It has been busy around here, and I can’t believe it’s April and three months have passed since my last blog post. One of my excuses is that it’s calving season, and this year has been especially difficult. When cattle are involved, there’s always trouble of some sort. This spring, we have had cows with stillborn babies, cows that needed stitches before and after calving, cows that needed their calf pulled, cows that wouldn’t feed and take care of their babies, and cows that just died, for whatever reason. We’ve had cows getting out, bulls breaking their round bale feeders, a new bull that is really wild and high headed so we have him penned up with an old cow trying to gentle him and feed him by hand so he learns we are friendly. Such is life….on a farm.
When Rudy had to be put down, I saved a strand of his tail hair to have something made to remember him by. The week after his death, I did an internet search for hand-braided horse hair bracelets, and sifted through a few different companies and artists who make them. I found the website for TailSpinBracelets.com and from the photos of all the beautiful horse hair items they make, I knew this was where I wanted to order my bracelet from.
This time of year, it’s an expected thing to receive gifts. Around Christmas time you get a new calendar from the feed store, a pair of gloves from the company you buy your calf vaccine from, a candy cane from some random Santa you meet while shopping, a bonus from the work place…and so it […]
Last week we had a special visit from my parents. They drove all the way from Idaho to Iowa pulling a gooseneck trailer with six horses in it, dropping off two at our place, staying overnight and spending the next day with us, then continuing on their way to two other siblings’ homes to deliver the rest of the horses. After 50 + years of ranching, my parents are finally retiring, selling their ranch and cattle, giving away most of their twenty-some horses and mules, and buying a house in town and a travel trailer to enjoy some southern winters and visits to grandkids.
I grew up riding horses. Raised on a ranch, working cattle, living to be horseback, loving the country life…I was a cowgirl if ever there was one. But I’ve often said that I never really looked like the stereotypical cowgirl–no fringed leather, no turquoise-and-silver jewelry, no wild rag around my neck, and no hat. For me, it was more about the horse than what I was wearing, and I’ve never felt that the horses minded if I looked the part or not. But I finally got a hat!
At the end of May, as we try to do each year, our family went west to visit my parents in Idaho. We spent several days with them, enjoying ranch life, mountain-style farming, beautiful scenery and their many horses. The highlight of the trip was the all-day cattle drive up into the mountains, through the Pass Creek notch, over the Summit, and on to Big Creek where the cattle stay for a few months during the summer.
Spring is always a beautiful time of year. While the dandelions are still yellow, the tulips are blooming, and every tree’s leaf is that brand-new green color–that’s the prettiest time, when things are brand new. We’ve got a brand new baby in our family, and it’s made this spring very exciting and very busy! Jonathan, our fourth child, was born April 18th, a month early and unexpectedly and not without a scare (there were complications)….but we made it to May and he’s home and healthy and we’re both doing great now.
I have looked through Pinterest layouts and fashion blogs, and while some of the pictures I’ve found of outfits you can wear with cowboy boots don’t appeal to me, boots are pretty versatile and can be worn with everything from dressy outfits to everyday clothes. I spent this afternoon drawing some sketches to show my take on How To Wear Cowgirl Boots.
I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I would rather be honest with myself and not make any outlandish, pie-in-the-sky claims to change immediately or “from now on”. Why set myself up to fail? But I like having an idea, mulling on it, letting it grow, see where it leads, and eventually following through with it. And like a true procrastinator, why should I be in any hurry about it? If it doesn’t ever get followed through with, then it probably wasn’t that good of an idea after all. That being said, I do have a few dreams and wishes for the new year.
So guess what was waiting at the front door when I came home from work yesterday? A big box marked “Circle G”….Merry Christmas to me! It was my new cowboy boots I had ordered. They had emailed me that they were on back order, and I was fine with waiting, but I never expected them to arrive before Christmas! It was a fun surprise. I am glad I didn’t have to wait until Christmas day to open them. I tore the box open and tried them on immediately.
You know what it’s like when you get a brand new pair of tennis shoes and you aren’t quite sure what to do with the old ones? They’re scuffed, dirty, holey, and in bad shape, but you just can’t quite throw them away. Those shoes have been with you for miles. And the new ones are so much nicer, but they don’t quite fit your feet like the old ones did. Inevitably, as soon as you throw your old ones away, you’re going to have a muddy day when you wish you had them back.
As mentioned in a previous post, we recently took our two untrained horses out to South Dakota for training. Due to me being pregnant with our fourth child, the training was going to be postponed for another nine months at least, and we really wanted to see these two colts started as soon as possible. So in October they made the trip out to Mission, SD, to spend at least a month with a horse training family.
I am celebrating! This is officially my 200th blog post, and in honor of the event, I am getting a new pair of cowgirl boots! You might have seen my previous post with a picture of my old riding boots that I’ve had since tenth grade. They are a size too big (men’s, I believe) and scraped and worn in spite of a recent oiling. They’re good for working and riding in. But believe it or not, that is my only pair of boots. So I am boot shopping for some cowgirl boots with style.
You might be wondering what’s going on with my new mare Bluebird. I got her in April, after my sister in Idaho called and asked if I’d like to have her, and we had her shipped all the way to Iowa. She has fit in well with our other four horses, but summer was busy and she was underweight and I just didn’t find the time to work with her at all. She’s five years old, and still not broke, but I was mostly concerned with putting weight back on her. But I have been feeling bad about letting her go so long without training.
Summertime is busy. I love summer, but there is just so much going on, so much garden work to do, so many kids’ activities, so many vacations….nope, I am not complaining! But here it is nearing the end of July, and I finally got my saddle out and dusted it off and discovered that my stirrups were still set long from the last time I rode it…which was back at the first of April when Penny bucked me off! We rode at the end of May in Idaho, but here a month and a half later, my own horses have not been ridden all summer. I am just now finally get back to it!
We visited my parents in Idaho around the end of May. They live in a beautiful valley in the southeast part of the state where they raise beef cattle, Quarter Horses, and mules. We spent a week out there riding horses, hiking on mountain trails, enjoying their western scenery, and catching up on life among the Lewis family. I took two cameras, and when I got home there were over 700 photos on my memory cards! So this blog post is to share some of the sights I saw, most of them taken from the back of a horse.
Branding smoke….a fragrance that isn’t likely to be bottled and marketed by Dior or AirWick anytime soon, but nontheless a smell that evokes strong memories, pulling me into a reminiscent state of mind. I started helping brand calves when I was five years old, back when getting to go along for daily ranch work alongside my dad and siblings was what I lived for. Considering that a normal five year old would probably recoil at the sight of what goes on at a branding, I admit my abnormality of looking forward to branding days when I was a kid.
You might remember my previous post regarding Dorothy the Hereford Cow. She has been part of our family for six years now, and we have grown fond of her. But Dorothy cannot have a baby calf, having suffered a stillborn and difficult birth in her third year, and so ever since she has just been a companion animal at our farm. If you keep horses or livestock, you know that it costs a lot to feed a large animal, and we raise beef cattle and aren’t really in the business of keeping cows as pets. So we have continually weighed our options and questioned ourselves on Dorothy’s purpose in life. We did not want to send her to the auction, knowing she would only sell as a slaughter animal. So we decided to try to find a good home for her as a pet cow, and try to get a little money for her as well, since we’d like to buy a mother cow to replace her.