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.

Monday, 18 April 2016

11th to WHAT? the 18th.....how did that happen?

Time flies.  No excuses.  Gone like the wind.  

April 11th
Sketch that Magalie did for me.....  pretty awesome hey?!

April 12th
The bulls at Five Mile 

April 13th
The older group of calves at Three Circle.  Looking fat and sassy..... 

April 14th
As yet un-named sweet yearling colt.  
Grandmother is the famed "Rea".  

April 15th
Cool grey day.  We've put the cow back in with their babies (after being out to feed.)  Some are smarter than others.......

April 16th
Country boy fun.

April 17th
I didn't take this photo for the blog really, but one of the only ones of the day.  Frustrating when feral range horses are out chewing down the wee green shoots a full month before we can even consider putting our cows out!  

April 18th
City Boy is ready for his shoes!

Okay, that's it.  No more once a week 'photo of the day'.....I'll try and do better.....
Cheers all!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Out of the Barn

 Paul has been busy going around pastures and fixing fence lately.  With our super early spring, the 'snowshoe' mosquitoes have already appeared.  (Dad coined this phrase I'm sure.....the mosquitoes are big and awkward and slow.  They are always the first out, often when there are still snow piles about....hence needing showshoes to land on I guess.)   Anyhow, Paul was muttering about how annoying the noise was (these guys don't really bite, they are too slow, but they do have that irritating sound....) and I told him I had yet to see a single one.  He snorted and told me I needed to get out of the barn more often.  Which then led to the discussion about whether I missed being around the barns constantly (as I am now), when the season changes and it is not longer necessary.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do quite enjoy the 'barn work'; the endless circle of watching, checking, monitoring, tagging, sorting, feeding, assisting and generally keeping track of who's who in the zoo.  But do I miss it when it is no longer a priority?

Well, a few days after that conversation we went to Four Mile to trim the main herd of horses.  I rode trusty Tiffany to bring the horses in to the pen.  Even she got a bit fired up as the horses are feeling pretty darn outstanding and a bit of racing around just added to the general fun.  But all good.  When we got done the trimming and sorted off a few to go to work, I was holding on to Rea.  If you are familiar with the blog, or our ranch, you'll probably remember Rea.  She is a great big sorrel mare with heart of pure gold.  She was mum's main steed for many years.  I got married on her, rode her through both pregnancies, rode her packing my boys as babies, and now she carries my oldest son.  And Ben is impatient for her to belong to him.

Well, beings Rea already had a halter on, I figured I might as well ride her.  Knowing full well she is not afraid to duck her head in the spring and give you a go......  Which she gleefully did.  Each time I started her into a lope, she got real tight, her ears nearly touching at the top, and we started hitting the ground much harder than necessary.  She doesn't really buck, or I never would have a) chose her to chase horses bareback with a halter or b) have had a hope of staying on!  I clamped my legs for all I was worth, wound one hand in her mane, and pulled her head around with the other.  It's hard to sound threatening and serious with a huge grin on your face, but luckily she eventually leveled out.  She was quite proud to prove she still 'had it' and I quite proud that I had stayed on the topside!
 I scooted around the horses, heading them off from the meadow into the pasture and we loped through a bunch of water.  Where the thought came from I'll never know, but I suddenly had the greatest urge to throw my arms up and fling my head back like Rose on the Titanic!

So tell me, do you think I miss the barn when calving is all over?  

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Reposting Baxter Black

As mum and dad prepare to head in to the Williams Lake Bull Sale, I've been doing quite a bit of research on bulls.  We are looking to try a different heifer bull or two, and see if we can get those birth weights down for the first calf heifers.  Although our luck has generally held for getting the calves out and keeping everyone healthy, they are just too big on average.  Anyhow, in my research I came across a site (progressivecattle.com) and then got slightly sidetracked into the blogs..... 
A good chuckle and a good read.     

On the Edge of Common Sense: Neat and tidy calving

 by Baxter Black 
Published on 24 February 2016

This is the time of year when cow people don’t get much sleep. If you boiled “raisin’ cattle” down to its bare bones, the whole business revolves around gettin’ a live calf on the ground.
Folks outside the wonderful world of calvin’ season probably have some peculiar ideas about what happens. Maybe they think a heifer calves like chickens lay eggs; nice and clean, no muss, no fuss.
Others might picture a sterile operating room with attendants gathered around in masks and rubber gloves saying things like “Push!” and “Nurse, wipe my brow and clamp the cord.”
A neat, tidy procedure done in antiseptic surroundings – not unlike the manufacturing of venison sausage.
Neat is not the word I think of when assisting at a calving. Instead, insulated coveralls come to mind, as well as mud boots, chapped hands, rope burns, slippery chains, wet knees, sweating at 10ºF above zero and midnight.
In fact, calving involves a whole lot more than simply inserting a coin, punching a button and watching a can of Diet Coke be born with a thunk.
There’s that business-like confidence that guides you when you check the heifer pen before turning in. You see one that’s still trying. You can’t leave her in that condition all night, so you get ’er up and slog her into the trap or calvin’ shed.
While you’re gatherin’ up the O.B. chains and pullin’ off your jacket, a wave of nervous worry washes over you and settles into your gut.
Anticipation builds as you reach in for your first feel around. Hope surges when you make the initial pull on the calf. If luck is on your side, an enormous sense of relief follows. If not, that sinkin’ feelin’ soaks in right down to your bones.
It’s then that you do what your calling in life has prepared you for. It’s done with all the experience, skill, compassion and dogged determination you possess. The buck stops on your shoulders. It’s up to you and her to get the job done.
Finally, the calf comes. He plops down on the straw, wet and sleek as a porpoise. You tickle his nose; he snorts and shakes his head. You rub him down. You watch him struggle to three legs, fall and then try again.
You pick up your stuff and back outta the pen, leavin’ mama and baby alone. You stand there a minute. You hear her talk to him. She’s lickin’ his face.

The wind is cold on your back. Snowflakes melt on your cheek. In the presence of this miracle, you don’t notice.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

April 7th to 10th

 April 7th
We trimmed all the horses today.  Or at least the older herd.  They are looking amazing, and sure enjoying this crazy early spring.  (No complains from me either!)  This first photo is an action shot of one of my favorite friends "Ducky" getting rid of some winter hair!  
April 7th
Cody nibbling some green shoots.  The Itcha Mountains are in the background.  

April 8th
Curious Ash.  

April 9th
Ben's Birthday!  And what a cake Amy has created. 

Trampoline Fun

April 19th
Bree and Dealer double timing it beside the quad.  Don't worry, I wasn't driving and shooting.....Grandma had the wheel.  

 April 10th
What a beautiful day.  Mum and I scooted over to Five Mile to have a good look at the bulls.  They are all fat and sassy and ready for spring!  And what a view.  Again, those are the Itcha Mountains in the background.   

I know that many other places are experiencing the same thing, but we are sure shocked at how warm this spring has been.  If things don't change, I'll be whining soon enough, but right now, I'm just enjoying!  Traded my Muckboots for my Ariats already.....can't kick on that!  

Cheers all!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

April 3rd to 6th

Well, I've been a bit bad lately and gone back on my word of having a photo a day.  I spend all of April 3rd on the computer, entering cow and calf information and in a meeting about the proposed logging blocks out my back door (more on that another time....I've been taught if you can't say something nice, not to say anything at all......)  On the 4th, I did a whirlwind trip in to Williams Lake, to pick up supplies and mostly to see the chiropractor.  Neither day did I take any photos.  
BUT, I did buy myself a super nice gift for my upcoming birthday.  I mean, my husband did.  :)  
So I'm going to barrage you with photos to make up for the 2 days lack. 

 April 5th

We had a young cow in, obviously calving but just not progressing.  We brought her in to the chute to 'check her out' and instead of the usual two....three feet were trying to get into the birthing position.  
With just a bit of help, momma cow produced healthy twins!  

 Momma sharing some love, even as she rests.  

In the other barn, an older baby watches me carefully.  His momma put her head down just as I was taking the photo, but I liked the effect.  

Truly fast asleep.

I'm loving the new camera......especially having a decent zoom.

Breakfast of champions.  

April 6th  
I'll get back to posting 'one a day'....but meanwhile I'm enjoying the practice.  
 Dealer Dog, staring at a heifer.

 Windy Bob, one of the original orphans, hamming it up for the camera.  (He was a twin out of a first calver.)  We often let him out in the yard to get some sunshine and exercise, much to the concern of the dogs trying to keep track of everything.  
Look....a 'not cow' photo....how cool is that?  A few of the young horses and my 'City Boy' who looks as though he has made good use of the hay bales over the winter!

Those of you that know this country will notice the lack of snow!  Amazing isn't it.  Loving it.  

Cheers all!


Saturday, 2 April 2016

March 31st, April 1st & 2nd

March 31st 
Morning sunrise.
I took a much better photo with Magalies fancy camera.  
I'm totally going to splurge and buy a nicer one.  
So worth it.  

April 1st
It's the sky.  Just the blue blue sky.....

April 1st
Cesarean momma and baby, both doing very well.

April 2nd
Before and after I let her momma (the Holstein milk cow) in.  


Tired of cow pictures?  We've got a ways to go yet.  But I counted tonight and only NINE heifers (first calvers) left to go!  Hurray!!  (Weather pending, that means the end to night checks....)  This amazing weather makes me think we should be saddling up some ponies......  

Cheers all!