Monday, April 29, 2013

The view at Double R.

This weekend, we bred cows & heifers at the Double R Ranch in Loomis, WA.

A ranch a few miles from the Canadian border, it seemed like whichever way you looked, a more expansive & varied view met you.


Words & my pictures don't do it justice. It simply, was beautiful.

I kept thinking that to capture it adequately, I needed the widest, wide angle lens there was.  Not that I own one - but this weekend, I would have loved to.  My father-in-law Dave kept saying, "Darcy, make sure you get pictures so I can show Melly!". 

Mel - I know you're out there reading they are. :) 

I could have taken pictures all day long....but we were there to do a job, and somebody had to run the thaw unit.  Although I did sneak a few of us while were working - it does take 30 seconds after all to thaw a unit of semen, and I made the most of every one of them!  Those will come tomorrow....

We might not all have such a tremendous view where we live, but it's up to us to make the most of the view we have.  So I hope wherever you are, and whatever you are doing....that you are enjoying the view.  May it be so wide that the widest wide angle lens wouldn't be able to capture it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Laughter really is the best medicine.

We got home from Loomis this afternoon, where we were breeding cows & heifers for the Double R Ranch.  It was flat gorgeous country.  Seriously - I don't even think the widest, wide angle lens could capture the vastness.    We're headed to bed early, and I'll post pictures of that project tomorrow, but I wanted to post these pictures from right before we left.

We'd been running around, hustling to get things done at the ranch, trying not to forget anything that we'd need, since there were 6 of us going and we'd be 5 hours away, and to be honest - when you're at that point in the day - sometimes you just need a little laughter to get over the tension & anxiety of a big project that you're trying to be 100% ready for.

So with that - here's showing a little bit of laughter here at the ranch.....

I'm so thankful it finds itself into our days! 

I hope you all had a great weekend - and may this week be filled with laughter to get you over the humps!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reba & friends.

The Char's are turned out and enjoying the green grass! 

The other night on my way home from the dentist, they were all gathered by the fence along the road, so I pulled over to take a few pictures. 

I'll let you figure out which calf below is the one Clint named Reba.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A day in our life.

We stretch, scramble to find the “dismiss” on the cell phone alarm and scratch our way out of covers. It’s 4:50 am, and we find the best way to start the day – with a hug and hushed “I love you”.
This season, is one of long hours and hard work. It's also one of laughter & togetherness. It’s a time when guys crowd around the kitchen table, coffee mugs in hand, microwaved breakfast sandwiches in the other.  Freshly showered, shaved and dressed they’re ready to tackle the day and it’s work. Boots get pulled on, coats get thrown over shoulders, and then it’s out the door to saddle horses and ride pens. 
Cattle are checked, sorted, penned and later bred. Feed trucks pull through fields, and hay is flaked off to waiting mouths. Calves are checked & doctored, while their mama’s Estrotect patches get a glance over to see if they’re pink.
Lunch for the guys is usually on the run.  The days I’m at work, they fend for themselves, or heat up leftovers from the fridge. Shippers arrive at our doorstep by the men in brown, and semen gets inventoried, transferred, and supplies get checked.

Work lasts until dusk, when they arrive {home} ready for a hot meal and a cold drink.  I try to make sure both are plentiful.
More laughter. 
More stories.
Every bed in the house gets filled as weary bodies tuck into blankets, and tired heads hit pillows. They work hard, so that the job can get done, and done well. I don’t know where we’d find ourselves without their help….I guess I’d like to not ever know. We feed the dogs, change into pajamas and again, find ourselves exactly where we need to be.
The next morning, the cycle starts again as the alarm announces a new day.
We are blessed. 
Blessed to be together, blessed to have so many great people helping us during this season, and blessed with the work we get to do.  It’s not a job for the weak at heart, and we don’t get rich doing it, but we love the work that it is. You won’t find better people, than the ones in this industry.
And I’m thankful we get to do it all, together.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sort, pen, breed, repeat.

Let the games begin.

Actually - I think they've already begun.

While we started breeding heifers at the end of March, this last weekend marked the start to a month that basically is filled with breeding projects.

We're blessed to get to work with such great people - both those we breed with and the customers whose cattle we breed.  RJ and I were joking this weekend that it's a good thing we all like each other, since we spend so much time together!

This weekend we bred for a few ranches, but I was only able to get the camera out the first day, when we were breeding Jason's heifers. 

Jason, Coy & Billy Jack would bring the heifers up to the working area in groups, and sort them by the time they were seen standing in heat.


The heifers were sorted by time, since we try to breed them 12 hours after we first saw them in standing heat.  This set of heifers had pink patches glued on their tailheads that are a lot like a scratch-it lottery ticket.  When another heifer would ride her, the silver "scratch it" part is rubbed off, revealing a flourescent pink patch below.  When a heifer turns pink, we know we need to breed her 12 hours later.

Each pen of heifers gets ridden periodically, and group after group, the heifers get sorted out & penned.

Twelve hours later, they're ready to be bred. 

The heifers are brought from their pen up to the breeding box, where they are AI'ed.  (AI = Artificial Insemination)  The breeding box is great because the heifers remain calm, and in the case of Friday - we were protected from the weather.  (It poured Friday - but we were thankful for the rain!)

This crew is fun to work with, and funny to boot!

I'm looking forward to breeding their next group of heifers later this week.

Here's to more days of successful AI'ing and a lot more laughter!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Clancy Stack.

We have a tradition on my mom's side of the family, that usually involves

1.) The Clancy cousins
(Now with 2nd cousins, since my cousin Andrea has two little boys)

2.) All of us lined up by age


3.) A camera

This weekend at Alayna's wedding, we made the stack happen again!

Alayna's Wedding - 2013
By Age - Me, Alicia, Ryan, Amanda, Andrea, Lindsay, Alayna & Jenna
Aiden & Connor

The only cousin missing was we showed where he would have been.

Grandma and the spouses & significant others joined in for this one - Fun!

Love, love, love this side of our family - we can get together after not seeing each other for a year or two, and pick right up where we left off.

Although I'm game for seeing each other more often....

Who's getting married next?!? 

Previous stacks....

Our Wedding - 2011
Me, Alicia, Shawn, Clint, Ryan, Alayna & Lindsay

Clancy Tailgate - 2010
Me, Clint, Brian, Alicia, Ryan, Andrea, Amanda
Alayna, Lindsay, Jenna, Aiden & Connor

I wish I had a digital copy, but the original "Clancy Stack" happened at my Grandma's wedding to her past husband Luschen when I was 16.  It's the only one where all 9 of us cousins are in it, and while it's an oldie - it's a goodie!

Here's to many more occasions to get together with the Clancy clan!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I want to be able to open his gates.

I was in Iowa this weekend for my cousin Alayna's wedding to her new husband Kenny, and it made me think about my own wedding to my handsome man.

And after a long flight filled with delays, a late night drive back to the house & early morning drive to work....

Marriage is wonderful, fulfilling, loving and beautiful.

But it is also a lot of work, and not without its bumps.

I about started crying when I read #13. 

The woman's words tugged at my heartstrings through the computer screen.

And reminded me that life is short. 

Don't take anything for granted.

The next time Clint asks me to get the gate - I'm going to do it with a smile. 

And while none of us lives forever, I hope that I have many days of opening gates in front of me.

I love you Clint. 
Forever & ever.
And no matter what.
Love, me.


What is your best marriage advice?

If you'd be so kind, leave a note in the comments.


We were reminded once again yesterday in Boston that life is meant to be lived; for in a moment, it can be taken away.  My heart is heavy, and I lift up those families in prayer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Love wins.

On a bright, crisp day in southwestern Iowa, two became one.

Swirls of white, gray, pinks & black mingled amongst friends, family & loved ones. 

Laughter, warm wishes and pink confetti were sprinkled like blessings throughout the day.

The priest at the Mass spoke about God attending the wedding, and asking to be invited to the marriage. 

I know He will be welcomed. 

They left on a jet plane this morning for a honeymoon in Jamaica. 

Mr. & Mrs. Hansen 

Thanks for inviting us to the wedding. 
We hope we'll be able to stay & cheer you on through your marriage!

Always seek love. 
Be kind to one another. 
Forgive easily & often.
Fall deeper in love each day.

Love wins.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Beer & branding.

As I post this, the crew at Double M is branding their last set of spring calves for the year.  They had a big bunch to do today, but I'm willing to bet a case of beer that they get all of the calves done.

Here on the ranch - we make beer bets.

And goodness knows I've lost a few in my time.

Miss catching a calf through the chute - owe the crew a case.

Beer is a currency all cowboys speak.

It seems like last year I got to help brand a lot more calves than I have been able to this year, but with work and other things, I only got to help with one group.  However, the number of pictures I took during that one day made up for me missing other days I think.  ;)

Jack kept asking - "How many pictures are you going to take?"

{Enough} was usually my answer.

Even though I took my personal laptop with me to Kansas City last week in an effort to get some editing done...I just haven't gotten to all of them.  And we've started breeding heifers which means life is quickly becoming busy.   In the best possible way.  So until I can get my act together, pictures edited, and a post's two of my favorites from last week that were early in my sequence of shots, which meant they were some of the first to get edited. 

And I want to wish you all a happy Thursday friends!  Whether you're branding, correcting papers at a desk, making a meal for your family, or just 'doing your thing'....

I hope it brings you joy.

Joy matters.

PS - I'm quickly realizing that the Cinema action in Picasa + Black Cattle = True Love.  

Try it.  I bet you'll like it.

And I'm willing to bet a case of beer on that.