Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
This is the "cowboy crew" of the Bar Double L, although the cowgirls outnumber the cowboy! From left to right is the Redheaded Cowgirl, the Biggest Cowgirl, the Littlest Cowgirl, and the Rancher.
Another important member of the crew is, Bud. He's a 1996 model Border Collie/McNab who has covered a LOT of miles with the Rancher and I. This is him after helping us move pairs out of the north pasture, he found a shady spot to rest.
This is Blackie, she is Bud's daughter. The Ol' man still has it, 'cuz she was born on the 4th of July just two years ago! She's learning the ropes from her dad.
The dogs weren't the only ones resting after the move. This photo shows the two oldest members of the crew (well, except the Rancher and I). Woody, the black horse, was the first horse that I ever bought on my own. He was 5 months old and I was a young teenager (we're both MUCH older now!). It's pretty cool to me that the Redheaded Cowgirl is riding him and enjoying it. He's a little too arthritic to carry me anymore. The bald faced sorrel, is actually my mom's horse, he's 18 and we've had him around since he was three. The Rancher and I have had "custody" of him for many of those years and he has been a great asset to the crew. The Rancher is on "Peanut Butter" a mare we have owned for about a year. She's cowy, but she likes to buck occasionally.... thus, the Rancher likes her!
Fast forward a month or so, and we trailed the pairs up the mountain after branding (pictures of which are on my nephew's camera, and may or may not appear someday). This is Pastor T. riding Ace, and having a great time helping us out!
This was my first trip up the mountain since we've lived here, so I was awed, to say the least, by the scenery here in our backyard!
This picture is reminiscent of a western print my mom has in her living room, which includes a cowby resting near his horse in the forground... wonder if the artist had ever seen our ranch?
Speaking of resting cowboys!
Oh yeah, I was there too... who do ya think was taking all the pictures?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
- Friends and fellow "Martin Loopers" visiting.
- A snakebit horse.
- Various calving stories.
- The tragic and unexpected death of the snakebit horse, accompanied by a trip to the emergency room for the Littlest Cowgirl ~ this one will definitely get it's own blogpost!
- The begining of the outdoor and Farmer's Market season for selling our grassfed beef, and Mary Ann's Beans.
- A field trip with more Martin Loopers.
- The Rancher's new yellow toy, er, I mean tool.
- A visit from two of the Cowgirl's town cousins.
And those are just the BIG things... not to mention the cute things that happen or get said by the Cowgirls...
Just hang in there with me, and I'll get some of these stories told before I forget the details! LOL! But if I'm slow... it's becuase we are branding this week! Creating yet one more thing to write about!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Here's a little story about the "romance" of being a Ranchwife: One evening I was invited to the neighbor's for a "girls night". I was all cleaned up and ready to go (including perfume) when the Rancher called on the cell and said that we needed to get a heifer in and pull her calf. I changed my clothes and went out in the rain to help get her in. I was afoot and was quickly reminded why God made horses! By the time we got her to the corral I was wet, sweating, and tired! The Rancher roped the heifer and snubbed her to the post, then we got to work on the pulling. As we were there behind this heifer in the mud and fluids associated with birth, he looks over at me and says, "You smell really good!" I laughed, what a man! Even in the mud, rain, sweat, and slime he's my true love!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The picture seems a bit blurry, but I may have still been shaking a bit! The nail is two inches long, for reference.
Now it may be agrued that rattlesnakes do their part in the ecosystem as well. But they are not allowed to do it in my yard, around my kids, friends, dogs, horses, etc... So here's the official warning to rattlesnakes on this ranch... don't mess with this ranchwife!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Another heifer tried the push-the-calf-out-up-the-hill method. She couldn't get up. It was about 6:30 am so I enlisted the help of The Rancher, and my trusty horse. By the time I had saddled my horse and returned to the scene, The Rancher had succesfully delivered the calf. He then rolled the heifer over so she could get up. Once she was up she didn't appreciate what he had done for her and she decided to leave the scene. With my horse, I tried to push her back to her newborn calf. She was more concerned with being "bossed around" than taking care of her calf. She tried to leave the country. Although The Rancher was afoot, he had in hand the rope he had used during the delivery. He roped the heifer and handed me the rope to dally off to my saddle horn. We got the heifer stopped, and The Rancher retrieved the calf and brought it to the heifer. She was still being obstinate and would not mother her calf. So, I took her to the corral on the end of my rope and locked her in a pen. While The Rancher removed the rope I went with the old 77 Ford pickup to get the calf and bring him to his mama. He was big, and slippery and resented being lifted to the floorboard of the truck. I'm sure it was a commical sight! Once he was delivered to his mom in the corral and we penned them together and were able to back off quite a ways, the heifer decided motherhood wasn't so bad after all. I love a happy ending!
Last Monday, was a MONDAY! It rained most of the day. We had three heifers decide to calve. We had to pull ALL THREE! We were able to take all three to the barn for a reasonably dry environment. The first one was a tough pull but made it and was happily nursing in a relatively short time. The second one was a big calf, in a small heifer who had not dialated properly. It took both The Rancher and I pulling with all our might on the calf chains. (These are small chains looped like a bracelet around the ankles of the calf and attached to a handle to facilitate delivery.) We were able to deliver the head and shoulders of the calf. On large calves, it is espcecially important at this point to "twist" the calf in the birth canal so that his hips do not get stuck and pulling him the rest of the way out is easier. We twisted, but since this was our second calf in a short amount of time, we were tired, and I don't think we twisted quite far enough. We continued to pull. The calves hips then "locked" with the pelvis of the heifer and we were unable to pull the calf out completely. We attached a rope to the handles, and pulled with the horse, and still were unable to deliver the calf. The Rancher drove to the neighbors to borrow the "calf-puller". We had lost the calf, but now had to work fast to save the heifer. With the calf puller, (a pole with a hand winch, and a brace that goes against the hind end of the heifer) we were able to deliver the rest of the calf. The story may have been different if we had the puller on hand earlier... but you live and learn, and you can't save them all no matter what you do. About an hour later, we pulled the third calf of the day. We went straight for the puller, and delviered a live calf. Our record was 2-1 for the day. It was dark by then and we went to the house wet, and exhausted.
Today, I happened to be at the right place at the right time. I noticed a heifer out in the pasture behaving as though she had just calved and was looking down at her baby. But things weren't just right. So I stopped the truck and walked out to the heifer. She had chosen to calve right next to an irrigation ditch full of water. Her calf was alive and standing up in the ditch with it's head just barely above the water. The sides of the ditch were too steep for it to get out... being a complete newborn. I jumped in the ditch and grabbed the calf, pulled him out, and drug him as far from the ditch as I could (without provoking this good mama to fight!). Mama came over to him, licked him to dry him, and I saw him up and nursing when I went back to check a while later. Phew! Another happy ending!
We are down to about 30 head of heifers left to calve... the grandma cows are calving on their own in the North Pasture... as it should be!
The Littlest Cowgirl exclaimed as we left the gate of the Hogback Pasture, "Let's take 'em to the North Pasture!"
Once we got them through the gate, we weren't done... The Rancher rode around the fence to be sure gates were closed and to fix any holes, and us girls still had to take the cows to the windmill so they would know where to find water. Since I am still leading the Littlest Cowgirl on her pony, "Polly", I really depend on the other cowgirls to get the job done...
They do a good job, too...
Here's the view from the back of my horse....
And this is a picture of a happy cow...
And the Littlest Cowgirl, still smiling at the end of the trail...
Friday, May 2, 2008
Tonight we saw them from the dining room window coming over the fence... so I sneaked some more....
When I had been back in the house for awhile I walked around the corner into the dining room and my jaw dropped. There were about 200 head of head right outside the window!!!! So these pictures were taken from the warmth of the dining room... no sneaking necessary.
As you can see, our May blizzard is over and the sun is out. It'll be a COLD night, but the high should be 55 tomorrow! Gotta love spring!
It continues to snow. And blow. The drifts are getting bigger. The icicles hang from the cows and the horses. The weather report that just this morning said it would snow until noon, now says it will snow until 4:00 pm. It says total snow accumulation will be 1-3 inches.... we passed that long ago.
I had put a pot roast in the oven earlier and had asked the Biggest Cowgirl to cut up some potatoes and carrots to throw in with it. When we walked through the door the Three Cowgirls made us close our eyes and they led us into the living room and made us hold hands.... then the music started to play, our favorite cd of classical dinner music, called Wine Country Classics, they let us open our eyes, and then they said, okay start... "Start what?" "Dancing", they all cried. We'll it's great music, but not real great dance music... but they were so cute we had to oblige.
Then as we turned and saw into the dinning room, the table was set with a white cloth, our fine china, and silver, and the pot roast and veggies were in the middle of the table. It was beautiful, and I probably don't have to tell you what a relief it was to come in soaking wet and cold and not have to organize the setting of the table and dinner as well! We were so proud and touched by our girls favor to us! They're great kids!
It went on to snow that night, a little, and Thursday was cold... but Friday morning around 8:00am the real blizzard began. Here is the Biggest Cowgirl following The Rancher out to check the heifers.
Now The Rancher called on the cell and said we have to tend to yet another newborn....
The romance never ends!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The end of the week was spent preparing for a craft show in Longmont, Colorado. The previous owner of Mary Ann's Beans (why didn't that all get underlined?) took the products to a lot of craft shows on the Front Range of Colorado. She had a great and loyal following of customers that is prudent for me to maintain. So, for a while, we will continue this avenue of marketing. It is a lot of fun to go and meet new and old cutomers face to face, sample the soups, and get wonderful comments back. It's also great for the girls. Since we homeschool it's like mini-society, but in real life. When I was in third grade we had mini-society where we made a product and then had some mini-society bucks that we could buy other peoples products with. So, I pay the girls with beans when they help with a craft show or farmer's market. They can then trade those beans for other vendors' items, or if they don't trade, I will pay them cash when it's over. The Biggest Cowgirl and the Redheaded Cowgirl went with me. They traded shrewdly for a bracelet, and a bunny statue and doll dress respcetively. They also pooled some resources and traded for a pair of earings for me for Mothers Day. They're good kids!
The Rancher kept the Littlest Cowgirl with him for the weekend. Their's was the bigger adventure! They headed out to Meeteetse to buy our final load of heifers to stock the ranch. They made it as far as Casper when the empty bumper pull trailer hit some ice and whipped around and hit the side of the truck, popped off the hitch, and rolled! No other vehicles were hit, The Rancher and his precious passenger were rattled, but fine, and they were able to complete their trip, minus the trailer and the 4 head that it was intended to bring home. The rest of the weekend was uneventful with the Littlest Cowgirl taking good care of The Rancher and helping him irrigate, ride out on her horse to check the heifers, and snuggling up for a good story before bedtime.
We were all reunited late on Monday. And as they say, there's no place like home!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Today we went through all the ground work again. Moving the feet, giving to pressure, saddling, moving with the saddle. Then we added a cowgirl. Every thing went well, no jumps, bucks, or even starts. Just a few cockeyed ears wonding about what was going on. Actually, Anna is, and always has been a very friendly and quiet little filly. Just right for a little girs's first training experience.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
So, I chose the name, Reminiscenses of a RANCHWIFE, as a take-off of the book, "Reminiscenses of a RANCHMAN", by Edgar Beecher Bronson, written sometime around 1910 as near as I can tell. Bronson came from "back east" and paid his dues as a "greenhorn" and finally settled on a ranch near the North Platte River, a little down-river from where we are now located. The similarities are close enough for me to snatch his title for my own. No, I'm not from "back-east" but I wasn't ranch raised and have now made better than a down-payment on the dues owed to attain the title of RANCHWIFE.
This is all fine and dandy... but I may loose my title if I don't get out and help my beloved husband gather the heifers!