Sunday, June 19, 2011

Long Gone To Saskatchewan

The ongoing saga continues. This particular blog entry is close to a novel, so make sure you are comfortable....grab a cup of java and be prepared to go on a trip like never before. We left off still in North Dakota. On the way to the homestead in McCord, Saskatchewan, the Missouri River was crossed.



Moses saw nothing like this I am sure!
Holy Moses!!

I do believe the crops will be slightly late in Montana.


A quick stop was done in Glasgow, Montana, where ever important supplies were purchased for the upcoming branding....those supplies being cans of beer .


When crossing the US/Canada border, the border guard introduced himself and knew exactly where we lived south of McCord, and mentioned there would be a more direct route to get to the ranch if it wasn't so wet. After inviting him to our branding, I made the final trek to the happening place of McCord, Saskatchewan.





It was nice to see the community effort to keep the town clear of empty bottles. I made my donation to the cause, and then drove around town.





Like every old town in Saskatchewan, the CPR Railway Station was in existence, albeit in a museum form.





I stopped at the lights and took a picture of the expressway through McCord.



I believe this street is the busiest in town.


I went to the post office, met the post mistress, found the library - which consisted of a single rack of books in the corner of the postoffice- found out that the internet did not exist, and made the final trek to our new place.






In celebration of the new place, Chris bought himself some new boots - purply in colour. Yes, he is not ashamed to show his feminine side.










I got on my mighty steed Toad, and set out to look at the new place. The land is rolling, and am glad to say there is no magpies - magpies need trees to nest in -there are no trees.



After having had our cows in bush pasture for the last 20 years, the finding of the cows proved to be just as tricky. You think you can see for miles, but there are many little gullies that cows and their calves can hide in. The countryside was green, and the cows never looked so good.





Chris checked his GPS and showed me exactly where our cows would be. Somewhere in 20 sections - should be a breeze. He went off to collect some of the herd, while I went to my side.









After a little riding, I found myself at the border again. Border patrol was not on duty however.


There was the proof - the convention of 1878. I think smuggling of Mexican Midget may not be as hard as I thought.



I sent Creed across the border, and he realized he didn't have his passport so he came back.



Off in the distance we could see the continental divide - where the water runs south into the Gulf of Mexico, and on the other side it goes to the Hudson Bay.







As you can see, you can see for miles. I know we can have a different doublelift every year for the next 20 years.



I found my cows and calves and made my way back to the corrals. We had to get all the cows and calves in and separate the cows from the calves. On the way back, more signs were seen of ranchers past. Creed welcomed any water he could find - I do believe he ran at least 20 miles that day.












We didn't see the fawn, but every day we would see this same doe in the same place. Several mornings Chris found a doe outside the window of the house. Sure beats finding a busy road outside your window!



The view from the back of my Toad was breathtaking - yes this is a strange year in which there has been a lot of water...normally the grass is not green it is brownish...hopefully the weather will stay like this for the next few years.



It was kind of slow going getting the cattle back into the yard - they would rather stay on the grass than in the muddy yard - who could blame them?


More equipment of times past was found.



We eventually got all the cattle in and split the cows and calves. The next day Chris and I took the John Deer Gator to take mineral out to the pasture. Being so wet, and previous days of getting the Gator stuck, Chris had to walk ahead and find the best place to cross the streams that were now flowing.











I did start out clean that morning ...I ended up very differently!



The cows stayed close around the corrals because of the calves. Chris's sister Marie, cousin Doug Thompson and a 2nd year vet student from work (Laura) was coming out that day. With their help we would vaccinate the cows.





Getting the cows in proved to be a little tricky. After this season is done, we will have things down pat how to maneuver the girls in the most efficient way. It definitely was a good learning experience for all of the dogs.





The day ended finally - and couldn't have done it without the help of Marie (Ivomec Lady)..



....and Laura (Headgate Girl). Doug was in charge of moving the girls to the front. The stickman Thompson.




We stopped to take our Christmas photo - when you get a new hat, you just have to show it off! The photographer of the hour was Doug. Bet he cuts the heads of of his children when he takes pictures (notice Chris's Classy's nose cut out of the picture).



The girls couldn't understand why their calves were still locked up...the next job would be the next day.





By the morning, some of the cows were suicidal - Don't jump Mildred, it'll be okay!!




Because we know very little people in the area, the branding people came far and wide. Stormy Winter (our new neighbor) came and was the pot master (making sure the brands were hot) and Dale Montgomery rode my Toad and roped.


Roping, branding, castrating, tagging, dehorning and vaccinating...everyone had a job to do.





Without everyone's help, we would have still been there doing the calves!



The day went off without a hitch..it did see like we would have a rain shower, but it stayed away. The day was just right, not too hot, which is best for everyone involved.





Many a time we would have 6 calves on the ground. Laura the vet in training learned to do castrations in 2 minutes flat.



Finally the day was done, and the beer came out. My sister Sandy and her husband Ken, my brother Gary and my Mom and Dad also came down to see this yearly job done. They were the cook crew, and after branding was done, prairie oysters were prepared, and beef was served. We certainly hope they will come again next year.


The next day, it was time for me to go back to Alberta. Laura and I helped Chris in the morning to move the cows and calves back to the pasture, and after we got in from riding, the skies opened up.



I thought it would be a good idea to take the dirt road to save time. It was not a time saver. I had to back down it to get back to the gravel road. In the end, about 50 pounds of mud was on my vehicle and trailer.



It was hard to believe that my trailer was actually white.



It seemed like a good idea at the time.



We made our way back toward Alberta, finding more wildlife along the way.



Back to civilization (Swift Current), the local Japanese restraunt literally kicked us out of their parking lot. We only wanted to go across the road to their competitors..



.....to have a grillburger. I told the lady I didn't like sushi anyways.



The end of the trip would have been perfect if it had been this sunset, but it was not to be.















Because of the mud bogging feat I had done, we had a lot of mud in the tires. We were shaking to the oldies, and also shaking when we went faster than 90 km/hour. The trip back to Beiseker was very, very long. Rolling in about 1:30 am (a 6 hour trip which turned out to be an 11 hour trip), I then found Ted the pony with colic. Laura the vet student saw how IV medicine is done by the light of the moon, and how you stomach tube oil without the aid of a stomach pump (since all my stuff was in Saskatchewan). Unfortunately, the colic was severe, and Ted had to be put down the next day (sorry to have a sad part of this story). The fact of life is, everything cannot be all roses, you have to learn to pick yourself up and dust yourself off.



The dust (aka Saskatchewan mud) was removed by the friendly tire shop in Wetaskiwin. I am proud to say I can once again go 130 km/hour, but driving 90km/hour sure does save gas though!!

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