Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Howard Hesby Story

I had the opportunity to spend 6 years interacting with Dr. Howard Hesby of Texas A&M University....4 as his student, and 2 as his colleague while I worked as marketing coordinator in the Department of Animal Science.
I have so many Hesby stories, I'm going to have a hard time picking just one to share with the new Howard Hesby book project. Maybe my favorite was right before we hosted the 100th Anniversary of Animal Science Reunion. We had been planning this event for a year, and just 2 days before the event, Dr. Hesby thought we should go through the Kleberg Building and replace all of the ceiling tiles (by hand) that were dirty. He recruited his two friends in the media center, gathered a ladder, and was up at Kleberg all night replacing these tiles, so that our former students would get the best impression of our building.

If you're an Aggie Animal Science graduate, I guarantee there is a time in your life where you said a phrase..."I went on a trip with Dr. Hesby, and...." or "I wouldn't be where I am today if Dr. Hesby hadn't....".

Well, it's time to tell those stories! Our good friends at A&M Dr. Chris Boleman, Dr. Larry Boleman, and Dr. Gary Acuff are calling on all Aggies to help tell the stories of Dr. Hesby in a book called "Our Hero, Howard Hesby."

This book is a project that will include short stories from students, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Howard Hesby. Everyone has an “H2” story. It seems all former TAMU Agriculture students have either taken a class from him, took a trip with him, needed him to unlock Kleberg in the middle of the night, or just hung out with him in the Kleberg lounge.

Drs. Boleman and Acuff are asking you to write your story so that they can package all the personal testimonials into one book for all to read, relive, and remember a great man.

Here is what they are requesting from you to make this project a success:
• Write a Howard Hesby story in 2,000 words or less
• Email the story to Chris Boleman at
• Spread the word and tell all your friends to do the same
• Submit story by January 15, 2010.

Dr. Howard Hesby impacted everyone he met. This book will help tell his story so that all of us and future Aggies know a little bit more about a man that give so much to Texas A&M University. All proceeds from this book will be used for the Howard Hesby Student Atrium project at Kleberg Center at Texas A&M.

If you're someone who isn't the best writer, but you have a Hesby story to me at 979-532-9141! I will be glad to listen to your stories for you and put my journalism experience to work to write your story on your behalf.

Also, if you aren't aware of the Hesby Atrium project, the Department of ANSC is still accepting donations to help get this project going. You can donate online to this special project at the Coals Giving Web site. You have to go through a couple of drop down menus to find the Hesby fund. Go to this page then choose the first option of "College of Agriculture and Life Sciences" then choose "Animal Science". In the next box you will see the option of Howard Hesby Student Atrium.

Let's help spread the word....
If you have any questions, contact Dr. Chris Boleman at

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hondo Downtown Dental

We are excited to announce our newest web site design for Dr. Stacey Jacobs of Downtown Dental in Hondo, Texas. Stacey grew up in Hondo (near San Antonio) and practiced dentistry in San Antonio and Castroville before returning to her hometown to accomplish her dream of opening her own practice in her hometown.

A fellow Aggie, Dr. Stacey graduated from Texas A&M in 2000, a year ahead of Rachel. So it was exciting for us to design this site for Stacey, since we can definitely relate to the career goal of dreaming to open your own business back in your very own hometown.

Dr. Jacobs specializes in making the dentist visit an enjoyable one. She works with a lot of patients who have postponed visiting the dentist because of fears or uncertainty. If you live in the Hondo area, I hope you will check out and consider choosing Dr. Jacobs for your dentistry needs!

Monday, December 28, 2009

What makes a great display?

When you walk through the Yards in Denver, spectators are bombarded with hundreds of banners, flyers, give-aways and advertisements all competing for their attention. How do you make your booth stick out from all of the others? Well, the easiest and best way is with a professionally designed display banner. This is your "billboard" to the yards. Once people notice your banner, they'll want to look at your bull. Then, it's your chance to visit with the folks in the yards and make your sale. So now is the time to be thinking of your display banner and promotional pieces for your bull for 2010. Here are a few more of ours favorites from last year. If you like these, and you're taking a bull to Denver, give us a call.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Holiday Hours

RHD will be closed on December 23-25 for the Christmas holidays.....

Hope everyone has been really nice this year and gets lots of presents :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

KS Persyn

We are so happy to publish a new web site for KS Persyn, LLC, a plumbing company that serves the south and central Texas area. The Persyn company is part of our growing list of non-agricultural clients, as RHD has greatly expanded into serving more businesses both locally in Wharton and across the nation.

KS Persyn, LLC is a plumbing company based out of Castroville, Texas. They are a full service plumbing company that serves both residential and commercial clients 24/hours a day. They also place a big emphasis on "going green" with plumbing services to help conserve water and improve efficiency.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good advice on partnerships

RHD client Cari Rincker of Rincker Law, PLLC recently posted a great blog that addresses some considerations for partnerships. I felt this was especially important to re-post during this time of year when so many of our clients are entering into partnerships on new bulls for 2010.

Cari and I were classmates at Texas A&M, and Cari's law firm focuses on agricultural law. I hope that everyone who is involved in a partnership or who is considering a partnership will take a moment to read her blog, available at:

Here is a preview of her blog....
"Whether it is a partnership for a flush cow, a boar or a bull that is in a stud, or a family-owned agriculture enterprise, you are encouraged to get a partnership agreement in writing. Even if you are going into business with someone you know and trust, a handshake won’t protect you if unexpected things go wrong...." READ THE ENTIRE BLOG HERE.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thunderbrook Farms

We are happy to introduce another new web site, Thunderbrook Farms of Nova Scotia Canada.  Thunderbrook Farms is a fifth generation farm owned and operated by Brian and Joan Trueman and their family. Located in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada, their operation includes blueberries, lumber and a British based cow herd, half of which are commercial females and half of which are purebred Herefords.

The Trueman family is a part of our growing RHD international client base. With the ease of communication over e-mail, RHD has been able to serve livestock producers and clients worldwide, with clients in all of North America (Canada, US, Mexico), Australia, and several South American and Central American countries. We love an opportunity to work with international clients and learn more about the agricultural enterprises in these different locations.

Though we'll probably never actually get to meet the Trueman's face to face, I have no doubt that if we did get the chance to meet....we would be friends. Their life seems to revolve around agriculture, just like so many of us at RHD and so many of our blog readers. According to the Trueman's, "Over a cup of coffee or around the dinner table, there are always discussions about cattle. Our life like most cattle people has four seasons including calving, breeding, showing and sale season."

Sounds like my kinda- people!

I hope you will take a minute and visit and learn more about this really neat farming operation in Canada, and a great livestock family.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Performance Nutrition Technologies

This month we are happy to unveil the new look of the web site for Performance Nutrition Technologies, a part of Top Cut Genetics. Performance Nutrition is owned by the Hendrickson Family, and offers top of the line nutritional products for livestock showman. Their popular products include RactoLean, Sustain, VitaLean, ProLamb, and more. They are also a distributor of all Akey and Sunglo products.

One of the benefits of using Performance Nutrition Technologies is that swine producers can take advantage of buying bulk products at the same time as they purchase their semen. Semen and nutritional products can ship together, saving money.

We have worked with Performance Nutrition for the past 8 years. We hope you will visit their new web site and take a look at the products they have to offer. This is a great company who offers exceptional products, owned by great people in the livestock business.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Great Boling Blizzard of 2009

In the first week of December this year, there was more snowfall recorded in Boling, Texas than there was in Chicago, Illinois. What a fun fact! A few weeks ago, on December 4-5, we got 4 inches of S-N-O-W right here on the Texas Gulf Coast. For us, this creates all kinds of pandemonium. Of course, school was cancelled. No one ventured out of their homes to come to work that day, except of course, me, the die-hard RHD'er, and Christa, who was working on updates from home.

In my own defense, I lived in Michigan for 2 years so driving in snow doesn't scare me all that bad. So I braved the very traumatic 4 inches of snow to drive into work that day. By about 10 a.m., everyone at the ranch was calling me to tell me to come take pictures of all the snow at the ranch. Since it was a Friday, I decided to shut down for the day.

As soon as I got home, I started snapping pictures. First, I found it very amusing to see our holiday (a sled being pulled by Brahman bulls) in the snow. How fitting.  And who says Brahmans can't make it in the cold?

Next, I headed over to my house, which everyone said was the cutest, since I had went all out on my Christmas decorations. My little house, key word here being LITTLE, looked like a little Christmas dollhouse.

From there, I got all duded up in my winter gear. Which included at this point a cowboy hat, a Burbery scarf, a puff jacket, and J.Crew muddy boots. I was looking real cool.  My only excuse is that we don't get cold weather that often, so I didn't really have many options.

I headed over to the V8 Showbarn to discuss the day's events with another warm-weather-fan...Matt Karish. He was just as miserable as me. But perhaps, the most miserable all was our herd bull at the showbarn, Mr. V8 380/6. Bless his heart, all the other ladies in his pen were huddled up under the barn, but there was a little heifer in the pen next to his who was in heat. So this guy was NOT leaving his post right by the gate because he was in love. Poor thing, but hey, I guess we all do stupid things for love sometimes.

From there, I was summoned over to the working pens, where it just so happened to be our bad luck that the snow day was the day we were flushing cows and putting in embryos. I thought I was going to just photograph the snow. However, I overheard my dad telling the ET technicians...."Okay me, Rachel and Frank (our cowman) will go pen the other cows and call y'all when we have them in the pen so y'all don't have to wait out in the cold."

What? I have to help pen cows? You should have seen this scenario. Who works cows in the snow wearing a Burberry scarf, Chanel sunglasses and J.Crew boots? Rachel Williams, that's who. And at this point, Frank is thinking his life can't get any worse, because in all honesty I'm not that much help when it comes to working cows. Seems like I do something wrong more than I do things right. Which in this instance, I manage to get my SELF stuck in the muddy lot. As soon as I was running behind the cows to shut the gate I hear my dad yelling at me to stay along the fence because I'll sink in the mud. Too late! I sank to my knees. Thank goodness for those J.Crew wellies I bought! I hear Frank and Dad yelling at me to grab the side of the fence and pull myself up. Nice work. I prefer designing ads in the heated, covered office.

After lunch, and successfully putting in 100 embryos, we finished up for the day, and I headed home to get warmed up in the comforts of my window unit heater. So hopefully, we're finished with snow for the rest of 2009. And 2010, 2011, and 2012 for that matter. I'll take the 110 degree Texas summer's any day over this snow baloney!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Favorites from 2009 Bulls

As promised, we'll be featuring a few of our favorite bull banners from 2009 as we approach Denver. Each year RHD continues to raise the bar with their creativity in sire representation services. There's no one in the business who has designed more bull banners than us, and it shows. If you are taking a bull to Denver this year, call us and let the professionals make your bull be one of the ones that sticks out this year in the yards!

Also, a farm sign like this one for Lee's Cattle Company is a great investment that you can use year after year. Call us at 979-532-9141 to book your banner.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Funny things our cows do

Earlier in December, we were doing a big flush at the ranch. It just so happened that this flush occurred during our "winter blast" here in Texas.....which equates to 40 degree weather. I know my northern friends are rolling their eyes right now. It's been raining cats and dogs for the past few days, and things are pretty nasty here at the ranch, with mud everywhere. (A perfect opportunity for me to wear my new J.Crew muddy boots though!) 

On our ranch, we have two Shorthorn cows who are big pets....CF Fool's Likeness and CSF Miss Texas. Fool's was born in 1993 and Miss Texas was born in 1996.  So they are definitely a pair of grannies.

For the past 16 and 13 years, they've had it pretty good. Both were old show heifers. Now that they are getting older, we feel that they have earned a special spot on the ranch so they get to live in our old show pens right by our house. The two grandma's are best friends, and it's hilarious the things they do. For example, they live in the lane that we use to pen other cows. But whenver we pen a pasture full of Brahmans and run them down the lane...Fool's and Miss Texas just sit there, hang out, and never move. They'll watch 200 head of Brahmans run right past them and never even stop chewing their cud. Which turns out to be pretty nice for us, since we never have to even move them out of their pen.

Or, they are really funny when we are getting them ready to flush. They stick together, and they never move faster than a very slow walk to get to the pens. Once we get them in the pens, they know exactly where to go. You don't even have to give them a tap. They'll stand in the chute at the exact spot, and they go in the same order every time. You never even have to close the headgate...they just know what to do.

Some people reading this might think we are a bit crazy or think...they're just cows. But to us, they are MORE than just cows! Fool's Likeness was our very first big significant purchase as a Shorthorn heifer. In 1993 when we bought her from Cates Farms, she cost $10,700 which at that time was unheard of. People thought we were crazy for paying that much for a heifer. She raised 2 Louisville Champion bulls for us. Miss Texas was one we purchased from Connell's in Iowa, and she also won a ton of shows, but most memorable was her unique ability to kick you from any angle. You could be standing up by her head, and she'd manage a way to kick you. Or you could be just passing behind her in the stalls, and she'd nail you. She especially liked my mom though, who would reach up in the pecan trees in our backyard and grab her some pecan leaves...she loved to eat those.

So during the flush, Fool's accomplished the funniest trick she's ever done. Apparently, Fool's wanted to see what was going on at the flush, or maybe she thought she could help out. She parked her big self on the concrete sidewalk, under the roof, right by the catwalk where we work all the cows. And she would not budge. She also decided to use the posts as a scratching post, which provided entertainment for everyone. Everyone on the crew had to walk around her each time they needed to move down the chute. Which meant that the humans had to get in the mud...but Fool's could still stay on the pavement. She was not getting herself in the mud, or getting out from under the covered roof. She was in the middle of the action. But, oh well, as we figured....I guess she's earned it. She pretty much rules the ranch.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Denver Bull Banners

It's getting about that time again....time to start thinking of your Denver display banners. For the past few years, RHD has dominated the yards with the most display banners and the more importantly, the most CREATIVE display banners. Our banners stick out. Through the past 5 years we have designed over 200 display banners to promote individual bulls, females, and farms. Here are a few of our favorites from last year. Call us today and let's get started on creating that display banner for your farm or ranch or new sire that grabs everyones attention!!

Call us at 979-532-9141 or e-mail for info!

We will be periodically featuring a few of our favorite banners from last year from now until Denver. We would like to have your bull information by December 15th, but can take orders up through January 1st.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sears Marketing Service

Sears Marketing Services, LLC is a full service company offering professional marketing services specifically designed for serious beef seedstock producers. “Making The Sale” is the result of a solid marketing plan designed to generate customer interest, resulting in sales, according to Alan Sears, owner of SMS. 

Alan has built a reputation of integrity and success in the cattle business throughout the past 20 years. His professional experiences include sale management, sale consulting, marketing strategies, professional ring service, advertising, photography, and genetic evaluation of beef cattle.

If you're looking for a VERY extensive sale calendar listing, you'll want to check out Alan's web site. His web site boasts one of the most comprehensive sale event calendar's of all of the web sites we do. 

We have had the pleasure of knowing Alan for several years through our involvement in the Shorthorn breed, where he is one of the most respected Shorthorn enthusiasts in the nation. We love watching him work a sale....he is a true professional. About 10 years ago, we also worked closely with Alan on the Deiter Brothers web site, which again was always a real pleasure. Now, we are honored that Alan chose Ranch House Designs for his own marketing service web site.

We invite you to visit and learn more about the services Alan has to offer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

SJ Cattle Creations

If you're a livestock person who is looking for a one-of-a-kind Christmas gift this year, take a look at SJ Cattle Creations! Owned by Stephanie Renfro, SJ Cattle Creations offers unlimited ideas for great livestock-oriented Christmas presents to fit any budget!

The belt buckle purse, pictured here and priced in the $200s, is a very unique item. For those looking to spend a little less, try the toothbrush holder ($36) or the counter top paper towel holder ($35). Either of those can be personalized with your choice of livestock species...from breed specific cattle options to pigs, sheep, goats or show steers. The wall crosses are also really cool and are in the $40 range.

Mid-priced items include the really cool wall mirror or a cutout clock for $90.

So I hope you will take a look at and see if you can find something special for that livestock showman in your life!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Blog Special - Twitter Backgrounds

This month's Blog Special is a very cool one...for all of our very trendy technologically advanced friends....Twitter Background Designs!!

We offer two options for Twitter backgrounds...individual backgrounds and a twitter-background pack of 4 designs.

How this works is, well, first, you have to have a twitter account. Then we design your custom background, and send it to you as a JPG. You then upload the file in your twitter settings.

If you choose the individual twitter background, we'll send you one background that can be used year-round. If you are a more elaborate tweeter, our 4-pack is best for you. You can choose to have 4 designs made at once, or use them any time during the year. For example, I like to make my twitter background seasonal, right now I have the snowman and happy holidays theme.

So this option is a great special for all our blog readers! Whether you're looking for a personal twitter background like mine at or a business related one like -- we can help you out!

E-mail Tricia to get started!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Card Time!

By this time all of the Thanksgiving leftovers have hopefully been ate, and maybe you've even put up your Christmas tree! Well RHD is making it easy for all of the busy moms to cross another item off their "to-do list" this holiday season with our custom holiday photo cards. Visit or click here to get started on your custom cards.

Personally, I like to choose a few of my favorite photos from the year to include on my card. Through our affiliation with Tiny Prints, we are able to offer totally custom, personalized holiday cards made especially for you. Upload your photos, type your custom text, choose what font you like, choose your colors, etc. You can even make your photos black and white or sepia tone to give it that nostalgic look. It's your card....make it as special and as creative as you want.

Here are a few more of my favorite holiday photo cards. This design is a new style of Tiny Prints that offers unique photo collages, easily done at the click of a mouse. To get started on yours, just visit the Ranch House Invitations holiday page!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Won't Ride Sidesaddle....

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that one of my all time favorite ladies is Cherie Carrabba of Crockett, Texas. That's why I'm happy to recommend this book to anyone and everyone's who's been involved with showing livestock. This is a great book and I've been saving this blog for a while so I could publish it closer to the Christmas holidays as a gift suggestion.

This book is a collection of short stories written by Cherie Carrabba, a mentor to me and editor of The Showbox Magazine.

Last Christmas, my Dad got this book as a gift for each of us in the family. We even got autographed copies! As soon as we got the books, each of us including me and my mom pretty much just stopped opening our presents and started reading the book. We couldn't put it down! We kept flipping around reading different stories and laughing about all of the great short stories Cherie talks about in the book. The stories are written from a stock show mom's point of view and many of the stories are ones that everyone can relate to. Since we grew up showing with Randy and Ryan Rash, lots of these stories bring back first hand memories of the shows we were at together. It's a GREAT book!

You can purchase the book online at Happy Reading!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Purple Banner Designs

In keeping with our Christmas gift hints for livestock people, here is another great idea for that little showman in your life!

Purple Banner Designs is a business created by Bethany Cooler, sister of Josh & Katie Ramsey of J3 Cattle. Bethany came up with this cute line of custom apparal for little showman. She has a variety of options including t-shirts and jackets that feature livestock.  (We've even got her a Brahman cutout to use!)

To order your Purple Banner Design, just go to Bethany's web site at You first choose what cutout you want (i.e. steer, tractor, Brahman, etc) then you choose the pattern you want from her extensive pattern gallery. Oh and let her know the size shirt you want. And that's it! It's' super easy and totally customized for you. Each shirt is hand-sewn by Bethany.

These shirts have been a huge hit recently on Steer Planet. They are so adorable, any little livestock person would love them! So order early for Christmas at

Congratulations Bethany on this very unique idea! I've already ordered 5 for my little Brahman cousins :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wild West Trailer Sales

In the past year we have started working on advertising campaigns for several of the nations leading trailer manufacturors and dealers. We've done work for Sundowner, Neckover, and now this month we are happy to create a new web site for Wild West Trailer Sales.

Wild West Trailer sales is based out of Lewiston, Idaho and builds their business on the philosophy of providing top of the line trailers at everyday low prices. They carry Sooner, Exiss, and Miley trailers exclusively, and chose these brands because these companies offer nearly 40 years of research and development by the founding fathers of aluminum horse and livestock trailers.

At Wild West Trailers, you'll find quality components, industry leading designs, and low price points give you some of the best built trailers in the industry that can last a life time. Wild West Trailers are eager to assist you in every aspect of your next trailer purchase. They also offer trailer service. Check out their web site for their featured products as well as updated specials.

Welcome Wild West Trailer Sales!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Salacoa Valley Farms - Georgia

If you love powerful Brangus breeding bulls, you will definitely want to check out the new web site that we recently designed for Salacoa Valley Farms of Fairmount, Georgia.

Salacoa Valley Farms is one of the nations leading registered Brangus ranches, and offers top of the line genetics matched with a great customer service program that is very popular amongst commercial producers in the southeast. As SVF's owner David Vaughan comments, “We have a long history of supplying seedstock to the beef industry and plan on having a lasting impact on the cattle business. We are dedicated to increasing market opportunity for SVF Genetics and profitability for our customers in the beef industry of tomorrow.”

I'm going to attempt to contain my excitement over RHD doing this web site, because I'll be the first to say that I love Brangus bulls. Plus, I've always known of the SVF program because they are a premier Brangus operation, and as everyone knows, RHD likes to work with only the best producers! I guess I particularly enjoy following the Brangus programs because some of our V8 Brahman genetics were used in the initial creation of Brangus cattle and even today lots of Brangus breeders use our Brahmans for Brangus breeding-up programs.

The ladies in the RHD web division did a great job on this web site, and it is full of information about the upcoming SVF sales, bulls, and donors. Serious beef producers will love visiting this web site! So I hope you will check it out at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HRM Simmentals, Iowa

It's been a great pleasure working with the Henderson family of HRM Simmentals in Wiota, Iowa. This is an excellent family of good ol' cow people who believe in being progressive contributors to the beef industry as well as good stewards of the land and cattle resources they manage.

The HRM mission is to produce commercially targeted seed stock that excels in functionality, efficiency, end product merit and customer satisfaction. The cattle at HRM must calve easy, grow fast, rebreed annually and provide desirable carcass characteristics. They believe in production, performance, and profitability.

HRM Simmentals is a founding member of the Iowa Beef Connection, which is a cooperative marketing group that connects cattleman to profitable SimGenetics.

One look at the new HRM web site and it's easy to see how the Henderson's have been able to build a successful family business focusing on their practical cattle that fit the needs of the beef industry. We invite you to check it out at

Thanks to Mike and family for choosing Ranch House Designs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

American Music Awards

This morning I had a urge to get to the office a little early this Monday morning. No, not because I had a major pressing deadline or anything, but because I had made a list of a few MUST DOWNLOAD songs that I saw last night on the American Music Awards. So my iTunes account was working in overdrive this morning as I began searching for my favorite songs I saw on the show last night.

I love music, and I love watching the celebrities and seeing what's new, what they are wearing, who they are dating, etc. etc. So last night was a real treat for me to watch the few hours of the live show.

So my first song download was "Empire State of Mine" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. I've been seeing this song in the top songs on iTunes but never actually heard it, becuase I listen to my iPod and not really a lot of radio anymore. I thought this song was awesome. First I wished that Sex and the City was still on, because I could just picture this song playing as a great ending to a show with Carrie and Big walking down some New York Street during Christmas. Then, I thought of the only person I know who actually DOES live in New York...Cari Rincker. If I lived in NYC, (which will never happen, I'm actually too intimidated by that big of a city to even travel there....) I could picture myself running in Central Park with that song playing in the background. I love the line "These streets will make you feel brand new; big lights will inspire you" - even though you could totally re-write that for our country living with something like the dirt roads and fresh air....because I would probably have a panic attack in NYC, but I do get my inspiration from living on the ranch.  Very cool song.

Next, I downloaded Bad Romance, Lady GaGa. If you saw her performance, all I have to say is W-O-W! How does she come up with her creativity!!! I don't understand how she just keeps coming out with these awesome songs, each one topping the other. Now Adam Lambert's performance, on the other hand, um....what was going on there? Same thing for Rihanna's outfit, first I thought, that outfit must be extremely uncomfortable with a thin strip of white material perfectly placed right over her crack. Then I she wearing underwear? But it was pretty cool when the laser's started going and it started hitting the spikes on her outfit.

I also loved the Black Eyed Peas performance. Since I recently colored my hair a little darker, I was happy to see Fergie going a little darker too. Oh another great one was Kelly Clarkson. I love that Already Gone song, and she sounded awesome. Did anyone else think Kate Hudson's boobs were going to fall out of her dress?

My biggest happiness of the night was for Taylor Swift. Everyone here at RHD is a big Taylor fan, and I just love her. Her sweet personality, her originality, her creativeness, and the fact that she is just so "real" makes her a great musician and a great young lady.

So my morning downloads....Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z), Half of my Heart (John Mayer/Taylor Swift), Bad Romance (Lady GaGa).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Card Favorites

If I had my way, I'd order about 25 different varieties of Christmas cards, because I have a small obsession with sending out holiday greeting cards. When we send out our cards at RHD, we usually order a bunch of different options because we can never decide on just one design. So we order like 10 different designs, 25 cards each, to reach our needed total. So when we became a catalog invitation dealer this year, of course I started thinking of all of the options we would have for our own holiday cards.  We are proud to offer custom holiday greeting cards from two different firms, Tiny Prints and EInvite.

So in order to quench my own obsession with favorite holiday cards, I'm going to be posting a few of my favorites on the blog between now and the holidays. If you are into holiday cards as much as me, maybe you will like some of these and can use Ranch House Invitations for your Christmas card needs. And, even if you aren't a holiday card giver, there are tons of great ideas for party invitations and graduation announcements and more!

Today's favorites are the Tiny Prints vintage designs, which I think are whimsical but yet almost "cowboy or western" so I think that is why I like them so much. Here are a few of my favorites.

If any of these spark your interest, these are just 4 of the thousands of cards available. All of the cards can be customized with 1 to 4 photos. There are tons of awesome ones like photo collages, folded cards, pop-ups and more. Click here to begin searching for your perfect 2009 Holiday Card!

Friday, November 20, 2009

November Favorite Ads

For our monthly favorite ad design contest at RHD, we were honored to have Matt Leo of California serving as our guest judge. Matt has been a long-time supporter of Ranch House Designs and the previous Two Girls Web Design. He and his wife Amanda live in California where they have one son, Brody. They are currently partners in Bright Leo Show Steers and very active in the California cattle business and especially the Angus breed.

Many people would know Matt for his real judging, which is cattle shows, however he is just as qualified to judge our ad design contest as he is to judge a show! In college, Matt was very involved in the ag media circles as he interned at the California Cattleman and also worked closely with the Pacific Showcase.

In summer 2001, I wanted to learn how to design print ads so I took an internship at The Showbox. I spent the first month designing piddly little black and white 1/4 page ads. During my last month, my own family (V8 Ranch) had an ad in The Showbox so Cherie said I could design it. I probably spent 40 hours working on this ad! I was so happy when it came out, literally ecstatic. Matt was one of the first people I showed the magazine too because I knew he had worked in the magazine field and I considered him an expert. His exact quote was "This looks terrible." This resulted in a very shocked look from me, followed by a meltdown ha ha. When I asked why, he said the photos were too small, the background was too busy, and the headline (which was supposed to say Congratulations V8 Juniors) looked like it says "Congratulations V8 Uniors" due to the font I had chosen and the text positioning.

I was crushed. Here I had spent all this time working on my first ad, which I thought looked simply amazing, and he ripped it apart. But this taught me a very valuable lesson that sticks with me even today. Matt's harsh critique forced me to really analyze and study basic design principles such as typography, layout, legibility, and the importance of big and sharp photos. Even today, nearly 10 years later, I often think of the "congratulations V8 uniors" ad and laugh at how far I've come! And sometimes when I flip through the magazines and see all those overwhelming, busy ads, I think that they need a good ol' conversation with Mr. Leo to set them straight about what really matters in good design.

So, here are this months winners, and we really thank Matt for taking the time to give his opinion! He picked out four favorites and commented that all of the ads were "Great Ads, very effective each client should be very proud!"

#1 Tusa- Very cool ad! I love the Lone Star state on center stage and all the counties faded in the background, thumbtacks on the state were neat too. Great colors !

#2 V8 – Great head shot of the Brahman. I like the white background. Everything stands out. There is a lot of class and tradition in the way the advertisment was worded.

#3 Colorado Conection / Sidwell Hay & Cattle- Looking at that ad makes me feel like I’m at home riding around the ranch. The sky the mountains and the use of colors ties the whole add together and makes you stop and want to read more.

#4Forgason- I love black and white ads, and this one is great, neat picture of the Brahman cattle, windmill in the background, and yet a strong statement that hits close to home for everyone. The picture made me feel like I was back in Texas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Matador Ranch

This week we completed an awesome project for the historic Matador Ranch which is located in the Texas Panhandle about 90 miles from Lubbock. Matador Ranch is one of Texas' legendary ranches, founded in 1882, and privately owned and covers over 130,000 acres.

We had the pleasure of working with Matador to develop two brochures, one for their hunting program and one for their livestock program. It was a huge honor to work with such a legendary ranch that continues to expand and innovate after over 120 years in business.

Here is a thumbnail of one of the brochures we created, and we are so excited and honored to be working with this landmark Texas ranch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Texas A&M University Cattle Sale - April 18, 2010

One of my best friends in the cattle business, or actually just in general, is Paul Maulsby, the Beef Center manager at Texas A&M University. When I was just starting my job at A&M in 2003, Paul was also a new staff member in the Department and we instantly bonded because we were both so passionate about working in the Department of Animal Science, and we both shared a huge interest in purebred cattle marketing and promotion. I remember sitting around the office for hours with Paul talking about how awesome it would be if Texas A&M offered a class in livestock merchandising like Oklahoma State or Michigan State, and how even more awesome it would be if one day Texas A&M could have a production sale like these other schools.

A couple of years ago, Paul instrumented bringing the livestock merchandising class to A&M Department of Animal Science. I was fortunate to be invited as a guest lecturer, and it was exciting to see Paul and my ideas come to fruition. 

Well now, 6 years later, Paul has accomplished probably his biggest goal to date at A&M, which is establishing a production sale for the TAMU Beef Center. If I had a dollar for every time Paul and I have talked about this idea, I'd have enough to retire from RHD. Every time I drive by the beef center and I see the excellent qualilty cow herd Paul has established at A&M, I feel so proud. Paul and his team have really taken the A&M cattle herd to the next level, and have a showcase operation that all former students can be excited about.

I met with Paul last week and Ranch House Designs will be handling all of the sale advertising and promotion for the "Spirit of Aggieland" Inaugural Cattle Sale which will be held April 18, 2010 at the TAMU Beef Center. I can hardly wait! Of course, more information on the sale will be forthcoming all spring, but here are some of the key points.

The sale will be held on Sunday, April 18, which is during the TAMU Parents Weekend activities. The Saddle and Sirloin banquet will be held on the night before, and so this will make a great activity to end a big weekend at A&M. The sale will include 65 head of primarily Simmental and Angus genetics. A select few show heifer prospects from other breeds will also be included through guest consignors. TAMU will also be offering a group of breeding bulls and herd sire prospects.

Guest consignors lined up to date will be several progressive breeders who support the Beef Center, including WW Simmentals of Missouri (the Walthalls), Lastovica Angus of Texas, Satree Angus of Texas, and V8 Ranch of Texas. More guest consignors are in the works.

Probably the neatest aspect of this sale will be the educational component for the students at A&M. Paul is establishing a mentor program where a former Aggie student will serve as mentors to the students, who will be the sale staff. So for example, I am the mentor for the students interested in advertising. While RHD will be actually doing the actual design work, we will be discussing with students and helping them learn the ins and outs of sale promotion and catalog design. There will be other mentors for hospitality, sale cattle preparation, sale clerking and settlement, photography, working the sale, etc.

We will be featuring the sale in popular magazines starting in February, so keep your eyes out for this exciting event! Oh, and since it's Parents Weekend at A&M, it might be wise to go ahead and make your hotel reservations early!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sieren Swine Farm

We are happy to post a new web site for a great Iowa showpig family - the Sieren Family of Keota, Iowa. We have worked on the Sierens print advertising since 2007, and they recently took the big step on the Internet and got their very own web site.

Here's a fun fact....Boling FFA (my hometown) purchases pics from the Sierens....or at least I think they do. Because....Friday night when I was attending the big high school football showdown battle for a playoff spot, I went to the FFA concession stand to purchase my token hot dog, and Jason Guidry was spotted wearing a Sieren Show Pigs baseball cap. For those of you who may not put 2-and-2 together, Jason is one of the 3 ag teachers at Boling High School (my alma mater) and he is the very talented and very cool husband of RHD web udpates manager, Christa Guidry. Jason is the swine specialist at Boling FFA and takes his job very seriously. I know they purchase hogs from several places, including many RHD clients. I just thought it was cool to see Jason wearing the Sieren cap when I knew we would be posting their new web site very soon.

Sieren Swine Farm, is owned and operated by Jayme & Scott Sieren. The Sieren brothers grew up on a family-operated, diversified, commercial farm. The Sieren’s are currently involved in crop and livestock production, including corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, and sheep.

Currently the Sieren’s own & manage 300 cross-bred sows and a handful of purebreds. Litters are farrowed every 4 weeks which allows them to have show pigs available for any show. Looking for the next winner? Give Sierens a call!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Favorite Halloween Costumes

We are happy to announce the winners of our Favorite RHD Halloween Kids for 2009! Thanks to all of our clients who sent in photos of their adorable youngsters all dressed up for Halloween! We had so many great photos sent in, it was impossible to choose just one. So, we chose a cutest girl costume and favorite boy costume. RHD clients are the best, and we loved seeing all the photos!

Cutest Halloween Girl Costume: Avery Blunier

Miss Avery Blunnier, daughter of Julie Blunier and granddaughter of Bob Duis. Neice of Robbie and Chelsea Duis. Avery represents RHD client Duis Farms of Illinois. Avery's grandmother Duis hand-made this adorable teddy bear costume! How cute is this little angel!

Favorite Boy Halloween Costume: Heston Turner

Our favorite boy costume winner, Heston Turner, must have been so busy helping his dad Matt Turner with the shipping of all of their melatonin implants that he decided to take on a job as a UPS man to help with all of the deliveries! Heston is the son of Matt and Kristi Turner of Texas, and Heston represents RHD client

Congratulations to these winners, and thanks again to all of our clients who submitted all of the great Halloween photos! They really brightened all of our days!

Monday, November 9, 2009

We proudly introduce... RHD Boot Camp

We've been in the business for over 10 years now, and we've always been asked if we accept interns, or if people could come job shadow us, or if we could teach people how to design their own ads, or explain how to build and update a web site. Basically, people are always dying to know how it is we do what we do.

Well... here is your chance. We're at a point in our business where we feel confident enough to share our knowledge. We're ready to give you the tips and tools that we've learned over the past 10 years and help you learn what you want to know about graphic design and web design.

Ranch House Designs, Inc. is proud to introduce the RHD Boot Camp. Boot Camps are a one-on-one, all-day training seminar. We offer 2 different tracks for Boot Camp based on your interest — you choose: print design or web design. Of course we realize that we may have campers who are interested in both, and if you are, we can offer you a discount off of the price of the 2 camps.

Today is the official launch of RHD Boot Camp and also the launch of the web site If you're wanting the full-scoop on Boot Camps, be sure to check out the web site. The web site has detailed information about the Print Boot Camp and the Web Boot Camp and what you can expect. The bottom line is, come hang out at the RHD office for a day, visit with us, have lunch at the place of your choice, let us teach you everything we know, and you can take what you learn and run with it. It's your day and we'll do what you want.

We've already 'leaked' the information of our Boot Camps to a few people and we're overwhelmed by the positive response and interest. Take a look for yourself. We're currently booking Boot Camps for the remainder of 2009 and on into 2010. Why not pack your bags and come to the Texas Gulf Coast for a Boot Camp getaway? We're ready for you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

October Web Update Winners

Congratulations to our October web update winners at Ranch House Designs! This month our average turnaround time was 3 hours.

Grand Champion October Web Updater: Dismukes Ranch

After that, we had a 4 way tie for Reserve. So we'll just list the remaining top updaters for October.

Gorman Milling
J3 Cattle
Stock Horse of Texas
Tusa Show Cattle
Williams Show Cattle

Remember it's super important to keep your web site updated. So keep your updates coming in to us and we'll do our best to get them done in the fastest turnaround possible!

Friday, November 6, 2009

November Blog Discount - Display Banners

The "blog specials" have been a huge hit with our blog readers -- last month many of you took advantage of the special on business cards. Thismonth, the "Blog Special" is a 10% discount on your design fee for a display banner.

Our display banners are printed on all-weather-resistant vinyl and include full color digital graphics. All sizes are available but the most popular sizes are 4x4, 3x5, 4x8 and 5x10, depending on how you will be displaying the banner. They will have gromments in the corners ready for hanging. With Denver and major stock shows in Texas coming up, now is a great time to purchase a banner.

Here are a couple of ideas of how you could use a display banner:
  • Barn sign or farm sign (like the A Cut Above or Burke banners below). Hang it in your barn, or at your farm entrance during special times of the year like your private treaty sale. These usually have your business name and contact info. These are non-dated so you can use them year after year.
  • Winners Banners - We just wrapped up a few of these for the Tusa's and Brinning's. Pick your favorite winner or your biggest winner and have a 4x4 banner made that you can proudly hang in your barn. These  usually have a big photo from the show along with the award you won and the show name. These make a great keepsake you can treasure forever.
  • Sire Banner - With Denver coming up, if you already know you'll be displaying a bull....get a jump start on things and save a little money in your promotion expenses.
Display banners would make a great Christmas present! So give us a call today and save 10% on display banners and signage.

Our non-ag related clients can also benefit from display banners! The possibilities are endless!

Ranch House Designs is known for the best display banners in the business! Last year in Denver we designed more banners than anyone else in the yards! So give us a call, mention the "Blog Special" 10% discount and talk to Tricia at 979-532-9141 or email

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bar-Nel Ranch

Exciting things are going on at Bar-Nel Ranch in Franklin, Texas! Barney and LaNelle Allen along with their grandson Brandon have recently updated their web site with a fresh look and updated information.

The Allen's have been in the Brahman business for over 30 years. In 2001, one of their dreams came true when they bred and exhibited the International Champion Brahman Bull. They operate two cow herds: a Registered American Brahman herd, and a Certified F1 (Brahman and Angus) herd.They raise about 40 - 50 F1 calves and 40-50 registered Brahman calves every year.

The Allen's ranch is located in Franklin, Texas, which is about halfway between Houston and Dallas. They will be consigning a small group of Brahman females to the Blue Ribbon Brahman Sale held on November 18th.

We hope you will visit and see what's new and exciting going on at the -N- Ranch!

Top Secret Project — Coming Monday 11/9

Big things are happening at RHD.

We've been working on a new development at RHD and we're just about ready to share our big secret project with you! Rachel and I have been working and planning for about 3 months on a new endeavor for RHD and we're in the final stages before we will launch our project and share it with you.

Be sure and check back Monday, November 9, for the unveiling of our newest project at Ranch House Designs. We will announce our news on the blog. We are so excited to share it with you and can't wait to hear your feedback.

Stay tuned!

Colburn Cattle

Last week we posted a new web site for west coast show cattle breeders Colburn Cattle of Visalia, California. The Colburn program began in 1992 when parents Ron & Lisa Colburn began buying show heifers for their sons Tyler and Ryan. As their interest in cattle grew, so did the breeding program, which was initially based on their two oldest sons' show heifers. Today, the Colburn cowherd includes approximately 300 head of breeding females.

In 2003, the Colburn Family developed a partnership with Kevin and Christy McKinzie of McKinzie Cattle, to produce top quality cattle for the youth in today’s highly competitive junior livestock arenas. This partnership has built one of California`s most functional show cattle facilities where junior showmen can learn all aspects of the livestock industry. From daily care of show steers to Embryo transfer to AI, this program has many opportunities for the youth of today.

November is a busy month for the Colburn crew -- with  the Central Valley Showcase on November 7, Champions Choice Cattle Camp on November 14-15 and the Triple Threat Female Sale and Show on November 21.  Ranch House Designs also created the catalog for Triple Threat, which can be viewed online at  

We hope you will take a minute to view the new Colburn site at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blueville Nursery

We are very happy to present our first ever landscaping and garden web site -- for Blueville Nursery of Manhattan, Kansas.

The Blueville Nursery team has been Manhattan's complete landscape company since 1962. Their business includes landscaping, irrigation, maintenance, nursery, Fort Riley and eroision control. They also operate a "Garden Store", pictured here, which is a landscape store that is open year round. Most all of the products offered in their garden store are grown at their own nursery. During the Christmas season, you can find the Garden Store loaded with freshly cut Christmas trees and poinsettias. They also maintain the landscaping at the historic Fort Riley base.

Welcome Blueville Nursery!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cutest Halloween Costume Contest

Send us your photos of the Best Halloween Costume and we'll post our favorites here on the blog! We know that all of the RHD clients have some adorable little ones who are going to look as cute as ever in their costumes this year. Or, maybe you're an adult who likes to dress up too and you want to submit yourself in costume.

So send us your kids Halloween photos and show off your cute-ness (or scary-ness) to the rest of your friends at RHD!

Please send photos to We'll give everyone a few days to get their pics off their digital camera and post the photos here in a week or so!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Favorite October Ads

We are happy to announce the winners of the October Ad Design contest at RHD! This month's contest was judged by Courtney Coufal, who is the communications specialist for the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University. Courtney and her family live in College Station, Texas. Courtney coordinates all of the marketing and communications for the department including being the editor of the weekly e-mail newsletter called "Animal Science Weekly."

We sent all of our October ads to Courtney and asked her to pick her top 3, but she said there were so many she liked, she had to pick more! She said: "Overall great ads! I love the work y’all do. The ads I selected as my favorites really stand-out!" So here are this month's winners, in no certain order. Congratulations to these clients!

Clay Farms - At first glance, this ad stood out and caught my eye. There’s something attention-grabbing about a giant boar standing firm staring you in the eyes! Definitely attention-grabbing!

Forgason – Again, very attention-grabbing with the large image of the calf. Very cute image, overall soft feel, welcoming and makes me want to call these people because they appear friendly and inviting.

Dismukes-Ranch – Great use of colors and graphics. Love the image! The image and tagline “…Something New in the Barn?” entices me to read on.

J-R Farms – Overall very nice, clean, classic ad and feel. Sometimes less is more. Great use of color. Professional. I may even like this one more than the other three but the other three are more attention-grabbing and memorable.

Brad-Harrub – Again, attention grabbing with “does God exist?” Makes me want to read on. Nice use of typography and colors. Great use and placement of the opened hands.

V8-Ranch – Love the colors and typography. Eye-catching.

Sandpoint – Great tagline “power of the point!” Enjoy the layout of the logo and text.