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, 28 December 2017

Merry Christmas

Greetings all!
I hope that this Christmas has found you all happy and healthy and in close contact with friends and family.  I know that in my circle of friends and family, there has been too many losses lately, and very sad ones at that.  I'm not quite ready to write about it, but my heart certainly goes out to those who have lost loved ones.  I know Christmas was a sad and lonely affair for many this year. Life can and does change so quickly.  We've had some sad reminders to slow down and appreciate the time we have.  
Lovely to see all that delicious hay in the stackyard!  I love it!  Such a good feeling to feed them quality hay.   A year like last winter/spring makes you appreciate such things!! 

On to cheerier topics, I didn't mean to start out on such a sad note!  
I mostly just wanted to say "Merry Christmas", post a few photos and thank those of you who have hung along for the ride on my blog (nope....still not used to that word...)  I really appreciate everyone who has written to me as well.  I love the feedback, and really love how this wee page has brought about a bit of connection.  It really has spread much farther than I had thought possible.  From long ago clients (and current ones), to far away family members and friends living next door (so to speak), from past residents who can't quite get the Chilcotin out of their blood to people I've never met or have any direct connection to.....  I appreciate you all taking the time to stop in.  Don't hesitate to poke me if you don't hear from me as often as you think you should.  I work best under pressure.  (I'd laugh but it's 100% true, unfortunately.) 

My friend "Squirt".  He is an absolute champion in the bush and I trust him completely in rough country.  

We started rounded up and feeding the cattle around the middle of the month.  As we had such a mild fall, the cows were quite happily pushing their nose through what snow was there to get their meals.  But with the recent cold snap, we started pulling them in.  They can't really handle being out 'rustling' for their grub, and it being dang cold.  It's been a bit of a job however, as they are more spread out than usual this year.  This is a good thing, except when it comes time to round up.  Especially if you are the 'rounder upper'!  It is hard to put enough layers on to not get cold while riding.   It doesn't take many hours before toes start to solid up, no matter how many pairs of wool socks you've piled on.  And snow in the lap and down the back of the neck is just no fun at all, no matter the temperature.  

My three amigos, Brady, Dealer and Zip to the right.  

As we round them up, they are taken to the nearest ranch site/hay base.  It would be better to take them all to one place initially, but trust me, when you finally find a group just before dark, after riding in -20 for several hours, the decision of whether to leave them at the nearest hay pile or ride with them several more hours 'home' is an easy one.
Anyhow, I think we have them all, and we are getting them into more manageable groups now.  

 Moving a small group just a short distance Christmas morning.  Everyone spread out to do feeding chores as quickly as possible and we managed to all get back together by lunch time.  Beauty day!

This was from today.  Not nearly so nice (miss that sun) and it really was quite a long ride in the cold.  We took a big group up to one of our more remote meadows to feed out the hay there.  Dad built us a big fire when we arrived and it was nice to thaw out before the return trip back to the ranch.  

My Brady dog is a real character (they all are!) and a very different way about her than the border collies.  She moves, works and thinks very differently.  It is kind of refreshing actually and she certainly makes me smile, if not laugh out loud, on a regular basis.  One of the 'trick's' she has taught herself is to open the canopy door in my truck.  It has an old style wire opening system, and she noses it gently and then, head cocked, waits patiently to see if it will open so she can see out.  If it doesn't open, she noses the wire gently again, cocks her head to see if it worked that time, and repeats until the door slowly opens and she happily sits and watches the world rush away from her.  All the dogs are well mannered enough that they do not get out unless invited, but it is still rather unhandy.  We had to run down to Three Circle today to move the heifers off of their hay bales (they are put in in the morning, and out at night) and along with the cold, a couple of inches of fresh snow fell during the day.  
We watched Brady open the back window, as usual.  I made a comment to Eli about how the loose snow swirls in the canopy when she does that and we drove on.  
This is Brady's face when we arrived.  There certainly was some loose snow swirling!  She was delightedly proud of herself, just waiting patiently to be allowed out as usual and the others were huddled up, snowy and miserable and plotting revenge.  

Alright folks, my 'quick note' has to end before my head hits the keyboard and I start snoring.  

I'll catch up to you next year!!

All the best,



Unknown said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, look so forward to seeing you all in August. I so missed my horse/ mountain fix for the year,
Cheers Lisa

kolea said...

I wish for you all a most joyful and healthy new year. May the grass grow long, the cattle grow fat, us old ones grow wise and the kids remind us every day of our blessings. Loved photo of Squirt remembering my beautiful days with him while Tiffany had a rest.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Duluth, MN again. I love those photos from the back of a horse. I imagine how it is to live your rugged life. I appreciate you as a strong and independent woman and a mom and daughter and wife besides. Lots to juggle. Thanks for offering all of your wisdom and heartfelt posts, they are appreciated! I love the pic of Squirt--I can almost hear what he is thinking--oh another winter, I have to do a good job. Sending peace and good wishes from frosty Minnesota where the temps have not gotten above zero F for a couple of weeks and still more to come. We are tough in the north! Judy

Hoofwrangler4@gmail.com said...

Boy, the similarities keep on coming - our 10 year old Springer's registered name is 'I'm A Big Deal At Glennaire", aka, "Dealer". We got him at 4, and thought the name odd. Imagine, another dog with the same name. Not like it's Spot.