Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Last night, I began a major project: cleaning out our 16 X 8 closet. As you can guess this is not an easy task as this is the place that I tend to stuff EVERYTHING in order to de-clutter the rest of the house. Well, I could no longer walk to the back half which contains all my clothing.

Another reason I really needed to do this was that both the girls have outgrown their current clothing size and I desperately needed to get them changed out. Jules, who is now 2.5, can no longer fit into her 2T clothing; while Jaelynn, 8.5 months, has finally outgrown her 3-6 m clothes. And so the war on containers begins.

I purchased 4 new containers for the girls keepsakes since Jaelynn is now needing to put things away and to put Jules' things away that I will give her when she is a mom. My 18 gal containers are all color coded, but not labeled so I have lots to do and it will be an ongoing endeavor for a week I am thinking.

Anyway, I said all this to say that last night I pulled out all the containers from our closet to begin the orgainizing. Today when Jaelynn took her 20 min catnap, I began. I was able to make a huge mess in the bedroom before Jaelynn woke up.

Well, instead of continuing I decided to take the girls outside and swing them. Then we got on the trampoline for some ring around the rosie and other fun games. We came in just a bit ago and began our imaginary Little People play and the girls are now playing together by me as I type. I think I made the right decision. I may not have a place to lay my head this evening, but my heart is full of precious smiles, sweet gigles, and the cackle of laughter. Today is a good day as it is full of memories.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


So, today we are coloring eggs for the beloved Easter celebration tomorrow. This morning we decided to boil a dozen for coloring. All 3 of the older kids are super excited and want to "help". So, the each put eggs in the pot(big help). Jeremy, 8, asks:

J: Why are we putting them in the water to boil?
Mom: So that they are hard and we can color them.

(Jeremy ponders this for a minute)

J: So, if this makes them hard, how do you get them to turn into chocolate and stuff them with candy?

(Mom thinks for a minute about busting his bubble, answering sarcastically, or playing along)

Mom: let's go ask your Dad.
Mom: Daddy, Jeremy has something to ask you.
(Jeremy asks Dad)
Dad: (with a straight face)Well son, it is a lot like cows, you have to have a chocolate chicken for chocolate eggs, just as you need a chocolate cow for chocolate milk.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


I know many that struggle with life. It is unfair and wonderful all at the same time ... After my surgeries and struggles through recovery I have found a new peace in life. This poem is the best description of that peace that I have ever read, and a good read that I would like to share.... Jeremiah Cottle


-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --
Not "Found in Old St. Paul's Church"! -- see below

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Welcome to the Little J Ranch, Cottle Clan's Reparo Genesis. This is our newest addition and as her name suggests she represents a "renewed beginning". We will be retiring Athena for breeding this fall and Genis will begin breeding next fall. So far she is extremely shy and not well socialized so we have a lot of work ahead of us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

3 Left

These are the 3 pups that are left. They are 8 weeks old now if anyone is interested or knows someone interested please let us know-Thanks!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Doberman Pups

Due to high demand, I decided to post information on our dobe pups:

First off, please be aware that these are family owned. We are not professional breeders; we are just people who love dobes! Although both the sire and dam have champions in their bloodlines, we are selling them as pet quality. The reason for this is that we want to share family raised dobes with families.

The parents are well socialized and have been raised with small children, just as the pups will be exposed to prior to going home with their new parents. We keep our dobes in the house and have four children ranging from two months to 11 years old. We home educate out children and we are both stay at home parents. We live on a ranch and our days are filled with ranch-type activities.

The sire of this litter is Xzus and he is our pride and joy! Our red and rust four years old works cattle, helps to corral escaped chickens and runs with our children to protect them from snakes and other critters. He is an 85 pound gentle giant. Our two year old puts her blanket on him and rides him like a pony. He also responds to her commands and stands between her and any stranger to come around. He loves to run with us to check fences and pretty much goes anywhere we do.

The dam of this litter is three year old Athena and she is also gentle in nature. She is black and rust and weighs only 65 pounds. She was raised by other members of our family until they decided that it wasn't fair for her to live in the city. They gave her to us. She came to the ranch at around ten months and although she isn't as well trained as Xzus, she is extremely sweet and our boys love to play with her.

This is Xzus and Athena's second litter. The first litter yielded eight pups of black, red and fawn. One of the pups went through full genetic testing and everything was perfect. Because of no genetic defects, we feel confident in breeding this pair.

This litter has 9 pups of black, red, fawn and blue. They are as follows:

3 black and rust females
1 black and rust male
1 blue male
2 red males
2 fawn females

The blue and black males along with one black female are currently spoken for.

We screen potential homes for our dobes because we want the best for them. We are looking for families that are able to provide the best for these beloved creatures. This means they should be both nurtured and challenged. Being placed in a kennel with food and water doesn't cut it for us. These dogs need to have both companionship and a sense of duty. If you feel you can provide this and want a dobe that is child/family oriented then you are definitely looking at a wonderful litter full of potential.

I will post some updates if there is a lot of response to this. If you are interested in a pup, please leave some sort of contact information in the comments section. Thanks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


As promised, here is the update of ranch happenings for November. To begin with, we had our oldest son's 11th birthday party combined with a couple of others, next we had our oldest daughter's 2nd birthday, then we had Thanksgiving dinner at Granny and Pop's house.

Between these happenings, we began to prepare for the winter as the weather has just now turned cold. We made a trip to SA, plucked all the seeds we could from the garden, and we began construction on our master bath.

We are also finally having eggs. We are only getting about 5 a week, but that is better than nothing. Here is our first egg:

Finally, November blessed us with our second litter of Dobe pups:

Here they are just a few days old

and here they are now-much bigger with eyes and ears opened!And that concludes a VERY full November!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Where did September go? Oh yes, we added our second daughter to the clan! Sept. 23rd we welcomed Jaelynn Dora Cottle to our little family and due to the end of pregnancy woes and newborn bliss I failed to update the blog. Many apologies for this, but I will update now.

September marked the beginning of school for our two oldest boys and a new project for Dad. As most of our readers know, we have been in the long process of building our home here on the ranch. It has taken 3.5 years so far and we have yet to finish it. But, this year, as we paid off our outstanding debt on construction thus far, we began working on it again. Projects for Sept. included building our "school room".
Although it is already messy and well used, you can see we have the media corner, curriculum shelves, 2 desk areas, and a large work cabinet area. This project is half complete but I think you can see the wonderful work of my husband who has never made a cabinet in his life before now! The cedar is gorgeous and he did professional quality work in my opinion!

September also ended our daily garden gathering and veggie processing. We were wonderfully blessed and have a freezer full of veggies for the winter. We were also able to stock Granny and Pop's freezer and send veggies to other loved ones.

And that my friends covers September. Stay tuned for November and maybe it won't be a month late!

Friday, August 08, 2008

You know your in...

the last month of pregnancy when:

You can no longer see your cantaloupe sized ankles.
You can no longer give yourself a pedicure.
Shaving becomes, well more challenging.
You adopt a distinct waddle.
Complete strangers start asking you "how much longer?"
It becomes more difficult to get in and out of your van.
"quick stops" and "ins and outs" begin to take so much longer that your kids no longer want to wait in the car for you.
Getting in and out of the bathtub becomes a monumental event( tidal waves included).
Gardening becomes a thing of the past.
Sitting at the PC is no longer comfortable.
Sitting ANYWHERE is no longer comfortable for more than half an hour.
Your tummy, back and everything else is sore all the time from all the contractions.
You have to stop mid-sentence to catch your breath while contractions pass.
The bathroom is no longer your friend, but how you plan your outings.
You gain an obsession with lists and getting things re-organized.

Ahh the list could go on and on. These are just a few thoughts from the last week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Some of you may like the phrase "my cup runneth over", well around here we say "our wagon runneth over". When we harvest we take a little wagon out to the garden and fill it. This then takes me at least a day to process(shuck corn, split peas, shell beans, wash and cut anything else) and then it is time to go again. Even with the massive hail storm that took out 2/3rds of our garden, our wagon continues to run over and we now also head out with 5 gallon buckets, golf cart and the wagon. Below you can see what an average day brings in:

Now we have more of a variety coming in with green beans and black eyed peas but wagon is no where near large enough to bring in the harvest anymore.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


My husband has been very productive this spring. Here is our updated garden. After studying Botany last summer with the boys and planting our first garden we have learned a lot! The first thing we learned was that a 12X12 garden is not near big enough for us, so we had to plant a second garden last year. This year, after watching the natural flow of water in our pasture, we uprooted the old garden and choose a location that is 75X50. We hope it is big enough.
This month we saw the first fruits of our labor. Our corn was sprouting well. Shortly after, many other rows began to show their precious fragile growths.

We also planted indoors to test which method proved more fruitful.

Another avenue that we have ventured due to the massive rise in our grocery bill has been the production of our own eggs and poultry. We are just starting on this also so we have lots to learn this year as these sweet baby chicks grow.That about raps it up for what we did this spring. Well, not exactly. We had a massive hail storm the other night that demolished the entire garden. I will post pics of the hail when I can find them lol. Had to use my old camera.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Ok this is the funniest thing I have seen in a while. If you love cats, you will truely enjoy this:

Engineers guide to cats

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I am A Christian

by Maya Angelou

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ

that a man should have to seek Him first to find her."

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'"

I'm whispering "I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian" I don't speak of this with pride.

I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not trying to be strong.

I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not bragging of success.

I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not claiming to be perfect,

My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I still feel the sting of pain..

I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not holier than thou,

I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


And so the cycle of life comes around once again. Here is our first calf of the year.
Momma and baby did great. Since this photo was taken, we have had 7 more calves born without complications and haven't lost any. This is really good considering we have some first time mommas this year. We added 7 new mommas total, but 5 will not have babies till the fall. So, at the moment we have 4 black, 3 red, and one charcoal colored babies. The new bull is throwing smaller calves so this will make a big difference for the new moms.

On the homefront, things have been about the same. We are expecting our first litter of puppies in a couple of months. Here is the proud Daddy:
He has no care in the world. As you can see he is chillin' and figures his work is done. He will leave the hard part to the female.

I will have to post pictures of the garden later now that I have figured out how to use my new camera I got for Christmas.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


As I was reading through my emails, I came across one that struck me. It is geared toward mothers and puts an interesting twist to our calling. So, for all the mothers out there, enjoy:

I'm Invisible
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the
room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Today we brought home 2 calves from the butcher and let me tell you it is a LOT of beef! I believe the calves dressed out at over 450 and 375 pds. We filled 2 deep freezers with these boys this year. Thankfully, we had cleaned out all the older meat and actually gone without beef for a couple of months. We are so glad that we have beef again. There is just no substitute for good old fashioned Cottle beef!

Another beef note, it is time to replenish the herd. We have recently separated the heifer calves to let them get big enough to replace some of our older mommas. We lost one mama this year and had to sell another that could no longer keep her babies alive cause her teets were too big. By this time next year we will have a total of 7 new mommas assuming we don't lose any with their first babies. This year we will also be investing in a few more cattle of our own to add to Pop's herd. This will be a new adventure similar to our garden last summer. Ranch life is good!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


There is just something wrong with this picture!

Here it is Thanksgiving day and not only have we failed to get our pool down yet(it has been in the 80's up until yesterday), but now it is filling with snow! We ended up with 4in on the ground by the end of the day. We have chance for more snow tonight so we just might disappear altogether! Who would have thought?

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Ya know, for a little 100 dollar camera, I get some really nice shots out here. But, I dream of a camera with more than a 3X zoom.

Could you imagine this shot close up on this barn owl as it is watching the sun set?

I wish to leave you with another favorite. Can you tell how much I love a nice sunset? There is no better place to view God's beauty than out here! Enjoy and be blessed!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Now is the time for hunting. Out here, this is a big deal. Every since my husband was invited to a hunt a couple of years ago after he became disabled, it has been a hobby of his. This means I don't see much of him, but that is ok. He needs to feel useful and enjoy himself when he can.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Yesterday, Pop (the grand leader of the Cottle clan) celebrated his 81st birthday. As I was thinking of his celebration I rejoiced that the Lord brought him into my life. Not only is he a good father, husband, grandfather, great-grandfather he is also a great in law!

It is very seldom in this life that you find people outside of your own family that you feel so close to that you consider them your own blood. Even greater is when the feeling is reciprocated. There are many times that you don't feel close to some of your own blood family, so when you find this unique relationship, it is exceptionally special. With Pop, I feel this way. I know in my heart that I am more than just a granddaughter in law, I am his granddaughter. I know this because of the way he treats me. There isn't just the civil pleasantries that most of us share. It is much deeper. When he hugs me, he hugs me as if he doesn't want to let go. It is as if he is trying to tell me just how much he loves me. When he tells me he loves me, I can see in his eyes that he means it. There is no hidden agenda, no malice, no basic tolerance-just true affection. I can honestly say that this feeling is mutual and I am grateful to have this special relationship where we talk, share and are open with each other knowing that whatever the outcome we have each other.

And so, as I prepare for our dinner out for a private celebration, I rejoice that I have Pop in my life! I an thankful that just as the Lord painted this wonderfully unique sky, he blessed this unique relationship. Happy Birthday Pop, I love you!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Cuash-(k oo a sh) A cross pollination of cucumbers and squash.

These are from our very own garden, which is finally starting to die down. We are currently only growing squash, cuash, cucumbers, okra, c antelope, watermelons and finally some jalapeƱo peppers! I am very excited about the peppers, but am sad that our zucchini isn't still growing and we finished the last of our corn tonight too. We did get some pumpkins in the ground though that might make for some tasty holiday treats!

Well, we are grateful for any and all food that the Lord blessed us with in our garden this year. I forsee many many years of gardening ahead of us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Our Gardens are overflowing! We are so thankful for the blessing of raising our own food. Not only does it help with the groceries but it also has been great for our summer science botany studies with the boys. For those new to the blog, we home school our kiddos. With the baby and moving in this last fall, we failed to get history and science lessons done so they are doing them this summer. As it turns out we are studying botany this year and the gardens have really helped with that. Or maybe the lessons helped with the garden? Who knows, who cares-it's all good!

So, we have come to the point that we have cucumbers out our ears and even after cutting them back we are still picking a 5 gal bucket every few days. Well, obviously we cannot eat that many so we have decided to allow the boys to start a veggie cart in town where they can sell the excess to raise money for a go cart they want. Even still, I think it is time to learn how to make pickles. Did you know it takes 3 weeks to turn a cucumber into a pickle? Pickles anyone?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So the rains came down, and the floods came up-literally! Here you see the back side of our largest tank at the ranch. I was unable to get all of the wash in one photo so I have taken a series of photos to show just how massive the rains have been lately.

Last night we received 5 in., Yesterday 2 in. and I am unsure how much before.
I am sure of what we saw this morning as we rode around checking it out.

First up, we see our large tank. Last summer this tank's size was increased in both diameter and depth to collect more water due to the drought of the last 5+years. The first photo shows the backside of the dam built.

As you can see it is significantly more full than it was before the spring rains.

These photos show the backflow tank designed for the large tank.

You can see how quickly the water was still flowing 5 hrs after the rains halted.

The big tank wasn't the only one running over. The little tank next to our house has not only filled, but has backed up to our yard.
The water came very close to flooding our workshop. With more rain in the forcast this is a distinct possiblility. We are bracing for the worst, yet all the while rejoicing in the abundant rain.

Finally, I wanted to show one of the roads.
Today we find ourselves water bound to a stretch of about 2 miles as we have a creek on either side of us that have both washed out the roads.

On one side of the road you can see how the creek has overtaken the fields. This is the high side of the same road.

This is the low side . The water was deep and fast. So you can see that our blessed rain has allowed for some fun exploration and a great excuse to take photos.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


With the abundance of rain filling our tanks, we decided it was time to plant a garden.
Well, we started one and found that it quickly became much too small. So, we ended up planting a second one of the same size.

Among the foods we planted are: Cucumbers, Carrots, lettuce, corn, okra, beans, tomatoes, watermelon, squash, Jalapenos,and zucchini. To spice up our lives we also planted onions, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. We are looking forward to our upcoming grub, but at the moment we only have tomatoes blooming.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Last night as we opened our front door to let one of the dogs in, we found 3 baby mud robins who appeared dazed and unable to get to their nest. We decided that it was too late at night for these sweet things to stay outside without the safety of their nest, so we took them in and Jeremiah made a cage for them. They rested peacefully through the night.

The boys are so very excited, as our oldest son has wanted a pet bird for a long time. He is going to have to come to the realization that we must set them free. It is nice to have visitors, especially such unique ones. The great thing about visitors, though, is that they come and then they go. Just enough time is spent to enjoy each other and not enough to feel captive! So, we will be saying good-bye to our newly found friends and wish them all the best on their travels!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


So, I decided it is time for a new color.

Just as there was a lot of purple there is a lot of red around here.

Some is strangely unique and dangerous
while some border on exotic

The color to be found here is simply remarkable whether hidden in a crevice or boldly displayed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


So tiny, so fragile are these little eggs
hidden so well in the grass.
Great care and love went into their nest
hoping that danger shall pass.

A symbol of life, of new beginnings
this solitary egg may be.
Yet to the mother bird, it is seen
as her precious baby.So she builds her nest wherever she finds
seclusion on this great earth.
She takes her time to ensure it's safe
for she knows her cargo's worth.

She lays her eggs with their thin shell
into her woven nest.
She keeps them warm till the time is near
and lets her body rest.She protects her eggs while she waits
Keeping an eye on prey.
Swooping on those who come too close
in an attempt to keep them at bay.

Finally, the eggs bring forth life
and a song the mother hears.
A sound so sweet she hopes to hear
for many, many years.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


It is amazing what you can see out here at the ranch if you just look up. The sunsets seem to last for hours out here without the tall buildings to obstruct our view.

Tonights walk began about 8PM and the sun was still setting a half hour later looking something like this:

and a bit later like this.

And finally, we said good-night to our beloved flag and the sky.

The sky isn't just beautiful at night either. There is something new to see every day:

From large looming solo clouds...

to unusually compounded "egg-crate" shaped ones.

But, sadly, I have yet to get a photo of the sunrise. I have seen it though and it spectacular! One day I will not be on a baby's schedule again and can get up for my morning coffee with the sun rising as my tapestry to examine. But until then I will leave you with a different piece of art that is truly amazing not only for it's symbolism; but also it's rarity. Enjoy! One day I will also invest in a nice camera so that these photos are better.