Hope

IMG_8729.JPGsuch a hopeful saying, one of my favorites when life feels hard.

Water

IMG_8774.JPGCan you see the rock splash? We were checking to see how much water before we turned cows into the field. It looks big but it was iffy how long it would last with the cows we planned to move there. Luckily we found a much better water source not too far away.

It’s all a big learning experience for us. It takes a while to figure out all the water and gates on over 40,000 acres.

Through the Gate

IMG_8769.JPGIt’s always such a happy event for cattle to go through a gate. You can almost hear them shrieking: “fresh grass!!!!” Pic and I won’t be watching that together again till I go through my own Gate. Sure hope he’s there waiting for me when I arrive.

Last Minutes

Had to to take a break today.

IMG_8760.JPGThis is a picture of my last minutes with Pic. Not sure what it was exactly, other than just plain old age, but he was sick and I made the heart wrenching decision to do what was best for him.

It’s been a 17 year long friendship. We’ve done so much together. He’s had my life in his hands too often to count and always taken care of me, and so many cows we’ve helped or moved together. How will I ever manage without him?

I can say about him the best that can be said of any horse, that he was a cowhorse. To live a life of true partnership with an old cowgirl in service to the humble cow is a life well lived.

If the doors to Heaven are opened based on the service you have done for others then I know that Pic will qualify for entrance there. I’m sure God, Himself, was waiting at the gate to welcome my old cowhorse home.

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45 minutes a Day

I had a doctor tell me that getting your heart rate up for 45 minutes a day was a real immune system booster. He asked if that happened for me working out on the prairie and I had to tell the truth and say that my horse does most of the work. Unless things got exciting (never a good thing) my heart rate stayed pretty normal.

So I decided after my horse was finished working I better put out some effort ( not easy on a still sore foot). So Blue and I go for a walk every evening. I can hobble, just not jog. 22 1/2 minutes down the gravel road that only we use, turn around, and 22 1/2 minutes back.

I have to say I’m awfull glad to see the Texas gate into the yard on my way back.

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Tiffs

No that’s not some technical jargon, it’s a pretty word for an argument. Lest you ever think living with a cowboy is all roses I’m here to say Tiffs are not that uncommon.

We both have good ideas and bad ideas. A bad idea is what makes it harder for me (in my books) and vice versa for him.

Like the day we were hunting for a missing bull and I said I think we should go this way and he insisted we go the other. In our circuitous route (of four hours) back to the stock trailer we found him not a hundred feet from where we started, in the direction I suggested. He asked: “how’d you know?” I didn’t even answer him.

But then, the other day we were moving cows and I was quite put out to think he was insisting on doing it the hard way, yet again. It was really hot that day by the time we were done and I was plumb crabby. Then we checked our rotation plan when we got back to cow camp and I realized if we had done it my way we would have missed using a field.

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Super Trouper

IMG_8675.JPGMr. Shadey Trouper is the quarter horse registry name of the little flea bitten grey standing next to my old Pic horse. We call him Super Trouper. He’s a character, all cow horse, and way more cable than his 15 hands would indicate.

I always say if a cow could climb a tree or go down a badger hole, Trouper would go there right after them. It takes a brave soul to ride him. He will go paces and do things that scare me.

And my cowboy is the only one that can get his hanger/head stall on him. Every one thinks they’d like a ranch horse to ride but I’m here to tell you that the really good ones, the average person probably could get a saddle on them or in Trouper’s case, a bridle.

I’ve seen my cowboy brush ice off his back, throw the saddle on and go out in a blizzard to rescue a newborn calf without complaint from this little horse. On the other hand don’t start swearing and being a jerk or he’ll buck your butt off.

He’s smart too. He made Pic his buddy because Pic gets spoiled a little and then he does too. I’m just glad Pic has a friend (only one I know of, besides me, that is. )

My cowboy figures I’ll die first (he said so he could always take care of me) and one day he just said to me: “When you come for me, bring Trouper.” I knew right off what he meant and I will.

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A Small Footrint

IMG_8731.JPGthe place we are on has a head quarters. We don’t go there much but we had to move cows north through the smaller pastures and corrals there.

All tolled this place has about 182 acres of corrals building and yards, that’s bigger than a lot of people’s whole place. I suppose they thought that was a drop in the bucket compared to 42,000 acres.

I believe in small footprints meaning I’m not one to disturb nature with buildings and roads to buildings, garbage, or any sign of humans, I guess. I’d be happy if no one could tell I was ever there, like the Indians in years past. Although I did see a TP ring at the south end here the other day. So they moved a few rocks around; I can live with that.

Coyotes

We moved another group of cows today and it turned out to be hotter than we planned for. I try not to take my old dog when it gets so hot because he’s a really hard worker and that means he can get overheated. And that means I have to quit what I’m doing and take him to a dugout, dam, or tank for a swim whenever I get near one. He was headed there himself today and I had to trot my horse to keep up, especially when I saw the coyote near the dugout. I’ve had them attack him before and had to protect him more than once. They can be really gaully.

When Blue wasn’t much more than a pup, my husband kept yelling: “Look back!” which is a command we would give to our working dogs when they had left a cow or calf behind so I didn’t realize that his command was directed at me. When I finally did twig on and looked back there was a coyote stalking my young dog, only about 5 feet behind him.

Another time a male coyote literally attacked Blue every time I was more than 2 or 3 feet away. I took down my rope and tried roping that coyote but he stayed just out of reach. I tried just chasing him off with my horse but when I would leave Blue unprotected he would slip by me and attack him again. I finally had to get off my horse and stand over my dog, one leg on either side of him, till my cowboy rode up. The two horses and riders were more intimidating so I was able to get Blue away to safety.

I noticed that time that there was a female coyote and three pups, not far away, watching so I thought this was a family and the male was protecting what was his.

Today this sneaky coyote slipped behind the piled up dirt at the dugout and watched Blue swimming but didn’t cause us any grief. I think that’s a trick they use lots, sneaking behind a hill or using a low spot to keep out of site. I’ll have some pictures as soon as I can get them off my phone camera which my cowboy has right now.

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IMG_8736.JPGhe or she might be hard to see but you if look real hard you’ll see it.

Moving Black Cows

IMG_8623.JPGWe moved the headache herd this week. There was a road (of sorts) to follow but no they go the hard way through the rocks and up the hill.

It’s really not their fault. They have never been in these pastures before and it must seam easier to follow the leader than think it through yourself. (maybe we are more like cows than we think). It wasn’t a real easy move for just my cowboy and I because of the rough terrain.

It could have been a lot longer move but when we found most of them, they were close to the gate that went down the hill, over the almost nonexistent river, and up the other side. We left them in a smaller field around cowcamp till we could get them all, then we invited our other kids (the ones we just wished we had born and raised; they are so good to us) to help us move them from there to the good water in their new field. They must love us, it was almost a four hour drive for them all to come help.

IMG_8696.JPG We’ve been waiting for news of a baby coming for this young couple and we were so excited to hear one is on its way in January. It made my heart melt to know this new little person will be sleeping in the same little cradle my babies slept in and his or her (we don’t know which yet) clothes will be housed in the little dresser I used as a child.

IMG_8698.JPG and these are two girls I just love. The one calls us mom and dad and grandpa and grandma to her two little girls. We’ve known and rode with them both since before they were old married ladies. They are all good hands which made a hard move easy-peazy.

It’ was a real pretty ride on a cool but pretty day in a pretty field by this almost non-existant or lost river in a glacial melt caused valley with people I love.

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Life is good.