Summer Staycation 2021 at Grieb Ranch

What is a grandma to do with all her grand-kids on the ranch for many days of summer? Well the answer is simple: Make it a Summer Staycation and go outside and explore God’s wonderful and fascinating world. Grieb Ranch provides an endless array of things to explore. Plus exploring the ins-and-outs of our beautiful locale simply add to the fun.

All the grands explored the ranch and local area with Grandma for a Summer Staycation

Summer Staycation Activities

A Summer Staycation at Grieb Ranch means . . . almost daily trips to the creek or rope swing when it’s hot,  exploring places on the ranch we’ve rarely seen, watching a monarch caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly which we released, checking livestock water daily due to the drought, helping host Ag Adventure Day Camp at Thousand Hills Ranch for two weeks (much more time was taken for setup and putting things away), following bear tracks while having fun singing “Going on a Bear Hunt” (shucks we never found the bear), climbing trees, making guacamole, keeping the stop-by Fruit Stand full, prayer walking the property with friends, and playing follow the leader on horseback.

Exploring the Local Offerings

One fine day we packed up our picnic lunch and left the ranch to explore the beautiful central coast.

First stop, Shell Beach and caves.  After descending the long flight of stairs to the rocky beach below, we set off exploring the rocky caves and tide pools. Here we discovered many sea creatures like crabs, hermit crabs, limpets (conical shell snail), turban snails and sea anemones.

Exploring the rocks and tide pools

Next, we climbed the rocks, then built roads and castles out of the gravel type sand.  We all enjoyed our picnic lunch and the amazing weather.

Our adventure continued to Avila Beach Aquarium to see things we missed at Shell Beach.  Here we were fascinated with little jelly fish, shrimp brine, crabs, the touch tank and watching the crab and other fish be fed. We learned limpets and turban snails are gastropods which means their stomach is in their “foot” or pod.

Creating such wonderful memories together, while experiencing first-hand the wisdom and creativity of God on display is a wonderful way to spend a Summer Staycation.

Getaway For a Celebration

We did enjoy one getaway to Margie (Grieb) and Scott Runels’s 50th wedding anniversary in Oregon. Our stay was at their home. Carl (92) and Barbara (89) endured the 15-hour trip driven by Connie with flying colors.

How Does the Grieb Ranch Garden Grow in 2020?

Well, the past few years the gardening at Grieb Ranch has been plagued with squirrels, rats, gophers and more varmints that seem to increase all the time.  So, to thwart the said varmints Connie decided try to beat the odds by planting a garden using tubs placing them in the dog pen.

Connie Gathered the Grandchildren to Create a Garden

Inspired by her friend’s beautiful garden, Connie gathered the grandchildren plus some gardening supplies and got started.

To prepare the creation of the garden, Connie and kids assembled a variety of repurposed ranch items. Supplies came from things they had on hand plus a trip to the feed store. Items gathered were: supplement tubs (from feeding cows), gravel (left from putting in a new leach line), soil, compost, drip line, small tubing and tubing T’s, gorilla tape, edible plants, and most importantly, an automatic timer to keep the garden watered when the kids 😉 forget to water. 

How Does the Grieb Ranch Garden Grow in 2020?  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Mr. A stomps down the dirt in the tub.

Connie took the kids to the local feed store nursery so they could pick out their favorite edible plants for their own garden tub. Edible plant choices made were: broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, strawberries, lettuce (which is used almost daily for sandwiches), beets, radishes, onions, oregano and celery. Then they got to work.

How Does the Grieb Ranch Garden Grow in 2020?  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Mr. A gets into the action while Mr. L helps out.

Each one of the four grand kids labeled and decorated their very own mini garden tub then planted their plants. First Mr. P (who is quite handy with a drill at 7 years old) helped them drill drain holes in the bottom of the tubs. Next, each filled the bottom of their tub with gravel. To add in some fun, they used toy dump trucks to move dirt mixed with soil amendment to fill their tubs. Finally, each gathered the plants they chose to grow, attached the drip system, and planted their plants.

How Does the Grieb Ranch Garden Grow in 2020?  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Mr. P smiles in the newly planted garden.

How Did the Grieb Ranch Garden Grow?

Well, the gophers and squirrels were beat to start off with, but not the little birds and bugs. They are enjoying destroying the kid’s garden. You can imagine how horrified Connie was when she went to pick lettuce for her sandwich, only to discover the birds had eaten a lot of the grand kid’s garden.  Her solution was to re-purpose shiny Christmas decorations to scare away the birds. We’ll see if this will help encourage the destroyed parts of the garden to survive.

How Does the Grieb Ranch Garden Grow in 2020?  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Miss R helps set out the Christmas decor to scare away the birds.

It will fun to see how the kids solve their garden problems. We will see how the Grieb Ranch Garden will grow in 2020 and into 2021.

Grieb Ranch Calving season 2020 was Quite Memorable

Like the rest of 2020, calving season on the Grieb Ranch was quite memorable.  It kicked off with pulling a calf… this happens all the time, nothing too exciting. Happily mother cow and baby are fine. Our next adventure began when we noticed a heifer straining to calve. We got her in and then it took three of us three hours and sore bodies to deliver a dead calf.  The mother cow is now fine and has re-joined the herd. 

Grieb Ranch calves – Sharon Jantzen Photos

Calving Season C-Section

Those two experiences were nothing compared to what came next. This story begins when we noticed a heifer kept going off by herself in the brush.  We were detecting signs of a calf coming, yet we felt something was not right.  So, after examining the heifer, it was determined that her calf was “mis-presented” – meaning the calf was upside down with its head and front legs facing away from the exit.  Calling the vet was our best course of action. Then we patiently waited.  With the vet arriving around 8:00 at night in the darkness, providing aid took place under the barn lights.  The first course of action was trying to turn the calf, then pulling the calf was attempted, finally we realized cutting the calf out was the only option left to save the heifer. The vet performed a c-section to remove the calf. 

We all got to watch and it was an amazing process.  Fun fact: The vet put on 3 pairs of gloves to start the procedure so that at each new level of  the process he had a clean pair of gloves.  All ended well with the young cow, but not for her calf.  The vet finished stitching her up at midnight. 

Tiny Tim is the Star of the 2020 Calving Season

Fortunately for us, our young c-section heifer was introduced to Tiny Tim, an orphan calf we received from another ranch. He weighed all of 30 lbs when he arrived. Upon his arrival we tried to graft him to a heifer whose calf had vanished, but the relationship didn’t stick. Thus, Tiny Tim was available to be introduced to this young c-section heifer, their connection was like magic . . . or so it seemed.

Checking on the pair the next morning revealed the heifer had broken out of the pen and abandoned the little orphan calf. So, the little guy was tubed with electrolytes, kept under a heat lamp and Connie began bottle feeding Tiny Tim three times a day. But all was not lost for Tiny Tim, as a day later during our rounds of checking cows we came upon one with two dead calves at her feet. Tiny Tim was introduced to this cow and she has become his fourth cow mom and fifth mom including Connie with the bottle!

Calving Season Not to be Repeated

Mother Cow and calves are doing great. – Sharon Jantzen Photos

More good news for the young heifer c-section cow. We happened to have a friend that had twin calves. Calves and mother cows do better with no competition for milk. So our c-section heifer got a calf grafted on her. All new mothers and calves are doing great. We are thankful, yet still reeling from this difficult calving season. We hope to never have another one like it!

Here’s looking on the bright side of the Calving Season 2020

Making Life Memories by Turning Lemons to Lemonade

The Covid shutdown provided plenty of playing opportunities with the grands at the Grieb Ranch. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” says the optimist. Ranch life gives us plenty of opportunities to make lemonade, both for real and for life memories.

Ride along with us at Grieb Ranch to see how we enjoyed “making lemonade” due to the Covid shutdown.

Picking and eating fruit from bushes Ethan and Mr. P planted.

Playing hide and seek with the bunny in Grandma Great’s yard.

Playing find the singing dog that hides in a different place daily at Nana’s house, eating treats, and training puppies,

Riding horseback with mom and Aunt Amanda,

and enjoying some relaxing creek time with Amanda and Mr. A.

We enjoyed making lemonade out of our church shutdown too

In addition, the Church closed its doors for months and became an online event.  Stan continued to serve our Sunday School class as the main teacher. Because meeting in person was put on hold, we started meeting by using ZOOM.  The added bonus of our ZOOM Sunday School Class was the opportunity for our Missionary friends in Africa and Indonesia to join us. 

On July 5th 2020 we had a 50/50 Sunday School class. This provided for people to meet in person at the church and while others joined in on ZOOM at the same time. 

Covid Lock-down Doesn’t Stop Ranch Work

Although Covid has caused shutdowns across the country and lock-downs in California we are well on the Grieb Ranch . . . The reason you haven’t heard much from us is that we are busier than ever.  Lock-down for us meant work harder.  February gave us a good whip lash with a drought. For the first time in some of our lives not a drop of rain fell in the month of February. This meant daily feeding of our cattle and horses. Then the Covid crisis hit, and impacted many aspects of Grieb Ranch life during the Covid Lock-down.

Grieb Ranch School and Day Care

Covid Lock-down Doesn’t Stop Ranch Work
Grandpa Stan teaches Mr. P

Nana Connie, became the kid care provider and Grandpa Stan became Mr P’s. 1st grade teacher.  As both the grandkid’s parents began work-from-home, and the school and daycare closed, the ranch became not only homeschool, but day care.

Unique Classroom Settings

Covid Lock-down Doesn’t Stop Ranch Work
Classroom work gets done in the shop

Homeschool for Mr. P took on many different looks.  Being on the ranch meant when adults were busy making repairs or doing farm chores, his classroom moved to that location.  In Grandpa and Nana’s house, a spare bedroom was turned into a classroom.  School lessons also took place in the shop, at the Goat camp table, in the truck or in the RTV/Kubota and many more unique locations. 

Upping the Covid Lock-down Technology Game

Nana and Grandpa had to up their technology game for the Covid Lock-down in order to ZOOM with the class.  Supplementing the Coastal Christian School classroom material, is list of favorite learning websites. Here’s the top three:  ABC Mouse (pay a fee),  Kahn Academy (math for free), and EPIC (pay a fee).

Vegetation Management 2020

We at Grieb Ranch strive to be the best stewards of our land and cattle. Vegetation management is a key component of taking care of our land. Trees and shrubs are important to wildlife habitat, for erosion control and even wildfire safety when they are in the right places. When not in the right places, trees and shrubs quickly become “brush” and should be managed accordingly. In addition, we need to be sure there is proper grazing vegetation for our cattle.

Vegetation Management 2020  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch

Grieb Ranch Vegetation Management Plan 2020

Vegetation Management 2020  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Daniel surveys the land

Over the past year we have been making plans for how to best manage the ranch. So with a lot of prep work and over a period of time we have removed some brush and strategically planted grass seed.

Rotational Grazing a Tool for Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management 2020  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Time, hard work bring big dreams

To keep land useful, and beneficial to raising cattle, the grazing must be managed. Therefore we have employed rotational grazing to keep areas of the ranch usable. This means we move the cattle from area to area so that areas can rest and rejuvenate. It is amazing how much nicer our beautiful hills look when properly grazed.

The Whole Family Helped Move Cattle

Vegetation Management 2020  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Several Grieb Ranch Family generations helped move the cattle

We had a great family time moving cattle to the back country-back of the ranch. By using some simple vegetation management techniques we can help reduce the fuel load, provide for our cattle, control erosion and provide habitats for wildlife.

Carl and Barbara Grieb celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary at the Grieb Ranch

February 12, 1950

Mr. and Mrs. Carl Grieb recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary hosted by their family. The event was held at the couple’s house on the Grieb Ranch in Arroyo Grande, California. Barbara made over 200 cupcakes for the event. Flavors from the Grieb Ranch produce were part of the delicious cupcake flavors. The celebration was attended by over a 100 friends and relatives.

Carl and Barbara Grieb Marriage Story

Carl met the former Barbara Decker in 1945 at a 4-H event at the Canyon Ranch in Shandon when she was 13 years old. He lived in Arroyo Grande, and she was the city girl from Los Angeles. Following a five-year long distance romance, they were married on February 12, 1950 in the “Little Church around the Corner” in Los Angeles. Carl graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 1947.

His family pioneered in Arroyo Grande Valley in the farming and cattle business. He did dairying in Templeton in the 1950’s and in Guadalupe in the early 1960’s, then raising cattle near Lopez Lake. He was a truck driver and heavy equipment operator for more than 30 years. Carl has been retired, yet working as a rancher, for the last 34 years. Barbara has been a homemaker for all these years. She and Carl were married three weeks after she graduated from George Washing High School in Los Angeles. She worked with the 4-H club for 19 years and taught youth at the Arroyo Grande Presbyterian Church (now Grace Bible) and Good News Clubs for 42 years.

Two of their daughters, Wynetta McClain, and Connie Willems live on the Grieb Ranch. Daughter Margie Runels and family live in Oregon. Over all they have six grandchildren , 12 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.

Daughters Connie and Margie, Barbara, Carl, Cousin Sandy and Daughter Wynetta
February 9, 2020

Where is the Cowboy Bathroom?

Decorating styles come and go, but at the Grieb Ranch one consistent statement was made no matter the trend: We are Cowboys.

This statement was most clearly communicated through a visit to the Cowboy bathroom. Barbara Grieb the amazing women who kept the Grieb Ranch running by feeding the Cowboys and friends was also an amazing decorator.  Enjoy a peek at her Cowboy Bathroom. Many visitors do a double-take to be sure they didn’t wander out the backdoor to the outhouse.

Entering the Cowboy Bathroom

The first clue you were entering a not-so-common bathroom was the swing door you pushed through to enter. You entered it just like you were entering a cowboy saloon. Only here there was not a slew of cowboys belly-up-to-the bar.

Cowboy Bathroom Decor

Once inside you notice the wood paneling with brands burned into the planks. One window is stained glass showing grass-fed beef and the Grieb Ranch brand. The paneling gave you the feeling you that maybe you were not inside a home, but perhaps took a turn outside to the outhouse.

Suspicions Confirmed

Finally you get to the place where you do your business. Here the bathroom takes a quirky turn to make you smile. Yes it’s just like sitting in an outhouse! Your suspicions have been confirmed and you smile. Many a visitor left with warm memories of visiting the Grieb Ranch cowboy bathroom.

Sales Yard Lessons for a Kindergartener

Sales Yard Lessons for a Kindergartener  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Mr. P at the Cattle Sales Yard

How many Kindergarten students do you know who are learning to read while learning to be businessmen or women? Our own kinder student, Mr. P, recently spent a day at the sales yard watching for his steer, Percy (out of his cow, Pudge), to be sold.

Sales Yard Lessons for a Kindergartener  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Learning sight words.

Since Mr. P is just learning to read he needed to add some sight words to his reading vocabulary so he could understand the business part of the day. To get Mr. P started off right he learned to sight read: cow, bull, heifer, steer, sale, head count, average, total price. 

Lots of Brands are Seen at the Sales Yard

While waiting for his steer to come up for auction the time was passed by learning the important info regarding brands and legal branding locations. A legal brand is proof of ownership of an animal – it can guard against cattle rustlers. Mr. P learned there are six branding positions for legal proof of ownership of cattle. They are the left or right shoulder, rib or hip.

A livestock business person must learn to read brands. The Grieb Ranch brand is a backwards G with and arrow underneath. The Willems’ brand is a lazy S over a horseshoe placed on the left hip.

Sales Yard Lessons for a Kindergartener  | The Story of Ranching at Grieb Ranch
Grieb Family Brands

This hat also sports the brands of an uncle and a niece along with the Willems’ brand and the Grieb Ranch brand. The first and last brands read bar crescent moon and crescent moon bar.  If you would like to see more livestock brands check out the online California Brand Book.

Kindergarten Business Lessons

Back to the sales auction . . . Mr. P’s steer sold and he now must calculate his profit. He must tally up all his operational expenses and apply them to the amount he received for his steer. Mr. P must understand the value of bringing quality livestock to the market. This brings repeat buyers for his livestock. Pretty big lessons for a Kindergarten-level Businessman.

Ranch Dog Dee, Truly Man’s Best Friend

Cowboy Calendar Cover

Ranch Dog Dee was simply THAT dog.

Special enough to be at Daniel and Jessica’s wedding.

The special friend who was put to task to check out the girlfriend to see if she was the one for life. Dee was THAT dog who was so special she was part of the ensuing wedding. She was THAT dog who was trusted enough to welcome home all three of children. Dee was THAT special friend who sat faithfully listening to expressions of the ups and downs of ranch life. 

Trusted to welcome home all three children.

Daniel’s Ranch Dog Dee was simply THAT dog.

Part of the family.

Dee was Daniel’s faithful friend. She rode in and helped sort at more cattle roundups than any dog.  Her life was not easy being a ranch dog. Yet it was her purpose. Ranching life produced it perils: Dee dealt with several  broken bones by being smashed by charging bulls or cows. Dee loved her job and was counted on over and over for tracking wild cattle, bear, pigs, or whatever needed to be done.  Dee brought many years of joy! 

Cowboy P drew a picture of the happy times they had with Dee.

Dee was simply THAT dog. She is truly missed by all.