Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Music in Me

Remember that show: Touched by an Angel with Roma Downey (pretty girl)

how she thought because she was an angel she should be able to sing and was always so sad when she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket? We’ll that’s me (except about being an angel or being that pretty). I try and try to sing but it’s just plumb horrible. I just can’t hit a note dead on for love nor money (not one good note).

This is from the granddaughter of the choir leader in our church (for 40) years and with my Dad being Welsh too (shoot-they love singing there). It’s a sad deal.

I didn’t really know how bad I was and feel awful to have put my poor horses through years of torture listening to my caterwalling when I’m riding along. Just lately I tried using a little electronic tuner to maybe help me hit a note.

I thought maybe singing louder, with more force, would help. No, that didn’t work either. So I’ve decided to give it up (wait till I tell my horses, that aught to make them smile).

Yup, I’m giving up singing but there is music in me just busting to get out. Soooo… TA-DA!!!!

It’s a mandolin. Not an expensive one. But it came with 4 books, the case, the stand,

 some clamp things (I have no idea what they are called).

a good CD  to practice with

So far I’ve replace all the strings (I broke one and could only buy a set anyway).

bought 4 pics of various hardnesses,

(note the angels on them to remind me not to try and sing along)

sanded the bridge down because the ‘action’ was too high and adjusted the strings distance apart from each other to accommodate my puny fingers (not for the faint of heart but the bridge is removable on a mandolin, go figure), and watched YouTube How-to’s for days (you can learn anything on YouTube).

Not like I don’t have enough to do but if I can’t sing what other option is there?


Wart’s Day

It was Wart’s turn today. As a three year old we try to make his days easy and shorter.

Like all the horses (and me) he loves my cowboy.

It was a nice day, a little warm, not too many bugs thanks to the breeze, out checking my favourite lease herd, the Simmental bunch. I think Wart had fun.

Not too much going so no hard work, but things to see, like Mrs. Billboard.

and Mrs. Ugly-but-nice and her young daughter.

There was a slight issue that he complained about by stopping and pointing at his cinch a few times.

But my cowboy got off, did a little adjusting and off he went happy as a lark.

There was a can off oats in the tie stall for him when he got home. I think he thought it was a good day.

Short Memory

Today was the first time I really appreciated having a short memory.

but not so short that I didn’t keep one arm length from the wooden boards so I could scramble up if I had too. It was the first time I faced a charolais on foot in the corral since that one that took me out for 6 weeks last year doing the same thing.

We moved a couple hundred pairs today out of a small field and out one gate. It was a super easy move and I brought Blue to let him work. It was just the right amount to help him feel good about himself but enough to poop him out pretty good. He sure has slowed down. But his son Gus is starting do his share. He reminds me a lot of Blue. I’m glad that little pup picked me last year.

This is my cowboy watching Pshaw do an awesome 1/4 mile outrun to pick up an old black cow and her calf that were hold up in some brush instead of moving with the bunch (down a hill where you can’t see them in the photo). He come back with a pretty big smile and bragging up his little girl dog.

Well, bulls I like to forget but not good days like today.

Gelbveih, Schmelveih

Some days are just bad, for one reason or another. The reason today was Gelbvieh cows. Might as well have been moving a herd of mice.

Have I ever said I hate Gelbveih cows.

In my book they are right up there will Charolais Bulls. Not that they are mean they just have NO herd instinct. I suspect if they aren’t in a 40 acre pasture tittilated with a bale truck or a bucket the owners  can’t even do anything with them. They sure don’t belong out on the range upsetting all the nice cows and running meat off the other members calves.

So any of you Gelbveigh owners out there, I refuse to apologize for  my feelings about these cows and if you think I’m wrong I invite you to come move cows with me sometime. In fact I dare you. And when you’ve had enough of that we’ll start pulling the Charolais bulls.

Ladies Livestock Lessons

It was an interesting couple of days as usual.

I was hoping to learn about Rough Fescue grass but learned about tame grass instead, brome and timothy. We don’t have Rough Fescue; it’s a further west, in the foothills, type grass. Our  major grass is Needle and Thread with Blue Gramma, drought tolerant types (they probably doesn’t know what to think with all this rain).

We had a good low stress livestock handler, Dylan Biggs, show us some stuff. I learned the value of pairing up before and during a move and realize we get in to big a flap to get things going. It usually goes pretty good but there have been times that I’m sure paying more attention to pairing would have helped.

A really bright young woman, Elisa Marques, taught us lots about genetic basics and  evb’s and epd’s. That whole thing makes way more sense to me know although I might need a refresher course to pick up everything I want to know.

A 3 women band called the Genuine Cowgirls entertained us one night. They convinced me that I’m real glad I didn’t marry a rodeo cowboy. 2 of them did and have had to do a lot of the ranch work with their men gone so much. The 3rd gal’s guy has to work out, driving and is gone lots too. She played the mandolin (I’d like to play the mandolin). The little girl from Texas had a real pretty voice. Pretty entertaining. I took a short video clip of them and am in the process of asking for permission to post it here.



Ian Zoerb Video

Ian has a new video out on his website (Click Here to see it) that I took showing him using a caliper and T-square with some of his comments on the importance of them. I really wish all horsemen and women understood how important those 3 tools are.

There is a lot of farriers out there that really don’t even understand that they are doing damage to horses, some do know but are just lazy. There are a few of the really good ones, like Ian, that care a lot about horses and try really hard to do what’s best for the horse instead of what’s easiest for themselves.

If a good farrier who has been feeding his family for 30 years doing this believes in the importance of measuring, how is it that so many of the here-today-gone- tomorrow farriers can convince us they don’t need to?

As someone whose livelihood depends on sound horses I stand behind Ian 100% on this.

Bad News

Don’t look, if you don’t like sad stories. A cow died. Somebody hit this poor soul (#27) on the road trail in the South Sandhills. Such a nice looking girl too. I don’t know why folks just can’t slow down for  cows. Makes me soo MAD!!!!

I found her before the coyotes but it must have happened the day before judging by the bloat.

Irons in the Fire

June in Alberta means a lot of brandings. Not for us so much, as the cattle come here already branded.

We only go to one or two a year and we missed both of them this year. It’s hard to get time away from our own work here; we have a responsibility to our patrons.

But the irons in the fire that I was thinking about today was more about the different projects I have on the go.  10 website customers that I’m helping, and to do that I’m learning a whole new language: HTML  plus figuring out Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Doing extra work riding since the last cowboy buck-off. Taking horses to the farrier (today). Ladies Livestock Lessons are coming up this week. Got a new little camcorder and am uploading barrel runs to YouTube for one client hoping to do it for for some more gals (for a little extra cash). Add church, prayer, scripture study and helping the church ladies tie some quilts for the poor folks in Northern Alberta that got burned out of their homes. Then there’s pups needing homes, skirt work (wash, cooking, dishes, cleaning) that still needs to be done. And my poor blog that I have such a hard time getting too.

I guess when you get too many irons in the fire they kind of drown out the fire or none of them get hot enough. Mmmmh. I wonder what I could change.

Lightning on the Prairie

Got rained on. That I don’t mind so much but I’m a real chicken about lightning when I’m a horseback out in the middle of the prairie so it sent me scuttling back to the trailer on a long trot for a couple of miles. I wanted to wait it out in a small hollow but the boss overruled me. “We’ll just hurry back to the trailer,” he says. I looked at him a bit skeptically and asked, “You can hurry?” He shook his head. (He couldn’t stay off his horse but he sure wasn’t about to hurry anywhere today.)

I didn’t stick around to get struck and high tailed it for safety. If he doesn’t have the common sense to get low or even wear a coat, I’m not sure what I can do about it. Some days my boss annoys me, can you tell?

But I saw my first yellow butterfly and my first dragonfly of the season today. Alas in my tired fog this morning I forgot my camera so again no pictures

One (Wo)man Doctoring

I know I’m tired when a short horse looks too tall to get on and it seems easier to just walk. That was me today.

It’s been an eventful couple of days. My cowboy got pushing too hard on Hooch and got bucked off royally yesterday. I always hate seeing a riderless horse screaming and running hard towards me.  The old fool got dumped way out of my  line of sight and it took me a while to find him, all hunched over, face down, on his knees and elbows, holding his head in the middle of a big stretch of prairie.

I switched him horses and we rode to the house. I had to put my shoulder under his butt and push to get him up there on tall old Wilbur and I had to pull out my brave card to get on Hooch.

He was fine and I thought he looked sorry for what he had done. Then we drove into town and spent the afternoon in the ER getting my cowboy checked out. It’s all good; he’s just bruised up good and his pride hurt some. He didn’t much like the shot in the bum but he did like the effects of the pain killer in the shot.

Even without his cowboy gear on and in a hospital gown he’s sure nuff still a cowboy. The doctor told him what he wasn’t s’posed to do. He gave me a look like “ya, that ain’t gonna happen” and I knew so too.

But today he let me think I was helping and sent me out on my own on Trouper (till he showed up about 5:00 wanting to ride. I had to give up my horse and help him on and off). I kind of like those times when it’s up to me and being able to do what I have to. I’m getting close to 60 and catching and treating calves alone isn’t an easy job for most 30 year old men, never mind us old gals.

That reminds me. My article, that I sent to Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine just got published, June/July issue. Oh my, but it looks nice, my buttons nearly popped of my shirt when I actually saw it. I got a complimentary copy. It’s a really nice magazine and the editor Terri Mason was so good to work with, a real cowgirl, and kindred spirit I think. They called it a photo essay, lots of pictures with explanation on “One Man Doctoring” like what I was doing today. And can you believe it, she says they are even going to pay me for it.