I had to go take a quick couple of pictures for our insurance agent (Hi Johnny!) of a horse trailer.  Seems like a simple enough request.

But as I went back towards the house the sun was so pretty that I found myself out in the pasture taking pictures of the horses.

Big Un, at 35 still enjoys a "fresh green salad"

Big Un, at 35 still enjoys a "fresh green salad"

Then, when I got back to the office and diligently went to upload my insurance pictures I ran across these.

They are from late in the spring when we turned a few mares out into the pasture with a stud to be bred.

The "mares"

These are "the mares", Molly, Lexi & Tink

R.W.’s job was pretty simple; drive the little bunch of ladies across one pasture and into another with Mr Studly and three other mares to make a little band.  Normally herding a few mares is not too bad of a job so R.W. chose to ride our son’s gelding that morning as he was in need of a “tune up” from Dad anyway.

Headed West

Headed West

You would think that the “girls” would go for this romantic relocation and pasture vacation.  But no!

Molly trying to duck out

Molly is trying to duck out on R.W. & Chester to o back to her beau.

Ms Molly the head mare decided that morning that she was in love with Ethan’s old gelding Big Un.  (For more about Big Un, what his job is on the ranch & how old he really is read my previous post “Babysitter“.)  

Free again and headed East.

Lexi & Tink are free again and headed East.

Big Un of course was across the fence encouraging her love with nickers and whinnys.

Sisters... could you tell?

Sisters... could you tell?

And so, R.W. set out on his quick job only to find out that once he got the mares almost to the gate across the pasture old Molly would split from the group and cut back on him back to Big Un.

Love is so blind.

Lined out once more...with the help of a little cowdog.

Lined out once more...with the help of a little cowdog.

R.W. did finally get his “girls” headed in one wad through the gate to meet their new suitor in the next pasture over and wouldn’t you know it, Molly forgot all about Ol’ Big Un the minute she met Mr. Studly and I’m pretty sure from the ensuing activity that we may have another cute colt next spring, maybe three if we are lucky.

Meeting this year's Mr Right.

Meeting this year's Mr Right.

Fickle women.

Gathering up his new harem.

First order of business: Gathering up his new harem.

 

Big Un who???

Big Un who?

Now, back to emailing those trailer pictures… I wonder where I saved them?

 

Two plus Two equals Twenty-Three

Posted on: May 4th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 1 Comment

After reading R.W.’s last post about Colter’s wedding last spring I ran across a photo from the holidays and it made me think about math.  Simple math. You know, the kind you learn in 6th grade. 

Take two adults, they get married and they (sometimes) have children who then meet other children from other marriages and they get married and they have children, who get married and have more children….

Okay, sometimes it’s not so simple.  And sometimes we get things out of God’s order. But you understand the basic principle, right?

R.W. with his younger borther Jeff, sister Martha and parents a really, really long time ago.

You see, these two people met and married and produced R.W., his younger brother and his little sister.

 And my parents met and married and produced me (Lisa) and my little brother.

Teddy & Lisa - a really long time ago

Then back in 1998 (we will leave out the boring details…) R.W. and I married and we combined our two families.

So here’s where you don’t want to get lost… My two (parents) plus R.W.’s two (parents) now equal twenty-three….

That’s four (4) parents, five(5) kids, plus three(3) additional kid-spouses, plus eight(8) grandkids, and now three (3) great-grandkids…

Isn’t love great. 

Isn’t math fun when you learn to add like this? 

The Hamptons, not too long ago

 

2011 was a big year for the Hamptons, we added 3 new members with another on the way.  This is the most current photo of our part of the equation. It was way too hard to get all the other parties togther for the full effect, but we sure do like this bunch and really loved having them all here in New Mexico for the Christmas holidays! 

So here’s to families and how they grow and expand.  We hope ours just keeps getting bigger and we consider ourselves so blessed to have so many of our members still with us.   

 How about your math?  I bet some of your two plus two’s equal a lot more than our twenty-three!  Let us know about your families & how you spend time together.

 

 

The Babysitter

Posted on: April 11th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 22 Comments

 

Ethan and Big Un, Summer 2011 

Every ranch family has probably had one at some time. They are kind, calm, tender and loving, reliable, gentle, unfettered, and usually become a beloved family member in short order. No, I’m not talking about nannies, aum pairs, or even the girl next door;  I’m talking about a horse. In particular, the horse you trust with your most precious valuables, your children.

We have had several over the years but our current “Babysitter” is a big bay gelding named “Big Un”. He came to us 8 years ago as a kind but older reliable ranch gelding who was in his “last years”. He was 26 at the time, stood over 15.2 hands and was in excellent health but hadn’t been used much in the past few years. Our friends from the next county over had owned him since he was 2 and he had raised all their boys. Now the boys were grown and gone, and Big Un was just out in the pasture. They knew we were looking for a horse that our 4 year old could learn on and suggested we try him out.

Being the over-protective mother that I am, I warned R.W. about the value of free horses… I knew from experience that more often than not you would get what you paid for as the saying goes.

But Big Un was different, he was still in great shape and carried little Calvin Danner around.  He was also the ride of choice for most of our various vistors here to the ranch for a number of years. You could still go rope a steer or mad momma cow on him but he was kind and gentle enough that he quickly earned our trust with the boys.

Big Un and one of his "babies"We found out early on that Big Un loves babies. For the past eight years Big Un runs with the broodmares in the spring and by the time the babies are ready to wean they are spending more time hanging out with “Uncle Big Un” than with their mothers. When the mothers are pulled out of the pasture in the fall Big Un is there to keep the little ones company until they are big enough to run with the young riding horses, and their mommas have new babies for Big Un to play with. 

Calvin Danner with Big Un, Colfax County Fair 2006

Calvin Danner gradually went from being led on Big Un to riding him by himself here on the ranch, then he began competing in local kid rodeos and playdays on him until he finally out-grew him and passed him on to our youngest, Ethan.

Big Un is about to turn 35 this spring, which is quite a feat for a horse. You would never know it looking at him under saddle. But this winter he really started to show his age and honestly, although he is healthy, I’m worried.

Ethan has never known a day without Big Un around. His first rides as a wee baby were double on Big Un out in our pastures sitting in Mom’s lap. Four summers ago while in transition between both boys Danner would ride and at the end of the day Ethan would be led around in his big brother’s saddle, dressed in his baby chaps, his little boots and of course his cowboy hat. The first thing you noticed were his little fat legs sticking straight out to the sides as he shook the reins with all his might crying “ye-haw” in hopes of speeding his mount up. But of course ol Big Un wouldn’t break out of his walk for he knew Ethan wasn’t ready.

Two summers ago we could turn the two of them loose in the arena at the end of the day and the same sceene would play out until Big Un got tired of walking in circles and would just stop in the middle of the arena and no amount of cajoling on Ethan’s part would make him move.

Ethan encouraging big Un to move faster

This past summer Ethan had graduated from being ponied (or led) by Dad on our adventures to riding Big Un solo. His legs had grown enough to reach the stirrups of the kid saddle his brother had grown out of, and if kicking didn’t do the trick to motivate Big Un, Ethan quickly learned how to take the tail of his rope and give him a “swat” on the butt which would elicit the desired response for more speed. Of course Big Un always seemed to know just how fast his little cowboy could handle and I swear more than once I saw him trot right back underneath his rider just as I was sure he was about to bounce out of the saddle to one side.

Making the first barrel at the Mverick Rodeo in July 2011

It’s rare to have a horse live to 35 years old, it’s even rarer to have one in good enough condition that he can be ridden, even by a child, but this week we saddled him up once again. We are always watching for the day he starts to stumble, the day his weight drops off, the day he doesn’t lift his head and come trotting in when we show up at the barn. I know that day may come, or we may find him in the pasture in his final peace some morning. Life for Big Un has been good so for now we are enjoying every day we have with this member of the Hampton family and we will forever be grateful to our dear friends the Clays for giving us one of the most precious gifts we have ever recieved.

Because of Big Un our children (and now grandchildren) love animals, they trust horses, they trust themselves on and around horses, they know love, gentleness, kindness, respect and responsibility. These are gifts that not every pet can give, not every horse can provide, but a good babysitter is worth his or her weight in gold. 

We have a lot of good horses but  Big Un is by far the most valuable horse on our ranch.

Big Un with the boys

Were you raised by a “babysitter” or have one on your ranch? What are your fondest memories of riding as a small child?

We love to hear about the horses that have shaped you, so please share your stories too!

Taking Time Out

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 8 Comments
January Evening Skies- photo by Lisa

January Evening Skies here in New Mexico

Does life ever get so crazy that you don’t know whether you are coming or going?  Ever get that small voice in the back of your mind saying “Umm, and how exactly do you expect to get all this done?”

It’s been one of those weeks here.

Up early, trying to fit in a little exercise time before starting the day’s chores, catch up on the weather and news & check emails, then it’s time to get breakfast going and roust the boys for schoolwork (all before 7:30 am). Then it’s back to the computer to try to answer a few emails and phone calls while R.W. does a bible study with the boys.

From 8:30 to noon it’s a balancing act of 5th grade and kindergarten lessons while R.W. does ranch chores and practices his music, a short break for lunch and a few minutes outside to lend R.W. a hand with winter projects he is working on here at the ranch, then it’s time to get the boys back to their schooling, fix dinner, do a couple of loads of laundry, straighten up the living room and kitchen from the day’s studies (yes, the books seem to end up everywhere in the winter as we gather by the fire most of the day.)

Most evenings as soon as the dinner dishes are cleared and washed, the nightly ritual of putting kids to bed is upon us.  We haven’t had TV reception in years but on the occasional night we all finish early we like to play games or curl up and watch a movie as a family.  Almost every evening one of us will read a chapter or two of a book of the boy’s choice before it is “lights out” for them somewhere between 8:30 and 9 PM.  That leaves roughly an hour or two for me to tackle whatever else awaits on my desk or in my kitchen before we fall into bed.  And there really isn’t ever enough time to get it all done.

But tonight, amidst our last lessons R.W. came in and announced – “School is OUT!  You all HAVE to come outside right now!”

 

Sunset at Clearview Ranch Jan 19, 2012

Sunset behind the Sangres

Well, he was right, as usual.  No matter what was going on it was one of those moments that time stands still and as we stood there as a family our New Mexico sky turned oranges, pinks, violet, vivid reds, and deep turquiose blues.

Thank you God, for the wonderful reminder of why we live here in this land.

Thank you for giving us moments when time stands still, moments we can share with our children and thank you so much for the beauty that is uniquely your creation.

Thank you God, for making us take time out.

I wish my photos could do justice to the changes in colors, they really don’t, but I wanted to take time out of our crazy week and share the moment with you.

And I want to thank you, for riding this trail with us, no matter how busy we are, we always love to hear from you.

Love you all,

Lisa, R.W. and the boys

 

Happy 100th Birthday New Mexico!

Posted on: January 6th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

Sunset at Clearview
Yes, on this day, 100 years ago, (January 6th, 1912) President Taft signed the proclamation making New Mexico the 47th state of the Union & the U.S. added a brand new star.

As I travel around, folks who’ve visited our 5th largest state are quick to tell me how surprised they were at the beauty, expanse & vastness of the land. They want to tell me about the snow capped peaks and the incredible sunrises and sunsets.  And of course the food!  Many will tell of visiting our villages with unpaved streets, adobe buildings and churches built in the 1700’s. Yes, we have places here that time has forgotten & yet the Atom bomb was developed in our state and we even have a spaceport!

On a humorous note, it never ceases to amaze me, how many folks still ask; “New Mexico, where’s that?”  One fellow I invited for a visit said “I’d love to come out if I can get my passport renewed.”

A lady at dinner one night exclaimed, “New Mexico? You live in New Mexico?”

“Yes”, I answered a bit surprised, “Why?”

Sunset at Clearview

 

“Well,” she said, “You speak excellent English!”

To that I just smiled and said, “Well, I was educated in the U.S.”

So happy birthday New Mexico and may you continue to be overlooked and slow to be discovered but as enchanting as ever. Out here we like our skyline uncluttered and our neighbors scattered out a bit.  Here’s to your next 100 years!

 

Low in the Snow

Posted on: December 13th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 6 Comments

 

Corgi

Well winter’s sure set in here at Clearview Ranch. While the boys and I were gone to Texas on our last road trip, my wife offered to babysit our good friend Shelly’s two Corgi dogs.  Neither of the pooches are house-broke so Lisa made them a home in our backyard. 

And then it snowed. Over six inches. 

Now that I’m home and my gigs for the year have wrapped up, it’s time to take my pencil and paper in hand and get back to writing songs. But, to be quite honest, here lately I’ve lacked inspiration. Between a flu bug I picked up at the Western Music Awards which lasted a month and a root canal on Thursday, I haven’t really had much to write about that would make good song material. That was until today when I spent the afternoon in the back yard chopping wood and after watching our two visitors try to make a home in snow that is 3 inches deeper than their legs are, I think I finally have some inspiration. 

So how about a new Christmas song that goes something like:

It’s Christmas time and my credit card won’t go/ I’m feeling low/ Like a Corgi in the snow

What do ya think? Is it a Nashville hit in the making? 

I think I’m feeling better already! 

Merry Christmas!  – RDub

Do you have a line that I can add to this? or have any better ideas I should be working on here? Send me your Christmas inspirations!

 

R.W.’s New Chaps – guest post by Mrs. R.W. Hampton (aka Lisa)

Posted on: July 31st, 2011 by Lisa Hampton 8 Comments

It was R.W.’s birthday recently. I won’t mention how old he is now. He would like to think he is 35: old enough to know better, but young enough to still have lots of fun ahead. I think some of us would be happy with 39. Again.

RW’s birthday and Father’s Day fall so close together that he usually gets cheated on one end or the other in the gift department. (Creativity on my part only goes so far, you know.)

Ironically, our ten year old saved me this year from the struggle of coming up with the perfect gift. You see, C.D. is a big kid, and growing bigger. Last summer he had to go without chaps because he was growing so fast that he  grew out of his old ones and we never got time to find a new pair. For some reason, there weren’t any hand-me-downs from the big brothers around either. So this spring in his hunt for leggings (another name for long chaps), he discovered that he fit in R.W.’s. And R.W., being the loving Cowboy Dad that he is, let him wear them a few times – except that he never got them back. 

Now for the hard part. I just had to pick out a top quality chap maker that would please my husband.

Fortunately for me, we have one right here in Cimarron who does a fantastic job. Thank you, Casey Jeffers & Cimarron West!

The Chaps – which, by the way, are pronounced “The Shaps” – were very well received. We joked on Facebook that R.W. might not take them off. 

And then someone asked for a picture.

And so the next day, when the boys went down to the barn to ride, I tagged along with my camera under the pretense of taking pictures of the boys and horses. …

So here are The Chaps:

Aren’t they pretty? Okay, Cowboys probably don’t want their chaps called “pretty,” … but they are!

I feel a little like a secret agent on assignment. Secretly gathering evidence and stealthily snapping away. Yes, I was beginning to feel more like Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, every moment.

My target, unaware that my zoom lens is focused in on his derriere, goes about his job.

Zooming in closer…

Nice Chaps. Hmm, I think I got carried away there.

And off to the arena they went: my Cowboy, his horse, and his new chaps.

His horse, Hank, caught me. And posed.

And then it was time to ride.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. My assignment was to get good shots of those new chaps. Getting on Hank was the perfect time for some great shots, right? Gratuitous butt shots were just one of the perks of my job, right? Levis, Wranglers, Cinch … they all look pretty good with a pair of nice looking chaps. It’s the chaps we’re looking at, right? (Ladies, this is all you get … he’s mine and I’m not sharing.)

Aren’t those chaps pretty? Sorry… handsome? I think Casey did a great job.

He still thinks I’m taking pictures of the horse … Hank, you are a poser!

And off they go. To check the few cattle we have, to make sure the fence doesn’t have holes, or in this case it was just up to the house to find our youngest little buckaroo, who went back for a popsicle while Daddy was getting his horse caught.

Here is a close up of Casey’s workmanship. (Really, I just liked this photo and thought you might too.) R.W. still hasn’t discovered that his paparazzi isn’t just interested in his horse.

I liked this shot of the fringe and his spurs, I even like the tail of his rope hanging down. The spurs, by the way, were made by our longtime friend in Texas, Craig Danner

Cowboys and cowboy craftsmen seem to like to put their names or their brands on everything;  spurs, bits, saddles … I think it’s cool. Kind of their Izod of the West. My husband is no exception. I guess that is why it is SOOO important that your little cowboy children have names with great initials.

On a similar note, this bit was a Christmas/Anniversary/Valentine’s Day present from yours truly several years ago. It was also made by a neighbor and fantastic artisan, Gene Klein, who lives about a mile from our place. We are really lucky to have such great guys living right here. (And no, they aren’t even aware of this post. That is, until one of you spills the beans that I’ve shared my sources.)

Oh yes, back to “The Chaps.” My cowboy likes to haul all kinds of things with him wherever he goes. These chaps got rave reviews from him not only because they were well made and handsome, but because they have a pocket on both sides for handy things like fencing pliers, hoof nippers, extra saddle strings, some jerky, a peppermint (or three), his pocketknife and who knows what else!

Here he is still waiting for the little guy to come out of the house … 

And wouldn’t you know it … the cry from inside the house is that our littlest cowboy needs help with his boots and spurs. So, Cowboy Daddy is gonna have to go in and fetch the young one out. (This is it, my last chance to get that “perfect” shot … of the chaps … )

And then they are both back in the saddle. As they ride off into the sunset, waving to Mom as they go, I wonder, “Does he really think I would take that many pictures of his horse?” His smile tells me: my gig as a secret agent is up, I think he is starting to get the idea. I may not make it as his paparazzi after all. 

But it was fun while it lasted. I hope you didn’t mind me stealing his blog and “guest blogging”… Maybe next time I will sneak down and really get pictures of the kids and horses…

Thanks!

Lisa H

Wood, Grass and Water

Posted on: December 30th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 2 Comments

I’m writing to you from this strange no-man’s land of time that lies between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’ve got plenty to do, but I’m not sure what I can tackle before all the New Year festivities start, including the one here at Clearview Ranch.

As soon as our company from Christmas left, Lisa, three of our boys and I loaded up and drove out to one of our pastures to check an assortment of critters wintering there. The menagerie includes a handful of geldings, some young fillies and colts, a pregnant mare, three old longhorn steers and a first calf heifer. I’ve been gone quite a bit here lately and have grown worried about the condition of our place, so getting out and checking things was just right for me as I hadn’t laid eyes on that back pasture or its inhabitants in weeks. Even though we have great help, some things just have to be seen with your own eyes in the end.

It all started Christmas morning when I went out to my woodpile to get an armload of firewood and was startled to find my supply of piñon and cedar was within a few days of being gone. Out here you don’t want to run out of wood in the dead of winter, but fortunately for me, I was able to call a friend in Cimarron who had a fresh cord cut and loaded on his truck. This was a relief, but with inclement weather on its way it started a whole new set of worries.

At the top of my list, once I knew we had wood for the family, was worrying about our grass and the critters, so that’s when we decided to go out and take a look. Our summer pasture steers had stayed till mid-October and I was fearful our grass wouldn’t hold till the new green comes in the spring. I breathed a silent prayer of thanks when I found plenty of tall Broam as well as Grama grasses still across the entire place.

That was all well and good, but while out in the pasture I noticed that the water level in the pond was low, too low to last until the spring runoff. Our summer steers and the roaming elk herds had sucked it down. Out here we depend on water that comes from snowmelt; in the spring this snowmelt runs out of the high country down to a lake. When the lake gets full, it spills over and runs down an ancient ditch to our ponds. We get all our water from this source and what we get at the end of the summer has to last through the fall and winter till late spring. We were in a jam for sure and it was gonna take some cowboy creativity to make this one work.

Well, Sunday after church, on the way home, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw water running down the ditch right to our stock ponds. How could this be? Well, it would seem that although it’s dry and dusty down here, the mountains are getting snow on our side. It would also seem that although it’s the dead of winter, it’s been unseasonably warm these past few weeks and our glorious New Mexico sunshine turned the fresh fallen snow into much needed water for those of us downhill.

And so, as promised, the good Lord has provided the essentials for life out here on the ranch, and for us, it’s wood, grass and water!

I wish for you, my friends, an abundance of wood, grass and water, or whatever they stand for in your life, full and over-flowing in the coming New Year, and the faith that He will provide them. Till then, God Speed, and I’ll be looking for you on the trail ahead.

Shortgrass

Posted on: August 11th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

The land of the shortgrass is my home. 

It is often brutal in the winter, with winds whipping off the mountains carrying storms across these high altitude plains. It can be dry as a bone into the summer, with ranchers crying for rain. And in years like this one, it is a beautiful, lush, green pasture that rolls over the land, interrupted only by the hills and ravines that have been created through time and sprinkled with the occasional grove of cottonwood or elm trees near a dirt tank oasis and scattered cactus and yuccas, which bloom in the spring.

Although what is considered the shortgrass country stretches from the Southern Rocky Mountains to Alberta, Canada, our little Clearview Ranch is located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a chain within the Rockies here in Northeastern New Mexico. It is popular country for raising horses since it gets its name from the short, but potent, native grasses that are suited to this windy high desert region. 

There is a rugged beauty here that is evident not only in the land, but also in its inhabitants. Many an old timer has been heard to say that if you ever wear out a pair of boots here, the country will steal your heart forever. 

My oldest son, Cooper Hampton, and his best buddy, Dawson Enloe, joined the Marines together during high school.  Over the years they have set foot in many countries and worn out their boots, both overseas and around our own great nation, but they have always expressed their desire to someday come back home to the Shortgrass country, their home. 

This song was written for them.

Announcing Our New Colt’s Name

Posted on: June 29th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

Here it is… the winning name that you helped us   decide on for our new Clearview Ranch colt. This was a first for us, naming a colt by consensus (and over the internet), but it was pretty darn fun and we are sure pleased with the results! Take a look at the video to find out the winning name and see some cute clips of this little firecracker in action! 

Speaking of firecrackers, it is almost the fourth of July and I was so inspired by all of your Memorial Day stories and an idea that Lisa gave me that I sat down and wrote a song I think you will enjoy. I’m gonna be at the big Cimarron Maverick Rodeo on the Fourth. Since many of you may not be able to be here with me, I figured I’d get Lisa to set up our little camera and, in the spirit of Independence Day, I’m going to sing it just for you. Be sure to check back here in a couple of days!