Saturday, May 29, 2010

Green And White - No, It's Not The Saskatchewan Roughriders

May 29, 2010 - you would think that summer is upon us - but not here. We woke up to snow on the ground. Chris may have to dig his long underwear out again - I had packed them away for the season. This is a country where it can snow every month of the year- what a thing to put on a tourist brochure.
It would be a good day to sell lambs today - they would be 5-10 pounds more due to their wet fleeces. Poor buggers didn't know what hit them.

This is my flower garden - finished planting yesterday. You can see the roses, and the johny jump-ups I put out - really, they are there. The timing was impeccable.
I am supposed to start driving for the Slash J Trial and the Big One today - I shall be packing everything from shorts to my Carthart. I probably should think about my winter boots as well. Maybe I will find a dog sled too - I'll be travelling with 12 dogs.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sheep Tails

We have been lucky and have found a place where there is plenty of grass for my sheep. I had shorn the Scottish Blackface, and I still have to shear the new ones I had bought. (Truth be known, I have only shorn one sheep before, and that was a vet call - the problem was a ram who couldn't get up - after I removed 3.5 years of wool off of him, he bounded straight up - yes, I am a miracle worker!)

There are many benefits to having sheep. First, you don't have to use a lawn mower. Second, you don't have to buy sheep manure like many do to improve their soil - these guys do it naturally. Much better stepping in it rather than the steer manure.

There is a chain link fence which keeps all of the sheep in, and any coyotes out. They would have to scale the fence to get in. It is like the Kingston Penitentiary-however, there are no day passes granted here. If you use the gopher holes, you have a pretty fair golfcourse though.
This is the warden of the pen. I call her Jenny - not a very unique name, since she is a jenny.
She's a nice jackass - as jackasses go. Funny, someone said that about me the other day as well. I believe it was Chris that said it. Jackass.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Babysitters are often underrated. Around this place, a good babysitter is worth alot -she saves time and money.
This is Maggie the Milkcow. She came from a Hutterite colony. She didn't know what she was getting into when she walked onto our place.
When she landed in, she instantly became Mother Maggie.

Calf #842's own mother went tits up (literally - she rolled on her back and bloated).

Then there are the two other calves she looks after - Linus with the broken jaw and Lulu- the calf whose cow didn't claim her. (We will find you cow, and you will become hamburger!)

Of course, on the other side, is famous Grandma Gertie. In the week she has been here, I think she has packed on 30 pounds. She was the deal at a $1.00 at the Olds Auction Market.

Her job is to keep tabs on the bottle babies - which are growing quite nicely. One more bag of milk replacer, and that will be the end of feeding these voracious monsters. My teats have been worn out by these sucking machines. I will have to replace them for the next group.
We'll have to empty the freezer out in awhile - in a few months it will be full of lambchops and veal cutlets.
You didn't think they would be pets did you??

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Paxton Valley Weekend

Jill Brodie and I loaded up and left for the Paxton Valley Sheep Dog Trial on Friday, and got to our destination ready for the next day (not without almost running out of gas - we got to Revelstoke with 3 litres of gas left-I think I may have added a few more grey hair on Jill's head). Being how the long weekend in May, it had decided to rainy and cold, but that didn't damper our spirits. We got to stay in a lovely little log cabin, in which we were it's first guests. The wood stove was toasty warm.

This is Lee Lumb running one of her nursery dogs. I had run Creed in the nursery, and was happy with him - he wouldn't take his flank the first day, so I walked off with him (after reminding him what a flank was) and then did better the next day. I was worried Fly was going to show her age, but she did well in my mind - was quite zippy in the shedding ring, so I think we can do another season. She got 81 on the first day, and 74 (without a shed) on the second day. Gin was - how you say - CRAP the first day - she ran through the bridle. I was able to set with her the second day, and that allowed me to have a better run on Sunday - 4th with a 85. The big winner was Carol Nelson and Jess. She had a 92 on Sunday, and that allowed her to get the top overall.

We headed off for home directly after the trial - and saw an antique shop. Well, I couldn't resist a deal, and ended up buying a rocking chair. Jill also bought some treasures, and packed the truck to the hilt. Unfortunately, that meant there was no room for Jill.

We strapped both Jill and the chair to the roof, and set out for home. The Beiseker Hillbillies were bound for Alberta.

We left the next morning from Armstrong - after buying my cheese with all my winnings (you cannot leave BC without buying cheese in my mind). The travel home was good until we passed Golden, BC. We ended up going 5-10 KM per hour for about 3 hours due to construction at Banff. Since there was the holidayers returning home, there was a very LOONNNGGG line of cars trying to merge. I had thought there was someone trying to go to a garage sale, but I was mistaken. It was a really fun weekend, and Holly and her crew did a great job. Now I am going to get ready to go to North Dakota to do the Slash J and the Big One trials. I gave cheese to Chris so he won't be too upset for my going away again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paxton Valley Bound

Well, it is time for the Paxton Valley Trial near Falkland, British Columbia. Jill Brodie is going to go out with me. This is the second time for me to go to this trial, and am looking forward to it. It is in a beautiful location, and the people are fantastic. Holly Brunner puts on a well organized trial with the help of Lee Lumb. I haven't been working the dogs as much as I wanted to - I have been busy these past few weeks- mostly sheep related. I have been still feeding the wooly monsters, been buying some sheep, and then getting them all vaccinated, dewormed and shorn.
This is one of the new buys - some Scottish Blackface - they should be lambing in June sometime.
My bottle babies are growing, now they are out on grass - out of the 13, I only lost 2 - one to pneumonia, and the other engorged himself to death - not sure if it was as good as death by chocolate, but at least he died with a full belly.

I call this one Big Bertha.
I also picked up some other sheep the other day from the auction mart - I got a deal of the century there - we call her Grandma Gertie. If you look up "rack of bones", it will have a picture there of her. For $1.00, I couldn't go wrong. I also picked up some other cull ewes with her, to the tune of $130.00 - I vaccinated them all the next day, and one of them had an anaphylactic response to the vaccine- and she died. But Gertie lives on!! It'll probably take $140.00 of feed to fatten her up - yup, I know a deal when I see one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Hunting We Will Go

I had just taken the dogs for a walk, and was doing some chores at the barn, when I heard a bunch of barking in the distance. I didn't think much of it, then I realized that Cap was not close by. Now Cap has been known to go and work sheep on his own, and often that is not to the sheep's benefit. Let's just say our sheep would not win any beauty contests because of the missing ears and tails.
My heart fell into my gut when I saw what I thought was a sheep on her back floundering.
However, it only turned out to be Mikey rubbing his back - if you notice his dirty feet, you can understand why I thought it was a ewe on her back.
Then I saw what the commotion was about - yes it was Cap, and his friend of the hour, Billie the Jack Russell. Why was there a commotion? Well, a gopher thought it there a good hiding spot to go into a pipe - the calls of it only drove the dogs nuts though.

Billie tried her darnest to fit her head into the pipe - Cap and Billie has successfully removed the pipe and moved it 150 yards from where it had originally had been.

In the end, the dogs were brought home feeling defeated. The squeals of the gopher could still be heard as we walked back to the yard. If he knows what is good for him, he will find a better hiding place next time. I don't think the Saskatchewan Roughriders would have been able to coax him out of the pipe. Perhaps that is why he went to the pipe - he is still living the embarassment of the Grey Cup 2009 and the infamous 13th man on the field in the final seconds of the game. Well Roughriders, if you want your mascot back - you had better come quick, since my dogs will try their best to get Gainer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

One Hot Weekend

This weekend was branding weekend, we went to our friends on Saturday, and helped brand his 300 calves, and then the next day, he returned the favor and helped us with our 200 calves.
This, as you see, is not a job for just a few people.
For those who have never been to a branding, there is alot to do prior to the branding - getting vaccines, getting the calves, getting the beer.

There are several jobs that have to be done, bringing the cows and calves in, splitting them up, roping them, wrestling them down, branding, vaccinating, implanting and cutting the bull calves.
All ages are involved, from carrying the nugget pail, to roping, to keeping the branding irons hot.
We managed to do roughly 60 calves per hour - even with a few minor wrecks, including a rope under a horses tail that caused a little bucking episode (sorry no picture at that time, we were getting out of the road).
In our outfit, all of our neices and nephews help - thank God Chris's sisters are fertile, they have given us a great crew.

There were three ropers, in the back ground is our friend Roger, and our nephews are in the foreground. They didn't let us stand around with nothing to do all day.
Even my neice Hanna got into it- prairie oysters have to be cleaned, and she was quite willing to do it. Branding is not complete unless the oysters are served. I am not sure what Chef Ramsay would say about this delicacy.

After all was over, there are sore body parts, and a good soak in the bathtub will help get the grime out. The dogs usually find a good mud puddle or stock tank to jump in. However, Anne thought that fresh calf excrement was the icing on the cake - and it did have the color of lemon icing-too bad it didn't smell that way as well.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Supplemental Income

In these financial times, one should try to make another income if they can. My dogs have their own can picking business.
Thanks to the dehydrated neighbors in the area, every day when we walk, the dogs pick up cans.
Floss has an uncanny ability to find beer cans.
Creed finds his pop cans.

There is a training course that all dogs have to go through.
Fleet has passed his training course, and now is off finding his own cans.
It is an equal opportunity job - Cliff the three legged Jack Russell puts in his full day work as well.

For anyone needing help in their area - please call 1-800-Cans R Us

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

USBCHA Cattle Dog Finals - The Final Final Verse

Before we put the Cattle Dog Finals to rest, I wanted to share some of the trip. First it was going to Shawna and Doug Burton's to do a quick training session - this is the road up to their place west of Claresholm.
Then it was the trip down - it was snowing that day- lovely Alberta weather.

Then there was the lovely Montana weather.

This was looking off of Scott's Bluff - this was looking into Gering, Nebraska.

Then I thought I would test a panoramic view on my camera - this is looking towards Wyoming off of Scott's Bluff.

I have found that often when trialing, you don't stop and check out the country side -I am going to make it my mission this year to stop at the interesting stops through my travels.
Next trip is to Falkland, BC - we will see what Paxton Valley has to offer!

Monday, May 10, 2010

USBCHA Cattle Dog Finals - The Final Verse

By the time it was our turn (we were running in 10th position), it was known that the cattle were difficult - some were lucky to get to the first drive panels.
I sent Gin out, and had a fair outrun and lift (she was running wide) , and my poor piloting allowed only 1 head through the fetch panels - she did a perfect lookback, and once again, I let her down by not getting any cattle through the panels.
Gin worked hard, and listened to everything I asked her. They were hard to get going on a flow, but eventually we got them driving to the panels. I really must need glasses, I misjudged the drive panels as well, and didn't get many head through.
She was on her game, wish I could have said the same about myself!

We timed out at the chute as a few head were making their way through - of course those points didn't count.

I had really wanted to load those cattle in the trailer - maybe next year.

For our efforts, we ended up 7th - Juan Reyes and his dog Zac are the 2010 USBCHA Cattledog Champions- and it was well deserved. For such a young dog, he is really talented. I am thinking maybe Gin should have a date with this Wyoming fella!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

USBCHA Finals - Watching the Youngsters

Because I don't have a nursery dog qualified this year, I sat back and watched the dogs today. Quite a few have competed in the open already, and watching makes me think I should get home and work on the young ones even more - these guys are so broke! Bill Reed from Tennessee has a great young dog pup, and I do mean pup - he is only 10 months old! Has whistles on him and a lot of grit. His mother Ann (who Bill is running as well)is in the nursery as well, as is the sire, Red (run by Juan Reyes). I have put my name down for a pup (don't worry Chris, won't be for a year or two since we have a lot of young pups already). Guess that means I will have to come down again - oh the trials and tribulations of this sport.
Went to the top of Scott's Bluff today (named for a fur trader who died in the bluffs after a trading deal went wrong with the Indians - think it had to do with a casino or something) - as soon as I can, I will put the picture on here - on top of it you can see straight across Nebraska to the east and to Wyoming to the west. There is a lot of history about the trek of the pioneers (along the Old Oregon Trail) - I recommend it highly.
The day will start tomorrow at 7 am with the nursery finals (top 10 go back), and then the open - Gin and I will be 10th running. I have noticed that the cattle are working better in the afternoon, so hopefully this will be the case for tomorrow as well.
One other note - for those who know Joann Zoerb, I have met her twin sister - her name is Lasoya - and (un)like Joann, is part Mexican and Indian. She flew down from California just to watch the dogs. This is her first year trialing, and she has qualified her nursery dog this year for the finals in Virginia this year. Also met Mari, who came from Alaska to buy a dog from Francis Raley - she runs sled dogs in Alaska, and is going to get back into running the border collies as well. I have asked them to come up to Alberta to trial - and I bet we will see them next year. Jimmy Walker is going to come up to Alberta this year and stay a couple of weeks and enter our trials as well as the Calgary Stampede - that is assuming he gets in. With only 60 dogs being allowed, I am sure the fax machine at the Stampede grounds will be smoking 8 am on Monday morning.

Friday, May 7, 2010

USBCHA Finals - The Fat Lady Sings

La,La,La - well, the 2nd go-round is over. I was sitting 21st with Fly this morning, and was 12th up - I needed to have a really good run to get in.
As always, Fly was ready for the task at hand
Things started to go really well, had 2 total taken off of the outrun and lift, and they went through the fetch panels, and made them around the post - then the steer crap hit the fan.
There was one crankpot that decided to run for the hills, Fly did her best to keep everything in order...
but the steer had other ideas- it eventually ran off course, and I was left with 99 points - overall she ended up 27th - still quite proud what she did, she, like always, tried her best.

Gin was 2nd from the last to go today, so we knew we had to do a decent run, or we would be going home early.
The cattle all day were not happy - the wind was blowing 40KM plus in our face all day, and they wouldn't settle down.

Gin had a wide outrun (not sure what she was running to), but brought them in, right away I knew things weren't going to be pretty - had 1 steer which tried to ruin things. First it wouldn't go around the post, then it decided it may go for a very long 2nd drive. I was concerned, because I didn't have enough points to retire and get into the finals - but Gin was on her game, and she brought that beast back.

She got things collected, and we settled things down.

We got full points for the open chute...

and was able to get one into the pen.
In the end, we got 137 points, and with the 197 yesterday the total of 330 placed us 6th overall (YAH!!) The double lift will be on Sunday.
The top 2o include - Jimmy Walker, with three dogs (Jiggs, Angie and Mitch), Tony Stewart with 2 dogs (Lad and Cole), Norma Stewart with Lena, Anna Guthrie with Riddle, Bill Reed with Lad, Tim Gifford with two dogs (Josie and Tip, Dwight Parker with two dogs(Craig and Mike, Rick Strohl with Dusty, Gerald Bunney and Ladd, Rudy Starke and Rooster, Tom Forrester and Pete, Tim Naasz and Zoey, Juan Reyes and Zak, Lyle East and Spot and Gin and myself.
I am not sure about everyone else, but I have a severe taste for some Angus beef.