Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Horse

Mike has a new horse. Winchester, or Chester or sometimes Chet. 

Glassing for cattle

Chester is a tall horse and a rock or an uphill side is handy to get on from. Shorter horses are nicer that way, but so far we have found Chester to be  mostly kind, active, and he stays on his feet. All good attributes in a coworker. 

I'm still riding Mestizo, the pack horse-turned saddle stock. He is sweet natured, catty, and herd bound. He's getting better, but he still gets nervy (Lippizaner style) when he loses sight of his pals.


We had a good ride to gather cows off the bar upriver. Chester hesitated at the river crossings, but Mestizo, the old hand, marched across and Chester followed gladly.

Near Magpie

Coming home in the near dark, I felt the comfort of a well-fitting saddle and my horse, knowing his way home, but not hurrying too much.

Almost dark

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weaning Time

Weaning time has come and gone.  Last Sunday we opened the gate and turned our 2011 calves back out to join the herd on the winter range. 

Loafing in the barn
The calves spent nearly the whole month of January in the corrals eating hay and we were fortunate to have mostly dry weather. During the few storms that dumped rain or snow, the barn provided good cover and Mike faithfully cleaned the bedding. 

Look at their eyebrows Grandma

Baling twine lariat
Dawson enjoyed being inside the feeder, helping pitch hay, or practicing his roping skills. He pointed out the calves' eyebrows and eyelashes to me and we admired his big black and white spotted heifer calf.
Ruby at the corral

Ruby spent most of her time down at the corral eyeing the calves. She never seemed to tire of watching their every movement, hour after hour.

Early in the month, Mike and Gabe helped the neighbor gather a few more head out of the breaks, hiking into the high basins and trailing them down on foot.

Already a good hiker

Dawson tagged along one day, staying in the bottom of Log Creek with Grandpa, while his dad climbed up to bring down a few cows. On the way home, they trailed some of our cows back from the Hall Place.

Trailing part of the herd back from the Hall Place

 It was a good January. Yes, there were times when it snowed, and blew, and rained and froze. But the sun was out an awful lot, and there were green things, little forbs poking up their first leaves, and ground cover sprouting a lacy bright carpet in the box elder grove.

We've turned the corner into February, the so-called "dying month", but for now, everything feels like it's about to come alive.

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef