What once started as a distant dream became our biggest adventure & happy place. Always dreaming of owning a slice of heaven in the great state of Texas came true when we decided to take one of our retirements, that was stock market driven, out and put that as a down payment on our land and future retirement home. As luck had it, it was during a presidency where there was an all-time high for the stock market and that’s the day we cashed out and put a contract on our piece of land. Now, as land owners the next thing that comes to mind is taxes! So like all people we started looking at different ways to continue the Ag-Exemption the land came with. Of course, Russ being an avid hunter this land would serve as his own hunting ground versus leasing land to hunt and essentially paying off someone else’s property. Knowing we weren’t able to live on the property full-term right away we came across the heartiness of the Texas Longhorn breed. We visited three different longhorn ranches and spoke with the breeders. We quickly became really interested with the breed. During our third visit to Johnson City we fell in love with our first longhorn FL Serena Max.
Mr. John became our breeder but more importantly a friend and a mentor. Our first two cows arrived and oh my goodness did we have grass for them! As Mr. John opened the trailer, our oldest junior ranch hand Mackenlee, who was just over four years old, had such excitement and pure joy on her face! She let out the cutest little squeal as she was jumping up and down screaming “Here comes Sparkles! Here comes Sparkles!!!!“ It was then both of our hearts were warm knowing our little girl had fallen in love with her first cow. Right behind Sparkles was Daddy's cow, FL Serena Max. She would quickly be the face people were always drawn to. She is the matriarch of our herd. We decided initially to get a couple cows so that we could have Ag-Exemption for our property… well, it quickly became our newest addiction.
Going to local shows and sales and, of course returning back down to Johnson City for possibly our favorite and now annual trip for The Longhorn Sale, we started putting together our starter heard. It didn’t take long to fall in love with not only the breed but other breeders. We’ve had the honor of helping friends start their herds as we’ve learned the breed. We recently had to call an emergency vet out to the ranch because our beloved and first cow, FL Serena Max was down and having a hard time getting back up. Trying not to think the worst the vet came out, administered some medication and made the comment “You longhorn breeders are a breed of your own" and giggled. Well, she wasn’t wrong. Our herd is an extension of our family. It was possibly one of the hardest days in my adult life, and definitely in my ranch life that we had to make the decision to put FL Serena Max down. When the vet came back our 3-year old and myself were laying on the ground petting her, loving in her, kissing her face and telling her how beautiful she was and what a great mama and friend she had been. The vet took care of business as we hugged her and loved on her as she drifted to the Cow Rainbow Bridge. The vet got up and had tears in her eyes and apologized and said “I’m so sorry, I’ve never cried putting a cow down before! I know why y’all are so different, they’re not just cows they’re your pets.” I told her they’re just 1,200+ pound puppies. We both giggled but she’s right, they become part of you and she will always be our first and best cow. When our now two daughters are asked if they have any pets it’s not just the family dog, it’s the cows and of course the herd protector - yes the mini donkey, Gus-Gus!
We’re able to hand feed and love on almost all of our cows. We have three mamas whom, even right after delivering allow us to come up and greet the new calf on the ground. This alone made all my cow dreams come true when I got to cuddle a baby calf. The very next weekend he even let both the girls cuddle with him which made it really hard to let that one go but he went to an amazing home and that made it all worth sharing our favorite calf, “Elvis”.
It’s our goal to raise not just beautiful Longhorns but ones that have a temperament where even our youngest are able to be around and help share the responsibilities. Our youngest could barely walk and she was out feeding cubes and petting cows just affirming our decision to join the unique group of Longhorn breeders. It’s such a joy to go to the land to see our little herd. Each of them have their own personalities and beautiful traits. There’s no two exactly the same. And when each breeding season comes around, it’s like an Easter egg hunt when we go searching for the new babies on the ground. It’s like a kid on Christmas morning waiting to open a present….you never know what that calf is going to look like. The excitement of the color and the little prayers, "please be a heifer with a pretty pattern!!!"
We’re just getting started on our ranch but we’re head over spurs in love with this breed and our special ladies we have in our ranch providing us the joy and happiness of being a Texas Longhorn Breeder. We would LOVE for you to come out and visit us sometime and meet the Junior Ranch Hands, feed Gus-Gus and our beautiful cows. Just give us a call, we’ll leave the light on and make sure we’ve got plenty of carrots and cubes to get you right in the middle of all the action and be the center of attention!!
Next time your in the FtW Stock Yards go by and visit both FL Serena Max & Sexy Rexy, as both their mounts were sold to KO Trading off Exchange. So we get to share their beauty with everyone who visits the Cow-Town!
Thank you so much for visiting our site and feel free to message or call with any questions. May God bless you and your family!
Russ & Maleah Ensey
and Junior Ranch Hands Mackenlee & Gwynie Ensey