Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch... - Home on the Range Blog at - 308178

Home on the Range

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch... 
Aug. 7, 2013 1:13 pm 
Updated: Aug. 24, 2013 5:32 am

Things have been quiet on the ranch lately. The trainer who does his “ranch schools” here is done for the year and the boss’ kids are ready to return to college. We are down to one hired cowboy and Randyman, plus a pair of brothers, one who is manning the hot springs and the other assisting Randyman. A crew has come to put in giant pivots which will water a square mile of pasture each, which should be pretty exciting. This year was pretty droughty and all the snow is gone off the mountain. I believe this is the first time I have ever seen it all melt before the new snow comes. All in all, there hasn’t been too much activity around the houses here. This weekend the ranch family has been at the Idaho ranch working cows for a few days so it’s even quieter than usual.

Our nephew, the cowboss has his nephew which would be our...great nephew? He’s been here for a week helping bring strays down off of the mountain. I haven’t seen much of anyone but the good news is, I have been feeling great! I had 5 days in a row with NO Ra pain at all. I have been struggling with pretty nasty sciatic pain from my back and down one hip to my knee, but the REALLY good news is, horseback riding helps it. I got old Mister out one day and padoopeedooped around the pasture a bit and felt pretty good. When I got off, there was no pain and I was not limping. I did a few chores that night however, and it all came back. A day or so later, I got Wimpy and went for a three hour ride. It was so awesome to be out again after all this time. The grass is still green and more than belly deep where I was riding. The colors and textures of the limey green grasses, the grey blue sagebrush, purple lupine and some kind of yellow daisie like flowers was breathtaking. The sky was clear blue and the mountain looked awesome, in all its craggy splendor. It just felt so wonderful and in my head I could remember past rides, moving calves or gathering with the kids and whoever the current cowboss would have been at the time. Good times, always. Maybe not so far away to do again.

Meanwhile I do what I can. Yesterday I grabbed up Mister only to find him with a snotty nose and cough. Hopefully it is just a cold virus. He has a very low grade temp so antibiotics aren't called for at this time. I am hoping against hope he is well by next week. I took care of him and caught up Wimpy and we went for a short cruise to the bottom of the pasture to get a closer look at one of the new pivots going on the ranch. It will water a square mile of grass...well, technically it will water a round mile of grass. On the way back up I looked to the North and saw blue skies, whereas to the South, it was squalling over the lakebed. The storm was going to hit us pretty soon. EmmaLou, SushiMoo and their cohorts were huddled up by the octopus tree having an afternoon siesta.

I was reminded however, of how I truly wish that when a wife buys a gate to make it easy for her to get her horses in and out of a pasture, that her dear husband didn’t repurpose it somewhere ELSE and leave a crummy chunk of cattle panel with very sharp edges on it, in its place. Luckily, as they say, it’s a long way from my heart. I am more horrified over how hairy and swollen my hand looks than anything else. Gak!

No harm no foul. As long as I can ride, it works.

Meanwhile, we are getting ready to wean the leppies and are kind of shifting things around. I’ve been weaning the 3 lambs as well, so they are in electric netting which has to be moved every couple of days to keep them in feed.

They eat down some of the thistle which has been trying to take over the pasture. There is a huge difference in 48 hours, with 3 little lambs and 2 small goats in a 1600 sq ft. pen, as you can see.

 They are like pasture piranhas. We wanted to lock the sheep in the big corral to take down some of the weeds so I had to call them in.

I couldn’t see them and they weren’t responding to my voice. There was a cow not far away in the tall weeds. Bruno suddenly charged her and ran her back aways. I hollered at him because we don’t want the dogs chasing the boss’ cows. It does no good to call an LGD when he’s doing something like that anyway, they won’t listen. When he’d gotten her to jump back about 20 feet or so, he was satisfied and headed back my direction. He cleared the brush and stopped, looking back over his shoulder. Moments later, the sheep appeared, walking single file and I shook my head and marveled as he led them past me to the corral. He had clearly understood what I was wanting as his behavior was so deliberate.

This morning I let the sheep out and again, there was a cow close by. Bru ran past the sheep and placed himself between them and the cow. One ewe went to pass him and head that direction and he gently nudged her and changed her course. He stood until he was satisfied all the sheep were heading where he wanted them to, then he sat and made direct eye contact with me. It was as if to let me know he understood I didn’t want him chasing the cow off, so he used a new tactic. These dogs are just scary smart! 

It truly saddens me when people dump these dogs or abuse them because they think they aren't working out. Usually it is a case of owner stupidity and not  being willing to learn how these dogs think and react. They are NOT like other dogs and often dog handling experience is a deficit not an asset unless your experience is with bonafide LGD breeds. (Pyrenees, Maremma, Akbash, Anatolian, etc.) They are extremely deliberate in their behaviors and almost never do something without good reason. I've learned from experience, I am often wrong about them more than right, when I criticize something they have done. I've had to eat crow more than once.

Speaking of which, we invited the nephews for dinner. Randyman wanted fried chicken so I grabbed the meatie roosters I had parted out and decided to cook it all up. It would be nice to have leftovers for lunch. I fried it all up in two batches, 8 drumsticks, 8 thighs, wings, the works. I made some corn bread to go with it, and mashed potatoes and gravy made with home canned chicken broth, milled some pastry flour and made some whole wheat brownies with it. It all came together perfectly and the boys dug in. One of the brothers from the hot springs showed up and hadn’t eaten so we invited him in as well. By the end of the evening all that was left was a couple inches of the original 9x13 pan of brownies. So much for leftovers! But they went to a good cause and I love to think the bachelors enjoyed something besides ramen noodles or beanie weanies for a change. I think we will need more chickens next year, for sure.

Aug. 7, 2013 1:20 pm
I wonder why it makes it green and skinny...
Aug. 7, 2013 2:42 pm
Hello petey, so glad to hear your having some good days.It's green and skinny on this end also. Your photos are lovely, and i'm sure that everyone enjoyed the meal you put on. I know I enjoyed reading about it, looks like a nasty scratch on your hand hope it heals quickly for you. Your so true about the dogs, you have to take the time and train them. I don't have the dogs you do, but my dog is very good, cause we took time to train her. Very good read as always petey, wishing you many, many more pain free days. Take care.
Aug. 7, 2013 3:15 pm
Hi, petey! I'm glad you are having some good days, even if that means you are experiencing a bad scratch from doing something you love. Your respect for your dogs actually sets them up to succeed. Like any good manager, when you know you have awesome talent, the best thing you can do is to get out of the way, lol! I sense an arc in your story--is summer winding down, now? How long till the first frost?
Aug. 7, 2013 3:36 pm
Hi Petey, As always, I enjoyed reading about your lastest adventure. When Are you writing a book? I know that it would it would be a best seller, your life is so interesting. I am glad that you are feeling good and I hope that that you will be continue to be pain free. Your pictures are great, and those dogs are certainly smart. thank you for sharing your stories with us. I always love hearing about your like. take care of that hand, it looks painful.
Aug. 7, 2013 3:38 pm
I meant I love hearing about your LIFE, I am having trouble typing. Your ranch sure is beautiful, I'll bet the sunsets are spectacular.
Aug. 7, 2013 3:42 pm
Manella, I hope you are feeling good lately too. These dogs don't really take any training, but do require some guidance as puppies so they don't develop any bad habits, but the instinct to bond and even submit to the stock is so strong from generations and generations of breeding there is not much to be done...that said, they make lousy obedience dogs because they are bred to think for themselves and not to take direction from humans :)
Aug. 7, 2013 3:44 pm
Bibi, we won't actually start to freeze until October, but we are at a nice lull. The 2500 calves are already branded and the cows are down off of the mountain now so things are a little more relaxed, except for the fact that tons of fencing has to be torn down and rebuilt, ditches filled and moved and the land leveled in several mile square fields to accomodate the new irrigation systems I guess really not so relaxing after all..just seems that way haha
Aug. 7, 2013 3:46 pm
vanillabean, thank you. I would like to do a book,but I just have such a hard time putting things together and thinking of trying to sell it to a publisher. The thought of it is overwhelming. The dogs are amazing, my pain is diminished a TON and we don't actually have sunsets here because of the 10,000 fault block to the west, but we have spectacular sunrises!
Aug. 7, 2013 4:26 pm
Beautiful pics
Aug. 7, 2013 4:45 pm
As far as a book is concerned, petey, I think some of the stories about the dogs would make a great series for late elementary school kids. Those books are usually short and that age group can handle a little conflict (stories about storms or predators, for example) Did you ever read Laura Ingalls Wilder when you were young? I wasn't a huge fan of the TV series, but the books were spell-binding.
Aug. 7, 2013 5:22 pm
yes, those were great books. I have been buying some of them for my grandkids :)
Aug. 7, 2013 5:23 pm
it is a thought, Bibi...
Aug. 7, 2013 7:14 pm
petey: So pleased to hear that you have been feeling well lately. No doubt you are enjoying your opportunity to ride. There is LOTS of circle irrigation where I live. Those lambs and goats are doing a great job of cleaning up. Take care of your hand!
Aug. 8, 2013 6:27 am
Again, beautiful pictures of your part of the country. So glad you are able to ride again, I know that's a passion of yours. Here's hoping the last treatment's healing stays with you a long time.
Aug. 8, 2013 7:44 am
Your photos and blogs are absolutely amazing! I'm in awe.
Aug. 8, 2013 10:00 am
Oh, Petey!! I just love reading your blogs and looking at your pictures. Your place could be a perfect movie set. It looks so peaceful and just perfect. I hope your hand heals quickly.
Aug. 8, 2013 11:19 am
Thanks all, the hand is doing pretty good. Getting down to 'just a scratch' status already. We are so fortunate to have found this job here in this place. We love it.
M. Arnett 
Aug. 8, 2013 4:56 pm
Petey I was looking for Fish Taco and Chicken Quesadilla Recipes and enjoying the comments. I came across yours and found a like spirit. I tell you I love the outdoors and I feel like in another time I was a farm girl. I have RA as well so I was inspired to read you got relieved doing what you love. Thanks for sharing your pictures also Petey it just endeared me more to you, and you don't need injury with the RA too. Be careful as much as you can, and I will keep reading.
Aug. 8, 2013 5:40 pm
petey its a good day when i read your blog. i'm so glad that you've had a good couple of days! your pictures are amazing...almost as good as those brain-surgeon dogs. isn't it great when you make a monster meal ( hoping for left-overs) and it gets gone instead!
Aug. 8, 2013 7:19 pm
M Arnett, it's very nice to meet you! I hope you also find relief from your Ra!
Aug. 8, 2013 7:20 pm
hey G-Derr, it does feel good to have them gorge themselves!
Aug. 10, 2013 5:47 am
Another great visit with you at the ranch! So glad you were (ARE) feeling better. Keep those stories coming.
Aug. 10, 2013 9:34 am
Peter, I also live on a ranch and I've enjoyed reading your blog. We live in the texas panhandle and have finally started to get some rain . Putting out hay at all the windmills in the hope that the cattle will get full,and the grass will grow a bit. Take care of yourself and have a blessed day.
Aug. 10, 2013 9:36 am
I meant to type Petey. Dadgummed auto correct !
Aug. 10, 2013 12:40 pm
Glad to hear you are feeling better. Your chicken dinner sounds wonderful.
Aug. 17, 2013 10:59 am
I've been on vacation, and now that I'm back, I had to scroll through all the blogs to make sure I didn't miss one of yours :) I love reading about all that goes on with you and your dogs. So glad you are having some pain free days. I hope they continue.
Aug. 22, 2013 6:42 am
Petey! I'm going into withdrawal--need another of your most interesting stories!
Aug. 24, 2013 5:32 am
Great to meet you Duzy! Glad you guys have gotten some moisture there. It has been a tough year on a lot of ranchers and farmers I think. @Lela and Paula and suezoo25, it's good to 'see' you.
Click to Change your Profile Picture

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

Member Since
Jan. 2007

Cooking Level

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

Knitting, Gardening, Hunting, Photography, Reading Books

Go Pro!

In Season

Muffins Are Perfect Anytime
Muffins Are Perfect Anytime

Muffins are great for breakfast, with coffee, or just as a snack on the go.

Soup For What Ails You
Soup For What Ails You

Soup is what the doctor ordered to cure those winter blahs.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

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.
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!!!
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States