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 3 January 2019

Scenes of Winter

Thought I'd share some winter photos with you guys.  Perhaps there is a story somewhere in here too.  I never quite know how these posts are going to turn out until I sign off again...... 

Bringing a few strays home.  They haven't been in a hurry for the hay pile this year with so little snow and such good feed still available.  As long as a cow can easily get her nose through the snow (not too deep or crusty) and there is lots of feed, they are quite happy.  Our swamp areas freeze over and the grass that was a foot or three high lies down under the weight of the snow.  The snow and the pushed over grasses protect and insulate and there is usually still plenty of green feed underneath.  It is certainly drier this year, but with such a mild winter, the cows have done awesome.  Nice to see them have such a good break.  Hysterical to see the old bags bucking and galloping like a bunch of yearlings.  

     It's days like the above photos shows that I'm very appreciate of the "tent" I got for Christmas last year.  It is pretty heavy for constant use, and ungainly to do anything but ride in, but my "Kix 'n Bux" rain slicker is a lifesaver, in the winter in particular, and doubly so when riding in snow covered timber.  It is built specifically for riding and covers your entire saddle front to back.  It is tough as heck (even I can't wreck it) and is as water proof at the end of the day as at the beginning.  
     I sent up a silent but heartfelt 'thanks' to the designer this spring.....  It had been pouring rain and I was riding through a nasty, muddy, brushy piece of range (to save another mile to get around it....totally worth it in theory...)  Neither my horse nor I saw the massive hole that we suddenly dropped into, hard and fast enough that I'm sure Smooses nose hit the ground.  And that's a long way up to start with.  She lunged forward to get out of it, and dropped right in to another one.  She hesitated for a moment (on her knees) and I frantically assured her we were all good and would she, oh pretty please sweetheart, stay stopped long enough for me to get all the way off because me getting half off and her taking another lunge would catapult me who knows how far, so if she was going to do another lunge, please let me know so I can stay aboard, good girl you're ok, please don't make me walk back, or fling me forward and then lunge on top of me, whoa sweetheart, it's okay, stay down another moment, let me help you, just wait for me.....  
     In the midst of all this reassuring and mumbling, I was attempting to toss myself off the side and land upright without the use of my stirrups and with my large rain jacket not making me any more nimble.  (I had kicked my feet out of my stirrups with the second lunge because it is safer to get flung free then hung up.  Or get trapped with a leg underneath if she landed on her side.)  So as I go over the side of my mare, guess what.......yep, totally hung up on my saddle horn by my jacket.        Here is an absolute disaster about to happen.....makes my skin crawl to think of it.  Hung up on a saddle horn while the horse lunges, hopefully doesn't fall on you and probably eventually starts bucking or bolts......  geez louise.  But now (or shortly after) is when I gave my thanks to the designer.  
     There are no zippers.  What goes over the saddle horn when you are riding is closed with snaps and velcro, which comes apart easily with a little pressure.  To be honest, I hadn't even thought about that feature up until then, but I was sure thankful to see all those snaps pop apart and set me free.  And my darling Schmoose stayed nice and still until I was in a safe spot and then she heaved up and we walked right on through as calm as you please.  
     Next time I'll ride around. 

Bringing cows home from the bottom end of the hay meadow at Five Mile.  My kind of selfie....  

Ready for their hay bales.

The dogs and I on a hike, checking on the water situation.  All good.  

Moving the young stock up from Three Circle to Five Mile.  I know all this moving around seems confusing, but honestly, we don't cattle drive for the fun of it.  :)  The cows were in excellent feed in one of our hay meadows at Three Circle all fall.  When the snow got a bit deep for them and the feed started to get short, we moved them up to Five Mile to feed until calving season.  Although there is plenty of hay at Three Circle, that hay will sit until our calving season gets going.  The mommas with their new babies are taken down there to fresh pastures and feed grounds and the hay will disappear quickly enough then!  With our properties being so spread out, planning ahead for cattle feed (particularly pastures and hay) is super important.   

Heading back from feeding.  

The "misfits' pen.  This little gang are kept separate for the winter.  While they are all healthy, they were pulled from the main replacement calf herd because of one reason or another.  Mostly just too small/young to do well with the bigger group.  You can see a cow we brought in as well, whom I think has a sprained toe.  They are grained and offered the best hay and plenty of room and shelter.  By spring, they will be together with all the others and plenty strong to wrestle at the grain troughs.   

Trailing back from the water hole. 

Boys are delighted to be back at their favorite winter sports....skiing and sledding behind the snowmachine.  It's pretty fun to watch actually, I quite enjoy taking them.  In this photo it is so windy that they are being blown backwards......

Jackson turned 13 on January 1st (13!!) and once again Amy outdid herself with his cake!  She is a true food artist.

View of Five Mile tonight, after our latest dump of snow.  Winter is here.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and all the very best for a 
Healthy 2019!