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
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
University of Texas classes (off-campus)
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 Day Program encourages an active, healthy lifestyle by offering opportunities for physical activity and lifelong healthy habits. Current health and wellness related classes open to Ranchers and non-resident Day Program participants include swimming, landscaping/plant care, archery, sports medicine (focus on human anatomy, muscles, exercise and injury prevention), hiking, dancing, self defense and cooking (easy healthy recipes). DHR has a beautiful pool available for swimming laps; an on-site gym featuring treadmills, stationary bikes, an elliptical trainer and equipment for weight training; and hiking trails where Ranchers can take their exercise outdoors. DHR is also a strong supporter of Special Olympics where Ranchers participate in a wide variety of sports, including golf, kayaking, aquatics, weight lifting, track and field, and cycling.