Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Hobo Bread

Off again tomorrow for the Ladies Only trip to the Itchas.  I can hardly believe how quickly time is passing this summer!  We've only been home for a few days in between rides this time, and of course that has been jam packed with 'catch up'.  The guys are doing really well haying at Five Mile.  The ground is painfully rough, but producing good hay.  Sure sounds like filling in some rock holes has to become a high priority!

The boys had an amazing time while I was away, and spend most of it with their Auntie Sylvia and cousin Kara in Williams Lake.  

I'll be posting some more of their photos as soon as I can get a bit more organized.  (I desperately need a clone!)  This time they are staying with a friend in Tatla Lake and going to visit their Grandpa Eric as well.  They are a bit sad that I am leaving again so soon (hard on a momma's heart!) but are taking it well and looking forward to our school shopping trip when I get back.  

I'm still working on my 'food packing' post, but meanwhile I thought I'd follow through with a request for a favorite dessert recipe.  
This is delicious and hardy and freezes very well.  

Hobo Bread

3 cups raisins (can include dates)
4 tsp soda 
3 cups boiling water
     Mix together and allow to soak for one hour.  
Add 2 tbsp oil
          1 tsp vanilla
Stir or sift together
     4 cups flour
     2 cups sugar
     1 tsp salt
     2 tsp cinnamon
     1 tsp cloves
     1/2 tsp allspice 
Add to wet mixture.  Mix well and divide into 3 tall, well greased and floured 1# coffee tins, or bread pans.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours 325 degrees.  

So cheers everyone, and all the best for the next week!  

Friday, 21 August 2015

Ilgatchuz Trails

Greetings all!
Well, we are back once again, and once again, it was a wonderful trip in to our amazing piece of truly beautiful British Columbia.
This was my first full trip in to the Ilgatchuz Range for more years than I'm going to admit to.  And it was even more spectacular than I remember.  
There will be plenty of stories to tell over the winter about our mountain trips, but for tonight I'm going to keep it simple and just take you on a bit of a photo journey.  I do have a post started on the food we take and the packing process, but somehow all my photos are pack trains and mountain views so we will have to go with that for now..... 


 This little bachelor group of caribou put on quite a show for us as we reached High Camp the 2nd night.  Although it looks really wet in this photo, the rain came and went quickly.   

Happy ponies at High Camp, looking back towards the Itcha Mountain Range.  

Pink sky at night, trail riders delight!  

Day Ride, day 3.  High Camp is down in the far right corner of the photo.  You can see that Dealer is still keeping a close eye on his human!   

From the top, looking in to Moose Haven Valley.  In general, we try and move camp every second day.  So much more relaxing (for everyone!) and gives us plenty of time to enjoy the sights.  

Putting the horses out to feed at the Moose Haven Camp on Pan Creek.  We picket three of the lead mares.  This means they are put on a thirty foot rope staked to the ground.  The rest are 'hobbled', meaning their front legs are tied together (about a foot apart actually).  And don't let that fool you!  They get along on their hobbles just fine!  In fact, it hardly slows them at all.  Generally the picket horses are out to feed right from the time we get to camp.  The hobbled horses go out for about three hours in the evening and three hours in the morning.  They are watched carefully though, as it only takes one troublemaker with a bad idea and they can disappear quickly, heading for home.  They were pretty good this trip, only half-heartedly attempting to leave once.      

 One of my favorite photos of the trip.  This is a totally unstaged photo of the wrangler (aka "Mountain Man") catching up on some sleep (the horses are let go at 4am on moving days).  The ridge I took the previous photos from (looking in to Moose Haven) is directly across from him.  

Riding the eskers in Moose Haven.  We had some great 'horsemanship' discussions on this trip.  Nothing I enjoy more than chatting about horses, and what a perfect setting!      

Ah, now we have headed north and are having lunch before dropping down in to Pan Valley (Carnlick Creek).  It had started out raining in the morning but thankfully cleared early and we had a wonderful ride across the alpine.    

Prince George is strutting her stuff with her hobbles as she moves through camp to better feed.  Grass is always greener on the other side you know...... 
(Yes, I know, I know.  We have weird horse names.  She is a mare.  And her name is Prince George.  Ask me later....)

On the Blue Canyon day ride.  Pan Valley on the left and Blue Canyon on the right.  It's enough to take your breath away.  

Best restaurant around!  Moving to the top end of Pan Valley to Rogers Camp.    

Morning Mist.

After lunch nap, with the majestic Pipe Organ Mountain to watch over us.  

My pack string is still puffing a bit from their climb up the Pass.  That is my 'city boy' Kenny in the front.....you might remember from earlier posts that I traded him for a Haflinger pony this spring.  He's probably feeling like he got the short end of the stick!  

Onwards to the wild blue yonder......

Take care all!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Off again....

Well, we are off again to the  mountains.  There won't be any posts in between now and the 18th...  I simply don't have time.  (Last time, I wrote the post and scheduled when they went out....nope, no satellite internet in the mountains!)  There is company sleeping in my office tonight so can't even pull a late one.  4 am comes too early anyhow.

I have had a couple of questions lately that I will expand on at a later date.  One question was about what and how we packed food for the mountains.  I'll take photos this time.  Mum has it down to an absolute science.  

Another question was about the haying process, so I'll get in to a wee bit more detail about that as well.  No question the crew will still be at it when we get home!  

So for tonight I'll leave you with some photos of the beautiful country we are about to head in to.  

And thank you, everyone, for the good wishes about buying the 5 Mile Ranch.  I'm still not totally sure if 'congratulations' or 'condolences' are more appropriate!  But we are excited anyhow.....

So enjoy your week everyone, and I look forward to catching up on our return.  

All the best,

Pan Valley

Pipe Organ Mountains

Camp Time 

Pan Valley 


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Big News

Well folks, I've been putting off telling the 'big news' for quite some time now, but as the take over date has come and gone, I may as well let the cat out of the bag.  

Eli and I have purchased Five Mile Ranch, also known as the Lehman Ranch. 


The ranch is basically in between our current place and my parents place, and ties everything together.  It produces massive amounts of good quality hay and has excellent range.  (Capacity up to 320 pairs, plus bulls etc.)   The house and buildings are decent for the most part, but certainly need lots of work, and there is a staggering amount of clean up to be done!  And I don't want to mention the fences.....  

It is also one of the most beautiful ranches in the area.  I'll get some better photos.    

Don't ask me what our plans are as of yet, we are still getting to that part.  Going to be a bit to get over the initial shock I think.   

Meanwhile, the crew is haying like crazy and near to finishing at Six Mile.  We are off to Five Mile next and that will be a whole lot slower as of course we don't know the meadow.  The previous owner was excellent about picking rocks, but not so great about filling the holes!  The hay is impressive though, and everyone is looking forward to getting started.  Our hay crew this year is Justin (a young local whose been working with us for several years) and Paul and Chloe (two very capable Australians who have slipped right in to the routine.)  Plus of course, Dad and Eli and occasionally mum.  I haven't even been on a tractor this year!  Lucky me hey?  No one has volunteered to give their tractor up and take over shoeing horses instead.  Weird.  

We are headed out on another trail ride this weekend and I'm really looking forward to getting in to the Ilgatchuz this time.  It has been many years since I've had a chance to explore around in there.  Our crew is myself and mum with Olivia (back for her fourth round), Cody (Justins younger brother who much prefers a horse to a tractor) and our new Swiss/German friend Magalie.  I just finished shoeing the last of the horses for the ride today.

Of course there is still the cows to take care of.  The previous owner of Five Mile has the rights to keep his cattle on the range until fall.  And conveniently for him, to keep those cows off of our new meadows (with terrible fences), 
it is my job to keep them up on the range.  And they are JERKS!  They scatter like cockroaches when you try and move them.  It takes an experienced crew and good dogs to do anything with them.  We will have them well trained by the time they leave.....  Argh.  

We just finished our summer cattle drive as well (what nice cows we have!), taking a large group up to the Corkscrew Basin.  It's a lot of work, but a social time as well.  Good horses, good food, good friends.     

Take care folks!