A Day In The Life Or Mikey Likes It - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 123344

Home on the Range

A DAY IN THE LIFE or Mikey Likes It 
 
Sep. 10, 2009 8:20 am 
Updated: Sep. 11, 2009 11:33 am
Jump out of bed at 5 a.m. Pour myself into a pair of jeans and boots and run to the barn to catch my horse. No time to eat, but that's okay, I am used to this and will be much too busy to have AR or food on my mind.

I notice its chili out.

Saddle up and throw Wimpy in the horse trailer with the rest, take a seat in the "green bomb" with the boss and 3 of the kids, while one of the triplets warms his pickup with his brother asleep in the front seat. They will follow us with the horses. We will start bringing cattle down off the mountain today, it is that seasoning. We will meat up at Stonehouse meadow.

Drive 30 miles, unload and mount up under the rising sun. We start the long trek up the mountain that will climb 4,000 ft in elevation in the next hour or so.

A good part of the morning is spent looking for beef. They are spread in every nook and cranny. The 7 of us split up and start pushing them in from the far corners. My first trip up here nearly broke my teeth, as we were in a vehicle, and it tossed me all over the cab as we endeavored to inch down the rocky road. It is heavily peppered with large stones all across the top of the mountain.

Two hours later, we have them by the corner gate in the Cabin field, and are ready to start pushing them down the hill. It is now around 9 a.m. and I have been chewing gum all morning to keep from getting too thirsty. I'm not hungry even though it is long past breakfast time...food never crosses my mind.

The next leg of the trip makes me glad I didn't eat. Cattle prefer going UPhill to downhill. Instead of dropping to the road, for an easy saunter to the bottom, they split up and start climbing the steep canyon walls, and pushing thru low growing juniper trees, and we spend the next 5 hours trying to scrape them off the sides, while I am desperately trying to focus on something other than the view down the canyon to the valley floor far below. That view was a lot scarier on horseback than the view from a hot air balloon. I hardly notice the chokecherries and elderberries growing wild all around us.

I ponder the fact that I am feeling queasy, and if I HAD eaten pancakes, sausage and eggs, I might be leaving it there...and we won't even mention what coffee would have done to me! The footing on the mountainside is poor, one wrong step and we will be toast, and I wonder if Wimpy will be able to save my bacon.

The sun is up pretty high now, and the hot dogs can no longer push the cattle down the canyon walls, in spite of their barking and frequent nips. They opt to cool off in the stream far below us. We have to resort to pushing them with our horses, and hooting and hollering, and Elizabeth with her handy bullwhip.

Hours later, we have them on the road at last, and headed in the direction of home. They will continue to walk that direction for the next couple of days on their own, until they arrive. We will leave the light on.

One of the boys climbs his horse onto a high promontory to see if we left any beef back in the canyon. He knows I have a camera and its the perfect photo op. What a ham!

Jump the horses back into the trailer and head back home 9 1/2 hours after we began...just in time for me to milk the cow, and start dinner, which will be the first and only meal of my day. ..I opt for squash and give thanks that Wimpy didn't do that to me rolling down a hill, he managed to stay on his feet this time. I feel like a little chicken, so I throw some of that in too. Handy Randyman wants beef, but thats just the kinda guy he is.

I hope you enjoyed this cheesy little blog.

5:30 am...start of the workday
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gotta find a bunch of these...
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take them down 4,000' in elevation to the valley floor...which you can hardly see here
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steep country, and that is dust, not overexposure
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did i mention it was rocky?
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a little closer to the valley floor....
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He might be "bluffing"
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yours truly...takin a break
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Comments
Sep. 10, 2009 10:35 am
Good gravy! That sounds like a good day's work, and no piece of cake! ;-)
 
petey 
Sep. 10, 2009 2:08 pm
LOL!
 
Sep. 10, 2009 3:34 pm
I love your blogs and pics that go with them. Keep them coming. Thanks Mag
 
Sep. 10, 2009 5:12 pm
Absolutely love your writings! I've ridden horse all my life and have always wanted to do a cattle drive! Your pics make me want it all the more - just beautiful!
 
Sep. 10, 2009 5:21 pm
Petey, I'm curious, how many head of cattle are there? And how do you know you got them all if you came on home and are expecting them to find their way too? And by the way, you have no idea how much I respect all of you and your HARD work...
 
petey 
Sep. 10, 2009 7:55 pm
there are 3500 mother cows on the ranch..only a portion of those go up on the summer pasture...we do a count when we are branding on the calves and pairs, and every October when we process, every single animal on the ranch is counted...bulls, cows, yearlings and weanlings We work pretty hard to clean out the pastures, but no, sometimes a pair might get left behind if they are hiding, and they will come down when it snows
 
petey 
Sep. 10, 2009 7:57 pm
The older cows know the routine and they tend to lead all of them down the road to the main ranch...if there are any really dumb cows, we find them by the side of the county road (we have 56 miles of dirt road here) and we will push them home :) I am not an expert, I am learnin all this from the kids! LOL
 
Sep. 10, 2009 8:02 pm
HOLEY COW!(chuckle, chuckle! get it?)Well, this time you really WERE on the back forty herding cattle! Huh, I knew I was right!
 
Sep. 10, 2009 11:36 pm
My hat is off to you. You write so well and can herd cattle too, a regular Renaissance Woman. Love the photos too.
 
Sep. 11, 2009 11:33 am
Ain't life grand! We're weening calves off their mommas right now...all you can hear outside is the calves 'bawling', and I'm not bluffing. Tehehe! Another excellent adventure that I'm glad you shared with us,Petey.
 
 
 
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petey

Home Town
Tehachapi, California, USA
Living In
Princeton, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Knitting, Gardening, Hunting, Photography, Reading Books

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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
 
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