We often begin these Blackjack Oaks Ranch year-end messages with ‘My goodness!’, and this one is no exception!
Just yesterday I was writing about adopting our two new sons from China in November 2016, and now Jing (the oldest) is a teenager! Yes, life with a thirteen-year-old – almost 14-years-old – is interesting, delightful, challenging, and grand. Nai, of course, remains the youngest of our 10 children at the tender age of ten, and he is really growing in education and experience. Where Jing loves music, Nai loves building things. Both love outdoor activities like cycling, helping with the cows and goats, and playing with the dogs. Both are really doing well in school, and although they still experience challenges with the language, they are learning so much! They are the bravest boys I know!
All ten of our children seem to be doing well at present. All are gainfully employed, reasonably happy, getting along well in life, and just all-around fantastic people whom we are very happy to know and love. I wish I could tell you about each and every one of them, but it would take more time than any of us have! And if we stretched that conversation to include Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, and grands and great-grands, well, let’s just say we don’t know of anyone who has that much reading time!
2019 was challenging at times on the ranch. For the first time in 8 years, we’ve had feral hogs visit to do mischief to the property. LOTS of hogs! They were so bold as to come right into the backyard at one point. Just this week, we’ve dispatched 14 hogs on our 40 acres. That’s more hogs than I care to see – EVER! The area seems plagued with them, and our neighbors are experiencing the same challenges. We are committed to decreasing the feral hog population in our part of Texas!
Still, hogs aside, it was a great year for improving our stock. We’re actively working to upgrade our herd, mostly through AI. We were very proud to have the top-selling young bull at the 2019 Mid-Coast Cattleman’s Opportunity Sale, and are looking forward to finding and selling additional great stock there in May 2020. (See the Mid-Coast Santa Gertrudis website for details).
Now for the great news which you may have noticed: WE’VE UPDATED and UPGRADED OUR WEBSITE!
Yes, thanks to the great people at Ranch House Designs and especially to our project manager Kerbe Fuchs, we are very proud to roll out this new website for Blackjack Oaks Ranch. We think it is designed in a way that will increase transparency, give you a glimpse into our lives, and introduce you to our goats. (That sound you hear in the background is Allen saying, “They are not MY goats!”.) Allen’s attitude aside, Karen and the boys are loving and enjoying the huge fun in having these entertaining and beautiful little creatures around!
2019 was a wonderful year at the ranch, and 2020 is shaping up to be even better. All in all 2019 was a year of more joy than sadness, and more happiness and blessing than our hearts can contain. What else can we ask for? We are grateful to an amazing God who freely gives His grace and mercy to all of us.
In 2020 (are we really 20 years beyond Y2K?), we wish all of you blessing upon blessing, joy upon joy, and God’s favor shining in all areas of your lives!
Allen and Karen