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.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Ready to Ride and some bad news.

This is a photo of the mountain trip we took last fall.  Ben and Jackson on their trusty steeds, Blue and Rea.  

We are ready.  Ready to ride that is.  Enough of this slopping through the mud in Muck Boots.  On with the Ariats and that's that.  :)
Had to get the heifers in yesterday evening, to pull out the 'stealers' and treat a few that have gotten sick lately.  ("Stealer" means calves that have learned to be real thieves in the milk department.  Often the heifers are not smart enough to realize it might not be their own calf nursing, or that there are two (or three) nursing instead of just the one they gave birth to.  Some of those calves get real smart about it and really 'do the rounds.'  Good for them, not so good for the little ones who wander in late to find mum has no milk left....)
Anyhow, I have this new horse.  I mentioned him earlier....I traded him for my Haflinger "Percy Sunshine" who is on his way to being a wagon pony now.  
It wasn't a job that really required horses, but it is TIME!  
And good of a time as any to find out what my new horse is like........  :)  
So I put my rope hackamore on him, gently got aboard and started off easy.   I much prefer to try out "new to me" broke horses bareback the first time.  If he is going to buck or do something silly, its probably going to happen right away and I always feel like I can get off/away easier than with a saddle.  And might just as well fall off then, rather than getting the crap beat out of me by the saddle and falling off anyhow!  A bronc rider I am not.  Ha.  Worked out perfectly in any case.  He is certainly fat and sassy and we got pretty bouncy a few times, but he was really quite a gentleman and never tightened up or offered to do anything dirty at all.  Yay.  Sold.  :) 


My new horse "Kenny". 
Laura was with me and I convinced her to ride my gelding Riley bareback as well.  I promised her that we would not be doing anything faster than a walk, so no worries.  Riley is an AMAZING horse but when he gets fired up, its about all a person can do to stay in the middle.  I have to admit that I try and avoid chasing horses on him, even with a saddle and bridle.  He's like riding a wet tom cat on Speed in a room full of scorpions.  Fun, but.....exciting.  Reminds me of our late friend Howie's advice "it's easy....keep your left leg on the left side, your right leg on the right side and your mind in the middle!!"  Simple right?   Eli swears he will never climb aboard that particular horse, and declared Laura "the bravest idiot" he knows for getting on him bareback.  She did great anyhow (as I knew she would).  There is lots to learn off of that old boy.  He has gotten quite a lot more patient and forgiving over the past year on the ranch and is a wonderful teacher as he does exactly what you ask, even if what you ask wasn't what you meant!

        I'm riding Riley in the photo, with Nikky and Pocket beside me.  We are on the west side of the Itcha Mountains with the Ilgatchuz in the background.  

We will be branding this weekend so will start riding Thursday to bring all the pairs in and make sure they are properly matched.  They will be vaccinated and then branded on Saturday.  Remember that some of these calves were born at the end of February, so they are BIG!  I'm very grateful to have a big strong group of friends at this point!  We used to rope them to brand, but haven't the last few years.  

Some seriously crappy news to share as well, unfortunately.  Mum fractured the joint in her wrist last week.  She had to have surgery and plate put in to stabilize it and it is still causing a lot of pain but hopefully will settle down quickly and start to heal.  They came down for supper tonight and she is looking and feeling heaps better.  I think the worst part is her frustration at not being able to do what she feels she should be able to........  Those of you that know her will be trying to imagine her 'taking it easy'!  Pfffttttt!!  A very good friend suggested I send her over to Saskatchewan to them and they would set her in a lawn chair and tie her feet to their deck so she "had" to relax.  Not a bad idea, except we still need all her knowledge and organization skills here right now!  
After we found out it was a serious fracture and that she would have to have surgery, Eli said to me "Just for the record......if we even suspect that I've broken anything....it will NOT be 'business as usual' and someone else is going to have to feed the damn cows!"  
After mum broke it (a horse came from the east and she blocked it going west....the impact broke her wrist and flung her on her back 1o feet away.), she got back in her tractor and continued to fill feeders and go on like usual.  Finally one of the girls noticed that she couldn't open the door of her tractor and she was holding her arm funny........   
She'll probably be mad at me for writing about her, but as I am supposed to be keeping this about current life on our ranch.....guess she doesn't have a choice.  :)  I'll keep you posted.....

Oh and hey, thanks to all of you that wrote back after the "Deck Party" post.  Some of your stories were AWESOME!!  Why don't you post them in the comment section for everyone to read and enjoy?  Or can I re-post them in another blog?  (No names attached if you would prefer.)  

Cheers all,

        Riding Riley with Bree keeping a close eye on the bulls we are moving.  She is doing amazing for such a young dog!  

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Deck Party

Sunset at Three Circle Ranch  

Having a pile of people living in a small area with the reasonably intense and constant pressure of calving can be tough.  Tempers can get short and the nights long.  This year has been one of the nicest I can remember, for a variety of reasons.  Great weather, good quality feed, not too much cold with an early spring, a good cattle health program and certainly an amazing crew has all contributed to a great season.  We are not quite done, but getting to the dregs.  There is one heifer left to calve now!  Yay!  Eli and I and the boys have moved home and it truly is wonderful to be back.  Not that there is any less work here to be done, but it is always great to be able to stretch your arms out in the morning without smacking someone in the mouth.
There have been a few 'laugh until you cry' moments through the season and I think I need to share one tonight.

Photo Credit to Diana P.  
Laura and Eve helping a calf find breakfast.  
When we told Laura (the Aussie) that we had a Kiwi hired for calving season her first reaction was "that sounds like the start of a bad joke."  At my questioning look she said "A Kiwi, an Aussie and a Canadian walk in to a barn......"  

In New Zealand, apparently, words that have an 'e' (like pen) are slurred and pronounced like an "i", so it comes out more or less like "pin".  
Eve told me the other day a nickname that her dad used to call her.  
"FRICK?" I said.  "He called you "FRICK"?  
She laughed and told me again.  
"Who calls a little kid 'Frick'" I said.  
"NO, no" she said,  "Frick, like the frickles on your face."  
Oh, FRECK!!  As in "freckles".
So now the story begin.  
Over Easter, we've sometimes had amazingly good weather and been able to sit out on the veranda.  
Eve got wind of this possibility and suddenly was very excited about the upcoming "deck party" she would be part of.  (Insert accent here.)  
As she went on and on about how great this 'deck' party was going to be, we all sat in shocked silence.  Suddenly someone realized that she meant a PATIO/VERANDA party, rather than something considerably more x-rated, and we've been laughing ever since.  There has been many miles gotten out of Eve's "deck party".  
Possibly the best is wee young Benjamin, sharp as always.  Although we've cautioned Eve to please say 'patio or veranda' around the kids, somehow the 'deck party' innocently came up again and of course someone ran with it.
A bit later that morning, Grandpa was in the bathroom brushing his teeth when Benjamin wandered in with a question, serious as can be.  

"What's a dick party Grandpa?"

Striving not to inhale his toothpaste, or blow it all over the mirror, Grandpa managed to answer in a reasonably calm voice that "Eve meant a DECK party Ben.  She's from New Zealand and is still learning how to talk properly."
Ben thought for a moment, shook his head at the inexpiable behavior of adults and went about his day.  


That's all for tonight, my bed is calling! 

Oh, but one cool thing to report.... Between two of our hay meadows this evening, we saw 14 moose!  Pretty darn awesome.  They are really enjoying the new green shoots growing up.  Nice to see.   

Cheers all,


This is what happens when you try and take photos of puppies!  Or at least when I do.  I think I need a faster camera! 

Got him slowed up for a moment!  Meet "Deal".  
(Was snowing this morning on our walk through the calves.)  


Monday, 20 April 2015


Well, not a whole lot of time to write today, but after the chastising I got when I was "late" last time, I thought I'd better at least check in and post some photos!  :)   I'm still just impressed people are noticing if I write or not!  

We have less than 80 head of cows to calve now, so winding down for sure.  We did get another set of twins since the last time I wrote (making 8 total so far), but it has worked out fine.  The extra wee fella is now happily part of the play pen group with Black Velvet and Evie and all is well.  

I just got back from a shoeing trip down in the beautiful Bella Coola Valley.  It really is spring down there!  Was very cute to see the boys get so excited about all the green grass and "look mom, DANDYLIONS!!"  

Here is the old champion "Spud" again.  Well dressed by his adoring 9 year old.  And now he has shiny new shoes as well.    

At the Tweedsmuir Lodge in Bella Coola.  

Heading down the Bella Coola "hill".  You can see the road up the other side...

Feeding the horses at Four Mile.  Still snowy Itcha Mountains in the background.  

Feeding the pregnant mares.  

Alright, I'm on the run.  But will be HOME a bit later this week and there will be no more excuses for not keeping up.
Cheers all,

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Carnivorous Cow

So a few years ago we bought a bunch of cows from a neighbor.  They assured us that they had already culled out anything cranky or that wrecked fences etc.  We purchased them in the spring (calves at their side) and they did well.  It took a bit for them to get used to staying with the herd (they tended to head for the hills when they saw a horse), but it wasn't a huge issue and by the end of summer they were all pretty well 'trained' that way.  They were nice cows, in good shape and they bred back early.  Perfect.  
So the story begins.
Mum mentioned in the middle of chores that there was a cow calving in the feed pen, but we just didn't have the time to get her out before she had her baby.  Realizing this, we left her alone to clean off her baby and let it find its feet.  Eventually Dad and I gt the bike and trailer and headed in to the feed pen.  
So the usual routine is to have two people if possible, one to lift and put the calf on the sleigh, and the other to fend off the cow if necessary and help get the calf legs in the right holes in the felting.  
As I was the closest, I gave dad the sorting stick and scooped the calf up in my arms, keeping an eye on the relatively calm cow carefully watching me.  Dad turns towards the sleigh to get ready to help there.  
As I turned to walk with the calf, it suddenly becomes startlingly clear that momma was not about to accept this new arrangement.  With a mad bellow she charged right at me and with no other defense coming to mind, I threw the calf back at her.  Luckily for both me and the calf, she stopped. And was not about to let me near again.
Plan B.
Another tactic is to drive the bike and sleigh between the cow and calf, have one person distract and the other toss the calf into the sleigh. Usually that is as tricky as we have to get.    It soon become apparent that THAT was also going to fail as she furiously raged and blew snot and slobber all over the bike as she tried to climb over it to get at us.  
She was in such a state at that point that we abandoned the bike she was doing her best to destroy and ran for the feeder, at this point in hysterical laughter.  (That's what sheer panic does to you right?)  
So great plan, except the feeder had just been filled with an exceptionally large hay bale, so not only did we have to get to the feeder, but ON TOP of the bale before we could really get away from her.  
This is the part where I tell the story about dad kicking me back down the bale as he scrambled up it.....but maybe that's just my memory playing tricks on me.  I do remember both of us laughing so hard we could hard get enough breathe to climb.  That was a bit more of that "go, Go GO!" advice as well. So there we both sat, on top of a bale in a feeder, totally stranded, snot and cow tracks all over the quad (and up our backs I'm sure), wide eyed and still laughing in disbelief at the insane bovine pacing and bellowing below us. We wondered if someone would notice and sling shot over a package of crackers to eat.  Or perhaps something a bit stronger.  
Eventually the calf, sick of all the noise maybe, staggered off in a new direction and his irate mother followed, finally giving us a bit of breathing room.  
You can be sure we made use of the opportunity and slid down the bale, shot through the feeder bars and left rooster tails with the quad on the way out.
We still had to get the cow and calf out of the feed pen.
Some more hysterical laughter and head scratching and we came up with Plan C.
I got in the front end loader of the tractor with a rope.  Dad drove me over the top of the calf.  The cow grew fangs, I'm sure.  
I dropped my loop and by pure luck managed to snare the head and one front leg. 
It took absolutely every bit of strength I had, and then some, but I managed to pull that suddenly huge baby straight up in to the tractor bucket with me.  And I swear that cow was coming up on her hind legs roaring like a grizzly bear and snapping like a crocodile.  I'm not gonna lie, it was impressive.    

In the wild, this kind of behavior is great.  I'm quite sure there is not a single predator out there brave enough to take her on.  However, in the much more confined area that we deal with them in,  this is totally unacceptable.    I'm just glad it happened to be me and dad that set out to get her from the pen in the first place.  
We took the baby directly to the barn in the tractor bucket and officially labeled the crazy mother a dry cow and put her down in a different pen.  She didn't forgot who had taken her baby and we had to be very careful around her for a week or so.  She went to market at the first opportunity and her calf "Bert" found himself with a new mom (that's a story for another day.....).  
Calving can be dangerous enough, but we never ever would keep a cow that mean.  Cows can often get protective when they first calve, but she really won the prize for the nastiest ever and it's really not worth someone getting hurt over.

But it makes for a good story, doesn't it? 

       Photo Credit to Tanya P.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Back at it!

Greetings all!  And my apologies....time seemed to have gotten away from me.  Although the calving has slowed down, the chores have not.  And with the Lehman Creek Outfitting business quite busy, Eli has pretty much taken over my tablet so I can't even pre-write for the blog.  He spends most of his time at Three Circle now as the majority of the cows are there, so I hardly get home at all.  
But enough excuses right?  I'll soon be living back at home (next week!) and be more consistent again.  

The calving scene is pretty much the same.  Although the weather has not been particularily warm, the pens are drying out well.  We have treated a few that started to get sick, but over all...so far so good on that end.   We did lose a calf the other day. He started out strong and seemed fine, but after about 24 hours, he quickly went downhill.  We did our best and kept him going with IV's and electrolytes, hoping his body would heal, but in the end he didn't make it.  It wasn't clear if he was undeveloped from the beginning (which is my suspicion as he was very small and unhealthy looking), or if his mother accidentally stepped on him.  We are now in the process of convincing the momma that taking on one of the twins is a good idea instead.  She is fairly suspicious but I'm optimistic that it is going to work.

Ting and Emme helping me hold pairs that we moved up to a new feeding ground. 

We have had some great company,up at the ranch over the past couple of weeks.  One of my 'city cousins' made the trip and I have to say that I'm really quite proud of her.  She gamely took on ranch life for few days and we even convinced her to put her hand inside a cow to feel a calf needing help to be born.  We all laughed hysterically at her face (and her gagging), but she did it!  It makes me chuckle to even write about it.  Was great to have some other friends and family come up from Bella Coola as well.  Laura is also back from Australia and has slipped in like she was never gone.       

Eve convincing a young friend that Jade would love a scratch!  

In other news, all the horses have been trimmed, the pregnant mares are getting massive (due in May) and we are all ready to RIDE!!  :)   

Photo from last fall.  Six Mile Flat 

Our neighbors bull got in to Three Circle with the heifers the other day so I quickly saddled mum's gelding Sorbay.  As it turned out, Eli was able to sort him out himself, but since Sorbay was tied to the hitching post anyhow, I quite enjoyed moving the odd pair and shifting around the pens horseback for a while.  Oh, the day will soon be here when I can trade off my Muck Boots for Ariats!  Happy dance, happy dance!  
We will move the bulls in the next few days, which promises to be some fun.  They are always full of themselves (and deafeningly loud) when first let out of their pens in the spring and I can't wait to go stampeding across the pastures on my favorite Riley horse.  Hopefully there is a place for me to sit on his back!  :)

The mountains are starting to call!  

Oh, and I have a new puppy.  A fuzzy little black and white Border Collie/Kelpie cross named Dealer.  I don't have my camera with me right now, but I'll post some photos next time.  He is super cute, is already showing signs of being a strong working dog and is fully convinced that I'm his personal human.  :) 

And young master Benjamin turned SIX years old last week.  How time flies.  I remember the calving season shortly before he was born.  At one point I recall waddling down a narrow cow trail in the snow when I  stumbled, tripped, and finally ended up on my back, wedged in the trail with my big belly pointed to the sky.  What an effort to get back upright, especially with concerned dogs frantically trying to lick my face!  Clearly ranching and pregnancy are not an easy combination and I decided then and there that two was enough.  Those that have big families in this situation sure have my admiration!  Some ladies have told me that they loved being pregnant and although I fully agree it was a unique and wonderful experience, I can't say I miss it.  I clearly remember the teeth gnashing annoyance at not being able to fit through the fence rails anymore....     

Ben on Grandmas gelding Sorbay.  

Okay everyone, I best get back at it.  I look forward to hearing back from you!
Cheers all, until next time.  


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Our local hero

Although every place has their local heros, most are not quite as famous as what little Anahim Lake can claim as their own.  Carey Price is the amazingly talented goaltender for the Montreal Canadians and to quote from the National Post, " the runaway league leader in nearly every goaltending statistic."    

Carey is also an ambassador for the Breakfast Club of Canada and  both local schools have received funding though this program.  Pretty darn awesome.  
The video I'm adding will explain itself.  In case the video doesn't work when I post this, the link is here


Although Carey was raised here in the community, I really didn't know him then at all as I was off in high school and then travelling.  However, I've met him several times here at Anahim Lake Rodeo over the past years.  He sure seems like a great guy, and out here at least, you'd never guess he is as famous as he is.  I think he likes it like that.  He is a whole lot quieter and more modest than the majority of the other cowboys!   
A few years ago I was asked to pack a flag for the local parade.  My horse was not worried about the flag, but noise of her feet on the pavement for the first time and the CRACKS were a bit of a concern to her.  I'm sure she didn't step on a single one.  When I got to the start of the parade it became apparent that Carey had just recently been talked into packing the other flag.  He was on a mutual friends barrel horse, in her little barrel racing saddle and in running shoes, much to his mothers distress.  She was quite rightfully concerned that he should not be riding without proper footwear but Carey wasn't worried about it and told her so.  As she insisted he kinda rolled his eyes and looked at me.  I told him not to worry, he couldn't fall out of that saddle if he tried.  He is a BIG guy and how he even squeezed in to it is a mystery to me.  I'm sure only a third of his leg was actually in the saddle.   As we got closer to the arena, the gelding he was riding started to perk right up, perhaps anticipating a good fast barrel run.  Carey felt the change in the horse and I distinctly remember him giving that horse a stern talking to....something along the line of "you better not bolt when we pass those gates you knot head, there are NO barrels set up!"  The horse and Carey kept it together and it all ended well.  
Carey likes to team rope and I'm pretty sure it was that same rodeo that he ended up winning the round.  You can be sure that his hometown crowd was very proud and rocked the stands with their cheering!  
Here is another link to another cool video of Carey's 'downtime' and his winning run!          


Cheers all!