Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

An Old Memory

I tell myself most every morning that "tonight, I will catch up with the blog!"  Not seeming to get it done, am I?



Well, we are still here and healthy.  We are currently busy with the last bits of rounding up, meaning many miles of slugging through areas you wished you weren't.  Because all the usual, easy places have been checked and the cattle  there already gathered.  Cows were running home pretty quick with our nasty September weather, but not so much anymore.  October has been beautiful and warm.   We ship out our calves on Monday so time is short and no doubt a few smug mummas will bring their calves in with the next snow. 

Two liner loads of calves were sold through a video sale in Williams Lake last week.  I'll see if I can figure out how to attach the video I did this year.  For some reason, the photos seems to turn out blurry.  Anyhow, we were happy enough with the price and the calves are looking great, so no complaints there.  
You should be able to clink the link below saying "2018 Calves".
 2018 Calves



I was cleaning and sorting through my desk recently, and somehow came across a letter that Jackson "wrote"(He would have been about 6 months old.) 
It's fun to read back on and thought I'd share (and then I won't loose it either...)

   

Well, hi there everyone.  Sorry it has been a long time since the last update, but it is hard to keep mum in the house long enough for me to get onto the computer.  She just checks her mail, shuts it off, scoops me up and we are off somewhere else.  Sometimes we would both like to be home more, but hey, I guess that is what summer is all about!  Something about making hay while the sun shines.  So let's see, at the end of June we had a LONG drive in the truck (sitting backwards, all I saw was SKY, which got really old!) and got to Auntie Megan and Uncle Mark's place.  I sure had a bunch of fun hanging out with them and my cool cousins.  I can see that Levi and I are going to have some good times when I am a bit more mobile!  We stayed with Uncle Tom and Aunt Cheryl for a couple of nights, saw Aunt Liz and Uncle Ian and met heaps more cousins.  Mum said it kinda made her head spin a bit, keeping everyone straight, but she was really happy to get to know a bit more of the family better.  I spent a really special day with my Great Grandma Hatch, Uncle Dennis and Aunt Deb.....we all had great fun and giggles together.  I was getting a bit wore out by the time we got to Cardston, but I did get to meet Great Grandma Jackson (she has beautiful jewelry that I just couldn't keep my hand off of), and stay with cousin Cori Dorsey.  Even met a great Aunt out of the blue, we didn't even know she was there.  All of a sudden a nice lady said "is that the New Year's baby?"  Wow.
  Grandpa Eric was happy when we got back home and updated him on all our stories.  He says he can't believe how fast I'm growing and how much I look like my dad.  I don't see it, not a single hair on my chinny chin chin.  (If there was, I'd tickle HIS belly with them until HE squealed!)  
     Phew, what a trip.  Mum took heaps of photos, but unfortunately put them on a disk at Walmart and hasn't found the disk since!!  Man, that gal, I tell ya!  We are all hoping that it is going to show up.  I know how carefully she puts things away and then promptly forgets where.  Hopefully......
     So then, life back at the ranch.  Busy as always (I keep her busy enough sorting clothes that I am constantly growing out of!)  Dad when right back to work in the fire camp.  There was a real scare there for a while (mum even starting packing a bit) but Dad said Mother Nature helped us out, turning the wind and bringing rain.  Great gal, I haven't met her yet to thank.  Dad worked there for almost a month, but is home haying again now, which makes me and mum happy.  
     Hay season has gotten well started.  Grandma and Grandpa stayed at my house for a while, which was pretty neat.  I have to admit that I like to show off a bit.  Especially to an appreciative audience!  Grandma still call me "the boss"....I'm not sure why.  I am not bossy, I just get what I want.  She said that mum and dad had better have a brother or sister for me before I get too darn spoiled.  Can you imagine such a thing?  I am feeling pretty safe though.  I didn't quite gets mum's reply, but is started off with a very loud and rude sounding snort.
     Grandpa is still calling me "two tooff", but oh well, I think more will grow and besides, he is strong and willing to hold me up on the table while I show off my smiling and tap dancing.  Been spending quite a bit of time with Auntie Sylvia, Kara and Myles too, they sure drive me to giggles!  I was hoping that I could get to ride on the tractor with dad a bit, but I don't know if mum will let me, she says it is too loud.  
     Mum and Uncle Brett have also been shoeing alot horses, and I have to say, the novelty of that is wearing off.  Oh well, they always bring cute young sitters with them to hang out with me, so it isn't really all that bad.  Just seems like when I get settled down for a good nap, we have to move again.  Irritating.  
     I have been riding my horse quite a bit again.  She is very surefooted and honest and always stands perfectly by a rock or stump so mum and I can get on or off no problem.  I saw pictures and I am sure she is the same mare that mum rode when she got married to dad.  Mum says that I shouldn't tell how long we are in the saddle sometimes (something about Child Services, I dunno) but I don't know what the problem is.  Best sleep I ever get is up there, can't hardly keep my eyes open, and besides it is great fun yelling at cows to make them run, especially when mum is trying to quietly sort.  The gals were laughing with me the other day after we had a long cattle drive.  We got down for a break and when mum sat me on the ground, I guess I just kept rocking, like I was still riding.  Didn't bother me a bit, I had a nice cookie for a snack, and away we went again.  Sounds like the big cattle drive is coming up soon.  I sure hope the weather stays nice so mum and I can go.....I'll even get to sleep in a tent overnight!
     Updates on me...well, I am not really crawling, but definitely getting around.  Make me chuckle to roll and scoot just out of mum's sight and watch her frantic face until she finds me.  Or I roll into something that I can't get away from, and have to yell for her to rescue me.  I sit perfectly well too, and can almost run when someone holds my hands.  Especially good of course, when I have an audience.  I don't love the Jolly Jumper as much as I used to, seems that no matter how frantically I jump, I just never get anywhere!  Frustrating.  Like my parents, one of my favorite pastimes is eating.....everything!  Haven't found a food yet that I don't like, and mum is finally starting to let me eat chunkier stuff.  Though I am perfectly capable of putting whatever is in my hand into my mouth, I do prefer to be fed.  Same with the bottle.  I mean, do I have to do everything?  I need all my energy to just keep this family entertained, I figure the least my parents can do is feed me new meals all the time and hold the bottle when I want it.  Got 'em pretty well trained, although they need reminding once in a while.  Yeah, life is good.  
  Wow, I have sure been jabbering for a long time (now you know what mum puts up with!)  I have really got to get to bed, another big day on the way.  
Hope this finds everyone happy and healthy!
Hugs,
"Jackson Hatch"     
Not the photo I was aiming for, but good enough for tonight.  I'm pretty sure this was when we rode to the mountains caribou hunting (Jackson would have been almost 2).  I am riding an Aussie saddle with a blanket rolled up and tied for Jackson to sit on.  He is  well strapped to my chest and it looks like we have plenty of snacks and extra clothing (some things never change....)  And of course I am riding the ever steady Rea (now Ben's horse).

In more current news, Jackson is very nearly as tall as I am.  (Not that anyone has ever given me 5 stars for height....my legs barely reach the ground!)  



 Ben and Jackson as we ride up to the Cabin to spend the night and then help Eli take down the caribou hunting camp.  Ben is riding Sorbay (whom he renamed "Sorebutt".....) and Jackson on Schmoose with trusty Rawsy giving some love.  

Leaves are all gone, but the October weather has been beautiful.  And, as you can see, we are not short of fall feed!  

 Picking through the stubble at Five Mile, Itcha's in the background.  


Not a super photo, but this is the 5 year old paint mare I wrote about earlier this spring.  I think I put up a photo of Cody riding her.  She packed like a champion all summer and now I am putting a bunch of riding miles on her in a short period of time.  She is handling it easily.  It's nice to have a 'local' horse...let me tell you, neither mud nor nasty windfalls bother her one bit.  
For her second outside ride the other day, I took her into one of the nastiest areas I know.  I realize that might not of been the smartest decision to make when by myself, but I'd already worn out Shmoose in the morning retrieving a far away little group of cattle.  And well, she was absolutely perfect so it's all good.  We left the ranch at about 1:30 and got back about an hour after dark....8ish?  We were both soaked and covered in mud and half frozen, but we had 15 head found and back to the ranch.  Now I can say she "has lots of miles" instead of "has had 4 rides..."  
(I do pack a radio and call in occasionally, especially in this type of situation.)     

Best to you all!  

Punky  


Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Reposting the Bear Story

Greetings all!  I hope that September was nicer to you than it has been to us, although if you live in Western Canada, I doubt it.  But it's all good.  Mother Nature decided to wait until the last bales were rolled up (on our ranch at least) before giving us a taste of winter.  Nothing too serious, just chilly and snowy/wet.  
It's been worse.  And with the fall leaves still on the trees and brush, there were some neat views.  



I was just chatting about predator issues the other day and commented that we rarely actually 'see' wolves.  Plenty of tracks mind you, ripped up animals and the occasional carcass, but rarely an actual wolf.  They are too smart and too shy.   (Did I mention I don't have any sheep left at all?  But the wolves were well fed for a very short time.  Dang them, I liked those sheep!)
The day I took the snowy photo above, I did actually see a wolf.  I was certainly noticing all the tracks, both older and very fresh, and looked up to see a dark body through the timber, just for a brief flash.      
Anyhow, this all reminded me of summer conversations, during which I had promised to repost a bear story and then the photos.  Clicking on the blue links below should take you to those posts if you choose.  

The Bear Story

Bear Kill Photos

And so there you have it.  I wrote and posted those in June of 2015.  There have been other incidents very similar. 

Not what you like to wake up to in September!  

In less gruesome news, the boys and I are back homeschooling.  I've set up with a new online program that I am pretty excited about.  Maybe I'm just getting used to it, but it feels like we are finding our rhythm already and plowing forward pretty steady.  

Do you see him?  Flashy!

We are working fairly steady to move the cows all on to fall range, and pulling the bulls off as we go.  There have been a few cold wet days for sure, but still not complaining!  (about that at least.)     



Kelsey riding Nelly.  
Chilly up in them there mountains eh?!  

Cheers for now,
Punky  




Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Tribute to Mickey Dorsey, by Paul St Pierre

Credit to keeping this article on my grandmother to Rob Phillips.  I enjoyed going though some of the papers and articles Rob has kept over the years, and plan to head back this winter to help organize and display/store so they can be enjoyed for years to come.  
Paul St Pierre was a family friend of ours and a truly entertaining writer.  He has written a multitude of books and stories, and many of them are about the characters from the Cariboo and Chilcotin.  This article was probably from the Vancouver Sun, which he also worked for.  Paul also owned a small home in Mexico, in the same town as my father in law has a place and that we have visited several times.  On our first visit down there, Paul was at his Mexican home, which turned out to be literally down around the corner from where we were.  I called him up, even though he would have only known me as a small child.  He knew exactly who I was with very little explanation and his first statement was "Huh, a Dorsey in Mexico!  Who would have thought!"  We had a very entertaining visit.  

Photo Credit to Jim Swift 
Taken at one of the ranches owned by Mickey and Lester.  

  

Tribute to Mickey Dorsey
Anahim pioneer was a great woman
by Paul St Pierre 

They are burying Mickey Dorsey at Anahim Lake today, and, with her, some of the vital warmth and humor of the Chilcotin country.  She was a great woman, great enough to never know or care how great she was.  
She was also a pioneer.  There aren't many parts of Canada left where you can die a pioneer at 71.  Most of the nation is too long and comfortably settled.  But the Chilcotin remained frontier land into the middle of this century and she was there, on the last frontier of ranch country, one of that rare and special breed, a ranch wife.  
There are any number of people now who talk a lot about the wilderness, people who will do anything for it but try to live in it. 
Mickey's knowledge was a different sort.  It was first hand.  She cheerfully worked, she faced hardship and responsibility and, at times, danger.  The mere act of survival counted for a lot among the people who settled Anahim Lake during the 20s and 30s but she did better, she did it with style.  
As typical a story about her as any is the one which involves a handful of small children, a goat and a cougar.  
Throughout her working career she was, from time to time, a school teacher.  On one occasion she was teaching at a tiny school on the west bank of the Fraser opposite Soda Creek.  The children had a goat which they lavished affection unusual for a goat.  One day a cougar came to call on the goat and the children demanded that Mickey chase it away.  "The children were in front of the goat and I got in front of the children and stood there looking at the cougar.  I told the children they were all to go away.  They were to run to the ranch house and tell somebody to come down with a gun. 
"For the longest time they wouldn't go.  They were afraid the cougar would get the goat while they were gone.  They weren't so much worried about the cougar getting me but they were fearfully concerned about their goat.  
"Eventually they did go.  I kept standing there, absolutely petrified with fear.  The cougar kept looking at me.  Then somebody came down with a gun and shot it and that was that.  
"But you know, after they killed it, I was ashamed of myself.  It was such a scrawny little cougar, half starved.  It wasn't worth being afraid of.  But to me it had looked immense."  
She could never take herself too seriously.  
She was born February 3, 1911, Hanna Clarissa Tuck, in Sidney, Nova Scotia.  Her father was John Tuck, a shipbuilder, who came to Vancouver to build ships during the First World War.  In 1922 John Tuck retired and moved to Bella Coola.  
Mickey, educated there and at the larger community of Ocean Falls, became a school teacher.  At age 23, when she was tutoring the Christensen children at Clesspocket Ranch in Anahim Lake, she met and married Lester Dorsey, a character as strong as her own, although differently.  Lester is now 78 and although lightly reined in by heart trouble remains an adventurous mountain man.  He has been a packer, a guide, a cowboy, a rancher and, ever, a raconteur of rare wit and charm.  
He is a man of almost incredible fortitude.  However, for all his multitude of talents as a frontiersman, it may fairly be said of Lester that when it came to making a fortune he could never find the time to spot the trick of it.  Mickey had to be a cowboy and a rancher too, all in a land beyond the reach of electricity, telephone or , as often as not, road.  In the 30s about all that could be said of the economic development of Anahim Lake was that the ranchers were making it just a trifle less empty than it had been a decade before.  
She raised five sons and a daughter, educating them most of the time by correspondence school conducted in the kitchen of her home.  She had to learn about horses, Herefords, wolves, bears and bitter, lonely winters.  Because Lester usually lost interest in a ranch once a road reached it, they moved to new ground more than once in the Anahim country, starting each time on raw pastures to build a log home, log fences, log corrals and all the other things made by axework which go into a ranch.
She herself would say "There is no such thing as a ranch in this country until at least one generation's work has gone into it."  So she had no illusions that they, with their frequent moves, might expect some day to look out at lush tame hay meadows from a comfortably home furnished with all the appliances that the rest of Canada was taking for granted.  
That never daunted her.  To Mickey, the troubles of this life were just salt and pepper.  
There must have been some bad moments.  But when she reminisced, it was always with the light touch.    
"When I was a bride, and greener than the grass, the only thing I had to cook on was one of those folding tin stoves.  I despised the thing.
"That summer Lester and I and Pan Phillips rode up into the Itchas and when we made camp that first night Pan, very proudly, lifted the folding stove off a pack horse and presented it to me.  It was too much, and I broke into tears.  Neither of them had the faintest idea what I was bawling about, of course."
Occasionally, while her family was growing, Mickey took teaching assignments in various parts of the Chilcotin, one year in Tatla Lake, another at Bald Mountain, another at Rose lake.  When her family was grown and gone, she resumed teaching as an occupation and served a decade at Crescent Heights School at Williams Lake, returning to the ranch during the summer and at holidays.  
She had an immense curiosity about almost everything in the world and a vast enthusiasm for almost everything she did.  Accordingly, she was a great teacher.  At the same time that Chilcotin oldtimes remember her this week in one way, there are a lot of young people in the Cariboo who have a fire in their soul today that this woman lit.  
She never managed to pursue all her enthusiasms.  For one thing, there were too many for one lifetime.  For another, work and family had their own demands on her time and interest.  But she managed to canoe the Blackwater, she managed to see the sub-Artic and the Mexican desert, and was planning, although a little too late, to see the Orient.  
At the last she had cancer and much pain but the spark of humor was never extinguished to her last day.  
Now she is gone, but you may be sure that for this woman, as for the Pilgrim of Pilgrim's Progress, all the trumpets sounded for her as she crossed over the to the Other Side.  



    

Friday, 31 August 2018

Here's yer sign

So I got an email this morning that asked if I still wanted to be part of Mountains Beyond the Cows.  
I do.  
I signed up for the notification of new postings.  


So....  
No apologies, life is what it is.  I haven't posted for almost 2 months now, but have not forgotten.   And the occasional posts/emails/snarls from friends/family/friends I haven't met/others, do produce results.  

Okay, to try and somewhat catch up, I'm going to do a photo journey for you.  

July 7th
Photo credit to Lorna Jimmie  
As a community, we had an amazing rodeo weekend.  Contestants were delighted  with the new events added and prize money available.  
Personally, I'm always happy when Monday rolls around after rodeo weekend, but with our new events and format, it was quite possibly the most exhausting weekend ever.  Worked out well and the spectators were happy, but next year..........  more delegating is a huge priority.  

July 8th
View from my kitchen window

July 9th


July 10th

July 11th 
Tired boy, tired dog...

July 12
Cows on summer range

July 18th


JULY 19th
Lunch Lake 


July 21st 
Coming in through the fog.

July 22nd 

July 24th 
This is a photo of a photo.  During our 16 day mountain ride we go right over the Itcha Mountains to the Pan Phillips Fishing Resort for some much appreciated R & R.  Rob and Linda were outstanding hosts, as usual.  This time was a bit special as Rob brought out his collection of photos and newspaper clippings.  I hope to get back in there this winter to help them organize and preserve what has painstakingly been collected.  The photo shown is Rob's father (Pan Phillips on the bay horse in front) and Barry Remple (brother in law) heeling the moose.  The back story is that the moose had actually been caught in a steel trap meant for a fur bearing critter and probably would have died if not for the men taking the time to capture and free the animal.  
July 26th
Cody and Vickie arguing over who gets the dinner plate (he won this time). 

July 27th 
Riding past Pipe Organ Moutain

July 28th
Climbing over the pass from Pan Valley.  "Smile Magalie, you could be famous......."  :)

July 29th
Peaches testing out the contents of Liz's bottle.  Delicious.....  

July 30th
Corkscrew Island Camp

July 31st
Horses having a much needed break.  

Aug 3rd
A young friend that helped me out a lot this summer.


Aug 5th 
Summer Range

Aug 6th
Try it, you own't regret it. 

Aug 8th
Sweet Rea, teaching another kid to ride.  Ava is having a blast and kept telling Jackson (who was leading her) "keep going buddy, keep going".

August 10th
Heading for High Camp in the Ilgatchuz.

August 12
Luckily we had an excellent nurse along to fix up Jackson after his painful reminder about sharp axes.


August 13th
A weird evening.  The smoke rolled in shortly after we set up camp and the skies were dark.    


August 14th
We knew it was going to be a good day, and it was!

August 15th
Dog down!

August 16th
Jackson and I (and Brady and Zip) did a big climb up the side of Pipe Organ.  Was a bit smoky but still beautiful.  

August 17th
A smoky morning in Pan Valley.


August 18th
Cooperation.

August 19th
Trailing the horses home at the end of the ride.

August 20th
Back to the ranch to deal with a wolf bit calf, luckily already healing well.

August 21st
We've been kicked out of the Park again, so its another short season.  Very frustrating.


August 25th
Could not agree more.

August 26th
Plenty of late summer feed.
Looking through the impressively long ears of Shmoose with trusty Zip to my right.

August 27th
Finally getting the cows to summer range after a very long day (and several hours to go before getting to the Cabin.)

August 28th
Salt is often brought to the range in the winter and stored in these pails.  Being by myself, I was at a bit of a loss of how I was going to transport them to where they needed to be.  But good old Shmoosey solved my problem by allowing me to tie them to my saddle and I led her to where we needed to go.  During our very long ride the night before, she also allowed Ben to ride double so he could rest against my back.  And I packed my very sore footed Zip dog for several miles as well.  I don't know if we happened to end up with the best Standardbred ever, or if they are all this amazing.    

August 29th
Sorbay carefully taking my niece for a ride through the heifers.

There may be a few stories to tell along the way, and I will get back to that!
Hope the summer has treated you well.
All the best, 
Punky