Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Catching Up

Branding is a yearly thing that has to be done. Around these parts, the community pitches in to help one another - it is like a big circus - moving to ranch to ranch branding calves along the way. It is one of times during the year where we can catch up with the neighbours-the rest of the year is filled with other duties-seeding land, making hay, fixing fence and checking cattle and feeding. Brandings are one of the last of the old fashion things that happen on the ranch, and probably will continue on for years to come since it is a necessity-I am afraid microchips migrate too much. The day starts with looking at the weather forecast-since a wet day will soon cancel the festivities. If a dry day is called for, all the herd is brought in and calves are split from their moms - let the bawling games begin! The branding pots are heated up, and the ropers are warmed up and everyone finds their place for the day. There are many jobs to be done- roping, wrestling, vaccinating, castrating, dehorning and branding are to be completed. When things are on a roll, it takes only a few minutes per calf and all of the jobs are done-a well oiled machine could not keep up with us! There was only one fellow fall off his horse this year, and that was because he was trying to retrieve his hat which blew off. Perhaps a string on his hat will help next year - hell, put on a whistle and he could whistle for help as well! After the branding is done, the crew must be fed and watered. Filtered barley mash is always a prerequisite, as well as rye water. Often the festivities last well until the early morning -and usually depends on how the refreshments hold out. I think our refreshments held out just fine!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Still Catching Up!

So the next trial that was planned for 2013 was a trip to Wyoming to compete at the Slash J and the Clear Creek Trial.  Jamie Van Rhyn was to be my travelling partner, and a little cramming was done the night before we left. 
 The next morning we packed up the crew and set our way to south of the 49th.  At about the 48th, a rock hit the back of the windshield.  "No, the show must go on!" I told Jamie.  Fresh air is always a good thing.
 Stopping at just across the line at Opheim, Mike and his friend Mike helped out damsels in distress.  Dora's back end was dealt with, and we carried on our merry way.  Duct tape and cardboard and voila....a new windshield.
 Thank you Frito Lay!
 As we travelled, we stopped along the way and let the dogs stretch their legs...and ours too.
 We made it to Sheridan where we stayed the night - and this young fellow at Boston Pizza was very helpful in getting our bearings.  This California dude should actually work at a tourist booth.
 Jamie and I went shopping for groceries.  The crab meat was a hard catch.
 We carried on from Sheridan in the morning, and made our way to Joni Tietjen's new abode.
 The countryside was outstanding.
 Wyoming had a new colour this!
 Joni showed us how to get an unlucky break with a bum lamb.  I do believe she wanted a gun at this time to scare the bugger to the rest of them.
 The field was huge, and a good test for the hounds.  My hounds did not pass the test.
 On the slow days, I did some surgery - my lights were in need of a repair (first fixed by Jamie's fiancĂ© Harvey, and then destroyed by the windshield incident).
 Splicing and dicing.  It was real delicate work.
 Success!!  I may open a shop in Mankota in the near future.
 Another slow day I went to Sheridan to get Dora's window replaced.  The community of Sheridan had some buddies to loan them a few statues (this one says worth $58,000).
 And that was no bull!
 Clearmont saw the handlers one evening.
 Pool shark Jamie.
 There was more bull.
 The bar/restaurant/taxidermy shop had something for everyone.
 A very rare Vincent Van Gogh.
 A good time was had by all.
 Oh dear, or deer.
 Ray Copeman chowing down.
 Tasty morsels of food.
 Red Solo Cup.....I lift you up.
 The next trial was hosted by the Fennemas just down the road at Leiter.
 I worked on my sock tan.
 The field was fantastic.  Yet another test for the dogs....yet another test failed by my dogs.
 When it was all said and done, Jamie and I made it our way home.  On our travels we found these two lovebirds.  Yes, he had taken her to the convenience store on his lawnmower for some beer.
 Born to be wild!!!
 Our last stop would be in Malta before we made it home. 
 There was a little shopping done the next day, and then we made it back on the north side of the 49th.  There was a little more time left over, and we travelled to the Glentworth Mall, where Jamie showed me how to spend money. 
The two southwestern Saskatchewan chicks were back in the homeland.  There would be some remedial classes for dogs before the next trial in Bowden, Alberta.  Would summer classes work...time would tell!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Am So Far Behind I Think I Am First

Well, you may have think I have fallen off the face of the earth, and these past couple of months has been sort of a world wind of craziness that has happened.  We will have to step back about a month to get everything back on track.  After the Mankota Rodeo (which was end of March), the next thing that happened around here was to get the sheep ready for their summer pasture - that of course meant shearing.
First we had to find the renegades.  They were acting like speed bumps, so they were not hard to find.
 Jenny kept close by - maybe she wanted a little off her sides as well!
 Maggie and her calf was wondering what was up.
Mitch was number one pen dog.  He worked for his kibble that day.
Everyone waited for their turn.
Not sure if there was a lot of Advil in their systems, but the shearers made it look easy.
Our neighbor Kathy Eklund came to help - it was wooly nice she could come out to help.

Chris was the official packer.
The big boys were left to the end. 
Whoa, we hardly know each other!
Is this a strip search?
  Give me a call next time your in town.
This tyke will have to wait 'til next year for it's haircut.
So after the girls all had their coats off, they were to be sent off to pasture - and they were to be branded so that we would get the lovely darling back at the end of the season.
There was a little problem with the branding pot.
I got slightly burnt.
Hell, had to color my hair anyways.