Carry On

Character is what emerges from all the little things you were too busy to do yesterday, but did anyway. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Not much in the way of news around here.  The Calgary Stampede has been on for the last ten days and we’ve arrived at the point where the work shuts down at 1:30 in the afternoon and the television gets turned on to watch the live rodeo………then the chuckwagon racing comes on every night at 8:00 p.m.  I tend to wander off and do my own thing and pop in to watch the rough stock events.  Coffee time is when the barrel racing event is on….the Bossman hates watching some of their methods……the whip and spur event as he calls it. 

It’s been raining a lot here this year…..maybe another reason we don’t feel the guilt about taking the afternoon off.  We’ve had some wicked storms blow though…..lots of days with a half inch and a couple of inch and a half downpours.  It’s wet, hot and HUMID….my flowerbeds and garden are full of weeds and they don’t hoe well……I’ve been pulling some but I really need to get in there with a hoe. Our grassland is green and lush.  The needle grass, which we didn’t think would amount to much this year, is excellent……ask Mia……..we have to pluck the seed out of her twice a day. 

Last weekend we attended the family reunion.  This happens every three years or so.  They come together on a Friday and it ends after such on Sunday.  Much visiting of relatives, card playing, ball playing, they golfed (I don’t), roped a dummy, did some hammer slogging and ate.  We just went on the Saturday.  I got called to do the family photo.  I’m good at delegating and had one of the cousin who has the voice of a school teacher and the authority of a cop get everyone lined up and in position.  I snapped off a few and had the cousins kid’s boyfriend step in so I could get in the picture (that was NOT my idea though).  It’s interesting all these young folk…….some family’s just step up to the plate and help…..other’s don’t.  I’m old enough to have watched the trends over the years and the ones that do step up seem to do much better than the ones that escape and sit on their butts.  Not my circus…..not my monkey’s…..that’s what the Bossman tells me anyway.

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Can you find me??


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Yup, we’re a bunch of ball players…..gotta love his batting helmut. (One of the cousins)

Mia is six month’s old this month……she’s growing up and looking more and more like an adult.  She went through a homely stage and is starting to look a lot less gangly although we’d love her anyway she looked.  She minds pretty good for a dog her age….she hates cats but our three old barn lions are dog wise and won’t run from her…..I’d hate to have a young cat around as that’s one thing that seems to be hard for her to leave alone.  We often find fledgling birds that she could kill but when I say “leave it” she does.  So far we haven’t ran into any rattlesnakes.Mia-6 months 20568.jpg


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I’m off to do three photography workshops for the 4-H kids tomorrow.  I just hope I can keep their attention for an hour.  I have my example photos on my laptop and will have a projector to use.  I’m winging it……I have a cheat sheet in my bag but I really have no idea what I’m doing, wish me luck or pray😳

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I went over to my friends place and used her mare as a model….the bugs were horrible and I know why “real” photographers have an assistent 


Another Season Done

The only gracious way to accept an insult is to ignore it; if you can’t ignore it, top it; if you can’t top it, laugh at it; if you can’t laugh at it, it’s probably deserved. ~Russell Lynes

We finished up branding season yesterday.  It was a good one for both the Bossman and me…..we were on the gathering and roping crew.  My Snick horse has been lame in a hind leg so I haven’t been able to use him but twice this season but I’ve been using my George horse AND……..he’s getting good.  Not as good at reading my mind as Snick but I think in another year he might be.  I use him in two sets yesterday and he got a little scotchy on me towards the end of the second but it was a long day.  We started gathering at nine in the morning and were hoping it wasn’t going to get too hot……storm clouds rolled in and we had some close lightning and got pretty wet once.  They don’t actually put a brand on at this one so it wasn’t an issue……..just a little uncomfortable for a while.  They had tons of ground crew.  I had my camera there and there was a friend that didn’t have a job so she took some photos with it from the fence.  I think it must have been on manual mode and the setting weren’t right because most of them are dark but I’ll post a few anyway.

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The Bossman riding his Hasty horse and me in the background.

One of our neighbours was there that I have a not so good a relationship with.  He’s a bully with me at times.  When I get on my (especially George) horse I usually do it by climbing on off the fence…..not so professional.  He had to make some crack about what a sight it was and I finally had a come-back……he’s just six months old than I am and hasn’t been seen on a horse for years….I quipped that at least I wasn’t just sitting on the fence…..I should have led the horse over and told him to mount up and show me how.  Alas… social skills get tested when he’s around.

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Me and George……I really am starting to like this horse.
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Later in the day….this is just a small part of the crew.

Today I mowed the yard.  I have one of those zero turn mowers that can spin on a dime and hand you the change.  There was a horsefly that bit me on the leg and I had to let go of the one handle……I darn near got buck off that thing. Tomorrow we’re putting the bulls out with the cows and another season begins.

Miss Mia……..she’s more like a teenager now….even rolls her eyes at me.2016-06-23 at 16-36-54.jpg

Painting Workshop

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~Scott Adams

Busy….always something going on around here.  We’re getting ready to put the bulls out next week so we semen tested and have been sorting cows and delivering some bulls we’ve sold and kept until turnout.  My favourite branding was on Saturday but I’d signed up for a watercolour workshop a few weeks before and had to miss it.  The workshop was fun…..I felt a LOT out of my element among real artists but I learned some things that at least got my motivated again. I had to take Miss Mia along on Saturday and I sorted of dreaded it but I tied her up in the shade and we took breaks every once in a while and walked in the coulee at the edge of the property.  The class was held at her house, outside on the decked in the yard.  We started by making a colour wheel and were only allowed to use there primary colours; Napthol Red, Cad Yellow, Light and Pthalo Blue along with Permanent Rose to get a nice purple.  I’d been using this method for about a year so it was about the only thing I could do well.  The first day after we’d played with making colours, we found a place and painted flowers….single flowers, baskets, whatever took our fancy.  I’m a plopper and tend to slop some water on and drop the pigment in that and see what happens.  It was so interesting watching how other people worked.  One lady had worked a lot with acrylics and pastels and she was SO meticulous……of course hers looked great when she was done.  The next day our instructor put a huge emphasis on drawing….she takes photos and uses her computer and measures certain points out to start and get the contours of the subject situated.  I’ve always just faintly penciled in where I wanted to paint….sort of how I cook too….have an idea and flesh it out as I go along.  She also demonstrated how to work on a live model to get the angles and form in the right perspective. We worked on flowers again and landscapes.  When I got home on Monday I thought I’d try doing it her way by doing a detailed (for me) drawing of a photo I’d taken of Mia.  I got the shadow on the nose wrong and it makes her one eye seem a lot lower than it should be and I found making a black dog is not an easy thing.13466163_10154843389100476_4030093132740377222_n.jpg

My spuds are blooming and the weeds along with them.  The Bossman mulched my garden before I got back on Monday (WOW, didn’t see that coming) and I’m thankful… makes for a lot less hoeing and I use about half the water.  He’s been going over some fence lately.  He figures if he can fix seven miles a year it takes him ten years to go over all of it…….NEVER ENDING!

We sorted the purebreds this morning into two bull units……..Miss Mia is becoming quite the help…….she’s learned to stay with the cut and we get to help bring a pair to “our” bunch as the Bossman sorts it out…..but not until I tell her.2016-06-24 at 08-57-44.jpg2016-06-24 at 09-14-44.JPG

I’m off to photograph a barrel race again tonight…..the weeds can wait.


At Last

As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold. ~Author Unknown

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I hate seeing photos of myself and hardly ever have to but Sonja insisted that I keep one of the ones she took on my camera. That’s an old ugly compressor station in the background that I wish could disappear.

I think I’ve finally caught up.  I did grad photo’s (we call it grad here…some call it prom night) on Saturday in a windstorm but at least it wasn’t too hot and the sun was shining…..I did them one year in the rain :(  The place the girl chose was pretty well sheltered by trees so I was happy about that.  She wore a strapless dress with a huge crinoline skirt and a rhinestone studded bodice.  It looked way too uncomfortable…….but……it was her party not mine ;)  Sunday we had to gather at the neighbours and brand.  I got to rope the whole branding which was a change.  Now I can claim the title of rope hog.  I’d had my George horses feet reset Friday and the farrier is trying to “fix” him and trimmed him a little too short so he was pussyfooting…..I took old Snick instead.  Snick’s getting a little stiff in his old age and I have to warm him up…….much the same as I need to warm myself up before a big job.  I used him in one set and another neighbour is trying to do a three way trade for my Peso horse……he wanted me to use his dun gelding to see how I liked him.  He pulled nice but he’s a long way from handling as good as Peso and he doesn’t reach out and travel as nice either.  Today I finished editing my photo’s and got them ready to go, had a nap and took my camera and Mia and went for a walk.  She’s what I’d describe as a teenager now…..know way more than she really knows…..if you know what I mean.5 Months 20210

The prairie has a lot of flowers blooming, the grass is good but we’ll always welcome a rain….’til next time….2016-06-13 at 15-33-56 2016-06-13 at 15-34-25


Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
~William Shakespeare

Time..where does it go?  Long, long time…no blog.  Last time I typed on here we were still calving… we’re branding.  The garden is up (I’ve even hilled the spuds), Miss Mia has grown a bunch and had her 5 month birthday a couple months ago.  We were (of course) at a branding that day and I didn’t even get a photo of her.  Right now I’ve got about 20 minutes until I need to put the coffee on for the crew that will be coming over the hill with the cows in a bit.  My roast is in the smoker and I’m (as usual) wondering if I put it on early enough.  I’ve checked my lists for the twentieth time and I think I’ve got everything organized for the rest of the day.  I have lists and love to have them printed out so I can scribble the things I forgot and rearrange when the Bossman changes things up… he did this morning when he informed me he’d saddled a horse for me…..we had to get a little bunch in from the west.  Normally this is my day to do the skirt thing right up until I leave for the corral.

Now I’m typing two days later….not only did WordPress lose my post but  I got interrupted when some of the ground crew started showing up early for coffee.…..the branding is done and went well….my meat (that I worry most about) was perfect………lots of rare, medium rare and just enough well done stuff that don’t like the former……AND….lots of leftovers. Yesterday morning we trailed the cows to the east field and the steers looked great…nothing swelled or bleeding.  I had to get back home and have an early lunch as I had a photoshoot with one of the local graduates at 1:30 on a ranch 25 miles away and then on to the school for another shoot…supper and the ceremony.  Today I’m catching up, editing grad photos and then we’re off to do another branding on the river breaks at a neighbours.  I was determined to post something so that you knew I was still kicking………just not as fast I guess.  June has always been our slow and easy month………a few brandings, a few days of getting cattle to their respective breeding fields….the bulls tested and leisurely yard work…..either things have got busier or I’ve gotten slower because I’m feeling just a little rushed.

Some photos from the past few days;

Wind, Frost and Sun

Long time no post…..I’m just battling to stay on top of things.  We still have three cows left to calve.  We had a set of twins last night and another the night before that.  Twins are a ranchers nightmare most of the time.  Often a cow will have one….move a few feet away and have the other and the one that gets up and sucks (in the case of the first one, it might not find her until it’s too late) will be the one that she takes.  You can sometimes coax them into feeding them both but these range cows will most always do a better job on one and not two.  Last night the heifer calf had been up and sucked and the bull calf was breech so when we pulled him we stole the heifer calf and left her with the bull……more money in a steer calf come fall.  There’s a young guy that works at a dairy across the river that’s coming tonight to get the two heifer calves……his wife is feeding a pen full of them so at least we won’t have a job all summer.

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Miss Mia bringing up the rear.

My garden is in….I think I forgot to mention that the last time I posted.  I finally got the pump in the dugout the day before yesterday…’s awful dry here.  I also got the lawnmower out and cut the yard…..I think it was the first time ever that I haven’t either had to change the oil (I did that last fall) or charge a battery or some other silly thing.  I just hopped on and mowed.  We try and keep the grass around the buildings cut so it isn’t such a fire hazard. Branding’s have started…..I missed the one last night and went and got my bedding out plants instead….I don’t get a job there anyway and I’d just as soon not sit on the fence (they think I’m old or something😦 ).

We had two nights of ten degree frost…the leaves on the oak and ash trees are black and crispy….I hope they come back.  I’m not sure what will happen with the berry and apple trees yet.  It was hot yesterday and looks a little rainy here today and the local weather guy (the Bossman’s cousin) thinks it will freeze on the next full moon..I rather doubt it so I’m going to put my plants out next chance I get.  I can always cover them if it comes to that…..and it’s been windy still…often after a hard frost like that the weather will change for the better.

Lee Stevens doodled this up….it’s about perfect too….WINDY!

Miss Mia……is doing well.  Her one ear tipped back down but I hope the other one stays up….it makes her look rather rakish and she is!  She has been in more trouble than you can shake a stick at lately.  She has taken it upon herself to patrol the yard and keep the cows out from around it…sometimes TOO fast.  The Bossman has quite an arm on him and the baseball player comes out….the other day she wouldn’t listen when I told her “down” and just went faster….he pitched a horse turd at her…..hit her in the ribs and it didn’t even distract her and she kept at it so he literally leaped the five foot+ plank fence and ran her down to give her a lecture and a shake….it helped with the selective hearing that’s for sure…..pretty funny to watch too.  Her feelings were hurt but she’s listening again.  She reminds me of a toddler some days…cranky at night…..always in need of attention….won’t take no for an answer some days….wants her independence too.13198560_10154759706075476_8131259445856416266_o.jpgI’ve been writing and rewriting this post for four days now but I’m hitting the publish button before things change again. We actually got in the house and had supper before 10:00 P.M. and I’m going to read my book now…..night all.

Keeping Up

Several excuses are always less convincing than one. ~Aldous Huxley

That’s me……lots of excuses but really I’ve just been trying to prioritize and get the important things done….apparently blogging, commenting and getting back to people is slowly losing ground.

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The Chokecherry trees are blooming.

Since last time…..thing are going good.  As I type this our last heifer is getting ready to calve….all of them done in 30 days!!  I guess there is still one left but it was one the Bossman bought so she doesn’t count in the ranch tally.  There can’t bee too many left in the cows either….15 at most.  We fixed the power pole.  “Mickey Moused” it as the Bossman would call it but we ended up putting a 9 foot tie in the ground five feet deep right beside the old pole and bolted them together as trying to get an electrician out here is almost an impossibility this time of year and we didn’t need the thing blowing over in windstorm.

Expensive Ladder’s.
I get to run the Toolcat and should really wash the window’s😉
My co-pilot.  She likes my seat better than her own but isn’t a lot of help making it work.

We also tore out an old fuel tank and put a new stand in and when the other one is empty we’ll do that one too….in between those jobs we check cattle and move pairs south.  We had our hot water tank in the house replaced this week too.  I’m finally caught up on my book keepers duties (AGAIN) and the house is fairly clean for  the first time in a long while.  My friend showed up one evening in need of her dress pants hemmed for a horse show the next day……I hate hemming pants……especially when they have to be “that” exact but she won her class so they must have been okat.  I had a barrel racing jackpot that I photographed on Thursday and went into the cousin’s kid’s (one of the tribe) graduation ceremony last night.  The Bossman opted to stay home…….he hates that kind of thing. 

You’ve probably all heard the news about Fort McMurray burning……well, my brother works north of there for Suncor at a place called Firebag where a lot of people evacuated to.  It’s a huge camp with it’s own airport and he told me they had 29 flights of people go out of there on Wednesday…….he hadn’t a wink of sleep in well over 24 hours but was so proud of his team for pitching in with getting them all fed and a bed for the time they were there…doing whatever it took.  He got home at 1:00 Friday morning and it sounds like the camp will be shut down until they get things sorted out up there.  It was devastating!

Miss Mia is four months old today.  She’s becoming quite a big part of our lives around here.  She’s not much of a pup anymore but a young dog.  We rode through the pairs in the south field one morning last week and my garmin said I’d made a ten mile circle…if I rode that far she must have done twice that.  The only time I had issues with her was the first time we took her with us to the cows……she got distracted buy a meadow lark and I couldn’t whistle her back…..I finally rode her down with my horse and gave her a good lecture about taking off like that.  I let her drag her leash (which she hates) for the rest of the ride.  I don’t know who disliked the rattle the most…..Mia or Snick.  She loves to play with her boomerang outside and now has a frisbee.  She need all the excercise she can get.2016-05-01 at 19-07-21.jpg

2016-05-01 at 19-08-37.jpgShe likes to sit on your knee too every chance she can.2016-05-07 at 14-50-45.jpg