Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Surprizes

The "Old Brindle" is one of the first cows we bought when we started Magpie Ranch. She was old when we bought her and that was nearly ten years ago. Mike quickly discovered that she does not like to be cornered. She wants a lot of space and will waggle her impressive horns to remind us she is equipped for a fight. 

As it turned out, the Old Brindle is also a great mother and a great lead cow. When she came up 'dry' or unbred a couple years ago we were disappointed, but kept her with the herd and she continued to lead the cattle out of the canyons to the summer range. This year, after two seasons without a calf, we trailered her to the valley to fatten up on irrigated pasture and reach her eventual demise. A week later, as if to say, "forget that idea", she surprised us with a sweet bull calf. I guess the Old Brindle gets one more year. 
Old Brindle and her 'surprise' calf
With summer comes fire season and we always have 'fire protection' to do, which means mowing, scything, weed-whacking and machete work to create defensible space around the ranch structures. Last week, we headed up the six miles of two-track to the Pumpkin Creek cabin and were met by an enormous cotton wood tree blocking the road. 
Cottonwood blocking the Pumpkin Creek driveway
By driving halfway up the bank and tipping sideways, Mike squeezed the stock truck underneath the massive trunk and we were able to continue on to the cabin. Needless to say, I was outside the truck letting him know that he had two inches to spare. I hate steep sidehill driving. 

Mike fixes the weedeater - again

Pumpkin creek cabin after fire protection

 It was beastly hot, over 100 degrees by mid-day and several dips in the creek and a siesta were required to complete the job.
A lot of mowing....

Luckily summer has its rewards, like river swimming and being greeted by a beautiful valley sunset on our way home from the canyon.
River swimming pals
Dawson with his "fishing" pole

Nice way to end the day
From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef