July 25, 2008

Monsoons, Cutting Horses, and Puppies

Well it's the 24th week; the big event of the summer.  For those of you not familiar, our town (& others with a significant population of Mormons) celebrates the westward migration of pioneers who settled here in our little town and others in the west.  We were lucky enough (yes, that's sarcasm you hear in my voice) to settle on this hot, dry, windy plateau in the high desert.  We are even more lucky to be trying to raise beef cattle in these insane conditions.  But for all of our griping and cussing, we won't give it up. And when the summer monsoons finally roll in, we all sit on our porches and enjoy every second of blessed rain.  The smell of rain on hot dry earth is about my favorite smell ever. Time to take a drive on the ranch and check out how fast the grass is greening up.

07 21 08_1886

07 21 08_1871

I included this picture, not to show off Jack Sparrow's (this is his real name and not a nickname :) rugged good looks, but to show the rain on the porch in the background.

07 22 08_1786


Honky tonk LOVES cutting horses.  Well, he loves quarter horses in general, but he has a passion for cutting horses.  Over the years, he's gotten where he can "break" a horse better than anyone I know.  The ranch has a few cutting horses that look pretty good and he is going to start showing a few of them in the non-pro events. 

I took this picture while he was practicing cutting with the mechanical cow.  It's pretty dark in the barn and it was evening, so my camera wasn't fast enough to catch Sweetie turning quickly to "cut"  the cow.  The result was something of a ghost horse...kind of cool. 

07 19 08_190607 19 08_1905

Unwanted pregnancies become wanted really quickly! Like right after the puppies are born!!! Can you say puppy heaven?   Just ask my kiddos and they'll tell you they've already spent hours upon hours of bliss watching, holding, and loving Daisy's puppies...and they're only a little over a week old!   And yes, that puppy is sleeping with Halftime holding him upside-down like that. :)

July 21, 2008

Before the Branding Ever Happened

After gathering cattle from the nether regions of the ranch, the guys wanted to eat their lunches (they made their own...way to go!) and relax a minute before working the rest of the afternoon.  The kiddos were more interested in playing than eating after our long drive.  I found Halftime and Squirt up at the water tank.  What is it with kids and water???  I have to admit, I was the exact same way. Whether it was a cool stream up in the mountains, a stand of nasty swamp water across the field, or an irrigation ditch in the backyard, we were drawn to it. Water seems to hold magical qualities that are enhanced by the wonders of childhood.07 16 08_1299_edited-1

07 16 08_1288_edited-1

Best cousins: Halftime & Squirt (It was Squirt's 6th B-day)

07 16 08_1349

Heading in for lunch.  They're going to at least pretend to eat before sneaking off to the tree house.

07 16 08_1313

07 16 08_1329_edited-1

Half Time get SO sick of posing for me....but he's a good sport!

07 16 08_1424

Who knew an old windmill could provide so much fun? Halftime, Little J, Squirt, and Tatertot

07 16 08_1414

Ready for the Olympics?  You know Half Time, your daddy was a gymnast as a kid....maybe that's what led him to break dancing?

07 16 08_1419

My boys.

07 16 08_1431

07 16 08_1434_edited-1

That's not a squint, it's a wink. And a fine one at that.

07 16 08_1382_edited-1

07 16 08_1362

What are they looking at?

07 16 08_1360

The boys found two baby bunnies under the oak trees.  It was lots of fun until Halftime started worrying about the other boys hurting the bunnies and had to order them to vacate the area.

07 16 08_1669

Auntie M's maternal instinct kicked in and she wanted to take one home...REALLY wanted to take one home.  In the end, she settled for photographing it with Honky Tonk.  (her camera takes great pictures...I'll have to find out what it is)  How do you like those "working man's"

 07 16 08_1671

07 16 08_1444

07 16 08_1571_edited-1


At the end of the day, after Halftime sprayed the ears and rears of about 80 calves, we had to pry them out of the tree house and promised to return to Horse Springs the following week. (Halftime was not too pleased that he had spent the day working instead of playing) We sent these two home with Papa J so that Honky Tonk could ride home with us.  We didn't even come close to hitting an elk on the way home.  Phew!  Back across the state line and home just in time to feed again.

July 17, 2008

Branding at Horse Springs

All it took was a two and a half hour drive; stops at Mickey D's, Circle K and Subway; several fights involving hitting, kicking, choking and crying; numerous rounds of the quiet game that lasted no more than 5 seconds each; threats all around; promises of ice cream on the return trip;  and we were there....

about an hour late and right as the guys were driving the cattle into the corral. Good timing!

It takes a lot of ranch land...sometimes even in two different states...to run cattle in the West)

07 16 08_1553

As a kid, Honky Tonk would begrudgingly put on his wranglers to go to work.  Now we have to peel them off of him :) His nickname used to be Skater because believe it or not, he used to skateboard and break dance....but he wouldn't let me use that one.  


07 16 08_1402

Oh boys and girls...if you only knew what you are in for! Maybe that one on the left has some idea.

07 16 08_1437_edited-1 

Honky Tonk and his little bro T. (You should see them play Rock Band)

07 16 08_1451

Is Bonita  pulling that calf or is that Honky Tonk? There's a whole lot of straining going on.

07 16 08_1463

I love this green stuff mom!  (He ended up with a nice wad on his shoulder after this photo)

07 16 08_1524

TaterTot watching from the sidelines (where I am too!)

07 16 08_1471
With a short break in the action, T and HalfTime get ready for a showdown.

07 16 08_1469_edited-1

He makes a better cowboy than a skater anyway.

07 16 08_1506

Auntie M is pregnant.  You might think she'd be too tired or squeamish to help with the branding.  Nope....she can still castrate with the best of them.

07 16 08_1517_edited-1

Uncle J helps HalfTime ride a bucking bull....well, more of a newly appointed steer thanks to the swift hands of Auntie M.  All the kids took a turn trying their hand at being a rodeo cowboy.  Halftime's a natural.  At last year's 24th celebration, he was the first of ninety kids in the mutton busting (sheep riding).  He rode till the 8 second buzzer and then rode for another twenty seconds until the announcer finally told him it was OK to let go. Really.

07 16 08_1467_edited-1

Bonita pulled a lot of calves that day.

07 16 08_1482

TatorTot  LOVES T.  He always has.

07 16 08_1581

Would you think that someone with eyes like that would say something like this... "If you're going to lie, you'd better have a really good plan B.  That's why sometimes it's just easier to tell the truth."????

07 16 08_1293_edited-1

Who left those horns on that dad-gum cow?  Papa J would not be happy.  It was probably Jimmy D. 

07 16 08_1394_edited-1

TatorTot is very concerned about it all.  He couldn't bear for his HalfTime to get hurt.

07 16 08_1480

I have never and will never eat Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Have any of you?

07 16 08_1501

TatorTot takes his turn in the rodeo.  He smiles and waves to all of his cousins as he effortlessly rides the calf and then is the first to cheer for himself when it's all said and done. 07 16 08_1614

Uncle T is a famous arrowhead hunter.  If you want to find one, go with T. (He also does the nicest brands)

07 16 08_1652

I love photographing this punk.  (I feel like a copycat calling him punk, but I called my kids that long before I'd ever heard of Pioneer Woman...swear)

07 16 08_1500

One of T's perfect brands. It's upside-down in the pic though.

07 16 08_1556

JC and his horse Rocket pulled their fair share of calves that day. He said his fair share of expletives that day also. (He wasn't the only one; but he does get the gold medal)

07 16 08_1611

Uncle K aka Slim; father of JC. (Yeah, it's a family ranch)

07 16 08_1624

Who is that masked bottom???

July 14, 2008

Windows Live Writer

Found a free download for Windows Live Writer. It's supposed to make posting a lot faster and easier. I'm just now trying it for the first time, so I'll let you know how it works out.

07 08 08_1093


I'm trying to come up with a nickname for my husband. He does't like any of the ones I've come up with so far. Here are the flunkies:

Lucky Strike, Midnight Special, Hanky Panky, Honky Tonk, Jesse James, The Sundance Kid, Josie Wales, Lefty Frizzel.

Maybe I'll just name him Augustus McCrae... if any of you are familiar with Lonesome Dove. I could shorten it to Grumpy Gus! :)