Saturday, August 31, 2013

Adios August.

August has been a month of awesome sunrises and sunsets. 
It's been a month of cattle drives, senior pictures, fairs & a lot of fun.
It was the month this post struck a nerve with folks in the cattle industry.
And it's been a month of exciting new plans, details beginning to emerge, and excitement in the air.

Adios August.

I hope your splendor graces us again next year.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Starting them early.

Clint called me on my way home from work this week and asked if I could take the exit before ours and come help move some pairs down the road.   Jack, Deana & Teagan were there too to help, and Clint had brought Jug along so that Teagan could get some riding in.

I think it took a little bit of convincing at first, but she hung in there and came back to the gate waving & smiling. 

Jack went ahead of the cows and directed the pairs into the next pasture, while Clint and Deana pushed from behind, and Teagan & I brought up the rear with the trailer.  (We didn't want Teagan riding on the road.) 

She is a busy little 2 year old, so while I was driving, she took command of the camera and captured the pictures below....

It was a nice evening - and a good experience for Teagan.  She was pretty tuckered out after a long day of helping on the ranch, but hung in there like a champ! We think starting kids early riding is important (otherwise you end up like me! ha!) and it's fun when everyone involved is supportive of giving her a good start horseback.

  Hopefully she'll continue to love riding and gathering her COOOWWWSS!!!
(as she so loves to scream/holler/call to them in that cute way that only a 2 year old with a very strong voice can)
and have many years of riding in her future.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finding the gate.

There is a beauty in the hustle & bustle.

It may not be apparent right at first...
And it may look a lot like work and chaos and frustration.
But like a cow who's lost track of her calf doesn't quit until she's found it -
We will keep perservering.

Because once the calves are paired up, and the gate is found -
The hustle & bustle dies down and peace & content are what remains.

It's about finding the gate.

Life is about living, and dreaming, and seeing, and believing.
It's about not knowing what is in front of you, or what is to come - but going forth anyways.
It's about entering a tunnel and moving towards a light that at first seems so small, but at the end pours glorious sunshine all over you.

It's about trusting that there's a gate out there and it's got your name on it.
Anything worth doing, will involve a little or most likely {a lot} of hard work.

So we work on.
But we're also dreaming on, believing on and living on.

We're out finding the gate.

With the determination that this hustle & bustle will reap big rewards.
I just know that there's a gate out there with our name on it -  and that we're going to find it.

Happy Wednesday friends;

May our wanderings and workings and lives find us all to our gates. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rested & a weekend in the Wallowa's.

I woke up feeling so rested this morning.

It was awesome.  And a blessing.  And probably a result of us getting 8 hours of sleep last night.  Ha!

I guess we should try that more often.

After a busy week at the ranch (exciting things are happening!) we spent a restful weekend in the Wallowa's gathering cows, sorting off and putting back stray pairs, fixing fence and pregging.  I took my camera but found myself either driving the rhino or on a horse (I know!  I actually rode - and even enjoyed it!) so wrangling a camera wasn't really in the cards.

After we'd pregged and pushed the cows back up the mountain to fresh grass, I whipped out my cell phone and snapped a few shots on the way back down to the trailers. 

Sweaty, no makeup - but living the dream!

Austin - Manning the front seat like a champion!

Chance & Katie - they really earned their keep this weekend.

The dogs did so good and were a big help, but by the time we'd gotten everything pushed back to the top of the mountain, they were pooped and ready for a ride back down in the rhino.  I stopped by the irrigation ditch at the bottom and let them swim and cool off and then everyone was happy, happy, happy.

We loaded the horses, and headed home with a trailer of cows that had been sorted off to go to the sale.  On the way home we hit hail & rain at the top of Meacham (like so much that I turned on the hazard lights and slowed down to follow a semi that was going 40 mph) and hoped that maybe we had gotten a similar storm at home - and we did!  We drove thru puddles standing in our driveway at 7:15 and it was the best feeling.

We were home AND it had rained.  So after unloading the cows in a pasture, putting away the horses and unloading the pickup....we promptly went to bed.  

I hope you all had a bit of rest this weekend too!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sorting & Sifting.

"Square pegs don't go in round holes"

The same goes for cattle;
Cows and calves shouldn't be pushed down an alley together.
So before anything gets worked, it gets sorted.
It's just safer that way.

Most of the time if the cows are on the north side of the freeway, the guys will bring the group that needs to be worked to what we call the "white corrals".  There, they'll peel the cows from the calves and sort them into one pen, while the calves go by and are staged in a second pen.  

On this day, once the calves were sorted from the cows, the guys needed to sort our Charolais calves from the Double M calves because we were doing different things to each set of calves.

We say when it comes to sorting cattle that "slower is faster" and it really is.  The guys stay very quiet, and use their bodies to pressure calves toward the gate.  Basically, if you want a calf to go one way, you put pressure on it to go the opposite way and then the "release" of getting away usually drives the calf right to the gate you want it to go out of. 

That's what Jack is doing above; he used his body to put pressure and push the white calf towards the corner of the pen in the left hand corner of the photo, and then when the calf turned to try to get away, it went behind him and out the gate in the right hand corner - which was exactly what he wanted it to do. When they were done sorting, all of the white calves were waiting patiently in the alley, and the second set of Double M calves remained behind and the guys could evaluate them and decide what they wanted to keep as bulls and what they wanted to cut.  (Most of the bull calves are banded when they're born, but if they're AI sired and Clint thinks they have merit, he'll leave them alone and then they evaluate them before weaning to decide if they should stay a bull or be cut and become a steer.)

No hooting, no hollering, no jumping.
Just nice & easy sorting and sifting.

Because it's important to keep the calves calm while they're being sorted - the dogs stay out of the way and get to rest outside of the pens.  They're accustomed to this, and usually find a water trough to jump and cool off in before they hang out on the sidelines until they're needed.

There'll be a lot of sorting this week - all of the spring cows are being pregged over a series of days, and the spring calves that were preconditioned a few weeks ago are beginning to be weaned.  Luckily there's a great crew in place to make it all happen.

And so goes another day at the ranch!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Road trippin'

The cows at Double M take a lot of road trips during the summer months.

High intensity, short duration grazing requires that you move groups of cattle often, and with as many groups as there are at the ranch, this is a daily occurence for the guys.  This is old hat to the cows and they are very accustomed to being moved, because they know that the grass is usually greener on the other side of the gate.  If it means they have to trot a little ways to get there, they're usually pretty happy to do so and move along at a rapid clip.

On this day, we were preconditioning our personal set of Charolais calves, and sorting some ranch bull calfs that needed to be cut.  So before they got moved to a new pasture, we made a pit stop at the corrals to do some sorting and processing.

There was a lot of help that morning (Clint, Jack & Duane were all there to move this small group) so I got to step back and take pictures before turning the group in at the gate to the corrals.

Duane's the 'point' man today. :)

The Char's are in the lead!

I've been spotted.

302!  How are you?

Clint & Jack brought up the rear and went to work sorting....

And while the guys try not to move cattle at night, sometimes it has to happen. 
When it does, we make sure we have lots of help to stop traffic.
This group was getting worked first thing the next morning, so Clint needed to move them to the holding pasture that is right next to the corrals.

That pasture was right down the road from where they'd been and this wasn't their first road trip.  Out the gate, a few hundred yards down the road and they were right where they needed to be to be pregged first thing the next morning.
Next time you feel the need to take a road trip....

Give us a call! 

I bet we could use your help.

(And thanks to Terry & Anna who helped us with a night move last week - we appreciated your great help!)