From Inside The Cattleliner

I believe that my next photographic accessory purchase will be a go-pro camera device to wear upon my head to record my daily ranching adventures. This time of year means we start bringing home our cattle from the pastures and when you’re in the midst of the action, it’s next to impossible to be doing selfies and catching the “procedures” for future viewing pleasure.

img_20161025_184516.jpg

Last weekend found me perched inside the alleyway of the catteliner, straddling the runway whereby below me our bred heifers would be running up into the upper deck of the trailer. Barely hanging onto my little phone, my only photographic device at my avail, here’s my view as I’m alongside the gals snugged into the upper tail end on the liner.

 

img_20161023_162902892.jpg

That’s my right foot and leg precariously perched on a ledge (a similar stance was going on with my left leg but I was too anxious to have figured out to hold my phone horizontally for a full view) as the heifers were being chased on below me. Imagine a bull-rider about to sit on the back of a bull…yep, that would be the picture….

img_20161025_184131.jpg

Why am I here? Why…to prevent the gals from coming back down that runway after being so cleverly chased on by hubby and the kids outside.
img_20161023_161153725.jpg
How does this old rancher gal hold back a bunch of 1200 pound bred heifers? She waves her little blue stick, by golly! Appears to have worked too…had them all quietly lined up.
img_20161025_183913.jpg
Unfortunately, I only earned half marks though. Apparently I was supposed to be counting them as they clambered on below me….really?
img_20161023_162602543.jpg

My Faith

Part of keeping a blog is staying regular with one’s posting. A strategy towards that end is to have a scheduled (somewhat) feature that keeps one focused towards that end. To me, a feature on this blog must also represent what is important and meaningful to me. There are five “F’s” that guide me personally and keep me grounded on this earthly journey:

Faith – Family&Friends – Farm – Food – Fun

All in this order. Because it is my five “F’s” – I give myself permission to have a double-F as #2.  Therefore, in light of the most important of my “F’s” – FAITH….my new feature will highlight scriptures that, again, keep me grounded and help guide me through this challenging agricultural industry we have chosen as our livelihood.

Touring With The Trucker

From time to time I will tag along with my hubby on one of his trucking runs as he tours back and forth from north to south and east to west within the province. He took me down south the other night with a load of cattle that had to be dropped off at three different feed lots.
What would normally be a routine exercise for him, turned into a “Gilligan’s Island” type of adventure…you know the one where the guests head out for a three-hour tour and end up shipwrecked for years and years.

Ah well, I exaggerate now…..
Our adventure began on the delivery to the third feed lot and it was approaching 1AM and it’s dark. It seems dear hubby didn’t really know the exact location of the last feed lot. He hadn’t delivered to this site for years and he would have approached it from a different direction than what we attempted that night. The disorientation begins!

image

Imagine the degree of difficulty in turning a semi-truck and cattleliner around in the dark, on unfamiliar country roads and even within the city of Lethbridge…..yes, he turned that creature around in a parking lot and even pulled a redirectional u-Turn in the middle of a major roadway within the city. I believe I recall he backed that unit up five different times as we tried multiple directions in our search. And we still had 16 animals on board!

Still lost by 3AM….so we parked ourselves and tried the sleep-thing in the driveway of another feedlot hoping that daylight would bring on some early-riser workers and we would get some directions to our last drop-off point. Yes, still loaded with 16 yearling calves stirring and moving around in the trailer we’re attached to whilst we try that sleep-thing.

Once the beauty of daylight and civilization returns….the lost find their way and the hungry animals get to their feed bunk. Turns out we were only a couple kilometres away from our destination!

Our journey home was less eventful so I grabbed some environmental shots as we rumbled northward.

img_2818

There are a ton of power poles in the south. These mammoth giants string their way all the way to the north but they are far more prevalent in the fields down there…. they are what is taking us away from good old fashioned coal power-generation. Also along our route we pass one of the last standing coal plants….Sheerness Generating Station. Not quite sure what to think about all of this and what it means for our province into the future.

img_2834img_2830-edit

Of course, we couldn’t get all the way home without one more little piece of excitement. We met up with a wide load….a really wide load…on a small secondary highway with really no shoulders. Again, my hubby amazed me how he can park his huge true and trailer unit on the precipice of the “shoulder” as we let this beast go by.

img_2827

I was dropped off at home and hubby carried on for another trucking adventure on his own. Somehow, I don’t think he has these kind of episodes when he’s travelling solo. I think I might have jinxed him on this short trip which happened all within 18 hours from start to finish. I also am cured of any thought of getting my Class One License and going trucking!

Photo Challenge – Quest

Didn’t take me long to figure out what to post for this Friday’s wordpress photo challenge!!

Since childhood, I have always loved whales…any kind of whale. But it wasn’t until a month ago on the very day of my birthday [my very adult birthday, I should clarify] that I got to actually head out on the ocean on my  Quest to view and photograph these lovely creatures! And to be so close to them…awestruck!!

img_2053

 

 

 

The Search Is On

Woke up to a gray, cool windy autumn day. “Perfect!” I’m thinking. I can finally get at the farm books!!! Got the kitchen table all set up, the coffee on and before I settled into anything, being the responsible rancher wife that I am……I headed out to the fields to check on our bulls and a few cows and the horses who are all on the home quarters here with me.
Gasp….all I found were the horses and two bulls in the field where they are ALL supposed to be. That would be 11 bulls, two cows, two heifers and two calves.

Oh lookee here! A broken down fenceline on one side of the field!

img_20160923_104411852.jpg

and a decimated/demolished gate on the other side!

So I take to the search on my quad through our other fields and can’t find them until the farthest field – the one we brought them out of many weeks ago. Most of them are all back there peacefully sitting together by the slough just happy as can be. But by my count…not everyone is here!

 

img_20160923_112130.jpg

Back to the search to find, in yet another field, pacing the fenceline, on the wrong side of the fence, a lonely bull, one of our newest ones, anxious to find his buddies and brothers.

img_20160923_103346105_hdr.jpg

Patched up the holes as best I could with my trusty wire stretchers, hammer and staples…locked up the critters where I can find them….and….the morning is gone! Is it any wonder why then, that the farm books generally end up getting done into the midnight hours?

On The Road Again

Back in November of 2014 when I started this blog it was with the intent to relate the adventures I would encounter and endure as I would be alone with the critters and the chores while hubby was out trucking for days and sometimes weeks on end.

Well, shortly after that declaration, my dear hubby decided to retire from trucking and we’ve just spent almost a year and a half home together. I must admit, I’ve had it pretty easy!

Until a week ago….he bought himself a big truck … he’s back on the road again and Flicka Rancher has to pick up the slack.

image
So now it’s my job to check on our cows in the pastures closest to us. My swamper, Patty came along for the first time and was great company for the eight hours of touring the pastures and driving the highways and gravel roads.

image
Thankfully, every animal is happy and healthy and probably the biggest adventure endured was getting stared down by our bull when this cowgirl took the opportunity to utilize the “facilities” in the bush!!

img_20160914_124052224_hdr.jpg

Moving Bales Home

We picked today to move our hay bales from field to bale stack. I timed a full cycle just for fun because there is an element of teamwork, cooperation and throttle work that goes on. A cycle of time to which I was hoping I could improve on as I got bolder and bolder with the throttle variable.
The components of our bale-moving cycle involve hubby loading the bales two-by-two from tractor to Mac Truck (our Old Faithful) from the field.

imageimg_20160825_153535.jpg

Then he proceeds to the bale stack in yard a mile away while I jump into the same tractor and follow him back.

image

He unloads at the bale stack….

image

Where my dear dog Patty waits for my return and we have a short but pleasant visit during the unloading.

imageimage

Then back I follow him, now empty, as we return to the field of bales awaiting us for the cycle to continue. You see, we just use one tractor and one truck and one hard-working husband and wife team.

image

A full cycle times out to average 36 minutes, each load is 14 round bales and we completed 14 of those round trips.  When you’re going back and forth and back and forth well yes, you start keeping track of statistics, by golly!

We still have another field to empty of bales which allows the grass to keep growing as it is doing so beautifully this year….but for now we have a yummy short rib supper in the crock pot waiting for us back at the house. It’s time to call it a day!

_MG_3812