This is Dorothy, our favorite pet cow. Disregarding the fact that I grew up on a ranch where we really didn’t name cattle, as all of the calves were destined for the sale pen and most of the cows were a uniform black color with no distinguishing characteristics…we now have a small enough herd with enough color variations and personalities to be able to tell them apart and call them by name. So we have Dorothy, a glossy red and white Hereford cow. She has a very sweet temperament, is the most laid-back and gentle cow I’ve ever seen, and our affection for her over-rules all common sense, because a smart cattleman would have sold her long ago.
Last weekend we took our cows out west where I grew up. From here, it’s a four hour ride in a car…a six hour ride for a cattle pot and truck and trailer with seven people packed into the crew cab. Saturday was one long hectic day. But it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, because to me it meant going home.
I’ve been really busy the last three days. Four days ago we lost a calf. One of our herefords’ calves was stillborn, and it’s a real shame because the calf really would have been something—a purebred hereford bull calf. But for some reason or other, he didn’t make it through the birth process. So we went to the cattle auction to try to find a replacement calf to graft onto the cow since her milk was still good. I had seen my dad do this many times, and figured our chances were pretty decent, since this particular cow is Dorothy’s mother, and is very gentle and easy to handle.
It’s calving season! Granted, we aren’t all done with winter yet, but we’ve had such a warm one it’s made us think spring a little early. The cows have been out on cornstalks the last couple of months, and now a few of them have calved, and it’s fun to drive by and watch the little babies trying to get their legs under them and navigate through the corn stubble. It’s just one of the first signs of promise that winter is going away and there are brighter days ahead.
My sister-in-law introduced me to Pinterest a few weeks ago. If you’re not sure what it is, it’s a website where you can “pin” or bookmark websites or photos that inspire you in a neat collection of “boards” for you to come back to and read or use later. For instance, I have a board of horse photos, a board for scrapbooking ideas, a board of photos of things in my favorite color of green, and boards that give do-it-yourself tutorials for making some really neat things. Last night I was creating a board for the style I’d like to have. As I was pinning a beautifully ruffled dress that you could only wear to a wedding party or soiree, the thought hit me, “Who am I kidding? I deal in cow manure!”
Growing up, the horses that my Dad rode were always the best ones we had. They say wet saddle blankets make a good horse, and that was surely the case with Spider. Of Dad’s string of riding horses, Spider was one of the best. He was a big rangy gray gelding with size and strength and beauty being his best qualities.
We scheduled our trip west this spring so that we would time it right to go along on the big cattle drive up Pass Creek to summer grazing in the mountains. This morning began as every morning does on my parents’ ranch: (my husband would interject, “Slowly!” here—ha ha!) with a big breakfast, a Bible devotional, and some long drawn out discussion about which person is to ride which horse, and what other horses might be taken along in the trailer for substitute mounts, and what horses have been shod and which haven’t
I’m thrilled to be starting another year with lots of fresh ideas, helpful horse advice, and some really great horse stories. My excitement stems partially from our just getting back from a good visit to Idaho where my parents live. We had the opportunity to help them move their cattle up to summer pasture in the mountains, and it is an all-day cattle drive, so I have seventeen miles of beautiful photos to share with you, not to mention a bunch of good stories. I love visiting my family out there—the scenery is always beautiful, the air is so fresh and clear, the horses are inspiring, and it just feels good to be around the folks who know me best.
One thing I love about horses is their individual personalities. Just as every person in the world has his own characteristics, every horse is wired differently. And just like every good group of friends has a goofball in it, the horse bunch I grew up with had its own class clown, Gunner.
Spring is right up there on my list of favorite things. There’s nothing more refreshing than new flowers, baby calves, twittering robins, and the earthy smell of overturned dirt. It always gives me a sense of excitement and anticipation of the even better season of summer that’s coming. Spring brings so many reminders of the good things in life.
“I’m so busy I don’t know whether I found a rope or lost my horse.” A co-worker read this quote aloud to me yesterday from a t-shirt catalog she was thumbing through. As I laughed aloud, I thought, “That pretty much sums up how I feel.” Spring hasn’t really even gotten into full swing, and I am feeling left behind and swamped by undone projects.
I have a friend here visiting from Australia for a couple of months, and we went horseback riding yesterday. It’s finally starting to warm up here in the midwest, and with warm breezes beckoning, we put on our riding boots and headed out to the farm.
Every body’s got a tale to tell, and if you’ve been as enthusiastic about outdoor activities as I have, chances are you have some scars as reminders of your experiences. I noticed a scar of mine the other day, which made me start thinking about how I got that scar, which made me wonder just how many scars do I have that are horse-related? I have to say, almost all of my scars have a horse story behind them.
If you haven’t read the first part of this cowgirl story that I wrote last spring, you might want to, in order to gain a full appreciation of the story I am about to tell you. It involves Blacky Lawless, our black angus bull, who holds no respect for human, horse, or handgun. He is [...]
When I was a kid, we had a paint horse we called Peppy. He was a half brother to both Kokomo and Apache, but he had inherited much more of the Shetland attitude than the other two. He was a naughty pony.
We recently took a trip to Idaho to visit my folks. We got to ride horses, go on a cattle drive, take a lot of horse pictures, and enjoy the Idaho scenery while there. They were having beautiful fall weather and we really enjoyed our stay.
If you missed me the last ten days or so, it was because I was on vacation. My husband’s entire family spends a week each summer on a remote lake in Minnesota, fishing, boating, swimming, and most importantly relaxing! I spent a lot of time reading and playing with the kids in the sand, water, and sun. The only thing that would have made the vacation complete is horses.
Growing up with Chigger and the chance to ride and work at such a young age is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Those days were hot, cold, frustrating, tiring, and painful. But I knew better than to ever complain, because then I’d have to stay home with Mom.
I knew I wanted a good riding horse. So I picked the first foal by our Two Eyed Jack grandson stallion and the last foal out of our Three Bars bred Quarter Horse mare, Tasha Jo. This colt was a graying bay roan named Rudy, and I chose him because he acted nice and was built nice.
Last Saturday I got the chance to ride my mare Daisy to help move our cows from one pasture to another. It wasn’t a really long drive, but I got butterflies in my stomach all over again at the thought of taking Daisy on a cattle drive. It was only her second time working cattle, and I wasn’t sure how she would do.