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, 23 November 2017

Summer Riding

Well, winter is settling in here in the West Chilcotin.  We've had some pretty cool weather and bits of snow here and there.  Lucky, really, compared to some parts of North America (and elsewhere).   The one thing about living in Anahim Lake, you are pretty much prepared for the worst and happily surprised when it's not so bad.  

Horses on the hay meadow at Six Mile.  

Anyhow, was trying to organize some photos and came across a few from riding range this past summer.  That was the good part about this past summer of fire (besides we got wonderful haying weather).....lots of range riding.  I thought I'd tell you a bit about one of our adventures.  Nothing shocking or dramatic, just a fun couple of days.    

So at some point I got an idea in my head that we should do some exploring and figure out how to get between our two ranges (new and old) from the high country.  I had been through the several miles of bush and brush many years ago (when I was range riding for a living) but certainly the trail was not clear in my head.  Nor is it clear on the ground.  It's more a trail of 'by guess and by golly', although there are some very definite landmarks, if you can find them.     

Lush green, but pretty smoky.  

We were actually quite lucky to be comparatively smoke free over the summer, but this particular time, it was pretty thick and heavy.  

So Magalie, Cody and I saddle up our mounts, stash a package of burger and one of smokies in our saddle bags and head for the Cabin late one afternoon (about a 2 hour ride up if you are being quick).  We organized for the night, packing water, laying out supper fixings and arguing over who sleeps on which bunk.  Our horses enjoyed a quick rest and then we headed out again at about 5:30, quickly covering the couple of miles we needed to travel before we started exploring new country.  I had a good idea where to start, and with the very questionable help of an electronic unit, and dad's directions, we zig zagged our way around until we came across some cow trails pulling us in the correct direction.  

No shortage of feed!  

One of the very obvious landmarks is the "747 Flat", which is apparently named because someone figured it was big and flat and dry enough to land a 747.  It is long and dry and flat and perhaps a 747 could land, but I'm quite sure it would never take off again.  I was happy to see the Flat anyhow, as I knew we were on the right trail.  Trail is a pretty loose word, there are many trails, in many directions, mostly made by wild game and cattle and they generally do more to confuse that assist.  

Made it to the 747 Flat!  

Eventually, we came to the Corkscrew Basin, our intended destination.  With the smoke so thick, it was feeling pretty late and none of us wanted to find our new 'trail' in the dark so we didn't spend much time.  We saw a bull and a small handful of cows (and plenty of tracks), high fived each other for our navigating skills and wound our way back down to the Cabin, marking our trail back the way we came.  (We originally intended to move cows along that trail, but they were smarter than us and found a better way.  The way we went worked, but after consultation with dad and Google Earth, turns out there were some better options.)  

Found it!  

Zip coming back from a well earned drink.  

It was pretty much dark when we got back and hobbled the horses for the night.  The Cabin is inside a nice little pasture, so we don't have to worry about them heading for home!  There is plenty of food up there as well, so we made up some sort of Burger Pasta Mishmash, set a bit of a bread to rise and went to bed.  In the morning I cooked the smokies and a bit of cheese in the fresh bread dough to make something similar to sausage rolls.  Easy and delicious and still good after banging around in a saddle bag all day.  We had fresh buns for breakfast and were ready for a new start.  

It turned out that Magalies horse was a bit sore from our previous day's marathon, so she headed straight home in the morning.  Cody and I retraced our footsteps (kinda) on our new 'trail' from the night before and rode though a huge amount of range over the course of the day.  We put out salt that had been transported by snow mobile the winter previous and enjoyed checking out some new ground.  The grass was lush, and the flowers were incredible.  We stopped for lunch on our way home late in the afternoon and enjoyed a good long nap (riders, dogs and horses).  I don't know exactly, but I would say we easily put on 40 kms that day, probably quite a bit more.    

I rode my big Kegger horse.  Do you SEE how high my stirrups are?  He is way too big for me.  He turns his head and sighs at me when I get up without a stump.  Zip is right konked out in front of him.  She needs the sleep, but wants to make sure we don't get away without her.  

Laying down to rest after a water break, but still alert and ready to go! 

Bet that roll felt good and was certainly well deserved!  

Seems hard to believe that only a few months ago we were riding out into new country with plenty of daylight left at 5:30 pm.  And now at the end of November,  we need lights to see decently by 4:30 pm.  Ah, but it will come around again.  

Cheers folks,

Friday, 10 November 2017

A Selection of "Cool" Fall Photos

 Have you met my wee sheepies yet?!  (That's an official term, right?!)  They are so cute, I'm totally enjoying them.  I bought them to work my dogs.  Dealer and Zip, being Border Collies, are completely obsessed and spend every available second staring at them under the fence.  Their indignant foot stomps when the dogs get too close cracks me up every time, I'm not even sure why. Brady thinks they are just funny looking dogs and can't quite wrap her head around 'working' them.   She completely ignores all stomped warnings or head shakes (after all, they don't even kick, let alone bite) and wanders through them at will.   

Now that the calves are weaned off, we move the cattle back out onto the range.  With the ground frozen, they can get onto the swamps and there is lots of feed!  The taller grass will lay right over and protect what is even still green underneath.  

This is on the meadow at Six Mile, looking West.  

Still a few stragglers coming in with their calves.  

I know it's a blurry photo, but here I am taking hunters in for the last hunt of the year.  The guys were great and full of excitement for their trip.  I'm leading the two empty packhorses (that will hopefully pack a moose out of the bush) and Eli's saddle horse.  The tractor and wagon full of gear is in front of us.  And lucky it was, as we needed it to break the ice in the creeks.  It has been pretty cold (down to -25C) and the creeks are frozen over.  I'm always very proud of our horses, but I have to say my heart swelled a bit to watch them so carefully pack their riders through the creeks of broken ice and slippery footing.  I ate a late lunch with the hunters and headed back home, but already the creeks were freezing over again.  I was riding big Twinkie, the draft cross mare we bought from Kamloops a couple years ago.  (Boy, how her life has changed!)  She is a super mare and I've ridden her quite a bit over the summer.   She is actually pretty awesome at chasing cows (as long as not too much speed is required) but gets a bit rough for travelling long distances.  Eli also often guides off of her.  Anyhow, I was quite proud of her again, not that I had any doubt of her abilities.  At the frozen creeks, she simply leaned back a bit, and pawed her way forward, breaking the quickly forming ice in front of herself.  I had pulled her shoes off at the Cabin, in hopes of giving her more traction (it worked) and we cruised back down the mountain easy peasy.  It was a great ride, I have to say.  I'm already looking forward to next summers range riding up there.    

That reminds me, and I'm attaching a link to our very talented friend's newsletter.  I'd introduce you, but those that haven't already had the pleasure of meeting Chris, or seeing his work.....well, photos speak louder than words.  


I'm riding "Twinkie" and you'll see "Zip" raring to go in the photos he puts in this newsletter.  I know I look pregnant (I'm certainly not!), but it's because I have a chest pack with a radio under my vest.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! 

Cheers all!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Rounded up and Shipped Out

Two of my favorite cowboys, Jackson and Cody. 

Well, we've ended up doing fairly well with our roundup of the herd.  We are currently missing 14 pairs and hopefully most of those will still show up.  And hopefully they are still "pairs", meaning momma with baby at side.  We are now able to look at numbers a bit closer and seems we got hit harder than we'd like or expect.  Too many calves did not come in with momma.  

Anyhow, the sorting and shipping out went well too.  Our great friend Cheryl (a retired rancher from the area) came out to help and she brings a world of experience, an incredible eye for cattle and her hilarious sense of unfiltered humor.  Everyone grinned when we heard she was making the journey out and she kept us all on our toes, as per normal.   

So the process starts with sorting the calves from the cows.  Easy enough.  We have a long alleyway and sort two ways.  The cows go one way, and the calves another.  I generally work the opposite end of the alley, keeping cows pushed forward for the main sorters and leaving calves behind me.  I never really get any photos sorting.  It doesn't make any sense to do so, as there is nothing much to see.   I should sit on the fence one day and take some video.  A good sorter moves very quietly and hardly appears to be doing anything at all.  Once you learn to watch though, you'll see a thousand tiny moves.  Blocking one cow with a shoulder and allowing another to move by with a twist of the hips, stepping forward to push a cow past and gently backing up to draw another one forward.  It is a quiet, constant slow dance.  We generally do carry a 'stick', but it is used as an extension of your arm, not as a weapon.  And  certainly sometimes the moves have to be quick, (got to block that cranky and determined old gal!)  but generally it is hard to tell the person is doing much at all.  Until you try it yourself, or watch an inexperienced sorter.    

You'll notice the white tags on the rump of some of these.  This keeps ownership organized when they get to the stock yards.

So then we have to 'sex' them, steers from heifers.  That can take a bit more time but with Cheryl as an extra hand, it went very quickly.  Next we go through the steers and pick out anything that doesn't fit in the group or should not go for whatever.  For example, if one is too small, or lame etc.   We put a white tag on the rumps of the calves belonging to Eli and I and then start loading.  Our calves are tagged as they are all sold together (with mum and dad's)  and this keeps straight who needs to be paid for what.  Easier if we can do it at home, keeps the yard crew happy in Williams Lake.  

By that time, the big trucks are usually pulling up.  As the guys are loading the first groups of steers, us gals are usually in the back, sorting heifers.  We go through and hold back the nicest ones for potential replacement, looking at all aspects and trying to remember the details of the mother as well, if possible.  As Eli and I have a smaller herd, I can always remember the cranky mommas, and try to never keep their calves.  Doesn't always work that way, but most times.  Of course we also hold back anything that might be lame, or too small etc.  (These 'misfits' come down to Five Mile for special treatment.  Without having to wrestle for their meals (as they would in the pen of bigger heifers) and with good shelter and grain, they grow up fine.  They are generally pasture raised over the summer and sent to market in early fall of the next year.

Gathering at Five Mile, snowy Itcha mountains in the background.  

As you can guess, it is a busy morning.  We started with the alleyway lights before daylight and all the trucks were loaded and away by 1:30.  

Magalie took this photo as she watched our sale via the computer.  You can just see Eli's foot and hat and Jackson to the far left of the picture.  

Alright folks, that's it for tonight.
I look forward to telling you more soon. 
Make it a good day and don't forget to hug and appreciate your loved ones.  

This sign at the stockyards in Williams Lake made me chuckle.  

Monday, 16 October 2017

"Cool" Fall Riding Weather

Crazy how we went from the worst forest fire season in history to......

Uh huh....it's like that.  And stayed (and got, in turns, better and worse) for several days.  Yuck I say!  It's too early!

On the other hand, it sure makes rounding up cows easier!  Few inches of snow and some cool nights and they are quite sure the ol' tractor must be rolling out bales for them.  Wishful thinking.....

As mentioned in the last post, we sold  two liners of steers via the video sale in Williams Lake.  Mum and I usually go in for that sale, but between homeschooling, a hunter coming in and looking for cows, I figured I best stay home.  I did watch it live by my computer though.  This modern world....  We got a fair price and were happy with the sale.  Now we just have to get the cows rounded up and hope the calves meet our projected weights!   

Storming over the mountains.

The other reason I felt I should stay home is that we (mum and I) had taken much of the week before and gone to a Curt Pate Stockmanship Clinic.  What the heck is that....I can hear you ask.  Well, we have a young lady here who has become part of the family, despite the fact she has a Swiss passport.  She is currently taking the Applied Sustainable Ranching program through Thompson Rivers University.  To make a long story short, the program hosted Mr Pate, and as hosts of an international student, we were welcome to attend.  

No automatic alt text available.

Eli said he hoped we would finally be able to figure out how to move a cow by the time we finished the clinic.  A few cross eyed looks may have been exchanged at that. 

Beginning of October compared to mid October.  

It was very interesting.  And I absolutely gained some knowledge.  Sometimes hearing a familiar process broken down by detail can bring about an entire different level of clarification, and from there, the smallest adaptations in technique can make quite a difference.  Many wouldn't really care I guess, but those tiny details are whats fun to me.  And along those same lines, he gave me words, phrases and ideas to be a better teacher myself and to really explain how and why we do what we do when working with stock.  How one person can get a miserable, cranky old cow in the barn with hardly a missed step (and not appear to be doing any more than wandering along behind her), and then next person has the gentlest old grandma cow so riled up she is running calves over and trying to smash fences.    But alright, I'll leave that alone.  I can feel I'm loosing some of you already and those interested in such minute details can find a much better writer than me to read!

It was also a reminder that there is ALWAYS something to be learned, no matter who you are!  I certainly gained more than a few awesome tips regarding horsemanship over the clinic, and I was also surprised to watch a few of his choices and methods.  Not that there was anything wrong with any of it (especially if you are six feet tall and a strong built man), and certainly the job got done, but I guess I somehow thought that many of the techniques that I have been taught over the years were more or less standard procedure.  Goes to show, there are many ways to skin that cat, and I need to get out more often!  But if Mr Pate ever asks, tell him that if you wrap your latigo three times (instead of two) when you are cinching a horse for the first time, it won't come loose, even if you can't get it tied off before he goes to bucking!   

Okay, I'm really leaving it alone now.   Sorry.  Get me talking cows and horses especially and I can go on all day long.  As anyone who has ever spent time in the round pen with me knows too well......   

So back on the ranch.  The boys and I have hit the books fairly seriously and are pretty dedicated to our school routine.  Well, I'm not sure dedicated is the correct word.  More like I'm determined and still the boss.  Haha.  They've been coming out riding with me in the afternoons, grumbling and growling (who isn't, with this snow), but secretly having fun.  It's great to have them with me.  There is nothing quiet about the ride (especially with snowballs to throw!), but entertaining anyhow.  Luckily they have such great (patient) horses and as long as I remember dry gloves and lots of snacks, we are good to go!    

Jackson has somehow snared Grandma's top mount "Ruby" and of course Ben is finely mounted on the one of a kind "Rea".  

We are about to move all the cows we've been gathering (on to our hay meadows) to one central spot.  Once counted in to there, we will really know where we stand with our numbers.  I'm feeling pretty confident that we are getting close to where we should be.  There is always a few old coots that stay out to the last minute and make us search every nook and cranny, but I don't think too many this year.  

Cheers all!

PS  As of this evening, most of the snow is gone again.  Hurray! 


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Dearest Sheena

Greetings Sheena!
Thank you for writing and reminding me that I have not been keeping in touch.  It felt like I didn't have much good to say and time just got away from me.  No excuse.    
We are all fine and dandy but has been quite a summer here in the wild west.  Not all positive, that's for certain.  But we have our health and good feed for our critters, so that's a good start. 
You know that the spring wasn't an easy one either, as we dealt with the results of having such poor feed.  I have to tell you, it makes you appreciate seeing those cows so fat and cheeky now!  

You probably heard about the incredible fire season we had over the summer.  It actually started during our Rodeo weekend.  We saw the lightening storm pass by and wow, did it do some damage!  That was about the 6th of July and many parts of BC are still burning now (although as far as I know, everyone is back in their homes and fires are considered "contained").  We were really very fortunate here in Anahim Lake and at the ranch.  The closest fire was about 45km away from us (25km from our town).  It could have gone badly (we did get an evacuation order and many people left), but in the end, we were really quite fine.  Not so our neighbors to the east.  Homes, outbuildings, miles and miles of fence, grazing land, and timber went up in smoke.  Not to mention cows and wildlife.  It really was a nightmare for so many.   

Smoke plumes to the east of Six Mile ranch. 

For us on the ranch, it was eerily business as usual.  Seemed very strange with so many of our neighbors (far to the east) fighting for their homes and livelihoods.  We did help evacuate stock from a neighboring ranch, accept horses and offer pasture, but this far out (and with highways closed in several places), there was not much else we could do.  

The toughest part for us is that the government decided on a blanket closure on all Parks in the Cariboo Chilcotin.  Meaning that we could not take our guests into the mountains.  All summer long.  In early July, here in our mountains, the order was absolutely ridiculous, and incredibly frustrating.  We had snow up there for 2 days before we got the notice.  We are still recovering from last years monsoon rains and as I rode range (always a pleasure) while I should have been in the mountains, I slogged through mud and water, enjoyed beautiful lush grass and incredible flowers.  In fact, it is still green here, although the frost is finally getting the best of the tops of the grass.  This is not the case a very short distance away....drive 50km and beyond to the east and the difference is incredible.....burnt out (from sun, heat and/or fire) and brittle dry still.  Anyhow, it is what it is.  We are thankful to have a home and a business still, some are not so lucky.  Now we just have to figure out how to book two summers worth of guests into one!  Ha!   

Hay fields looking good!

The good part of me not getting to go trail riding was that I spent many hours riding and exploring our new range (and the old ones).  I spent many nights up in "Cow Camp" and usually had the company of either Cody, Magalie or mum.  I do love new country, what fun.  We got lots of miles on the colts too.  

Good help makes all the difference!  Laura and Magalie helping push cows on summer range.  

The BAD part (besides me shoeing all those dang horses for the practice!) is that mum and I both got stuck out in the hay fields WAY more than generally necessary.  Usually we train the new crew and then pack up and head merrily on our way to the mountains.  Not so this year.  It did work out well though, honestly, and we got great hay up.  Such a treat after last years disaster.  I'm almost looking forward to feeding it to the herd this winter, just to prove we didn't mean to feed them such crap last year, that we really can put up quality hay when Mother Nature cooperates.  

Eli figures that he and dad are spoiled now and that we are no longer allowed to head for the hills during haying.  I won't write down mum's reply for fear of turning ears red, but you can about imagine.........  

Wow, this got long quick!  I'll try and makes things brief so I don't loose you.  The fall has continued to be nice and our cows and calves are really looking outstanding.  I am going to attach a youtube link, hopefully it works.  I took these photos and videos about 2 weeks ago.  We sell a couple of liners of steer calves on Wednesday (through the regular auction but this video is what the buyers see.  We will actually deliver them on October 23rd.) 

You should see a colored link on the line below.  Let me know if it doesn't work.  (And I'll do something about that?)

2017 Cows and Calves

I am homeschooling the boys again.  They would love to join the public school (it gets a bit lonely out here), but with that drive 2 times a day, and considering how far they came academically last year at home......  back to mom as teacher.  Poor guys.  

So in most recent news, we are starting to get serious about rounding up our cows.  So far we've pretty much just opened the meadow gates.....that works very well but there are always strays out there that can't be bothered coming in.  Having said that, we've had a few shots of snow in the last week or so, and that certainly brings the cows home!  

Snow in the Ilgatchuz and a bite in the air!

As daylight gets shorter and evenings get longer, I'm going to do my level best to get back to blogging and posting photos consistently.  I often think about writing, and do rough drafts in my head (long rides to the Cabin or miles of hayfields provide that time, but not the time to actually write!)  There is plenty to talk about, good experiences and not so.  I thought I should start writing a country song or poem at one point, but there as so many similar ones I figured it wouldn't fly.   

Oh, did I tell you Dealer Dog suffered a broken leg?  (He is fine now....)  Ah, but another time I'll get in to that.   I'm back at it.  :)

I'm still amazed at the crazy sunsets we get here at Five Mile.

Thanks for your patience everyone!  


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Some luck finally

 Earlier this spring.  This was absolutely wild.  It went from beautifully warm to crazy winds and rain within minutes.   Dead timber is not a safe place to ride and I saw, heard and was close to way too many trees falling.  I ended up abandoning the herd to stick to the open country.  

Well, green grass and sunshine have finally arrived.  It's wonderful  and what a treat to really get out riding consistently again.   Many many range miles on my saddle already this spring, but I am sure not complaining.  The country is finally beginning to dry out after last years non stop rain and it's an appreciated pleasure.  

Not so appreciated is the run of bad luck we are on with our cows and calves.  We have worked harder and less successfully to keep the last fifty head of calves alive, than the whole rest of the herd.  I agree with our vet that part of the problem is just lack of quality feed from last year.  Our cows are just not producing the colostrum they should (and usually do) and the calves are loosing the battle.  It's incredibly frustrating.  But it is not just calves, we are losing cows as well.  Between freak accidents (getting themselves tipped onto their back and can't right up kills them quickly) and being beat to death by bears, it is a depressing scene.   Sitting on a big meadow with three large dead animals scattered within sight is worth a few words no mother would approve of and if a tear leaked out, no one would comment.  (In that particular case, two cows had been killed by a bear (or likely bears) and we had to shoot a young bull that broken his leg.  A bad day.)  

One of the dead cows I found that day.  Note the bruising over the head, neck and shoulders  (Eli skinned it back.)  That's typical bear.

But I didn't finally get back on my computer to drag down your day.  I've got a good story to tell. 

Moved a group to another part of the range late last evening.  They were very happy with their fresh menu.  

I won't go into our morning in detail as it was again, not that fun.  Despite calls to the vet, IVing and medication, we had lost another calf.  The day goes on.  

Eli had realized that we had a herd of cows on one of our meadows so mum and I changed our range riding plan and headed up to get them out and move them to another pasture.  The irrigation is on, so everything is still super wet and muddy (but growing well!).  We found the cows, about 40 head, smugly camped on the side of the 2 Mile Meadow.  We did a very brief head count and started moving them back down towards the ranch.  For some reason, mum headed out around a big peninsula of brush and I suddenly heard her urgently calling me.  Fully expecting the worse, my horse and I flailed through the mud to get to where I had heard her voice.   I could not believe my eyes at what she had found. 
One of our cows (Uzima....don't judge me, "u" names are tough to find!) had displayed her intelligence by lying on the very top of a root mass, about big enough to stand on.  Of course, nature and gravity took over and she rolled backwards, upside down into a big hole, with the root mass on one side and a spruce tree on the other.  As I mentioned earlier, cows don't live long while on their backs.  They start to bloat almost instantly and generally if you can't get them sat back up very quickly, they die.  But for whatever reason, this old gal was STILL ALIVE!  I guess she was on her side enough to keep from bloating up too badly.  But of course there was no chance of getting her feet under her and she had pretty much beat herself half to death trying.  The bottom side of her head was huge and swollen, she couldn't see out of that eye at all, her legs were rubbed raw and she had rubbed almost all the hair off her body.  Not a pretty sight, let me tell you.  

By the time I got there, mum had the halter off of her horse, and we put it on the cow.  I added my halter shank to hers, tightened the heck out of my cinch and thanked the stars I was riding my big Kegger horse instead of a colt.  He is well accustomed to working a rope and leaned right back and pulled the cow right around and upright, somewhat on to the root mass.  I gave some slack (which I shouldn't have) and she flung her head back and flipped herself right over backwards the other way.  Seriously.  So Kegger and I quickly wiggled and juggled our way to another position, between the mud, roots, trees and windfall, and got another hold.  This time I did a better job and we got her sat properly upright.  Poor old girl!  We watched her for quite some time, but she was just too weak and disoriented to get up.  The only thing to do was to let her take her time and cross our fingers.  There was no real way to get a tractor close enough to help her, or really anything we could have done if she couldn't walk out under her own power.  Not a good feeling.

The road was terrible this spring (of course) and Eli has been busy building it up and ditching.  So we either rode a quad or horseback back and forth between our place here at Five Mile and up to the main center of operations at Six Mile.  My horses are getting extra miles and I'm not complaining.  No time was ever ill-spent from the back of a horse!  And I must have 60 similar pictures of this general view.  Of course the photos don't do justice, but I'm still impressed every time I turn the corner. 

The next morning, to the amazement of everyone, Uzima was up and standing and quite cranky.  (Can't imagine why she'd be cranky......)  Such a great relief, especially with all the signs pointing at pretty much certain death.      
She had been in that position long enough (had to be a couple of days!) that her calf had actually given up on her and basically was weaned off.  After hearing she was alive, I grabbed it and another pair to take back up there.  (We had left the herd in a nearby pasture just in case this might be an option.)  It was a real struggle as the calf had no interest in going back at all and the terrain is less than friendly, but we did eventually make it.  Thankfully I had my trusty Riley horse, what a champ he is.  Anyhow, the story ends well.   The appearance of her calf seemed to totally rejuvenate the old gal and she immediately left the shelter of the trees and started eating.  My original thought was to just leave her there to gather strength again but she quite determinedly staggered about until she got her marbles gathered and then marched down the road to join the rest of the herd.   We just moved that group today (we left her in the pasture) and she is not quite 100%, but doing well and happy to be alive.  I'm still amazed and am hoping that will start our streak of good luck!  

It's not a great photo, but I love it.  Does my heart good to see Jackson riding my champion Riley!  I'm not totally positive they are ready for each other, but the smile on both their faces is awesome to see!  Note my Huntaway cross pup, Brady.  She is finally figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other without tripping!  But a sweeter dog you won't find anywhere...

Just to be clear, it is not all doom and gloom!  We've recently had a great family reunion, Jackson won the most Sportsmanlike trophy at a Steer Riding School (that was terrifying) and we are headed out to my nephew's grad this weekend.  The sun is shining, the grass is growing, the cows are very happy and we have our health to be thankful for.  There are lots of great things on the go (our road is almost drivable!) and plenty to come.  And did I mention how much I am enjoying the riding?! 

This was truly terrifying!  He seems so little to climb on a cow or steer!  He did amazingly though, all weekend.   His "most sportsmanlike" trophy and medal are on proud display.   I hope what he got from it was to never ever do it again! 

Posing for a photo with their new bikes.....
  Thanks Uncle Troy! 


Monday, 8 May 2017

Emerging from Calving.....

Greetings all!  Hope spring is treating you well and there is no lasting damage from the long cold winter.  

View from the kitchen table.  

We have pulled through another calving season here on the ranch.  It's been a fairly long one, and I have to say that although it's been a learning experience (as usual), I haven't always enjoyed my lessons.  We've really felt the effects of having poor hay quality last year, and despite buying good hay, protein licks and mineral, our herd is not in the shape they should be.  As a rule though, the momma's are healthy and strong and for the most part, the babies have been as well. 

Pile of calves, waiting for momma's to come back from the feed pen.  

We were lucky to have a great crew again this year.  Our Kiwi friend Rob came back for the season, and that was a huge bonus for me especially.   Having someone with his experience really gave me a new outlook and we spend many hours with our heads together, discussing this method or that treatment, and good things came of it.  

Vince is the all around handy man and cheerfully fills every gap.  From helping with the stock to cutting fence rails, from feeding cows to fixing fence, he is certainly an essential part of the team and we are lucky to have him.  

Mum's old dog "Fat Pat" found a great warm bed in the calf shelter.  I never did get a decent photo, but sometimes you couldn't hardly see her in there, snuggled in with all the babies.  

Astrid and Laura rounded out our calving season team and did a darn good job of it.  They cleaned pens, milked cows, helped on night checks, organized foster calves, wrangled kids, swept floors and made bread.  And then some.  Phew....

I'll get back to telling you some stories (there are a few!) but for now I'm out the door.  I have been meaning to get back to writing and had a few extra moments this morning I thought I'd best take advantage of.  
We having started branding and sorting and I'm headed to Three Circle this morning.  So nice that spring has finally sprung and the grass is green and growing!   

Cheers all, I'll be back soon.  :)