Friday, June 20, 2008

It's a Love Thing

(Zac enjoying life!)

I probably haven't made it painfully obvious on here yet but I'm going to just come right out and admit it now. I LOVE dogs! They are the most amazing creature's and I'm still to this day continually impressed with their abilities. I grew up ranching and have been around working dogs in one form or another all of my life. So, I'm thankful the Lord has allowed me the capability to not take these great animals for granted so far.

I enjoy time on and off stock with them. They're my working partner's and I respect the heck out of them for the job's they do. I have to say though that I just enjoy hanging out with them also. There are very few places I go where I don't have a dog or two along with me. I'm not sure what people would think around here anymore if I didn't show up at the feed store, grocery store, baseball game's, etc. with a dog or two with me. They're simply part of my life.

(Kat enjoying the kids pool)

My dad is vet and when he was in general practice had 5 kids that lived right next door to the clinic. People would bring dogs in to be put down for various reasons while I was a kid. Of course very few of them ever did get euthanized as it was my sister's and I mission in life to give every one of them a home. I still have a soft spot in my life for the "underdog" and like to see the ones people have given up on, given a chance.

Well, it's just about time for another baseball game so I better decide who's going, husband or the dog!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Green grass, fat lambs and good dogs!

Is there anything better than green grass, fat lambs and good dogs? Well, I suppose it is in the eyes of the beholder, but THIS beholder thinks life doesn't get a whole lot better than that!

We have been truly blessed this spring with the right combination of moisture and sunshine to make it look like a garden of eden around here. I have heard that other parts of the country stay green all year so those of you who live with so much of it might not appreciate it as much as those of us who only get it 2-3 months out of the year.

The lambs, calves and colts are growing rapidly and seem to look healthier than ever. My husband keeps trying to convince me that a lot of it is in my attitude but I don't think so.

The dogs are all enjoying the sunny yet cool weather to work in as well. Above is Jag bringing some ewes and lambs back that had found a hole in my fence.
I'm going to try to post some picture's in the next few days of the just dog's working as well. Hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Haying season is upon us!

I suppose with any endeavor in life there are certain parts of the cycle that more exciting than others. The process of getting equipment ready for haying season is a big double edged sword in my household! The males in my house (hubby and two boys) thrive on working on machinery and getting geared up for putting hay up. I, on the hand, see it as a big red X on the calendar of the year. When I become an alien in my own land. Now don't get me wrong. I love the smell of fresh cut alfalfa and grass hay. I love how we all continue to work together as a family to accomplish a goal. What I'm not as fond of is my hubby haying until 2 in the morning, machinery breaking down and sending me after parts as soon as I get back from the last trip for parts!

The continual trips to the part store do provide great socialization outings for the pup's I raise though! Not to mention learning to ride in a tractor is an absolute necessity for any good ranch dog.

When the boys were younger Mike and I would each take one with us in whatever tractor we were using. My role has changed as my boys have grown though.

Now that they are a bit older (13 & 11) they think haying and running any kind of equipment is about as good as life gets right now. Okay, I'll admit we live way out in the sticks so they don't get to see many girls just yet. I'm sure their love for equipment will take a back seat as soon as they hit the public school doors of the high school. For now though, my hubby is absolutely thrilled with having such a full haying crew.

The weather has been good to us this spring and there is quite a little hay to put up as of now. So, I guess I'll just resign myself to the fact that I, once again, am I hay field gopher!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Here is a picture of Dustin penning at the Colorado trial. I'm still figuring this blog out so forgive me if it's too big or small. We got the results from the trial and he placed 10th in one go round and 7th in the other. Not to bad for his first time in Open Ranch. The red barns were at the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at. It's called H2 Stables and Ed and Arlene Housley have to be two of the nicest people I've ever met. They made us feel so at home. I've already called my room with them again next year! If anybody is ever traveling towards Monument, CO and are looking for a good place to rest, they're it. They have facilities for housing horses as well. You can find them at .

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tabletop Sheepdog Trial

Hello all. Just got back last night from a trip down near Colorado Springs, CO. We traveled to the dog's and my first field trial again since Kaycee and the National's last September. Lise Anderson hosted it and it was great!! This was the first year for the Tabletop SDT and I'm hopeful there will be many to follow. It was on a great field and the sheep were very even and tested us all well.

There were 3 open go round's starting on Thursday and going through Sunday. Each round featured a different judge with a little different course. I really enjoyed this aspect and it made the trial more challenging in my opinion. The judge for the first go was Don Helsley, then Stormy Winters and the third go was judged by Beverly Lambert. Herbert Holmes judged the Open Ranch and Nursery runs on Sunday.

The field was a bit hilly and had a small draw running up the right side. It seemed to me like the majority of the dog's really handled the outrun pretty well. The drive was a challenge every day but certainly doable.

As it seems to be the case everywhere this year, the weather was all over the board down there as well! Thursday it was cold, windy and rainy all day. Then warmer on Friday and Saturday with some wind both days. Sunday was colder again with periods of rain.

The L & M Crew ran pretty well for the most part. Zac brought home his fair share of money and just loved the cooler weather and tough sheep. He lead the first go round most of the day until Tommy and Sly came along and bumped us to second. He had a great running going in the second go and one ewe had been testing him the entire time. He'd had enough and gripped off. The third go he was on the money and ended up winning it! The thing I'm most pleased with though is how well he held up physically to three runs in a row. Yes, it was cooler weather but it was still a tough course and you'd never know he just worked that much.

Jag is getting more consistent and I'm thrilled to say didn't grip off or even consider it during any of his run's down there. Yay for Jag! He seemed to get harder to handle each run though so we certainly still have work to do. He did move those fiesty girls around like a champ though! He managed a fifth place finish in the first go so got a few more points toward National's.

Dustin and Kat ran their first Open Ranch course and the first go wasn't too shabby. Not in the money but got around the course. Just couldn't get the pen. The second go was pretty rough. Uno ran in her first ever field trial and we found out it was a bit over her head. She lost sight of them on the outrun and took my redirect's really well though!!

So, overall I'm quite pleased with the dog's and had a really great time! It was fun to get away for awhile again and it makes me appreciate home that much more.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ah, the joys of weaning calves

So, you know that we just weaned the fall calves on Saturday. They're averaging about 600 pounds so certainly to the weaning point. I guess they didn't get the memo! We made it through the first night but the second night (Sunday) we got a pretty good thunderstorm. Hail, wind and heavy rain. They made it through the first round without to much stress but the second round early this Monday morning must have been the final straw for a good portion of them.

Anyway, at about 4 am I heard a loud crash and a couple of my dog's bark and knew something wasn't right. Fortunately for Mike I'm a very light sleeper and hear everything at night. I don't feel so fortunate with that "gift" though. I woke Mike up and sure enough they had torn part of the corral fence out. The biggest disappointed is WHERE they tore it out. Right through the one spot that leads to our garden! I was so proud of the fact that we got that bugger in early this year and it was doing so well despite the colder temps and recent hail. The hail did take several of the tomato plants but I still had plenty. Well, that was until these 600 lb tiller's tore them all up for me again! I guess we'll start over as soon as it dries up enough to get the seeds in again.

So, we've spent the morning getting the corral fence fixed and all but 10 head are back in the corral now. Those last 10 should be fun as they made it all the way back to their mama's. I'm sure they're SO proud of themselves. Should be fun bringing those cows back to the corral right after preg checking them.

I've been taught from the time I was little in this country that we're not allowed to curse any kind of moisture though as you never know when it will just shut off. We're SO dependent on it that we feel blessed every time we get any. Just makes things more interesting when you have to put corral fence back in in almost 2 foot of mud.

The sun is out now and you can almost see the grass growing in the pasture's again so all is still right with the world.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Working cattle

Okay, a little background info before I share my Saturday details with you. We run a split calving operation. We have spring calver's and fall calver's. Every year we're striving to go toward's more fall calver's and get away from the spring calving a bit. The banker balked in the beginning but is starting to come around to our way of thinking now.

Anyway, we preg checked the fall calving cows and worked and weaned their calves. My 5 year old nephew is here visiting us right now and has been such a trooper going to branding's, helping with chores and riding quite a little. When my boys were little they rode with me until they were old enough to sit up on a saddle on their own (around 3 years old as we had a great kids horse for them) so I've had plenty of experience riding with a little person in front of me. I've decided it's not liking riding a bike and you do forget how to do it. Thankfully it's a skill that can be picked up again when the chips are down.

Our fall calver's are not the gentlest bunch of cows either. We bought 300 head of open cows several years ago to put embryo's in for my dad's client's. A good portion of these are the "not so open" girls that people just really wanted to get rid of for one reason or another. We quickly found out that temprament was one of the main reason's!

My nephew did really well while we were moving them home and I was never short on conversation with him. By the time we got them here and started sorting cows from calves he thought he'd had enough though. He had to tough it out for awhile though as there's no safe place for a 5 year old while your sorting cow's other than on a horse. Once he was off though I switched horses and rode a young horse we just got back from some training.

It was SO much fun to ride a horse with some fire in his belly and tons of cow sense. He's off of our breeding and we're pretty proud of that line of horses. 4 of the horses being used yesterday were all by King (a linebred King P-234 stud) and the cow sense and level headedness shows through with all of them!

We vaccinated and poured the calves and it was obvious several of them are already picking up their mother's sour attitudes! My dad is a vet and does all of our herd work for us. So, when he got here we tested bulls and preg checked cows. The opens and broken mouthed cows got loaded in a trailer and headed for the salebarn. The bred cows got moved back to the pasture minus their calves who are standing in the corral still bawling.

It was past dark by the time we got done yesterday but overall a good day. The weather was absolutely beautiful all day, no bodily harm to human or critter and another day to spend doing what we love with people we love. I feel blessed!