The main focus of tonight's post is my youngest daughter Dakota as she turned 15 today. Like any ranch kid although it was her birthday that did not mean there were not chores and other ranch work to be completed. Dakota put in a pretty full day helping her mother and I and I always appreciate her help. I could rave on and on about how much she means to me and how special she is but it is her ability to really be a cowgirl that makes me smile the most. Not only does she really know the cow herd and their history, she does an amazing job of giving input and good advice. Dad may not be here in a physical sense but I see him channeling through her whenever we spend time working together. Sometimes her smart and smartbutt comments and sly grin makes me swear he is telling her just what to say. Like her grandpa and paternal great grandmother she has a special sense about the cows and her presence makes me a better cattleman. This is hard to imagine that a kid that once aspired to be Hannah Montana has become such a great steward of mother cows. Sorry Gus I just had to post this picture! She is also very well rounded and gets great grades, is athletic, is active in 4H and FFA and not only has she had some good success in the show ring with market steers, she also is quite competitive at livestock judging. Here she is getting ready to blast a softball which seems like yesterday but it was years ago.
I have really enjoyed watching her grow up but I hate the fact that I have to get older as she does. I cant believe that this picture of her kissing her first show steer (blue roan named Smurf) happened in the fall of 2006. Wow how time flies by and how fast kids grow!
Tonight we traveled to the TriCities and met her sisters and future brother-in-law for dinner. Even though she is quite the cowgirl she just has to choose Red Robin and order their clucks and fries as her Dad sarcastically thanks her for supporting the beef industry. These are the moments where I can't help but think her grandpa has a hand in things just to watch me be annoyed. I just find it believe that these next two pictures are only separated by 3 years.
On the positive side the older she gets the more practice she has had with a firearm and the more time she has been educated about the danger of teenage boys. I am not overbearing on this issue I just try and make her aware that not all boys are as shy as her Dad was when he was a teen. *Big grin*
I love you Gus and am very proud to be your Dad. You are the reason for today's cowman You Tube music selection by Kevin Fowler as he sings "Daddies and daughters." Happy Birthday!