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 26 February 2015

True Story

This happened about year ago but worth retelling.  

Jackson, Ben and Eli were all snuggled up on the chair, watching some sort of TV program (probably the hunting channel!) while mum and I went over some paper work.  

A commercial came on, asking people to give money to help homeless orphaned children by 'adopting' them.  

Ben innocently took this in and then asked his dad "why did you choose me?", no doubt thinking we had picked him from a TV commercial.  

Without missing a beat, Eli said "because you were the best one we could find."  

Ben accepted the answer and turned back for the TV.

Jackson gave a big horse snort and announced

"They didn't PICK you Ben! When dad bred mom they didn't even know if you would be a boy or a girl!"  

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Lost Caribou

As we sat for lunch at the kitchen table at Six Mile the other day, someone noticed a creature moving at a rapid rate of speed on the flat out front.  Binoculars proved right away that it was a caribou and we all watched in amazement as he trotted right in.  

I took this right out the picture window.  (That's the 'moose bale' to the right of the photo.)  He ducked off just before the house, mouth open and panting, trotted around behind the shop and continued down the road.  Actually, Nikky was on her way up in her car and they both had to skid to a startled stop when they met.  
Based on the track we found, we are nearly sure that he was separated from his herd (they often winter above our hay meadow) by wolves and the last sign we saw of him, he had wolves following him again.  :(  

   Momma moose leaving the breakfast table (hay stack) early in the morning. 

The weather remains outstandingly beautiful and warm....what a treat.  Calves are still just trickling in, hardly enough to mention yet.  We are doing just one night check at the moment.  We've just had Eve from New Zealand join us on the ranch and I'd say she will fit in very well.  She took the usual teasing easily and wasn't afraid to dish it back out.  :)   

 Grandma trying to convince a wee smarty pants that there is a nice dry shelter available, where no cows can step on him.  They get it figured out and in nasty weather, it is standing room only!  

Grandpa somehow keeps this old relic going.  Perfect for the boys!  Although never fails to create another arguement.......  "it's MY turn!"  

Cheers everyone, and thanks for the kind and encouraging words about the blog.  (And seriously, could someone please come up with a different name for it?  Blog just doesn't flow.....) 

Cheers all,

Sunday 22 February 2015

All Tangled Up

We've begun.  Five cows have calved and the flood gates are about to open.  I'm so delighted to say that the weather has remained beautiful and relatively warm.  (Unfortunately, that is not always the case and it's a bit of a local chuckle that people always know when our calving starts....it drops to -25 C.  Ha ha, not funny.)  

So, a first calver was put in the barn yesterday afternoon and all seemed well.  It soon became apparent however, that she was not progressing as she should and we waddled her in to the maternity pen.  There she stood, quite happily munching her grain and waiting for help as Eli reached in to her to see what might be the problem.  
"Yep, there's a foot".  
"And another foot, and there's the nose, perfect."  
And then his eyebrows hit his hairline as he announced "And there's another foot, what the .....?!"  
He fished around for a while, but as she is still a small cow and he has large man sized arms, the picture was not getting any clearer.  
My arms are much smaller.  
So off comes the jacket and in we go again and after pushing the head back and feeling around, the problem became apparent.  
It was some seriously tangled up twins and the front one had a leg back so the little momma had no chance of having them on her own.
So with some pushing  and pulling and perhaps a bit of blue smoke, the front twin was repositioned, the offending leg was rearranged into the birth canal, chains were carefully set (making sure we had the right two out of the four available legs) and the first wee button popped easily in to the shavings.  The older brother was comparatively large, but also was no problem to bring into the world, now that he was untangled from his pint sized sister.  Success.  

Number 3 cow to calve,  sweet first calf heifer with live twins that she loved instantly.  It has to be a good sign for a great calving season!  

Until next time, 


Wednesday 18 February 2015

Bella Coola and back again

Sadly, this is the only photo I remembered to take on my trip to Bella Coola (at about 7 am on our way down.)  Apparently when my head is down and my rear is up, trimming horses as quickly and efficiently as possible, a camera is no longer a priority.
It truly is an amazing and awe inspiring valley and most certainly so when the weather is as beautiful as it was.   Doubly appreciated by me as I usually seem to hit rain or extreme heat on my shoeing trips down there.  Reminds me of  a t-shirt I had once "Farriers are like cats.  They don't come when they are called and they refuse to go out in to the rain".  And it's true, there are few things I detest more than shoeing in the rain.  Feet full of mud, tools plugged, rain running down your back,.....true nastiness.  Anyhow, this time it was a nice warm, dry trip.  Not too many horses to kill me off in my current 'winter shape' and some good visits in too. Next time I'll take photos....

Meanwhile, back at the ranch we've finished all the sorting and vaccinating and are mostly ready.  And just in time, as the first wee one arrived safe and sound late this morning.  So it begins.

On that note, I'm signing off and going to bed as this will be one of the last opportunities for a full night of sleep, in my own bed, until near the middle of April.  Oh that's not such a nice thought, is it?  

Cheers all!

Monday 16 February 2015

Weather and Traffic

Clear skies and amazing sun rises expected to continue......  

But traffic will remain bumper to bumper for many days yet to come......  

 Be on alert for out for the moose on the hay bales (particularly the new camera shy  momma who has shown up at the ranch with her twins...)  and pack your camera so you don't miss the sunsets.  

Cheers all!  Punky  

Friday 13 February 2015

Got 'em tagged.....thanks everyone!

So people do read this!  
Awesome....and doubly awesome because I didn't have to spend a bunch of time trying to figure out 'Z' names.  I'm totally impressed at how many people answered the last post and sent suggestions.  Thank you thank you.  And who said blogging was a waste of time?  Ha.  (I can almost say the word 'blog' now without feeling slightly uncomfortable.  Except to my parents.  That still feels weird.)    

So this morning I made up the tags.  

Sometimes, if it makes sense and I am organized enough, we try to make the new names kinda match the momma names.  This doesn't always work out, but for example the mother of Zale was Dale and the mother of Zayla was Layla.  

We did get the 'first calvers' vaccinated and tagged today, but we were a bit too busy to get many good photos.  Besides, I start getting cross eyed looks from the rest of the crew if I'm running around with a camera rather than a sorting stick or a vaccination gun.  No sense of humor these people.  :)    

These ladies are getting an ear hair trim so their tags are more visible.  

So we are back at it tomorrow.  It will take us several more days to get everything moved, vaccinated, sorted and moved again.  Hopefully we at least get the vaccinating done as I'm sneaking away on Sunday for the spring trimming trip to Bella Coola.  (Did I mention I am a semi-retired farrier?)  I'll try and take photos while I'm there.....it will be mud and green grass....bit different from the ice and snow here.  Always a nice change and wonderful people to visit.  Just the work that's tough.  lol  

Cheers all,

Moving yearlings yesterday.  

Some crazy sunsets going on these days!  

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Where did Toni come from?

Back in the early days of ranching, as the herd started to increase, mum and dad wisely chose to start using a consecutive letter system to help keep track of their animals.  Many places do.   So basically this means that the animal is assigned a letter based on her age, as well as an identification number.  For example, the cows having their first baby in 2010 all have the letter "U" in front of their personal number, in 2011 the new mommas got "V", 2012 brought "W" and so on.  
(For easy identification, all the calves get the same name as their momma.  Heifers kept for 'replacements' get the new tags prior to having their first baby.)  

Emme and I keeping a close eye on some young mommas as we sit in the hay waiting for our ride.  Yep, those are Muck Boots.  :)    

So when Eli and I started out in our ranching adventure so many moons ago, we began with the purchase of 12 cows total.  We chose an ear tag color (white) different to my parents (yellow)  and decided to go along with the consecutive lettering system to keep things simple.  Then we decided that we should NAME them starting with the letter associated with that particular year.  I clearly remember how much we chuckled thinking about how  dad would have come in to the house and uncomfortably announce that "Ira needs to be milked out", or "Vicki is going to need some help with this calf".  It was indeed funny for a while, but has become quite normal to announce that "Vera had twins" or "Moki is a cranky old bag!"   Let me tell you though, it was a whole lot easier when we had 12 cows of various ages.    

One of the original cows we started out with.  

Now we keep about 25 heifers per year and it takes a bit of head scratching and research to come up with that many suitable names.  I know you are thinking it wouldn't be that hard, but don't forget....these names have to be decipherable on a 3 inch tag, at a distance, from the back of a horse, and occasionally at a rapid rate of speed!  
  I can tell you, the neighbors get a real kick out of it, but the funny part is that the names stick out for everyone and they are the ones remembered.  "There was a cow named TONI and a few others that came over to our range.....don't remember the others, but where did TONI come from?!"  

I've been thinking about this name game lately, because this year we are on "Z" and have almost 25 names to make up!  Suggestions anyone?

I look forward to your input, and don't hesitate because we will be re-tagging this week and I could use some help.    



Calving season is peeking around the corner already!  

Monday 9 February 2015

Another day at the office

'Tis been a bit frantic around the ranch lately with Eli still away in Portland.  He's on his way home today and we are all looking forward to having him back.  

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the usual line up of chores hasn't diminished any.  Being short handed only means chasing my tail faster!  

We've been keeping a close eye on the horses and they still look great.  Was wonderful that my very awesome friend Nikky was able to come up and have a look at them with me yesterday.  It's nice to have a second opinion on their condition and just plain fun to hang out!     

Coming for their grain treat.  
 I've taken this shot to show how the horses dig down to get at the grass.  We are very lucky in this country to be able to have the quality of feed to do this.  The grain is fed out where it has been previously 'rustled' so it does not disappear in the snow.  

The cows are sure starting to 'show' and getting ready for our calving season is quickly becoming first priority.  There are corrals and barns to clean out, cows to move and sort, vaccinations to give and pens to bed.  And then we will get busy.  :)  

Plus the random chores, like counting hay bales.  Our Aussie friend Laura has decided that crawling on top of the snow is easier than falling through....   yes, I laughed.  Hard.  And then I joined her.  The dogs give you odd looks, but it works.    

This was just previous to us working hard on getting the snowmobile unstuck.  Although Laura doesn't have much experience, I finally told her to drive while I lifted and pushed and to not stop until she hit the track (about 15 feet away).  Well, it started moving, and she shot off to my "go, go, GO!"  She did what she was told and didn't stop .......and after bucking and diving though the untouched snow, she did finally ended up on the track..... but about 100 yards away.  I couldn't see her face but the imagine of her frantic body language as she tried to stay on top and desperately steer still makes me laugh out loud.  She was a bit frazzled but laughing nearly as hard as me.  Took me a few moments to compose myself before I could yell out the next suggestion.  "Get back here and pick me up!"    

Best to you all!

Thursday 5 February 2015

Checking On Ponies

Headed up to the Two Mile meadow with me on the tractor and Laura on the snowmobile to check the horses today.  Weather started out snowy and nasty, but turned out to be a beautiful day.   (Spring?  HA!)

view from the tractor 

Brought grain on for one group and hay for the other.  They were all happy with their treats of course.  So far they all look great, but we will bring them home in a couple of weeks anyhow.  

We've had a few inches of new snow.  Not that we need any more, but it is good in a way because it helps to rot out the crust that we got after the rain.

I think we are going to have quite a foal crop to look forward to this year! We put 5 of our mares with the stallion and I'm positive that at least 4 are pregnant.  (Last year we bred 3 mares and none caught.)  For those that know our herd, that is Lucy, Miss Kitty, Bun and Pretty Girl.  I'm also thinking that Dusty caught late as well.  Nothing cuter than a new born foal.  Except maybe two baby beavers....but that is another story!


Percy and Fuzzy 

Eli is away at the Portland Sportsman Show right now, promoting our new business.  It has been going well down there I hear, but I'll be happy when he is home again.  That website is updated, so you can have a look here if you choose.  www.lehmancreek.ca

Also, Jeffrey has finished off our trail riding website so you can check out the 2014 photo gallery at www.six-mile-ranch.ca

The best to you all,

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Beautiful Ladies in the Pan Valley Spa

I've just been working on our Six Mile Ranch site with our most patient webmaster.  He is ever enduring of my endless questions, random requests and busy lifestyle.  Jeffrey is much appreciated and highly recommended.   www.jnweb.com

Anyhow, we are just finalizing the last details for the 2014 gallery, but I have to 'jump the gun' and share.  These are a couple of my all time favorites.  

When I asked one of these friends if I could use the photo on our website, she said that she had no problem with it and that "cocktail hour in the spa is something folks might not think of as part of your trips"  Quote, unquote.  Love it.  :)  How lucky we are to take such wonderful people in to our unique corner of beautiful BC.

"Happiness....not in another place, but this place, not for another hour but this hour."  
- Walt Witman

both photos courtesy of Nan Logan 

I was going to add some current ranch photos but they just show ice and snow and cold and somehow it doesn't seem fitting anymore.  

Until next time,