Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An early morning at the lake.

We were in Joseph this weekend checking on bred heifers, and stayed at the ranch's house at Wallowa Lake.  We'd gotten in kind of late the night before, so the whole crew took the opportunity to sleep in a little.  It was luxurious not having to wake up to an alarm.

I don't know if sleeping in until 7 am counts as sleeping in to everyone, but to us that is a luxury! :)

Even though I didn't have an alarm set, I woke up pretty early.  So after laying in bed for a bit trying to will myself to sleep, then taking out my phone and playing all of my lives on Candy Crush, I slipped out of bed and into a pair of shoes and Leo and I headed out the door for a walk.

But first I had to figure out a leash....our dogs are never on leashes (bonus of living in the country) and we didn't have one in the pickup, but Clint did have two pieces of baling twine in the back of his pickup.  So you guessed it - I made a Red Neck dog leash out of the blue twine, tied one end to Leo's collar, and the other around my wrist, and out we went.

We go up to Wallowa a lot every summer, but I'd never been down to the lake's edge.  If I'm being honest - I was hoping for a beautiful sunrise and prime picture taking opportunities.  That didn't happen (and I was probably at the wrong end of the lake for great pictures) but the scenery was still beautiful.  It'd rained the day before so there was still a coolness in the air, dew on the grass and clouds covering the sky.  Leo and I walked along the road, checking out the river, and then headed through the picnic area to the lake.


It was peaceful, just walking along enjoying the crisp morning.  Leo played in the water, and made sure to smell just about everything he walked by. 

Hardly anyone was out - it was still early on a Sunday morning, and there were only two boats out on the water.  Early morning fisherman were out angling for the day's catch - the early bid gets the worm (or fish), right?

After a quick jaunt on the cool sand out to the edge of the lake, we headed back to the cabin to work on breakfast for the crew before packing up our bags and heading out to check cows. 


We spent the rest of the day dodging rain drops, checking cattle and fixing fence.  Well, I should say the guys did those things, I just helped where I could.  We ate a quick early dinner at Terminal Gravity and then headed back home.  It was a short stay, but it seems they always are. 

We're thankful to the crew that helped us - Terry, Anna and RJ - you're the best and we appreciate your help!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Take root.

We drove home from Wallowa last night, and as we broke over the top of Meacham, I could see the storm brewing to the west.
I've always wanted to stop at the lookout point at the top of Deadman Pass off of I-84, but never have.  Isn't that how some things are - the vistas and viewpoints that you live closest to, you never experience? 
But last night I stopped.  I pulled the pickup and trailer over into the right lane, exited and parked.  We were only sidelined for a few minutes, and I knew exactly what I wanted to capture.  After a few clicks with the camera, I was back in the pickup and we were headed for home.
Life is full of seasons.
Seasons of success.
Seasons of tiredness.
Seasons that are carefree and full of laughter.
Seasons of hard work.
Seasons of storms.
But even in a season of storms, there is hope.
See that light to the west? 
After the storm, the light shines.

It's hard to see the light when the storm is upon you.  From the outside looking in, you can see the light coming.  But when you're in the middle of a stormy season, you can't see the light and it can be hard to believe that there will be an end to the darkness.
Dolly may have said it best:
"Storms make trees take deeper roots."
Are you in a stormy season?
Dig deeper.  Take root.  Hold on.

The light is coming.
You are loved, and admired and worthy.
You are a strong tree that will weather this storm.

Friday, August 22, 2014

5 on Friday.

1. Just shake it off.

Hi there.

It's been a week

Nothing earth shattering....just one of those weeks where I've felt just a little off.  Blah.  A little bit needy.  A little bit insecure.  A little bit off kilter.  Maybe it's hormones, or just stress but I've had a few nights where I've woken up after a nightmare, and wasn't sure if I was still dreaming - or if it all really happened.   Yuck, isn't that the worst?  Because you begin to doubt yourself....

And while I wasn't going to post about it, I decided to anyway.

No one likes perfect.

We all say we want it, and that we're going to achieve it, but let's face it:
Perfect is over-rated.

So as I was driving to work yesterday morning, I kept asking myself - "How do I shake out of this?"  And then I came across Taylor Swift's new music video. I'm not a huge Taylor fan, but love the message of this song -
Sometimes you just have to shake it off.
And so I did on Thursday.
I just shook it all off - all of the stress, all of the worries and just told myself:
Start fresh.  Shake it off.
And it worked.  Today was much better.  Easier.  Happier.
2. Speaking of today.
It's been a great day.
It's my Friday off of work, so I helped the crew at the ranch preg and precondition this morning.  The guys gathered the cows early this morning, and so while I was watching the road, I also got to take a few pictures of the sunrise on the meadows.
We live in a beautiful place - and I'm so thankful that it likes to "show off" to us.
3. Boxes

Every year at work, we ship a group of files to a storage facility because we don't have room to store all of the paperwork that's created.  This fall, we're moving to a new building so we are trying to ship as many boxes as possible before our move.  That way we're not moving boxes twice.

A group of gals from our office boxed up these boxes last fall, but it wasn't until this month that we got approval to finally ship them.  I've spent the last week weighing files on my bathroom scale (we didn't have one that weighed over 5 lbs at the office), labeling, creating shipping labels and taping boxes shut.
I'll be glad when the UPS truck hauls them off!  :)
4. My Favorite Camisoles
Lindsay and I were shopping at Costco last weekend, and even though we both already own some, we each picked up a package of these camisoles since they were on sale. You can also buy them online here.  I've worn this brand of camisoles for years (literally!) and they really hold up.  They're also super soft, lightweight but good quality and long enough to cover your tush - which is why I always wear one when I wear leggings.  I also wear them under regular shirts because they're not bulky at all, and tuck in well so I never have to worry about skin showing if I bend over or reach for something.
And right now they're on sale so you get 2 camisoles for less than $8.
How great is that?
***Linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea***  

5. I don't really have a fifth item....
So I thought I'd bookend this post with another sunrise picture I took on my way to work right after I got on the on-ramp by our house....

Happy Friday friends.

Know I'm cheering you on.  Keep on living the dream.

And if you have to shake a little - well, shake it!  ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pregging & Preconditioning.

The ranch is and has been pregging all of the spring cows this past week, and will wrap up next week.  Cows are preg checked so see if they are pregnant and how far along they are.  A cow earns her keep by having a calf each year, so if she isn't pregnant she gets sold.   So it's important to know which cows are pregnant and which ones aren't. 
A lot of ranches might preg as a cow is closer to calving, but Double M likes to preg early so that cows can be grouped by how far along they are.  Double M runs their cows in various groups, and usually pregs a group or two each day.  Most of the groups are grouped by age, but some are grouped by whether or not they have an AI calf, or were AI'ed themselves, or their color.  So as each group is pregged, the cows that are open (not pregnant) and short bred (bred 45 days or less) are sorted out of their main group and put in a separate group that only contains opens and short breds.  The ranch does this, so that when it comes time to make culling decisions, you don't have to go back and sort out individual cows out of multiple groups.  They're all in one spot and in one field.  It's a lot easier to sort a cow off in the working facilities, and find & sort her calf off in the pens then to sort and pair a group off out of an open field. 

Last Saturday we pregged the R3's (I have no clue what R3 means....but the crew at the ranch does, and that's all that matters, lol) at the white corrals.  Hermiston Vet Clinic is the vet Double M uses, but since there are so many cows Clint wasn't able to schedule them for all of the days he needed a vet there.  Dr. Don Peters helps fill in at the ranch, so he was there in Saturday to help us preg.  
Thanks for taking a Saturday morning to help us Don! 
Before the cows were pregged though, all of their calves got preconditioned.  The calves will be weaned in the middle of September, so now is a great time to be giving them their first round of vaccines (8-way and 5-way), oral wormer, pour on for fly control and a dose of Ralgro growth promotant for the steers and non-replacement heifers. Each calf's individual weight is also recorded.

I was in charge of writing down the weights of each calf as they came through the chute and dosing the steers with Ralgro.  Clint ran the chute, gave the vaccines and handled the wormer and pour on.  Jesse and Jack brought the calves up the alley and to the chute.


Teagan was the official entertainer and photographer. 
I think she's going to give me a run for my money in the photography department! :)
We just did about 60 pairs last Saturday, so we were done by lunch.  The crew has been and will continue to preg and precondition every day this week, and will continue through most of next week until all of the spring pairs are processed.  Then the cycle will start all over again in mid-September as the spring calves are weaned.
Ranching is a cycle - and while this cycle means a lot of work and early mornings for the guys, the time spent pregging cows and preconditioning calves should pay off in the end.
Success is reason enough!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Feedlot vs. Farm City

The first year we were at Double M, I posted about how surprised I was to see the bulls and bucking horses at the feedlot.  I think most people who go to the rodeo don't really think about where the rodeo stock stays when they're not in the performance.  For Farm City and also for the Pendleton Round Up, most of the rodeo stock stays in feedlot pens at Top Cut during the day where they're fed hay and grain, and watered. Then each night they're trucked into the rodeo grounds and after the performance, they're loaded back up on trucks and hauled back out to the feedlot for the night.

I was at the feedlot last weekend doing some paperwork, and stopped to take a few pictures of the stock.  It's funny how they can look like this out in the pens - all calm and collected....

And then look like this just a few hours later....

The stock are athletes as well - just like the cowboys.

That's why it's important that they are fed & cared for well while they're on the road, and the crew at Double M is happy that we can play a small role in that care.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to put the sneak on.

Yesterday morning we helped Terry & Anna haul their beef cows home from summer pasture.  The pairs needed to be gathered out of a big pasture, and we were trying to get them in a small pen of panels.  Since it was a field they rent, there weren't loading or working facilities, so we improvised and tried to make the best of things.  It's easiest if you can gather a group of cows and get them in the pen the first time - without anything going back on you.  Cows are smart, and if they get away once they become really tough to get in at all.  So the goal was to put the sneak on them, and see if we could just work as a team to get the pairs in and loaded on the first try.
So in this post, I bring you "How we put the sneak on."
.....Humor me, lol....

First, you need to locate said pairs.
These ladies were all bunched up in the field next to the small field we needed them to be in.
So Anna and I hollered "C'mmmmmoooonn girls!" a few times to see if they'd come towards the gate.
Gosh dang it, they didn't.
So we called in reinforcements.  ;)
While the reinforcements (Clint in a pickup, Terry & Hannah on horses) were out doing the real work, I killed time by taking pictures of random things around me.

Then once the pairs did start to come, Terry and Hannah pushed the pairs on horses, while Clint shut the gates behind them so they'd be in the small pasture.  Anna and I were on foot alongside the pairs trying to make them stay to the west part of the field and head towards the pen.

RJ was hiding in the barn with Reagan, ready to throw a few flakes of hay at the lead cows once they were close to the pen opening and wouldn't you know it?
They took the bait and all went in the pen the first time!
Sneaky success!

Then it was just a matter of sorting and loading the trailers.  Reagan and I kept ourselves busy in the pickup.....I may or may not have taught her how to properly chew & spit sunflower seeds.    Once the trailers were all loaded, the horses were loaded up and the panels were picked up, we all headed back to Terry & Anna's to turn the pairs out to grass. 
Success all around.
So the next time you need to "put the sneak on" a few pairs of cows, you'll know the crew to call.  ;)