Monthly Archives: June 2010

Another Day in Paradise

Pashaw came with me today. Just the three of us: her, me, the big yellow horse, Wilbur checking the early Red Angus herd. The more I’m with this pup the more I like her. She really listens and tries to be a good dog, so much like her dad, my good dog Blue.
I prayed the wind would blow to help not being eaten alive by bugs and it blew. I couldn’t find the cows at first, not in the usual places, hard to misplace over 400 pairs. Then I thought “Think like a cow. Face into the wind and I’ll find the cows”, so I did and I did. 

I  just like cows. I really admire their mothering ability. I tried hard to be a good mom too.

I took this to show one of the Native plants around here and got two: Alberta’s provincial flower the wild rose, and what I really wanted to show Jennifer, who is trying to explain Mesquite to me, our Thorny Buffalo Berry. It has nasty, mean thorns that poke through my jeans and make my legs bleed when I have to ride in them. (If you make the picture bigger you can see the thorns better). Later in the year they have masses of red berries that I hear you can make jam out of. I never have. Who would want to fight those thorns for the berries? 
A “Species at Risk’ bird, the Loggerhead Shriek uses the thorns to impale it’s prey because it doesn’t have talons like raptors. I have seen little dead snakes hanging from barb wire that they have used for the same purpose. They are also known as butcher birds for obvious reasons.
On the way home we saw another Antelope. It was sleeping but I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough. Ya, just another day in paradise.
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Home on the Range

On the way to the South Camp to move cows we saw this young mule deer (note the big ears like a mule) in velvet just sleeping by the road.

Then a little farther South we saw this antelope. It reminded me of one of the few songs I knew as a child.

Home, home on the range
where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard
a discouraging word,
and the skies are not cloudy all day.”
I guess my home is on that range, maybe except for the skies not being cloudy.
We moved around 500 pairs (I guess that’s really 1000 animals) a few miles today, my cowboy and I and the dogs. We took our time and that means about 5 hours but it all went pretty smooth. We work well together; we’ve been doing it so long that sometimes outside help confuses us (but it’s always still appreciated).

Roxy, Pashaw, and Blue had lots of water breaks which was important since it was so hot. 

When we were waiting for the last cows to go through the gate Blue found the only shade there was, me.

They always think their mother/daughter/son is back there somewhere, but they’ll eventually sort it out.

Another good day with a handsome cowboy.

Speicies at Risk

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Somehow Varmint knocked my camera on the floor and the battery popped out and now I can’t find it. (I have to look even harder). I tried to find it when the little girl from Operation Grassland Communities came so we could take some pictures of the hawks that I thought might be a “Species at Risk” Ferrugenous Hawk. And of course they were and no picture. And we saw another species, the Loggerhead Shrike, and no picture.

I think I’m going to put Varmint on the Speicies at Risk list.

Sunday Stills-History

I had a lot of fun looking around my house for history. Here goes. The horse my grandmother in Wales sent me over 50 years ago so I’m pretty sure it’s older than 60 years. The picture frame (with one of my beautiful daughter’s wedding picture) is not a reproduction and the hand crocheted runner on the piano was made by my great grandmother.

A button or spat hook, a small broach made from mother of pearl, and my grandmothers locket with a beautifully engraved message in Danish on the back of it.

Hand crocheted gloves from the era when no one went out without gloves. (I still always wear gloves but they are leather work ones).

My actual sewing machine. Apparently singer still makes treadle machines. This one was from the 1940’s

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love books. The Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary from 1924 is one of my pride and joys. 
But my washing machine I think is my favorite. I went to an auction with Crystal and bought it for $30 which is probably more than what it cost new. Also if you know me you know I like doing the laundry, one of my fond memories from my childhood I guess.
 It is the coolest thing. It has it’s own built in scrub board.

 That handle on the front you use to make it tip one way then the other for the aggitation.

I wish I had the wringer that fits on the back but the tray is still there that directs the water back into the tub so it’s not messy or wasting water when you wring out your clothes. Note the little drain on the bottom that a hose will fit into so you can easily drain it when you are done.
It is damaged and rusted on the very bottom inside or I might actually use it, in the summer at least. I’m trying to figure out a way to fix it so I can. I repainted the outside after I read that painting can prolong the life of galvanized things which is what this is. But the paint can wear off and get on your clothes so it doesn’t work for the inside. If anyone has any ideas?

Duck Works

Another pretty day. Today we rode close to the Ducks Unlimited project. Cattle were stickin’ near the water in the heat.

The project consists of a series of sloughs connected by ditches. This is an overflow from upstream.

This is the down stream side showing how the ditch leads to another slough.

Cattle like to hang out in shade of the brush that grows nearby (especially the black ones).

The roses are so pretty right now.

We parked up on a hill way west of the house trailer and rode out and back from there. It’s the west side of a large basin that we live in.

I thought I might include this picture of a “Welcome Home” bronze one of our daughters bought us. She said that is how she always remembers us: me running to her dad to give him a kiss whenever he came home. We don’t have to be apart anymore now that the kids are raised. We ride out and we come home together. Its a good time in our lives, well worth the wait. 
The couple in the pictures are my great-grandfather and great-grandmother. I’m not sure exactly how long they were married, over 60 years. My grandparents were married 63 years and my folks were married a month short of 50 years when my dad passed away. We’ve been married over  30 years. I always tell my girls, they come from a long line of Love.

Huge Grumblings

I guess you have to know how terrified I am of lightening to really appreciate this. But I say to my cowboy: “I think that storm is coming our way” He’s says: “No it’s headed south, away from us.” I ride on, not quite believing him but . .  he is the boss, right?

I say: “I really think that storm is coming our way.”  He says: “It’ll be quite a while before it gets here.” I ride on, not quite believing him but . . . he is the boss, right?

The feeling in the air changes to muggy and still and without a word he turns and heads back to the trailer. I follow; after all he is the boss, right? On the way there I hear grumbling (and not from me). 

 Just as we finished loading up it starts to spit. Whew! It’s already pretty wet driving through the lease so we decide it might be more prudent to go the long way around, on pavement. About a 35-40 minute drive.

About here we stop and put the dogs in the back seat of the new truck ( that we are only using on the lease because the work truck has a broken wheel and has to sit in the field till we can pay for the repairs) which the cowboy swore they would never be allowed to do.

Yup, that was a good idea.

Blue and Roxy aren’t so sure. (that’s the cane my cowboy is hobbling around with since he pulled his groin muscle getting bucked off a while back)

The back side of the storm. I didn’t get any of the lightening in a picture but it was there along with all that huge grumbling. Another day, not hit by lightening, life is good.

A happy Day

Here’s Buddy wondering where his favorite cowboy is going with the trailer ( another broken bull was headed home) I thought it was cute and took this picture just before he headed off after him.  I did finally catch him.

Here’s Pic very carefully eating the leaves of prairie rose bushes. He must just be sick of all the grass and have a craving for something different. (note the new taps)

It hard to explain the smell of the prairie this time of year. The wolf willow with it’s soft, baby powder smell, the rose bushes blooming everywhere, and the underlying scent of sage.

And here’s Bathsheba cooling her bag. It was hot and she is black.

Then after all our work was done we went over to the neighbors to help them change pastures. The little girl on the buttermilk buckskin just had a baby 3 weeks ago. She said it felt so good to be back on a horse. 

Roxy headed back down the road to the trucks. She’s a good worker; doesn’t get the cattle to riled up.

Old cowboys sure like to tell stories, and the young cowboys who are wanting to learn listen to them all.

This picture doesn’t show it but on the way home it looked like the moon was peeking over the clouds at us. I always kind of think of that guy in the moon as being kind of a friend of mine.

Fastest Bull Loading Ever

Fastest bull loading I’ve ever seen. Must have taken all of 2 minutes to get him into the trailer. Too fast to even take a picture. We loaded a big white bull that was in the wrong field (again) by the dugout (above) in the Spring field. He must have known (from last time) that he had done wrong. Tonight he’s complaining outside in the corral by the house. Tomorrow he’ll get dropped off way away from those poor red angus cows that are supposed to be bred by red angus bulls.

Note how long the grass is in the foreground. Grass around dugouts is never that long. You can almost hear the grass growing it’s growing so fast with all that rain and now the heat.

Had to send home another Simmental (that makes 2) with a broken penis. I didn’t think those bulls really fought that much. They are actually pretty respectful of each other. I guess I don’t know what goes on when we’re not there.

And I mowed the grass around the trailer and sweat big time (not a pretty sight)

My Best Friend

My cowboy and I have an odd marriage. We are everything to each other: business partners, boss and hired man, husband and wife, sweethearts and lovers, and (best of all) best friends.

Some times my business partner makes rash decisions with out my input and drives me crazy but I admire my boss’s ability with cattle. Some times I hate my boss but my husband is a good guy. Some times I’m mad at my husband but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to go to the branding with my best friend . . .  you get the picture.

It’s our way of dealing with being together 24/7 and working cows which can be frustrating for anyone, never mind a husband and wife doing it together. It might be a unique strategy but it’s worked for over 30 years, for us.

Today I had to go to town for supplies and a few groceries while my cowboy had to stay home and work. I missed him the whole time.




The Moral of the Story

Coming Home after a long day I found this little visitor on the handrail by the steps to our door. It was a cheerful little reminder that life really is wonderful and God does love me, in spite of myself.

It was just a long hard day, one of the ones I’d almost rather not discuss (which always means my cowboy and I had a ‘falling out’). The moral of that story is don’t try working cows if you don’t have enough time; the only thing that happens is every one gets grumpy and nothing good ever gets accomplished.