Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Art of a Cowboy

Being a cowboy is so much more than just riding a horse and following the cows.  It may appear that it is all that they do but once you get to know them and watch what they do you realize that there is so much more to it.  Most of it is instinct.  Its like a sixth sense that they gain over time and through experience.  They are born with a certain ability to connect with the animals.  They learn to be fearless or need be to face their fears.  There are people that say that ranchers or cowboys are the uneducated ones that couldn't make it in the world.  Maybe they couldn't make it sitting behind a desk all day but that is because God gave them gifts that we can afford for them to waste.  You should come and try to do what they do.  What they do is an art.  There is no other way to explain it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gotta Hurry Home!

The association cowboys gathered up the forest cows to move to the next of their summer pasture early Saturday morning.  It was a beautiful morning for a ride.

A bike ride that is. 

I too headed out on the road, thinking that these cowboys were pushing the herd back across all of the fields instead of down the lovely paved highway that I had chosen to peddle my bike down. 

As I just about to turn around I got a call from The Rancher.  He casually asked what I was doing and where I was.  I responded that I riding my bike down the road.  Why?  Well, they were heading down the road with the cows, were almost to the house and if I didn't hurry I was going to get caught in the midst of them. 

I should get a medal for how fast I turned that bike around and peddled back to the house.  Just as rolled into my driveway the first of the cows came across.  Phew... I made it. 

And just in time for pictures too!

I quickly changed out of my stinky exercise clothes and into my stinky cowgirl clothes, loaded up The Rancher's Sidekick and The Ranch Princess to follow the cow trail.  Its kinda hard to miss... they leave digested bread crumbs along the way.  Another good reason to not be riding down the road with the cows.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Putting up the Grain

Remember this spring when I posted pictures of the newly sprouting grain?  Well it has sprouted, grown, been swathed, raked, and baled.  I was super lucky to get a few snaps before it all ended up in the stack yard. 

There is something about men that when you say, "Tell me when you are going to ____ (fill the blank with whatever) let me know so that I can take some pictures."  that it totally escapes them.  Cowboy Pete had just started swathing the last field when The Rancher called to say that if I wanted to get any picture it had to be NOW.  But I must admit, I am grateful that he called.  I really should give him a break because coming out to take pictures is a new thing this year.  And I know that when there is a job to get done the work must go on, even if the picture taker isn't ready.  

Sadly, I didn't get any of the baling... Yep we missed that...  You will have to look forward to it next year.
Here is the grain, just sprouting.
And here it is again as it is being cut down.

 This is a crazy photo but I was trying to show just how tall it had grown.  But several factors kept it from turning out how I would have liked.  And it was too tall to get all of it if I took the shot from the ground like a did for the springtime picture. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cowboys Pete and E

One fine day I found these cowboys down at the arena messing horsing around (ha ha ha! Ok, I know its not funny...).  They had loaded up the roping steers, put on the horn wraps, and rigged the shoot to open with some baling twine.  A few friends had come over so naturally the crew had made their way to the arena.

I was really supposed to something domestic like dusting, laundry, dinner...  But I didn't want to so I meandered down there to take some pictures.

Now remember that I am not a photographer so these aren't the best, but they do show what a fun time they had and what a good group of kids they are. 

PS- if anyone out knows how to take a STELLAR picture of cowboys roping I would love to learn.  They are just so fast that I can't keep them in focus...

 Cowboy E decided that these were more than just roping steers.  Oh no, they are more like multi-purpose steers and that maybe he should bulldog one of them.  Sadly we don't have a bull doggin' horse so instead of bailing off the horse he grabs a hold of the steer as it is coming out of the chute.  That starts him with a disadvantage, don't you think?  Regardless of who is winning he still looks like he is in control for this picture.  Do you think that he flipped the steer?  You will have to ask him!

 Cowboy Pete tried for the steer wrestling too.  His turn didn't end too swell...  But at least his faithful pup is there to console him.  (Just so you know, everything is OK- no serious injuries... we think)

The girls opted for using this multi-purpose steer for... I don't know.. a trick steer?  a bucking steer?  I'm not really sure, but at least they are cute doing it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

So God Made a Farmer (or in this case a Rancher)

How many of you watched the Superbowl this year?  Now, did you skip the game for the commercials or skip the commercials for the game?

I do both.  But I'm not here to talk write about football.

What I have been thinking about it this cool commercial that Dodge put out.  Do you remember it?  It is a quote by Paul Harvey talking about that God created the Farmer on the eighth day, for so many reasons.  But all in all its about that God needed a man that was hard working, that would make sacrifices, and be dedicated to the end.  He wanted someone that was tough and could take anything yet still tender and understanding.  It would be a man that would stand up for right in whatever circles he was in and be a proactive member of his community.

In the commercial it always says farmer but I like to slide in rancher too (and not often do I think that rancher and farmer are the same but this time I think we can get away with it).  And they got it right on!  This is what type of people ranchers and farmers are.  And there aren't too many of the good men left.

I had to watch it again and after I did I thought you all should too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What's a Rancher Without His Cow Dog?

Have you stopped to think about that question?  Any good rancher has at least one cow dog, but more like three or four.  And usually those dogs are good enough to move the cows without any help.  Well that might be over stating it, but we rarely work cows without The Rancher's Dog.  Even when we are working them through the squeeze chute it is the dog's responsibility to move the cows along.

Quick side story*
When we were in college The Rancher's Dog took a spill out of the back of the truck and broke both of his back legs.  We weren't sure what to do but when I looked at The Rancher I knew that we were NOT putting this dog down.  We began by splinting it but that didn't keep the bones aligned well enough.  The options were to either do surgery and pin it or surgery and amputate it.  We opted for the pin.  He seems to do well.  Occaisonally we see a little limp and I'm afraid he will end up with arthritis but I don't think we really could have seen that dog go.  That day was the nearest I have ever seen The Rancher cry.

But on a happier note, he is alive with all of his legs and is a master cow chaser.  When we were moving cows to Badger Hole the heifers were really on the fight.  I didn't get a great picture of the dogs getting the cows but some other fun ones.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Little Bit of Beauty

Its not very often that I brag up the beauty of this little valley, and maybe I should.  I don't really give it all of the credit that it deserves.

Yes we live in the desert- at least I would consider this desert.  It is SO dry, even on a good rain year.  If I had a penny for every sage brush I would be rich there are so many. 

And oh my goodness the dust.  I have a years supply of Q tips that The Rancher cleans out in about 3 months. 

There are no streams or rivers.  Ok, there is a streamlet (you know, a baby stream) that runs through the ranch, but that is really all of the fresh water around.

To find trees you have to go deep in the hills to find a few stands.  The Rancher considers the REALLY BIG sagebrush to be trees but I want one that you can climb, build a tree house and take a nap under.  Sadly, we don't have any.

Have I convinced you that this is a desert and that most of the things that makes a valley beautiful are lacking? 

But here and there I do find little bits of beauty, and I might appreciate them more because of the rugged surrounds it has.  The colors of the wild flowers seem so much more alive when they are cast against the monochromatic hills.  And the deep color of the sunsets takes your breath away.  The green of the meadows is so captivating that the distant hills seem to escape from view. 

Maybe beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and The Rancher's Wife is finally seeing a little more clearly.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Badger Hole Day 2

Your anticipation is at its max, isn't it?  I told there were two days of Badger Hole and that meant two days of pictures... So where is day two?!

Right here!

This ride I actually got to ride- like on a horse.  And completely KID FREE!  The guys where heading out at 6:30 in the am so I knew this would be my chance to go and leave my children with grandma.  Everyone was happy about that, right?

I have to admit that I didn't take all of the pictures that I wanted.  First I was just nervous to pull the camera out on the horse.  What if I dropped it?!  Then I was afraid that just as soon as I pulled it out I would need to actually do some real work and chase a cow or two.  I mean, I was here to help so I had better pull my weight.  And I will confess that I am so afraid of The Rancher or any of the guys rolling their eyes at me for pulling it out.

But I did get some and it was so fun!  And I am thinking that The Rancher had better take me out again.  Soon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating This Land

I really love Fourth of July.  And I think it is The Rancher's favorite holiday.  He loves the fact that it is a holiday that is mostly noncommercialized (did I make that word up?) and that there are no expectations of gifts.  Its a day that we can celebrate and spend time together as a family.  But I really love that we have a day set aside that I can say (or think, because I don't really go shouting things from the rooftops- but maybe I should), "I'm proud to be an American!"  or I can break out in song singing, "Its a grand ol' flag..." and its totally ok.  Actually The Rancher might be slightly embarrassed but he can live with it...

I think that I love this day because I really love this country and I feel very connected to the roots, the heritage, and the values that this country was built upon.  Yes there are things, especially political things that I don't enjoy or I don't agree with.  But there is also a standard that I have the chance to live the life that I want as long as I work for it.

When we celebrate Independence Day I think that we celebrate in two parts- one the legacy of our country.  This land is filled with battlefields, graves, homes, monuments, museums, ect, that are preserved to help us remember what this country was founded on and the cost of it.  The second part is that this is a land of hope.  There are so many new beginnings and opportunities for new beginnings here.  Instilled in this hope is a mix of feelings of pride, dedication, determination, hard work, sacrifice, success, and satisfaction.

And that sounds like the reasons why I love to ranch.  We are able to preserve the land, preserve the heritage of ranching and preserve the hope of bright futures and new beginnings.   

Badger Hole Day 1

The heifers were ready to move out of their spring pasture and up to Badger Hole.  The ranching men decided to make this a two day thing, which means two days of pictures for me.  The first day they moved them down the highway and over to a corral to hold them for the night.  The Little Cowgirl helped me follow in the truck while The Sidekick rode the motorbike with The Rancher (who is so much cooler than riding with mom in the truck of course).