Thursday, May 30, 2013

Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls flows into the Palouse River, then onto the Snake River. The Snake has some pretty awesome salmon and steel head fishing. Cow Creek flows to Palouse Falls. We live on Cow Creek. If you were to follow the creek south, the Falls would be about 30 miles away. The Falls are in the middle of no where. You would never think there would be any flowing water anywhere! The falls are 198 feet in height. The canyon is 380 feet deep, the rock is Columbia Basin Basalt. The falls and the canyon is part of the channeled scab lands created by the great Missoula Flood that swept across Eastern Washington. The Palouse River use to flow into the Columbia River, but when the floods came through, it created a new route and now it flows into the Snake. It's quite a hike down to the bottom of the falls. You have to watch out for rattle snakes! YIKES!

This rock formation is called Castle Rock.

Coming out of the rocks.

The big splash!

Looking south from the Falls. The Palouse River flows. You'd think there'd be mountain goats of something. But there isn't.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

10 Things.

My sister sent this to me, I have to say they are all so very very true!

If you are going to be the woman on the ranch, here are the top 10 "facts" you need to know!

1. Always load your horse last in the trailer so it is the first one
unloaded. By the time he's got his horse unloaded, you will have
your cinch pulled and be mounted up ready to go - lessening the
chance of him riding off without you with your horse trying to
follow while you are still trying to get your foot in the stirrup.

2. Never - and I repeat never - ever believe the phrase "We'll be
right back," when he has asked you to help him do something out on the ranch. The echoing words, "this will only take a little while" have filtered through generations of ranch wives and still today should invoke sincere distrust in the woman who hears them.

3. Always know there is NO romantic intention when he pleadingly asks you to take a ride in the pickup with him around the ranch while he checks waters and looks at cattle. What that sweet request really means is he wants someone to open and close the gates.

4. He will always expect you to quickly be able to find one stray in a four-section brush-covered pasture, but he will never be able to find the mayonnaise jar in four-square feet of refrigerator.

5. Count every head of everything you see - cattle especially, but
sometimes horses, deer, quail or whatever moves. Count it in the gate, out the gate or on the horizon. The first time you don't count is when he will have expected that you did. That blank eyelash-batting look you give him when he asks "How many?" will not be acceptable.

6. Know that you will never be able to ride a horse or drive a pickup to suit him. Given the choice of jobs, choose throwing the feed off the back of the pickup. If he is on the back and you are driving, the opportunity for constant criticism of speed, ability and your eyesight will be utilized to the full extent. "How in the *@*# could you NOT see that hole?"

7. Never let yourself be on foot in the alley when he is sorting cattle horseback. When he has shoved 20 head of running, bucking, kicking yearlings at you and then hollers "Hold 'em, hold 'em" at the top of his lungs, don't think that you really can do it without loss of life or limb. Contrary to what he will lead you to believe, walking back to the house is always an option that has been used throughout time.

8. Don't expect him to correctly close the snap-on tops on the plastic refrigerator containers, but know he will expect you to always close every gate. His reasoning, the cows will get out; the food will not.

9. Always praise him when he helps in the kitchen - the very same way he does when you help with the ranch work - or not.

10. Know that when you step out of the house you move from the "wife" department to "hired hand" status. Although the word "hired" indicates there will be a paycheck that you will never see, rest assured you will have job security. The price is just right. And most of the time you will be "the best help he has" even if it is because you are the ONLY help he has.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A rain coat and chaps kinda day.

We moved the replacement heifers and angus bulls today from the Scout Camp pasture to the Sheep Springs pasture. Had our rain coats and chaps on. Thought for sure it was going to rain. But, it didn't. It was misty when we were saddling up. Then stopped. Sure looks like rain doesn't it?

Bandit, my wonder girl gathering heifers so they all get in a bunch. Make sure there's no run aways. I know I've said this before, but sometimes moving heifers is like playing pinball on horse back! But, with a couple great dogs they keep them in check. I can flank the bunch and Bandit follows behind and flanks the other side as needed. So darn smart these dogs.

Got them all lined out now. Good Job.

Then we headed to the creek to make sure we got all the heifers and bulls. We did. Saw these cute fuzzy duckies trying to hide. Aren't they the cutest!?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ranch Tour - And a Funeral.

Today was a very busy day. First thing in the Morning, noticed a Hereford bull we call "the wonder bull", because you always wonder where he's going to be the next day. Injured! :( Front leg. No sign of injury, just can't walk on it. I always tell the cows and bulls, if you need help, go to the road if you can. Well, he heeded my advice and was next to the road, by a gate! So we got the horse trailer, a bite of hay and lured him in the trailer on foot. Will have the vet out to check him out. Then the crew from the Western Livestock Journal, located in Denver, came out today for a ranch tour. The weather kinda cooperated. It didn't rain. But, it was 52* and FREAKIN COLD!!! We all survived though. There were 3 bus loads of people! 126 people total! From 12 different states! A few days before they came we rented chairs from the Lutheran Church, tables from the FFA. Cleaned out the 4 car garage and rented port a potties. They showed up at 10:00am. We kept them on the  bus and took them to the barn and corals where we work cows. They had tons of questions. The most interesting thing they thought was cool was the sharp shod horse shoes. We put borrium on heel and toe horse shoes so we can ride on the ice with less chance of slippin and slidin. Jake talked about the ranch and how when his Grandfather came here with his brothers, they wanted a place where they couldn't drag a plow. Well, they found it! He also talked about the Nez Perce Indians that used to be here years ago and how the ranchers and Indians got along great. Then we went back to the house and had bbq'd tri tip roasts, potato salad, beans and ice cream bars! YUM! All made by the matriarch Joan. Then they headed out around 1pm.

The garage all set up and ready to go.

The Flag in front of the barn.

Some of the gang lining up for the food.

The food line.

The buses.
Then at 3:00pm we had to be in town to go to Cameron's Great Aunt's funeral. He was a pall bearer. It was a nice small gathering at the cemetery. Tomorrow there is going to be a celebration of her life in town.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pickin' Brains

We had a wonderful day today. We took the kids out for a Sunday brunch at the famous Davenport Hotel. They have a 5 star brunch every Sunday. The Davenport was built in 1914, it was the first hotel in the USA with air conditioning, a central vacuum system, pipe organ and dividing doors for all the ball rooms. It has 21 floors. It's a 4 diamond hotel and listed on the national register of historic  places. Anyways, we wanted to treat the kids and pick their tender brains a little. They are both graduating from college this June. Michael, my son, is graduating with honors with a  psychology major and philosophy minor. I am just bustin' at the seams with pride! Hannah, his girlfriend, is graduating with honors with a philosophy major and creative writing minor. Very proud of her also. They want to eventually go to grad school. Michael, wants to get his doctorate in experimental psychology. Basically the who, how, and why the brain does what it does. Hannah wants a PhD in philosophy. She didn't get accepted in the school she was hoping for. So, they decided they are taking a year off. They want to move to Austin Texas, get a job, and go back to school. I am not real keen on them moving to Texas. They need a J O B first. We are going to send them there as a graduation gift so they can check it out, look around and see if that's really where they want to go. It was a wonderful day.
Here's  the sunset at the end of the day. And the ever adorable Pansy.
The chandelier in the Grand Pennington Ballroom where the brunch was.
The main lobby of the hotel.

The kids.


Looking through the trees.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Ravishing Rhubarb

So, I don't know much about rhubarb, except that it's good in cake and pie. I have 2 HUGE plants that have been here forever. Last year when they started to grow, one of them got a flower on it. This year BOTH of them have flowers. They are quite pretty. The stalks that the flowers grow on are hollow. I know your not suppose to eat those. I guess the rest of the stalks are all right to eat. Does any one else have rhubarb that flowers? And why does it do this? Can you make them not flower?

The flowering rhubarb plant.

The rhubarb plant - or shrub. It's big enough to be a shrub.

The flower bud before it blooms. And a pesky May Fly!

The flower.

Bandit sitting in front of the rhubarb. She doesn't like her picture taken. I had to ask her if she's been bunny hunting lately! That got her to look at me.

And a Columbine. These flowers are so so pretty. And they reseed. So, you have to be careful where they grow. I gather the seeds and spread them around everywhere.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Found the bull.

First off - OMG! And I didn't have a camera.  We headed out this morning at 9:00 am to go get the angus bull with the cut on his right rear leg. We figured he'd be a little more cooperative. WRONG! He was on the other side of the creek. Angus bulls LOVE the water. ;) Well, we had no problem getting him to start to cross the creek. There he stopped. The creek gets REAL deep as you get closer to the lake. And he was close to the lake! So we went in after him. 2 horses and 2 dogs. He didn't wanna play :( Shaking his head at us. That's their way of saying, "LEAVE ME ALONE". We didn't leave him alone. He could move pretty quick in the water. So could the horses and dogs! Well, Cameron figured he'd rope him and drag him out of the creek. His horse Junior, or "Bug" as we call him, has never been roped off of. He's swung a rope and had it around his legs and such, but not had a 1300 pound bull who's not happy on the end! The bull got to the edge of the lake and stopped. Cameron was, or I should say Bug was pulling with all his might. Bandit was in the water chewing on his hip. No budgy. Tug, tug, tug, PULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! The bull was flopping and twisting, going under water, getting WET. He was just getting ready to give in when SNAP! The hondo slipped. (Hondo=a reinforced loop at the end which the rope goes through to form a loop). There he stood looking like, Now what? Fixed the rope, looped it on him and drag him out. He wanted to chase the horses, more then he wanted to be lead. So he chased Bug while I chased him! And yea, he still was dragging a rope. Get to some shrubby trees, and he hid in there. Bandit tried  to get him out, he just got wrapped around the tree. Luckily I had a sorting stick with me and was able to hook the rope and get hold of it and go around the tree. Off he went, to the gate where the trailer was strategically place, and in the trailer he went. :) YEA. Now, to the barn to get treated. Got to the barn at 2 pm!  Can't use a horse to push him up the alley, since he's on the hook. So, on foot. He responded MUCH better on foot, then on horse. He only sent Cameron over the fence once! LOL! Not funny. I went and got him a bite of hay. "peace offering". He was receptive! So, in the barn, in the chute, and treated with antibiotics. Bandit followed him down the alley and into the bunk to chill till he heals. Oh, did I mention we had 1/2 inch of rain on top of this? Well, we did. :) Gotta love this lifestyle. Was a great day. Mission accomplished. :)

Cameron and Bug. What a great horse.
Bandit my amazing cowgirl.

Smokey, my other amazing cowgirl.

Nerdly and her 'daddy'. Nerdly in now 9 years old. She was a bottle baby. So sweet.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Moving Heifers.

Today was another hot, dry day. We're suppose to have a little rain the next 2 days and cooler temps. Yea, we'll see. How many times is the weather man right? Exactly.
We moved our replacement heifers and 5 out of the 6 angus bull. The first group of heifers went through the creek like good girls. Then we got to the gate and then went past it one way, turn them around, past it again, turn them around a few went through, the rest went past it! It was like trying to shove a cat in a sock! The next group of heifers (they were all in the same pasture, just different areas), saw us and ran! Ran to the creek, ran up the rocks, back to the creek. They were like dumping marbles on an uneven tile floor! But, that's heifers for ya.
As for the 5 out of 6 bulls, when we went to move the 2nd group of heifers, saw one of them limping pretty bad. He had a HUGE gash in his hind foot. So we tried to load him in the horse trailer. No luck, he didn't want to play.SO, we went home for lunch. Cameron left his horse at home and rode mine. He usually doesn't take any BS from the bulls. I won't bore you with the rest of the details. Needless to say 3 hours later and 2 tired dogs and a tired horse, and a real crabby husband he decided that the middle of the lake was a good place to hang out! So we left him till tomorrow. Maybe he'll be more cooperative. :) Maybe!
Good girls crossing the creek.

Keep going girls.

And, through the gate. Good girls, follow the bull! Poof! Dusty!

Cameron on my horse Leo. Looking for that darn bull.

Leo glad to be home eating grass. It was a long day for him.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Outta Here!

Monday we shipped a bunch of cull cows to the auction. Along with 6 dink pairs and an unusable angus bull. Had a FULL truck load. Cull cow is a cow that no longer serves her purpose on our ranch. She is open (not pregnant), lost a calf sometime between preg testing and branding. The dinks are from granny cows. They had itty bitty calves that weren't in our calving dates. We kept the younger cows with dinks. The younger cows will breed back, and hopefully calve with in the calving dates. If not, they will go to town too. The older(grannies), usually don't breed back, or they have later and later calves. The bull, well, he was shooting blanks. And that doesn't work when you want to have babies! :)
Waiting cows to be sorted by pairs and age.

7:00am right on time. Backing up to the loading dock.

The old guy backing the truck up to the dock.

And down the road the go. Red hill from the sunrise.

Gertie, our bottle baby. Just finished dinner.

Stach checking out the bottle. The cats love hanging with the calf.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hot Dog

Today was another hot day. 90*. We (hubby and I), sanitized the whole barn! Raked the floor, all the heifer pens, and the alley. Shoveled out the chute and lead up alley. Washed the tack room and sterilized the sink. Hooked the big hose up and power washed the chute, the calf table and the walk way. Power washed the scale, loading dock and alley. Hooked up the rake behind the 4 wheeler and drug the corrals. Turned on the sprinklers and watered the corrals and barn yard. We pump water from the creek to run the sprinklers. Looks pretty spiffy. The barn does get cleaned on a regular basis. Every day when we are calving. Power washed at least 2x's a year. The chute and alley every time we work cows. They make a mess! If you let it dry its like concrete! I wish we had a little skidster! But, we don't. So it's all done with rakes, shovels and pitchforks! A good work out. We have chlorine cooking in the water tank to kill all the grunge in there. Then we'll sweep the sides and bottom. Drain, rinse, drain and then fill. This is all part of our keeping the cows and horses healthy. Also, the Western Livestock Journal will be here on the 22nd. Their annual ranch tour. 126 people! Ought to be interesting.  Big BBQ at the folk's place about 5 miles up the creek from us. A tour of the corrals, a look see at the cows, but mostly I'm sure a lot of BS! ;)
Smokey Jo taking a little nap after a long day helping clean the barn.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wind and a cow - or a windy cow!

Today we finished branding the last of the cows. The 'dinks'. Had 50 of them to brand. Worked the dries and a few grannie pairs that are going to town on Monday, will make a nice truck load. Was a warm sunshiny day today. But, the wind! And it was coming from the East! So, it was a little on the cool side.  I wish it would stop already! You get dust in your eyes, up your nose and in your hair! And it's not 'normal' dust. It's mixed with Mt. Saint Helens ash. So its gritty. That ash never goes away. It's been 33 years May 18, 1980. It's like talcum powder, and gets fluffy and billowy. And sticks to everything. At least it washes off! :)
The wind sock in the back yard.

The flag in the front barn yard. Didn't seem as windy in the front..

On our road trip down the west coast. We stopped in a tiny tiny town that had wood carvings from the redwoods. I just LOVED this cow! So, she rode in the back seat of my car the whole trip! HAHAHA. Now, she sits on the front step. :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crazy Springtime...

This has been a very crazy spring. The guys had to reseed about 75 acres of grass that failed to grow when planted last fall. We've had freezing temps over night since - well last fall! It's kinda sad to see the flowers  all pretty during the day, then in the morning they are all slumped over and frozen.
I hope the reseeding grows. Our only irrigation is sub surface from the creek. Or rain. But that's not in the forecast any time soon. Sunday night into Monday we had high winds that gusted up to 60mph! Holy %6*T!!! It was windy. You lean into the wind, then it shifts! LOL! Tuesday was some what decent. Still a little blustery. But, I decided to do so yard work. Then here comes the black clouds. RUN! HAIL! That pasted. Back outside. Black clouds again! RUN! HAIL! But, I persisted and got the yard work done.
Today was beautiful. I went and opened all the gates so the cows and bulls could go out in the high rocks pasture. As I was going by the a little pond. I saw this bird in the water along with an American avocet. I have never seen one of these. Its called a black necked stilt. Female. She has brown on her back. So pretty.
Well, the rest of this week is suppose to be pretty darn nice. Close to 80*!!! AWESOME!
The back yard. Even the cat Whitey is hiding under the tree. Do you see the white cat? Yes, she is a real cat. :)

Hail in the grass.
Black necked stilt.

Here she is again.