Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flying By The Seat Of My Pants

After a week of doing a locum at Nanton, Alberta, it was time to head back home...but wait, there was a few things that had to be done first. First of all, I went to Chris's sister Marie's wedding - her new husband is Pedro. It was a nice garden wedding.

 Then I made a quick trip to the Tchetter Colony and met up with Leanne, where I had to meet the new and upcoming that would be coming to her place in few weeks.
Tip would be bringing along his sister for her to become a McCordian. 
Now, I know you all have a crink in your neck looking at this picture - not planned at all.  It appears that I did not have an option to rotate the picture (after trying an hour to make it fit).  We are planning to call her Nan - and you may ask, is not the other pup you got the week before called Nan?
Yes, this one is Nan as well (you have a crink in your neck again, don't you?)  She is an aunt to the other Nan. Cripes, Chris can have two nephews called Chris, we are just carrying on a tradition.  That way birthday cards can be reused. 
As Leanne played with her phone (I thank her for taking the pup pictures)... 
..... Jake worked some of the dogs he had.
 This lovely Suffolk was a cranky old bat.  There was a time I wish I had a bat.
 After all the training was done, then I headed back to McCord.  A quick work week was done, whereby a lot of crap was dealt with...really, it came from the backend of bulls.  One particular day, I went to do fourteen bulls, and like a fool I thought, "This is going well!"  Immediately, a bull was let out of the chute as I was about to fondle, I mean examine his testicles, when the back gate fell on top of my head.  Could this have been the way Newton felt with the apple?  He probably didn't get an egg shaped lump on his head like I did. Then shortly after that, a bull was let out with my probe still in his butt, which did not bode well for the probe. And then the shit hit the fan - no I guess it hit my face when the bull had a slight temper tantrum.   A quick trip back to the clinic (one hour round trip) was done to get a new machine, all the while noticing large muddy dog prints in the front seat of Dora - guess the rancher's dog wanted a trip to town. 
Now I would have thought that was enough excitement for one week - but in a few days would be the yearly branding - after work the next day I went to get groceries (3 hour round trip) expecting a large crew for the weekend.  I had it all planned, which was changed at the grocery store when they didn't have the coleslaw that I wanted.  So many bags of lettuce were bought, as well as macaroni (for yet more sald) and beans, for the planned chili - Branding 2012 was going to take place in a mere 8 hours-I had to sleep really fast.
The next day, we travelled to the south ranch to brand the calves.  I would have to say it was the smoothest branding ever - we didn't even have to be there - in fact we weren't.  I started making the dinner, and found out we had no water (it would have even made Martha Stewart say a few choice words) and Chris did some running around to get the water going.  The water was put back on, and my second in command in the kitchen came (my sister Sandy and her husband Ken).  When all was well on the kitchen front, I finally made it to my own branding. 

The momma cows waited patiently for their calves. 
 For those neophites to brandings, here is the step by step procedure.
1. Rope the calf - preferably by two hind legs
2.  Ensure that the portable gate works well in keeping the other calves from escaping.
3. Drag the calf to the crew.
 4. The calf will have vaccinations, a brand, dehorning, castration and implanting done by the experts.
 5. The use of the Northfork is optional (this is contraption which holds the head of the calf while the roper holds the heels).
 6. If no Northfork is available, then get your arse dirty and do some wrestling.
7. It is required that the young folk study -one day soon they will be part of the crew.
 8. Cowboy attire is optional.
 9. A good branding pot is essential.  Pot bellies are also optional (Hi Kelsey and Daryl!)
 10. When the job is done, it is necessary to wet the whistle with a cool beverage.
 So after we were done the first group (250 calves in 2 1/2 hours - you do the math), we picked up to go to another field to do a few more calves.
"You've been cowboying long?"
My cooking was not done - the prairie oysters had to be prepared.  Martha Stewart, call me anytime and I will give you my recipe (which didn't include beer as in the picture, that was for purpose of soothing a dry throat). 
 When the job was done, the steeds stood around.
 My fear of not having enough food was unfounded.  Everyone had a belly full.  I do believe I could have had 50 extra people around and there would have been still food left over.  At the moment, we are on a lettuce diet.  Next year I will buy only one package...not six.
 Branding 2012 was done - all that was left was to pack things up and head back home.
This is a road less travelled - but on June 23rd, it turned out to be a major road in cow country.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

First Time For Drayton Valley

No, it wasn't my first time for Drayton Valley - I had worked there many moons ago - but it was the first time for Drayton Valley to host an arena trial.  It was time for me to reconnect with old friends -and brand new ones as well.
Michelle and her two girls were out to cheer for me and my dogs - only felt like yesterday when we would go the local watering hole and cheer each other! 
 Many of us were able to put young dogs in - I had stopped by at Jill Brodie's the night before, polishing up on Mitch - and was pretty confident he would do well.  Somewhere between Rumsey and Drayton Valley, Mitch must have lost his brains - or his hearing - or both.  Back to the drawing board he will go.
Other handlers did quite well with their youngsters.

Some old friends came out with their old dogs as well.
We sat at the sidelines and cheered each other on.
After the day was done, I donned my vet hat and sewed up a ewe (the mileage is going to kill them) and then went to the greatest place to have steak in Drayton Valley - Three Knights (they better give me a free steak next time in town because of this plug).  I had met up with Holly Brunner, Lisa Wright and Louanne Twa - and they had the great steak as well (once again Three Knights, you can contact me with your gift card).  After that, I stayed the night with Christine Felstad - an old work mate and got caught up with life.

When the first go round was over, I had found I had won it with Floss - finally some points to go to the USBCHA Finals!   I am not proud, I will get them anywhere I can.  All we had to do was have a clear round, and Floss would be in the finals.  The trial gods had to have their way with us - we were dealt a ewe who figured correctly that Floss wouldn't floss her teeth with her, and we couldn't get her moving.  Training lesson 88 - learning to floss with your teeth would be taught in short order.

There was a short presentation of representative for each province for the crowd, I being el Presidento for Saskatchewan had myself in the limelight.

The day wound down and the finals were ran.  Gord Lazzarotto and Oakley won the ranch class.

The nursery class was won by Jennifer L'Arivee and she was piggish enough to win reserve as well.

 For the open finals - I was able to get in there with Gin, Carol Nelson had her two dogs in Jess and Zip, her mom Pam Boring (no she isn't boring) had Mirk in, Corey Perry had Jill, Tess Davidson had her Del and George Walker had Wylie (Wyli E Coyote) in.

Gin and I were able to put the heat on - penning in 1:39
But the heat wasn't turned up high enough - Carol and her Jess beat us with a time of 1:22!

So Carol Nelson and Jess were queens for the day.
Gin and I were to be the princesses.
It was a great couple of days - and was about to pack up and go home when Dora the Explorer had a surprise for me....a dead battery.  I had locked the keys in the truck to be safe, since I had a keyless entry I could use.  I guess I don't have to spell it out, but I will.  AMA.  I suppose you could say he was my knight in shining armor.

Another trial, another tribulation, and another story. 
However, the story doesn't end here.  I got Dora back jumping, and we made our way to the Do Drop In And Dye Residence - since when I rolled in I was ready to die.  A visit was had that night and the next morning Randy, Abe Marshall and Don Grant did some dog training - now, this WAS NOT done on the trial field for the Wildrose Stockdog Classic - it only looks like it.

Don showed us Ky (aka Dan) who looks like a replica of Gin.  I still kick my butt for selling him to Don.
We all had our turn to work our dogs.
I had twigged Mitch on this field - funny, his hearing had returned since the arena trial.  Floss made pretty good outruns, so I hope she remembers (how to do it, not the field, since I had noted, this WAS NOT the Wildrose Stockdog Classic trial field).
The following photos are courtesy of Randy Dye.

 I guess he took lessons from Naomi Shields how to take pictures - she shows great aversion to the zoom button.
After the training session (on the non-Wildrose Stockdog Classic field), we made our way to Nanton, where I was to work for the next week.  A short stop was done to drop off the amazing Dozer (a dog in which I was amazed how often he would pack a lunch and leave our place during his visit) - to his owners.  Dozer's kennel would not be empty for long.

Little Nan would be coming back with me after my work at Nanton was done. 
By the looks of her, she is either listening intently or has a neurological disease causing a head tilt.
Only time will tell.