A Day In The Life

Vocational Life

The concepts of dignified employment and the chance to earn a real paycheck are fundamental to the mission of Down Home Ranch and are a part of daily living. At Down Home Ranch, the work is real and others depend on you to do your part. The chickens need feeding, the berries need picking, the jam needs making and the buildings need cleaning.

Real jobs help Ranchers contribute to paying their room and board and earn spending money. They work from a few hours per day to as many as six and sometimes more.

Some work in self-contained work groups while others are hired by and report to supervisors in charge of Ranch operations. Work is available in many areas:

Kitchen Staff
Ranch Hand
Carpenter’s or Mechanic’s Assistant
Cleaning Crew
Gardens and Greenhouse Assistant
Landscaping
Office
All Ranchers receive minimum wage or higher.  They may work as few as two hours up to eight hours per day, depending on the work available and the season.

Life Skills, Continuing Education, Training

Other activities take place during the week that contribute to healthy growth in mind, body, and spirit. Ranch-based courses and activities involve:

Arts and Crafts
Culinary Arts
Book Club
Special Olympics
Bible Study
Fun ‘n’ Fitness
Film
Theatre
Science
University of Texas classes (off-campus)
Photography
Yoga
At weekly Village Council meetings Ranchers decide on their activities for the coming weekend: church, concerts, movies, festivals, and others, along with on-Ranch activities such as hikes, pool or hot-tub parties and movies in the Pavilion complete with sodas and popcorn.

Meal Planning and Preparation

Ranchers on the Kitchen Staff help prepare hot lunch daily, served in the Pavilion Dining Room for all Ranchers and program staff. A liberal food budget encourages consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and lean meats and poultry, much of which is raised or grown on the Ranch.

Ranchers on the Garden Team grow vegetables, herbs and salad greens. Our “cowboys” help with our growing herd of Wagyu/Black Angus beef cattle that provide the Ranch with pasture-raised, hormone-pesticide-antibiotic-free beef year round.

The “mobile chicken tractor,” home to a hundred or so laying hens, provides free-range eggs for our homes and for sale to our neighbors.

Fun & Fitness

The HE-HAW Program, which stands for “High Energy Health and Wellness, sponsors Special Olympics, Weight Watcher meetings, and the Healthy Habits Club. Ranchers are rewarded for active participation in these programs, which most enjoy.
Ranchers exercise in the evenings and in Fun & Fitness three afternoons per week. A beautiful pool is available for swimming laps and our gym features every kind of modern exercise equipment, and includes weight training, treadmills, stationary bikes, and an elliptical trainer.
Occasionally a class will decide on a power walk around the Ranch, a two mile hike cross country, where Ranchers may encounter many kinds of Central Texas birds and wildlife.
We are great supporters of Special Olympics, and participate in a wide variety of sports, including golf, kayaking, aquatics, weight lifting, track and field, and cycling.