Features of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters

Living in the country means I’m quite a distance from neighbors as well as the police station. While I initially attained my concealed carry permit because of handgun hunting, I often carry at my home. Some people think of their home as their safe place. While I too consider my domicile a place at which I’m most comfortable, it’s a location transients may target due to the distance from neighbors and the like.

Over the years neighboring ranches have been robbed. A friend’s house was shot up, while she hid from the intruder. While I hope to never have a need to use my firearm against another human, I don’t want to be a victim to a life-threatening intruder.

The tricky part is to find the perfect concealed carry holster to wear while I do my day-to-day tasks. Learn more about choosing a holster in this article, published at Beretta.

How to Choose the Right Holster: Pros and Cons of a Holster


The forever-asked question in the concealed carry market is, “Which holster should I purchase?” I’ve been asked the question numerous times, and my answer is never brief. Heck, there’s a lot that goes into choosing a holster to safely hide a firearm on your body. This list of criteria gets even longer when it’s a woman who wants to know which holster is going to be best.

While you want to choose a holster that will fit your Beretta, you additionally need to look for one that will secure it in place and protect the trigger. If you live near a store that sells concealed carry items, it’s best to get your hands on and feel them out. You can also do as so many others before you have, and ask a friend.

The problem I have with asking others about holsters is that we are all different shapes and sizes. We have varying wardrobes and fashion sense. The holster you need is going to depend on more than one quality. As of late, I’ve also been reading a lot of reviews. Don’t trust them unless you know they’re from a credible source. Some are only pointing out the plusses and neglect to tell you the minuses.

Let’s look at a few pros and cons you should consider. CLICK TO CONTINUE READING

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Tons of Snacks to Carry in the High Country

Whether I’m exploring, hunting, or on another adventure, the high country is a place I love. When I’m out for a day hike or week long expedition I always carry rations of food. Snacks come in handy in the event you wind up stuck on the side of the mountain for more than your intended time. They’re also important because at high elevations our bodies burn a lot more calories.

However, we don’t want to carry any unnecessary weight. When we’re choosing which snacks to put in the pack we have to be fastidious.

Emergency Meal

An important thing to throw in the pack is an emergency meal. This is one that won’t spoil. I choose dehydrated meals such as those made by Mountain House. No, I’m not sponsored by them. I’ve just had good luck finding ones that are tasty and easy to prepare. After a 14 hour day of hiking at 12,000-foot elevation, the last thing I want to do is follow multi-step directions on how to cook the meal my body is yearning for. Heck, sometimes it’s a chore enough to remember to take the silica packet out of the bag.Mexican-style-rice-chicken-Mountain-House

One of my favorite flavors is Mexican Style Rice & Chicken. There are hundreds of others, and I’m sure you can find one to tote around for years, just in case you have an emergency.

Oh yes. It’s not food, but don’t forget to throw in the JetBoil so you can cook it up quickly.

Every Day Snacks

I know what my favorite snacks are, but I wondered what everyone else likes to carry in their packs. I posed the question to my followers on social media and many like the same things I do. There were a couple of new ideas too. Tell me in the comments, what are your favorite snacks to carry in your pack. Here are a few of mine.

  • Bars – I’m pretty simple and try to eat as healthy as I can when I’m in the high country. I like Nature Valley’s Crunchy granola bars. Although I’m not too particular on flavor, if I had to choose one, it’d be the peanut butter. My horse likes them too.I also throw in protein bars. You’ll probably have to test a few out to see which you prefer. Honestly, I think some taste like dirt, and that’s the last thing I want to taste when I’m exhausted from a hike. My latest favorites are the Quest Nutrition Protein bars.
  • homemade-snack-for-the-trail-backpacking-nut-mix-Mia-Anstine-photoNuts & Fruits – Dried fruit and nuts are good to carry. They pack nutrition and provide the body with needed energy. You know there are a lot of varieties out there. Choose your favorite, but remember salt can cause water retention.Many friends said they like to carry trail mix in their packs. I asked specifically what type and most indicated they like the ones with peanuts, raisins, and M&M’s. I’ll often make my own trail mix, sorting through the bins at the store and selecting nuts and dried fruits that suit my pallet at the time.When I’m in a hurry or am not sure what I feel like, I’ll buy packages. I don’t know about you, but my pallet changes from time to time. Maybe I wear it out with the same things, over and over again. Does this happen to you? My recent favorite packaged mix is the Omega-3 Mix by Orchard Valley.
  • Jerky – As a hunter, I always make several bags of jerky from the animals I tag. I enjoy taking the time to cut, season, dry, and package the meat. It’s organic. I know where it came from, and I know how it’s been cleaned and taken care of from the field to my mouth. Yes, the process does take some time, but the return is worth it.If you don’t have the time to hunt, process, and make your own jerky, you can find tons of food flavors at the store. A while back a Twitter follower, Jerky Dynasty, sent me a variety pack of exotic jerky to try. This is fun because you get to try various meats. They’re individually wrapped and delicious.
  • Sweet Treats – I tend to shy away from the sweet treats. Those Quest bars I mentioned are close to it. Some are chocolate covered, but keep in mind chocolate melts on a hot day. I mentioned asking friends and followers what they carry. Here’s a list of the sweets they shouted out: Snicker’s Bars, PayDay, Green Apple Blow Pops, Cherry Mash, honey buns, gummi bears, and more.

The list of deliciousness that you can throw in your pack can go on and on. My tip is to keep it as nutritionally valuable as possible. The occasional sweet-sugary treat is a pick-me-up when you’re tired, but remember the healthy calories will do your body good.

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Quick and Easy Antlered Christmas

I’m always looking for hacks to make life easier, projects quicker and Christmas more enjoyable here at the ranch. That’s why I wanted to share my daughter’s idea of a decorated tree, which I actually happen to love!

What do antlers have to do with Christmas? Well, said daughter loves antlers because hunting for them yields many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. She has a pile of them, and a few years ago asked if she could add one or two to the tree.

In the years since I’ve allowed her to simply decorate the tree how she likes it.

Did I say, I think it’s beautiful?

I have to mention, we have a fake tree. Yes. It’s sad, I know, but we travel a lot, and at times it’s tough to guarantee that a live tree will get watered. Or that we’ll have a chance to go out and find one or pay the bazillions (yes, I know that’s an exaggeration) of dollars to buy one. For years we’ve opted for the pre-lit imitation, and it looks beautiful.



We pop it up, put it in place, and the decorating begins. For years it included careful placement of all the hand-me-downs of ornaments from Grandma, aunts and friends. That’s a little bit of fun which I miss. However, watching Lea place the antlers and listening to the stories about where she found it or other recounts provides a different kind of satisfaction.

Soon she’ll be heading off to college, and watching how she enjoys creating her antler tree is something I will some day miss. So, for now, we take pleasure in our antlered Christmas!

Did I mention “quick and easy”? Yes! Once it’s popped up, antlers are put in place, and red jingle-bell balls are scattered throughout the branches, it’s done!

WHALLAH! It even includes an antler tree skirt. “Where do the presents go?” you ask. Well, we don’t like to put a focus on the commercial aspect of Christmas, so they’ll come out later. Until then, enjoy the beauty of a tree.

Tell me, what do you think, and how do you decorate your tree?

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Ranch Life – A Red Head in the Pond

So, some days things don’t go according to plan around the Anstine Ranch, including days when red heads end up in the pond. Today I planned to get my Thursday YouTube video edited and uploaded, so you can view it tomorrow. Let me tell you how my plan got …  maybe not derailed, but off-track.

I woke up, as always, before the rooster, er-uh- ducks, geese and turkey quacked, honked and gobbled. The morning started off as any normal day. I tripped over four-legged ones and headed to the kitchen. Tapped the “power” button on the coffee machine as I shuffled by, with one dog herding me, one dog dancing under my feet and another “woo-wooing” me, as I made my way to the pantry.

I quickly poured the food into the three sister’s bowls and slapped my coffee cup under the brewer, remember today to put coffee in before pressing “go.” In no time at all, the dogs had eaten, done their outdoor duties and we sat, cozily inside as the sun awakened all outdoors.

I savor this quiet time. It’s when I read the daily devotions, sip my coffee and check in on all my social media friends.

A while later, H came shuffling out of the bedroom. He wasn’t sitting down long when he said, “Hey. Billy got a bull. He’s going to stop by in a minute to show us.”

I jumped from my location and ran to get dressed. Company? Before 8:00 am?! In our neck of the woods? This has GOT to be GOOD!

So, you see. Here is where the wheels started to come off the tracks.

The whole family, including the four-legged ones, headed out to see this magnificent bull.coffee-crew-bull-elk-before-breakfast-mia-anstine-photo

After our morning socializing concluded, we had to round up the horses. The farrier would be here soon.

Getting the horses into the pen went smooth as could be. As I proceeded out of the front pasture, I giggled at the sight of our tom turkey, Brutus and our old-man horse, Geronimo (aka G-man). Brutus strutted beneath G-man and the old man just stood there as if to say, “Please put me out there with all of them. I’m a horse, no a turkey.”

I quickly added a pic of the pair to my SnapChat and headed on my way. I proceeded into the house to get back on track with my day and edit a video for you, only to be interrupted by H.

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“Hey, wife. Come out here.” He shouted from the back door.

I scooted my chair back and headed for the door. As I peered out, H stood pointing toward the pond. “Do you think it can get out?”

“Think what can get out?” I replied.

H, with a bit more excitement in his voice, “He flew up into the tree and then all of a sudden the flew down and into the pond.”

Still not quite following the situation, I finally caught sight of what he was pointing at. A large black object swam, or maybe walked, or traversed, across the pond. It had a red head.

Okay. You hunter friends may know what it is now.

I made it to the deck rail, wide-eyed, and finally put 2 + 2 together. “BRUTUS?!”

“Yes.” said H. “Pinky chased him, and he flew up into the tree and then ended up down in the pond. Do you think he’ll be able to get out?”Brutus wads across the pond with awestruck ducks looking on.

Pinky is one of the farrier’s dogs. He comes to see us all the time, but today he obviously had fun, at Brutus’ expense.

I spent much of the next hour first watching Brutus, and keeping all dogs clear, so he’d feel safe enough to come out. Then attempting to get the big, fat bird out of the pond after he began shivering. Finally, after the geese decided to attack, we had to get in, pick the fatso up and boost him out.

But wait. That’s not all.

Next, we spent goodness knows how long searching for H’s phone. It’s not in the tack shed. Not in the truck. Not in the horse pen. Not in the house. Not near the pond. In the end, I turned on the “Find My Phone” option* and watched my steps on my phone’s screen as I walked right up to it, laying in the middle of the driveway, near some brush.

*Note: If you’ve ever had the conspiracy theory that the government can spy on you via your phone, or even locate you, you may be correct. I was able to turn on his location services from MY phone to find his. Hmm??? Thoughts? Do you buy into the Big Brother theory?

Needless to say, phone found, I’ve put together a little video of Brutus in the pond. See below. Hopefully, I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled program and get you a video, tomorrow.

Ranch life – It’s always an adventure!

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Country Life – Ride More, Worry Less | Mia’s Motivations

Charging horses

No, I haven’t been worrying, but I saw this meme on a friend’s Facebook page today. It was a beautiful reminder of a way to reduce stress and reminded me to put a call in to my farrier. It’s time to smile and ride! See below for 10 Reasons Horses are the Best Friends.


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 10 Reasons Horses are the Best Friends




  1. Horses have incredible memories. I can attest this to be true. We once had a guide who whopped one of our horses on the head. Needless to say, he was soon gone from the wrangling crew. A year or two later, we crossed paths with him on the trail. The horse immediately pinned  his ears when he heard the man’s voice and even whopped him back, with his head, as the man walked by… Ooops! Lesson – Always be kind to others, even if it’s an animal.”Have you ever laughed at a horse with a funny name? Or made fun of one when it twists its face in flehmen? If you have, that’s too bad—that horse may well remember your insult for the rest of its life.””A 2010 study revealed some very surprising results about horse intelligence, especially memory. Not only does our equine friend understand our words far better than we have previously anticipated, its memory is at least as good as that of an elephant. If a horse is treated kindly, it will remember the person as a friend for as long as it lives. The horse will instantly resume friendship when it sees them again, regardless of how long they have been apart. They also remember places very well—most horses become nervous when they’re taken to a place where they’ve had a startling experience.””The good memory and relatively powerful intellect of horses is not always a good thing, though. If they get bored, they can accidentally figure out how to untie themselves from posts and open latches and grain bins. Once they learn these methods of mischief, they’ll never, ever forget.” Via Listvers.com.
  2. It’s easy to tell if a horse is happy, mad or sad. “Horses use their ears, eyes and nostrils to express their mood. They also communicate their feelings through facial expressions.” Via CBS News
  3. Horses are good listeners. “Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees.” Via the University of Minnesota.
  4. Horses are excellent for physical therapy. Via Elements Behaviour Health: “Horses are soothing, gentle animals. They are straightforward in their interactions without lying or manipulating. They do not judge or blame. Their presence alone can be immensely healing.”
  5. Horses know when something’s sneaking up on you before you do. “Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.” See more at DoubleD Trailers.
  6. Horses can look in two directions at the same time. “Most of the time, wherever a horse’s ear is pointing is where the horse is looking with the eye on the same side. If the ears are pointing in different directions, the horse is looking at two different things at the same time.” Via Training Horses Naturally.
  7. If you want to get there in a hurry, a horse is the way to go. “The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 88 kph (55 mph). Most gallop at around 44 kph or 27 mph. See more at Purely Facts.
  8. Horses have huge hearts. Literally, “The average horse’s heart weighs approximately 9 or 10 pounds.” Via Steinbeck Equine.
  9. It is said, “When you look into a horses eyes, you will find your soul.” Well, did you know this could very well be because “Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal.” Via HorseswithAmie
  10. To know a horse is to love them. If you don’t own a horse, you can always visit one. Horses are great stress releases, even if you don’t ride them. Visit www.WolfCreekOutfitters.net and ask them for a moment with a horse!

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Turkey Tuesday with Thomas and Buster

Tom and Buster enjoying a walk together.

A Turkey Tuesday post that could dub as a Throwback as well! Thomas the turkey was so much fun! This is a post from about five years ago. You should see Big-O Buster now. 

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We have many animals at the Anstine Ranch.  We have horses, mules, an occasional steer or buffalo, dogs, an emu and then we have two characters you have to see!

One of these characters you have to meet is Thomas, aka Tom.  Tom, of course, is a turkey.  What else would you name your pet turkey right?  He has been with us for nearly two years.  He was a grand champion at the 4-H auction in 2009.  Just look at him now!

Thomas strutting his stuff.

Tom has survived attacks by skunks, raccoons and even coyotes. He is a little rough around the edges, but if you ask him he is the most beautiful gentleman a hen would ever see. He must weigh over 30 pounds. It is amazing his little legs can carry him. We tried getting him some friends but none seems to survive. Yes, a couple have been Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but many others have been the unfortunate victims to bobcats, mountain lions and the like (and you wonder why I hunt these predators). Tom is the sole survivor. He is a tough guy and keeps on keepin’ on.

An update on Thomas. He was always so friendly. He greeted everyone who came to visit. A friend stopped by, and in a hurry to leave, backed over Thomas. We sure do miss his personality around the ranch. Tom, you are missed.

Last fall we had our eyes set on another 4-H trophy.  We love to do what we can to support the kids.  We have a friend whose daughter lost two sheep and a goat to a bear.  The bear got into their barn the week before fair and the unfortunate girl lost almost all her hard work.  We decided her lone remaining animal would be the item we bid on in the auction.  Hank doesn’t like to eat goat so I knew this may be another animal to add to the collection we have at the ranch, but buying the goat is for the benefit of the 4-H-er so I said let’s do it.  The goat was a svelte young lad and we bid until we decided we were at our maximum.  Guess what?!  No one else bid any higher so we were the proud new owners of “Buster Brown” the goat. Our new friend from the 4-H auction.

We brought Buster Brown home and didn’t know what we would do with him.  We argued over having him for a family get together (yes, bar-b-que), but I along with several other friends lost the debate.  Buster instead became part of the Anstine family just like Tom.

Buster and Tom have become wonderful friends.  The two emerge from their coops in the morning and run to greet each other.  Well, Buster runs and Tom waddles.  Tom with his missing feathers and then there is Buster.  Buster is twice as round as he once was in the show ring, and he has hair that is about two inches long covering his entire body.  The tips of which are silver-colored creating the appearance of frost on his back and sides.  They are a sight to behold.  The two former show animals that run amuck at the ranch. Tom and Buster enjoying a walk together.

Buster and Tom spend early morning hours tormenting the hunting hounds.  It is somewhat of a “Foghorn Leghorn” moment as Buster stands just out of reach of the dogs.  He butts his head forward and stomps his front feet in front of the dogs.  They bay and howl and hit the ends of their chains.  Tom stands aside and cheers (gobbling) at the antic.  Little do the two of them know.  It is the hounds that have kept the predators at bay.  There have been no new incidence or attack since the hunting hounds came to the ranch.

Last weekend Buster and Tom tried out a new adventure.  They joined the Little Gal and her friend as they skated and played on the lower pond.  What a sight to behold!  The gorgeous, or maybe not, 4-H animals slipping and sliding across the pond! The friends all slip and slide on the pond.

Ahh, the joy these two characters bring to the community.   We are pleased to have them in the family.  We are happy they have become great pals.  Now off to chase the predators who keep taking their friends!

It’s always an adventure!Best Friends


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Warding off mosquitos the all natural way – Lime & Cloves

It’s been an incredible summer for mosquitos both at work and at home so when I saw this suggestion for repellent, I was interested.

LG and I saw a pretty lime, cut in half with cloves inserted into it as we scrolled through a social media timeline somewhere. We are both certain the remedy was shared by Carrie from Wild World of Carrie Z. None the less, we finally tested it out. We sawed two small limes in half and jabbed cloves into them and then headed out with them and our bows in hand.

lime-and-clove-mosquito-repellentWe set the lime halves around us on the railing and nearby table so we would be surrounded on four sides. All pieces were within two feet of us.

We began archery practice and for about the first fifteen minutes, we were un-offended. However, shortly after that, the blood suckers began to swarm the Little Gal and then within 30 minutes she was running indoors to escape the attackers. I remained outside, un-bitten for some time, but I’m guessing this was because of my naturally offensive smell. See, the LG is so much sweeter than me.

Needless to say, the lime halves with the cloves in them did smell wonderful. I think I’ll go ahead and add them to the party tables on my deck, but I’ll keep them along-side the Deet and Citronella. Maybe all of the items combined will do the job.

In summation: Yes, they worked and no, they didn’t work. I’m thinking I will try it again. After all, the experiment is relatively inexpensive, and as I mentioned, it smells good. Next time I’ll roll the limes to soften them, increasing the citric juiciness, before cutting and inserting cloves. Why don’t you go ahead and give it a try and let us know how you do?

Mia & LG




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“Why are you always so happy?”

These are words to live by, not just today, but everyday. My cousin shared this status via Facebook, and I had to share it with you because it is how I strive to live. Some days are better than others, but that is why they invented four-wheel drive! Print it, pin it, share it. Put it someplace you can look at it later.


Just a funny picture.  I hope it makes you laugh.
Just a funny picture.
I hope it makes you laugh.
  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. & while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. When you wake up in the morning, Pray to ask God’s guidance for your purpose, today.
  4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, and almonds.
  6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
  9. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything!
  11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  12. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?
  17. Help the needy, Be generous ! Be a ‘Giver’ not a ‘Taker’.
  18. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  19. Time heals everything.
  20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  21. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  23. Each night before you go to bed ,Pray to God and Be thankful for what you’ll accomplish, today!
  24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  25. Share this to everyone on your list to help them lead a happier life…!!!!