MOLT, Mont. – It’s probably time to announce your pregnancy when you’re too big to zip up your duds.
“Winter clothing helps a lot with disguising your bump,” said rancher Sara Hollenbeck. “Except now I can't get my coveralls zipped up over my belly, which is cold.”
So Sara took to social media to let the world know that in March she and Henry are expecting a new baby sister for 2-year-old Rhett.
It’s also the reason the family stayed home this Christmas instead of visiting Sara’s family in California. (They did that over Thanksgiving and suffered the smoky effects of the still-burning Camp Fire.) Sara smoked lamb legs for her in-laws and six Peruvian ranch hands. Marinated in garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper overnight, the four legs were grilled on low for hours. They were delicious.
“It's always usually beef when we get together, but since I was in charge this time I decided, ‘You know what, we raise sheep, we’re eating lamb for Christmas,’” she said.
The Hollenbecks exchange gifts with their Peruvian ranch hands, practical items like new boots and warm gloves.
“We know it's hard to be away from your family during the holidays, so we like to make sure they feel included and get a little bit of the holiday spirit,” she said.
Sara and Henry each set goals for 2019. Sara’s were more or less things she wants to accomplish before the second baby shows up. She’d like to be more organized with High Five Meats, specifically keeping better track of inventory.
“I'll sometimes let a few shipments of pallets of meat come into the freezer and not take an exact inventory. That can create an issue if you oversell something that you don't have,” she said. “Fortunately, I always kind of underestimate, but then that also leads you to not sell everything that you may have as well.”
She’d also like to start doing more video recipes for Instagram and Facebook.
“People always ask me how to cook specific things, especially lamb and, you know, videos or the hot thing on social media these days, especially cooking videos,” Sara said.
Henry’s New Year goals have to do with inventory as well.
“We have so many animals that it can be a little difficult to keep track,” Sara said. “People maybe think that is weird, like ‘How do you not know how many animals you have?’ but it’s because Henry and his dad are constantly trading animals and going to sales.”
For being in the middle of nowhere, the Hollenbeck Ranch sure sees a lot of traffic: trucks show up daily shipping out sheep, bringing in sheep, shipping out cattle, bringing in more cattle.
“Henry’s getting phone calls almost daily from people wanting to know if we want to buy or sell something,” Sara said. “So for him to be able to really know what he's got to sell or if we've got enough cash to buy it's really important for him to know his inventory.”
In other ranch news, Rhett and Sara have been enjoying visiting the ranch’s “whoopsie goat,” which Sara says she doesn’t mind a bit, “because who doesn't love a random baby animal out of season?”
“I'm pretty sure we bought her bred accidentally and didn't know,” Sara said. “And so now she's got a cushy life in the big barn with her cute little baby boy.”
Henry – known in the rodeo world as Hank – has been busy getting ready for the PRCA Circuit Finals in Great Falls, bringing horses to a friend’s indoor arena in Laura almost every day to practice calf roping and steer wrestling, the two events he qualified in.
“I always say that there's cowboy Hank and then there's rancher Henry,” Sara said. “I don't call him Hank. It's too weird. I tried it for like a week and I was like, ‘Yeah, I like Henry better.’”
Follow The Hollenbecks on Yellowstone Public Radio's Field Days Monday evenings at 7 p.m. or online anytime at http://www.ypradio.org/programs/field-days.