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.

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!  



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update Punky. Leona and I have been wondering how you made out with the fires. Nice to know you have feed this year. Cheers, Kerry and Leona Orchard

Terra Hatch said...

Good to hear from you as well, Kerry and Leona! We did just fine with the fire situation. You'll be surprised and saddened at the fire devastation closer to Williams Lake though. What a nightmare for so many people. But already, in many places, you can see green plants peeking through the black!