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.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Fall Riding and Shipping Out

Yeah, it's been a wet ones.  Wettest anyone can remember.  But you know all that, I've complained before.  Thought I'd share a few photos tonight of our fall round up.  It has gone very well actually, which is a real blessing.  With this much water around, if we had gotten a wack of cold weather, we would have been in trouble.  The cows won't travel and the horses can't.  As it was, Eli and I did more hiking than either of us would prefer, simply because taking a horse wasn't an option, as it usually is.  And no doubt we ask more of our horses than most.  They spend more time than they would prefer breaking through ice and slugging through frozen mud.  Incredible animals, again, I'm grateful. 
In any case, the weather temperature is decent enough, though it still hasn't stopped raining.  Our driveway......ugh, let's talk about something else.....

Ah, but the calves look outstanding, and I think even better than usual.

A month has passed since I started this post.....

Well, it still hasn't stopped raining, but I'm done talking about that.  Pretty redundant.  

Instead I'll find some photos for you, and maybe there is a story in there somewhere too.  Although it is likely a wet one.  

Nice photo of Kelsey doing a good job riding a young horse on the range.

Bringing a few more stragglers in.  We were sure lucky with the weather for gathering this fall.  It stayed warm, for the most part.  It's so incredibly wet that even a little ice is a huge problem for the stock to travel.  Nothing wants to move, and rightfully so....

That's a large number of moo's right there.

This last photo was taken as we were doing the final gather from the hay meadow to bring them down to start sorting in the corral system for shipping.  This means separating all the calves and cows, separating the steers from the heifers, separating the replacements from the heifers to be sold, separating anything that won't go because of lameness etc, sorting, sorting sorting. I can't begin to explain what a huge morning/day that is, but I do know that I dread it.   As we need to do so much in such a small time period, we try and be as organized as possible, and anticipate any problems, fixing  any broken rails, prepping paperwork ahead of time etc.  Knock on wood, generally everything goes very well.  But it is still super stressful and so many decisions need to be made too quickly.  So much potential for disaster...and when your whole years paycheck is bawling in the pens, as well as the potential for coming years, you best be making sound decisions.  And quick, since those trucks are not cheap and get paid by the hour.
With the mud this year, it was extra difficult.  We had some exceptionally good help and sure appreciated the expertise they brought.    
I have to mention that on several occasions, I also appreciated the amount of time and effort we put in to having easy handling stock.  When you are nearly knee deep in cement like mud, there is simply no possibility of "quickly getting out of the way".  You can't hardly get around at all, having to consciously move each leg to just get across the alley.  If you did move fast, it would be one single move, leaving your boot behind (or just flopping to the ground with your feet still in place), and then you'd be stuck again.  It was truly unbelievable, utterly exhausting and honestly, pretty darn dangerous.  Having cattle that are quiet but responsive and that respect your space made that day even possible.  I was sure glad when all the animals were loaded and out without incident to them or us.  To be sure, we all slept soundly that night, with no one feeling the need to head to the gym.   

On a more positive note (besides that we got through shipping without anyone getting hurt) is that I found my radio after loosing it in that mud in the alley way.  Can you imagine?  It had about a hundred cows run over it and several hundred calves before I happened to notice just the antenna sticking up....  I realized I'd lost it earlier and stopped the whole operation to look, but no luck.  When I did find it, my delighted amazement turned to sorrow when it appeared to be working but I couldn't hear what was being said, even at full volume.  Then I realized the speaker was chock full of mud, cleaned it out and...haha! All good!  Icom's are tough, I'm hear to tell ya.

Our calves were very well received at the sale yard and sold well for the most part (although I wouldn't be a rancher if I didn't wish prices were a tad bit better....like they were the week before.....)  The weights were near a record high for us.   

Fall riding.  Usually my favorite time of year.  
Ah, who am I kidding.....my favorite time of year is the view between these ears.

Alright, just another goofy meme but I nearly blew coffee through my nose when I saw it.  This.....my kids.  They laughed nearly as hard, and agreed with me.

Forced to sell.  These girls are on their final trip from Five Mile to Six Mile to be loaded on the big trucks.  Selling them will allow us to buy enough hay (along with what we were able to get up) for the rest of them.

Country girls in the big city.  

I missed the best photo when all the cows were looking up at the auctioneers as though a grain bucket was being shaken.  So strange and funny, this never happens.  Almost like they were saying "make sure you tell potential buyers about...."
Was sure sad to see them go, but I know the majority went to good local ranchers who will benefit from having them.  We've already gotten several compliments on how quiet they are.  I have to mention....there MAY be one or two in there that are not so quiet.  "Bye-bye Cleo.....I won't miss you!!"

Cheers all,


Sage said...

Love your posts and pics. Completely envious of your life.

Anonymous said...

Your cows look real good. Sorry to hear about so much rain. Love your stories and always happy when your post lands in my inbox.

Angie in Tennessee

AJ said...

Certainly a wet year. Here in the East Kootenays weather was a little friendlier and haying was reasonable so only the culls and opens went. I'm sure sad to see those hard working mama's go. Though my herd is tiny I would agree with you that shipping day is pretty stressful. Love your photo's and agree with your thoughts on a good day. Here is a quote that I like "The Horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, a willing servant but never a slave. R Duncan" I hope your winter is dry without too much ice. cheers, Anna