Posts Tagged ‘spring at the ranch’

It has been pretty wild and crazy here at El Rancho de Loco.  I think I have actually sat down to write this post 4 times so far and have not finished it yet – at least until tonight. Cross my heart, I promise I will not leave this computer until it’s done.

There is always lots of work to do on a ranch and spring is always the busiest time of the whole year.  We’ve been buying cattle, branding cattle, sorting cattle and moving cattle to summer pasture.  And we’ve been doing a lot of riding.

That’s Hubby’s new horse Smokey and my sweet new Pistol.  We’ve gotten along really well considering we have been working our butts off.  Just once I would like to be able to get to know a horse without having a herd of crazy cows going in 50 different directions to contend with.  But Pistol did just fine!  She definitely loves to work cattle and she is QUICK! 

We finally pushed the last of the pairs out onto the Forest Service permit last week where they will spend the summer eating lush grass and basically hiding out from us pesky ranchers.  Now all that’s left is to brand the last load of yearlings and move them to the beautiful pasture near Crazy Horse Mt.  Of course I keep forgetting to grab my camera so I  have very few photos to show. 

There’s this one of Pistol who is saying “OK, I’m ready to go”.  Notice the bare spot on her backside – I’m not real sure what happened – she either rubbed it off in the horse trailer coming home or one of the other horses and her had ‘words’.  Any time you bring home a new horse they have to establish the pecking order.  Thankfully, Pistol has settled in very well with the other horses and I know her backside will grow hair again.

We’ve been going pretty steady every night after work and even a few early mornings so the last night of sorting I opted to give Pistol the night off and I rode a horse of a different color…

I guess you could call her a Red Roan.

This horse isn’t near as good as Pistol.  It doesn’t corner as well, it likes to find prairie dog holes and it will, on occasion, wander off if you don’t set the brake which I didn’t and it did.  I stepped off for just a second to shake my favorite ‘rattle paddle’ at one wild-eyed cow and when I turned back to get on my trusty steed it had rear ended the pickup.  Won’t you know – it was the only thing parked in the whole corral and the 4 wheeler hit it.  Don’t worry – there wasn’t any damage I just had to back it off the tailgate.   No sweat.

This ‘fake’ horse also doesn’t have a nice fuzzy nose that gives velvety kisses either.  If fact it’s a rather poor substitute. 

The only good thing about this ‘horse’ is that it is very easy to step on and off of and that makes it really easy to pick up things you find along the way.  And then it has this really nice box on the back too so it’s easy to carry home all kinds of crap – I mean treasures.  That night I actually found 2 treasures. 

The first was a  jawbone of an antelope.  I’m not sure what killed it but by the way the hide appeared to be ‘balled up’ I would guess it possibly could have been a lion kill.

The second one was this piece of history…

Please ignore the dirty kitchen floor.  Can you tell what it is?  Here’s some clues:

1.  I would guess it is around 60 to 120  years old.

 2.  The small hooks on either end were hand forged. 

3.  The wood was oak and originally it was straight across – not nearly bent in half.

This has probably laid out in the grass (near the road to Elk Mountain) ever since it broke years and yeas ago.  Dan didn’t remember ever seeing it before and I’m sure everyone driving by on the road was moving too fast to even notice it. 

Got any guesses?

No, it’s not an antique Pioneer Thigh Master.  Good guess, thought.

It is actually a ‘tug’ which is part of a harness for a horse.  This piece would have hitched on behind the horse and would have hooked onto either a wagon, a piece of equipment or even been used to hook onto what ever needed to be moved.  Here’s a photo from last years Custer Co Fair showing some harness being put  to work.  This isn’t the same as the piece I found but it gives you the general idea.

 It always amazes me how much ‘stuff’ we find in the grass.

Well, it’s off to bed for me so we can get up early and have more fun tomorrow.  Yipee!





Read Full Post »

I love living on a ranch.  Sure, there are tough times when the wind howls and the snow blows for days and you think winter will never end.  But then suddenly, one day it does and the snow melts and the landscape is covered with a thick layer of mud that will suck your vehicle into the ditch faster than you can say “Holy mud-suckers, Batman!” 

But I wouldn’t want to live anywhere els – especially in the spring when you have pastures full of these adorable, sweet, precious babies running around.  Just check out that face – doesn’t he look like a little, mini bull?

 “Howdy.  My name is 53.  I’m named after my momma even though I look more like my good-for-nothin old man.  I like to drink milk and run wild in the pasture with the other claves.  We play hard every night and then sleep all day – curled up like a field full of fuzzy black rocks.  I am suspicious of everything and everybody that shows up and if you get too close I will kick you in the knee caps till you fall to the ground in agony.  Since Dad left us for greener pastures, I’m the man of the family and I won’t let you mess with Mom no matter what you think.  So just get back into your pickup and leave before I bust a cap on you.”

“OK – you think I’m kidding just because I have this ‘cow-lick’ on the top of my nose?  I’m serious – you better just git.”


All right, already. I’m going.  Geese!  What a lot of attitude for such a little calf.

Who’s our next baby?

“Yo, Dude…  My name is 45.  Mom and I like to bust down muddy roads, flinging mud and generally causing mayhem.  Sometimes if we just stand here and refuse to move we can force the red pickup to try to drive around us.  Most of the time it gets sucked into the ditch by all this bitchin’ mud and then I learn lots of new sentence-enhancing words from the ranch lady.  You should see the mud fly then!  Hoo-eee!  I love mud!  Mom’s been doing this for years and she never gets tired of it.  It’s totally radical, dude.”


And then we have this sweet little lady.

“Greetings.  My name is 23 – even though you can’t read my ear tag because that demented cowboy put it in upside down.  Can you believe it?  Now I look like an idiot just because he got a little flustered when Mother chased him around the 4 wheeled transportation device 3 times and threatened to stomp him into the ground.  Mother means well but she can be a little over zealous at times.  She did get close enough once to blow snot all over his backside so when he finally jumped on the small 4 wheeled vehicle he nearly slid off the other side of the plastic seat – it was very humorous!!!”

“The ranch lady likes to take lots of pictures of me – of course she never steps out of her pickup unless Mother is a looooooong way from us.  The ranch lady is nice but I have to admit she is a little strange.  She calls me her ‘wittle-bitty-milky-chocolate-baby-cow’. ” 

“She appears to have a speech impediment.”

Now, I’m no Doctor Freud but I think she must be suffering from a postpartum psychosis caused by the separation anxiety of the natural growth patterns and subsequent abandonment of her own offspring.  I would really like to get her under hypnosis and delve into her inner psyche  but Mom always says the same thing:   “Don’t waste your time.  Every rancher I ever met was flipping nuts!”   

“I would tend to agree.”


And then there’s this little guy.

“Mom!  Have you seen my Mom?  I just woke up and she was gone.  MOM!!!”


I love spring!

Read Full Post »