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Archive for April, 2012

We branded last weekend and it was good.  Of course it took me almost a week to find my camera again so that’s what took me so long to add this post.  It was in the pocket of an old coat along with a dozen nasty old ear tags.  I imagine some women find nice things like pretty gloves, scarves and even cash in their coat pockets – not me.  I have grubby ear tags and used surgical gloves for handling fly tags.  Oh well, that’s a small price to pay to get to see these little guys every spring.

This little guy was born just in time to get branded.  Can you see how excited he is?  Just look at that face, he has got to be a bull calf.

Everyone showed up for the fun and games.  Here’s Hubby with Dani & Dalton’s new puppy – Cleo.  She’s a cutie.  Everyone loves to help with branding.  Dalton & Dani came from up by Belle Fourche, Morgan came with 2 of his friends – Matt and Derek, and our neighbors John and Ellen stopped by too.  It’s a lot of fun!!!

Of course, this side of the family wasn’t near as impressed as the rest of us. 

But it was a day for puppies.  Along with Cleo we also had Turbo who is Matt’s puppy.  Cleo is a full blood Blue Heeler and Turbo (bless his cute little puppy heart) is a Heeler/Corgi cross.  There’s just something about those short-legged dogs.  I love them! 

That’s it – I’m going to have to steal one of these puppies.

That’s Dani (our favorite daughter-in-law) on Hubby’s new horse Smokey and Morgan (my baby) running the gate.  We were sorting off the cows so we could push the new yearlings in first.

Every time we work cattle we seem to draw an audience.  The older dogs – Casey and Steve watched at the gate, ready to jump in and help if someone needed them.  It may not look like it but both those dogs can squirt under that gate in a flash if they have to.  Although Steve doesn’t have to duck quite as far as Casey.

After the yearlings we did break for lunch – Honey glazed ham, baked potatoes, Grandma’s famous baked bean recipe, deviled eggs, Ramen noodle salad, tossed salad (lettuce and spinach from my garden), fresh pineapple (not from my garden), home-made bread, pickles and lots of desserts – carmel rolls, cheesecake, chocolate pie, Ellen’s banana cake and chocolate chip cookies.  Yum – Yum!

Then it was back to work.  That’s Dalton looking like he doesn’t want to get too close to that cow along with our neighbor John who ran the squeeze chute.  We gave the cows a shot to help the calves that are nursing stay healthy, and a dose of stuff on their backs to help control flies and parasites and basically just said “Hi.  How are you?”

Then we worked the calves.

The boys have developed a routine over the years.  Dalton worked at the head giving implants and checking for horns, while Morgan did the cutting (castrating).  Matt had to leave early but Derek helped push in calves and hold them down.  Derek’s a big kid and a football player.  This training serves him well when it comes to working cattle.  Those calves didn’t stand a chance.  John kept the branding irons hot while Dani, Ellen and I took care of ear tags, shots and record keeping.

I love watching our boys brand.  I remember all those years when they were too little to help and were forced to watch it all from the bed of the pickup.  I bet they would tell you this is much more fun.

Once we’re done with the calves we turn them out to go find their Mama’s who usually are right there bawling for their babies.  Can’t you just imagine what he’s telling his mother?  “Mom, where are you?  I don’t ever want to go back there again.  Mom, are all humans weird?  You’ll never believe what they did to me.  Mom, why do I have earrings?”

The last thing we did was to brand the new horse.  This is something that we don’t do very often.  Most horses are branded when they are young (and easier to handle).  First  Derek and Hubby tied him to the corral.  Smokey should have known something was going on then.

And when they covered his head with the black coat he should have ‘run like the wind’.  But he’s a good horse and he took it like a man.  At least until the red-hot brand touched his hide.  Then he let us know he wasn’t pleased.  You can’t blame him – I would have been pretty ticked off too.

To show his displeasure with the whole thing he did his best to tear the corral apart and managed to break a couple of the old logs before it was over.   Thank goodness the iron was hot and Hubby only had to use it once.  I have to admit the new brand on his shoulder really shows up on that grey horse.

But a few soothing words, a couple pats on the back and a nice bucket of oats helped make it all better.  Although the next time you try to throw a black coat over his head I’m betting it won’t work quite so well.

Another successful branding day.

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Here you go – more photos of my vacation and then I promise I will get back to the things I know best – cattle ranching, gardening and family – you know – the ‘insanely funny because they’re true’ things.

But first more Puerto Rico…  We went snorkeling!!!  Those hours of practice in the kiddy pool in Rapid City were worth it.  Even if I did traumatize a couple of kids.  (Sorry about that)

We saw all kinds of fish.

Our friend and tour-guide extraordinaire, Wanda signed us up for a day on a catamaran named the Salty Dog.  It was just us and 25 of our best, new friends we met that morning on the dock.    And believe me after a couple of the boats’ signature drinks known as ‘Pain Killers’ we were all friends even if we can’t remember anyone’s name!  But I do remember this guy.

He is our favorite bartender, Jay and he had the longest eye-lashes I have ever seen.  We kept him busy all day making Pain Killers and Rum Punch. 

I have discovered that Rum is a wonderful thing.  That is for sure and certain. 

But back to swimming with the fishes…

They were everywhere!  We swam for a while off the beach of a small uninhabited island and then moved into a little deeper water just off shore.  There was a family on board who had obviously done this trip before as they saved some of the bread from their lunch and used it to feed the fish.

What a hoot!  They were everybody’s friends.

I even saw a few mermaids.  This is Wanda.

And here’s some more I won’t identify because they would kick my butt!

I can’t help it – I love these photos of people without heads.  I was like a lurking ‘camera shark’ out there with my little underwater camera.   I even did a self-portrait.

 Prepare yourself. 

You may wish to move small children away from the computer.

Yikes!  It’s the dreaded Crazy Ranch Wife Sucker Fish!!!  She’s a rare one. 

Here’s another shot I love of my sister, Jenny and myself.

Yep – that’s a Pain Killer in my hand.  We were feeling the Love and very little else.

One interesting point – I think I was the only person on the whole island with a cowboy hat.  I stuck out like a sore thumb but at least the girlfriends didn’t have any problem finding me in a crowd.

I love snorkeling.  It really was my favorite thing.

But now it’s back to real life.  This weekend we will brand the new calves, and the yearlings we bought.  We will also work the cows and bulls before turning everyone out on summer pasture.  So it will be a busy weekend full of work, friends, family and for me lots of cooking.  From the looks of the weather, I’m betting we will also be knee-deep in mud. 

 Don’t you just love spring?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am home from vacation and it was wonderful!!!  I loved Puerto Rico and I am so thankful our friend Wanda wanted to share her little ‘home town’ with us.  It was quite a shock for some of us who come from a state where we have 11 people per square mile to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that has 1,661.  (Wyoming is even less with 5 people per square mile)

I spent a week with all these beautiful women and some of Wanda’s family.  We played on the beach, we ate authentic Puerto Rican food, met many wonderful people who lived there, sampled some of the rum and local ‘spirits’ and talked & laughed till we cried. 

If I had only one word to describe what I saw in Puerto Rico it would have to be – COLOR! 

Just look at the beautiful buildings of Old San Juan.

Believe me, they know color on this island! 

We passed this beautiful church as they were having a baptism service inside.  From the street you could hear the words and music so even without stepping a foot inside you felt like you were part of their joy.

I loved the color of the Governor’s Mansion at the end of the street.

And I absolutely LOVED the cobblestone streets – especially after the rain.  Can you believe that color?  I’ve read that the cobblestones are actually blocks of slag from the furnaces in England that was used as ballast in the ships.  As the cargo was taken on, the blocks were unloaded and eventually became the streets.

There was color and beauty everywhere you looked.  It made me want to come home and paint even though the only things I’ve ever painted are the walls of my house and a few canvases with numbers on them.  But who knows?  I have all my mother’s oil paints and supplies – maybe it’s time to give it a try?

Another favorite spot – the Fort of El Morro (Yes, you have to roll your rr’s on that one).   This is the gate to the fort.  Is that beautiful or what?

The Sentry towers of the fort are beautiful and have become a symbol of Puerto Rico.  I can’t even imagine how many photos have been taken of them.  I know I came home with  quite a few.

There were so many small ‘nooks and cranies’ everywhere including this triangular staircase.  Once again the colors just sucked me in.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures.   I was a woman possessed with a camera stuck to my face.

Everywhere I looked was an amazing photo opportunity.

I love yellow and I love blue…

What can you say about an ocean that color?

And sand the color of honey?

 I can’t believe all that we saw and did.  It was a great vacation and I haven’t even mentioned my very most favorite things – the rain forest and when we went snorkeling.  About halfway through the trip the girls started teasing me because every time we did something new it then became my ‘favorite thing’.  I guess you could say I had a great time and yes – I would go back again.   But for now I get to enjoy the photos we took. 

Hope you enjoy them too.

 

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