So, it turns out I need a truck. I have truly loved my minivans (yes, I've had a few, they don't hold up well when used as 4x4's...not to mention collisions with deer). But the Five Mile driveway is unforgiving to say the least and if we ever get rain while I'm in there with the minivan, I'll be marooned. So I'd been talking to my younger brother about this and he is fully dedicated to his 1/2 ton Ford and often sings its praises, mostly how 'tough' it is. I'm not hard to convince, I know how hard he has used his, and heck, I drive a minivan right? I'm open to advice.
He's a pilot, with a plane. So the plan comes around. I'm to do some research and get some vehicles lined up in the general "Vancouver" area and we will fly down together to have a look and hopefully come up with one. Plan made, we were to meet at noon at the airport.
Plans. "Pffftttt" says the ranch.
The reason we were not going to leave until noon is that we needed to bring one of the main herds of cattle back to the ranch. So I head out to catch and saddle horses reasonably early. Only to be interrupted by a message that Eli and I were needed right away at Six Mile, calving problems. I tracked Eli down (he was off feeding another herd) and we raced up to Six Mile. The calf was in full breech position, meaning he was attempting to be born tail first (ideally they should be front feet and nose first). This is rarely an easy fix and requires pushing the calf far enough forward inside the cow to bring the hind feet up and out into the birth canal. Even then, it is tricky to get the calf out alive as, in this backwards position, when the umbilical cord breaks, the calfs head is still inside the momma and if not gotten out quick enough, will drown. It was touch and go for a while there (we seriously considered a c-section), but eventually we did manage to get the calf in the better position and pulled him successfully. After quickly washing off, we raced back to Three Circle to continue saddling up to move the cows and calves as originally planned.
Now moving that many cows and calves from their feed ground can be tricky at best. The calves are pretty used to picking a nice napping spot and waiting while mum goes off eating. They are not really thinking about following. The momma's generally start off not caring much about having their babies follow them, until about half way down to the ranch. The light comes on and they decide to go back and find their baby. The calves get part way and decide they better get back to their napping spot that momma will meet them at. Anyhow, the pressure and timing of the cowboys (girls) is of utmost importance to make a move like this work with such young babies and this time it just didn't go smoothly.
But I had a plane to catch and I was already way late. So, guiltily leaving the others to deal with the mess, I ran though the shower as quickly as possible and headed for the airport with my head still dripping.
In to the plane I run, we start up, go through the procedures and after a very cool flight (less than 2 hours), we landed in Chilliwack. And it was hot. And there are so many people!
As we walked out of the office to the rental car, and past a couple sitting by the door, I caught myself waiting for them to look up and catch my eye. Because after all, a nod and a 'have a good day' is a normal courtesy. Where I come from. Well, quite obviously, the couple most certainly did not look up to acknowledge me and after a brief second, I did have to chuckle and remind myself that 'we are not in Kansas anymore'.
So into the fancy rental we go and start canvasing the city (it's all one right?) for suitable trucks. At one point Charley (thankfully driving) asked if I was okay. I started laughing. Because yes I was okay, but 3 hours ago I was on the back of a horse, frantically trying to keep calves gathered and helpers organized. And an hour before that I was up to my chin trying to turn a calf. And now I'm listening to Google Maps trying to direct us through rush hour, and people are CRAZY!........ I know this sounds funny but I was also quite taken aback by how quickly people respond to texts. Like, instantly. Like they walk around with their smart phone in front of their eyes or something. No wonder people get cranky if I don't answer an email right away. lol Seriously, culture shock.
My new ride "Fabio"
With Charley's expertise help, we did find an awesome 2005 F150 in outstanding shape. My only complaint is that it is rigged out for a 20 year guy. Crazy loud stereo, LED lights, and a very noisy set of pipes. It literally made me blush to drive it. A noisy muffler is not my style. But the heated seats now, those are especially awesome!
Wild coincidence, while I was down there, I was able to go wedding dress shopping with my girlfriend, who had asked me to be a bridesmaid. What are the chances? We've been trying to get together here all spring (we live about an hour apart) and manage to meet up down there.
So, happy to sneak out of the city again (and just barely avoiding a nasty rear ending in my first hour of driving the truck), I headed for home. I did catch up briefly with one of my favorite cousins, but sorry to everyone else that deserved a visit....... next time.
The truck continues to run well, has well proven itself with all the rain we've had lately and I'm almost used to driving around sounding like a teenager. The joke is that this is my 'mid-life crisis' vehicle........ I really want to get those pipes changed....must be a young guy around that wants to trade for a normal muffler.
The wedding I was in was truly awesome! If you are ever looking for an outstanding western style wedding venue, then I would highly recommend www.sunshineranchweddings.ca I was super impressed with the facility, the organization and the general set up. I will try to post photos one of these days, but you wouldn't recognize me in them anyhow anyhow. All girlied up. Haha.
And now it is time for shoeing the pack train. Not quite so girlied up anymore. I cut my fancy nails back with my horse nippers (!!) but still had to giggle at the bling in the midst of all the dirt and smoke from hot shoeing. Kinda fun really.
Couple of the 'big boys'. Manny is in the background (named after the mammoth in Ice Age) and Ripper. Both have size 4 feet. To put that in perspective, a general saddle horse will have about a size 1 foot. Ugh. And beings that I have pretty much quite shoeing off the ranch, I've certainly been feeling those underused muscles protesting!
Okay folks, I hope all is well.
Cheers for now,