Monthly Archives: February 2011

Cold

Brrr! I’m just plain cold today. The temperature’s not so bad but the wind chill is brutal. It was too nasty to risk the drive to work today on the back roads I have to travel on.

Doing chores, only my eyes were showing under the brim of my hat. Pic and Trouper came when I called and walked themselves out through the gate and in through the far door of the barn, no halters. They are happy to stand there and eat their 2 cans of oats and a manager full of hay.

The other horses I tried to feed out of the wind on the south side of the barn. I have 3 horses stuck in a pen because the snow has drifted so bad I can’t get the gate open. The barn shelters them from the North-east wind but not so much from the North-west.

Next year, I’m gonna make sure things are set up better. Some snow fence would help I think. I will never be so glad to see Spring in my whole life.

Remembering the Sabbath

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”. Exodus 10:8

I guess I’m really writing this for me. I’m the one that needs to remember. The Lord sometimes needs to konk me on the head to get through to me. Let me tell you a true story from my own life to illustrate how thick-skulled I can be.

I wasn’t taught much about God or his commandments or much about prayer when I was kid and when I got married I didn’t know how to live different than what my parents had.

I thought praying was a bit weird, words that maybe went up but hit the ceiling and there they stayed.  I figured Sunday was a good day to catch up on the kind of work that the money-making kind of work kept you from doing, like yard work. My parents always did yard work on Sundays.

But being married to the cowboy that I am, I learned from him to kneel and thank God at night for the day’s blessing and talk over with God how I could do better tomorrow. And in the morning review those things and ask Him for help to do them. (I’ve always needed lots of help).

Well, that seemed good but I couldn’t figure out how throwing in a load of wash on Sundays was a not remembering the Sabbath (The washing machine was working, not me). My cowboy said it wasn’t a good idea. And it wasn’t.

One Sunday I did it, threw in a load, hit the button and headed off to church. When I got home the machine was broke and I had to rinse all the clothes and squeeze out the water by hand. My cowboy gave me that look and I said:”It’s just a coincidence.” But I didn’t do wash on Sundays for a while, a few months.

Then one Sunday the kids were out of clothes and I thought: What the heck? Yup, same thing happened, rinse and squeeze. My cowboy didn’t say: I told you so, but he ‘looked’ it.

Well, it was a year or so before I lapsed the third time. The machine was working wonderfully, no problems. I thought, just this once. Ha, of course, rinse and squeeze. The hammer fell and finally it got through to me.

My cowboy explained it to me this way (more than once). He said he’d learned things just go better if you don’t work and spend the day thinking about how to do better. Everybody, everything, needs a rest, even machinery. He’d tried the same as me but with tractor work and found out the hard way, like I had, that the Lord will bless us for doing the right thing.

It’s one of the hardest things for me to do, lay off work for one day. But in the end it’s in my best interest, not because I have to keep learning the lesson, but because the Lord’s commandments are made for our benefit.

Ground Blizzard

I didn’t take my camera today so these are pictures from yesterday.

The chute in the warm barn. I have no idea why it’s yellow but I like it.

The Chute with a cow standing in it. This one lost her ear tag but she has a tattoo inside her ear with a number so she is waiting to get her new earing put back into her ear.

If you look real close you can peek at my boss.

I got to come home early today as everyone was worried about the roads. It snowed for a while then quit, then blew so that the roads were drifting in and visibility was severely limited. But I only hit one big snow drift across the road and it wasn’t that bad.

I was worried about one old cow, 154. She was going to calf on wet bedding in the wind outside and I was worried about a Popsicle Pete baby so they put her in the barn to calf. I left before the big event but I’m sure she’s much better off in the barn.

I put out some,  I always want to call it Dicotomous Earth but it’s some other D I think Dioteacous, (I don’t know), word for the calves to munch on. They seemed pretty happy to have new stuff to mess around in.

It’s good to have a little extra time at home. My housework is behind. But that’s calving time for you.

Baby Pictures

I love my job.

How cool is it to work somewhere where it is someone’s birthday everyday?

Trust

I haven’t thought a lot about fear and my relationship to my horses but this post made me consider it today.

Horses are big, powerful animals with defenses that make ours look pretty puny. We are actually quite fragile in comparison. I think maybe it’s normal self-preservation that makes us, at least a little afraid, initially. Like when we first started riding or when we ride a horse we don’t know yet.

That’s where trust comes in. Trust overcomes those fears. We learn to trust them and they learn to trust us. (Horses have fears too; they have self-preservation instincts like we do. )

A horse that has never been betrayed, that trusts completely, is an awesome deal. They can go and do awesome things with us, unhindered by emotional baggage that even horses get. That’s the kind of horse a person can trust with our fragileness.

I’m maybe in a bit of a different situation than a lot of horse owners in that I have to rely on them to help me get my work done and to keep me safe doing it. It’s kind of dangerous work and I have to put my life in my horses “hands” pretty often. They have to be something special; they have to trust me so that their fears don’t distract them in a crucial moment. It’s up to me to never betray that trust so that I can be safe.

I’m working on my attitude to be one that my first thought as I ride is: what does my horse need from me? What can I do to help him? and less: “I want him to do this, or that”. More of “What is the kind way to get this done?”

I used to be a bully, try to force things. I KNOW that don’t work.

Yah, I’m scared lots. I cry; I bawl, in fact, I get so scared. I don’t want to tie onto a bull. I don’t want to be out on the prairie in a lightning storm. I don’t want to ride through quagmires. But I trust my horse and if I don’t I figure it’s me that better change and start doing something better.

Handwriting

Well today I feel better, like jumping out of my skin. My mind  is going a million miles an hour after feeling ‘blecky’ for so long. So this will be an odd post for a normally calmer cowgirl.

Nicole does such interesting things on her blog. Check out her “handwriting”.  It’s always interesting and fun to get to know her better. Gotta love that girl.

So here’s my show and tell but first a warning: it might look like I’m a little ‘skitzo’ but really I’m not. (Well . . . maybe today)

I write with both hands, my left not as good but still fairly fast and I have an artistic side that likes flourishes and going outside the lines.

I have fast writing for when I’m in a hurry taking notes, I print lots, use arrows a lot, and I fiddle around occasionally writing backwards left-handed. I some times write like my mother (who wrote a lot like her parents) but mostly I think I write more like my dad with a little of my sister thrown into the mix. I used to write like John Jensen who sat in front of me in school in grade 6 but I’m glad I got over that!

Time to Learn

So much to learn, so little time. That’s one good thing about winter or even about being sick enough to hide inside, time to learn.

I have learned so much about horse anatomy (which improves my drawing) from helping Ian Zoerb with his blogsite. It’s fun too, to see him learning to do things for himself on the computer. I’m impressed.

And I learned how to embed a PDF in my boss’s blogsite so folks could see his Bull Sale catalogue and even download it or print it if they want. If you’re looking for good Red Angus Yearling Bulls his sale is in March in Brooks, Alberta.

Too, I’ve learned lots about computer drawing. I’m an old pencil and paper girl but I have to say there’s lots of fun stuff you can do with a computer when it comes to graphics.

So that’s been my world lately. Hopefully I can get back to work soon. I’m pretty sure I’m being missed, at least by the cows.

Tammy’s Folks

When we moved to the lease here we met a lot of good people. I liked Tammy’s mom right off. She told me her husband, who had passed away,  spent a lot of time helping on the lease and always tried to keep track of the lease rider in case he was ever hurt, because of an incident that happened with one of the riders many years ago.

I quote from an article by George Rempel in the Brooks Bulletin, January 1961 that referred to the incident.

“Since the range rider is usually alone there is always the element of danger, when he must rely entirely on his own initiative. This brings to mind the experience of Don Sampson, who for nine years was employed as range rider by the Grazing Association. He is at present riding for the McKinnon ranch south of Bassano.

“On December 1st, 1955 Sampson sustained a badly fractured leg and narrowly escaped death by freezing when his horse fell with him north of Rosemary. He was chasing horses when his horse stepped into a snow-covered badger hole and rolled over him. Unable to stand or mount his horse after the accident, he was compelled to crawl two miles to his camp on his back with the injured limb carried on his good leg. It took him nine hours, from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday to crawl the two miles through the snow in subzero temperatures. His hand and the broken leg were frostbitten, the latter somewhat severely.

“The man laid unaided in his camp until Monday afternoon at two o’clock when he was discovered and taken to the Brooks Hospital by Ernest Klassen, rancher of Rosemary and Hanna, who dropped in to inquire about some cattle.”

One thing I do know about cowboys is that they are a tough lot (old cowgirls not so much, at least not this one).

Some one told me that Tammy’s Dad always said he was born a cowboy that ended up having to be an irrigation farmer even though his heart wasn’t in it, his heart was more at “home on the range.” That makes me think I would have really liked him too.

This is Tammy. She likes cows like I do. You all would love her.

Still Alive and Kickin’

I am. But not kickin’ at much.

A New Family Member

Today we went and picked up, Bartly, our new family member, a gift from a friend of my cowboy. This fellow is so good to us. He’s a good man, a good businessman, a smart guy, always thinking. I can’t help but point you here to check out this fellow and his horses. He’s standing some good ones.

It’ll be a while before we see what this youngster is made of: lots of thoroughbred in his pedigree (dam’s side), his left knee looks like it has some problems that we’re thinking he’ll grow out of, sweet disposition, nice looking, and a good-sized yearling. We can afford a little patience.