Welcome to JKs Rough String Ranch

Welcome to the Rough String, and thanks for stoppin' by!! Grab a hot cup of coffee and sit a spell!
10/22/18 You will see a name change on the blog. Lots of things have changed in my life in the past few years, and I feel compelled to share my story.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day of Thanks

I've been absent for a week, and it's not even irrigating time! Last week, we started promoting a discount on the ads in Horsefly...it took off like a wild fire! I usually have 2-8 ads in an issue and I have 20 so far! So, needless to say, I've been planted at this computer designing ads for the past week.

As we come into the Christmas shopping season, I want to stress one thing...


We live in a very small community where everyone is struggling just to stay afloat. Business owners take pride in providing goods and services to the community, but if we locals don't support them, how will they survive. I need them to survive so I can survive...it's all relative!

I myself have been guilty of shopping online for something I could probably have gotten locally. So, I challenge myself and you to SHOP LOCALLY. You and your community will be all the better for it.


We were also gone last Friday - Sunday to Central Oregon for the Columbia River Circuit Finals. It was a great rodeo and we had a fantastic time with friends. None of my photos turned out...sorry to those who were hoping for some great action shots. If my Santa present comes through, next year will be different ;~)


Today is Thanksgiving Day. The pie is done and the smoked Prime Rib is ready to go into the oven. It's just My Man and I since he has to work tomorrow.

There is so much to be thankful for...where do you begin?

My Man and I give thanks daily for our blessings...


More family~

And still more family~
They're not human, but they are family to us.

Each of them has an important part in our lives,
and we appreciate being their caretakers while
they live on this earth.

We love this land that our Lord has asked
us to caretake for him...and feel
so very blessed to be healthy and able to do so.

The land, the animals, and we humans are all connected.
We grow the hay on the land so the animals
(horses and cows) can gain nourishment from it.

In turn, we gain nourishment from the cows
and receive enjoyment and companionship from the horses.

It's rewarding to see them flourish in body and spirit
from the hay we grow.

What I am most thankful for...the man and partner in life that supports everything that I do.

Last but not least, I pray for blessings to all of you, family and friends, on this wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Bloggers are some the best folks I've ever met...even if we've never met face to face...yet!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Official~Bella Jo Has a Home!

My Man hadn't really said yeah or nay yet to Bella Jo having a forever home with us, but I decided that I needed to know. So I popped him the question last evening...and his reply was that "She's getting along pretty good and isn't too much trouble, so she should stay." Yeah Bella Jo!!!!

And Bella really is a sweet dog. Her personality comes out more each day. She's fun loving, people pleasing snuggle dog. Oh...how 'bout an update on her spaying...it was successful and it's a good thing we pursued it as quickly as we did. She was pregnant...5 weeks along...with 10 puppies inside her! She didn't really look pregnant, but I just had my suspicions and didn't want to take the chance of having a litter. She sure was sore the night of the surgery...lots of moaning and restless trying to find some way to lay that didn't hurt. Poor girl.

But, she's back to normal...or so she thinks. She's got to be on a leash for the next 2 weeks...and it's already hard for her not to want to run off with the other dogs. But, that'll be good training for her anyway.


Last Sunday, My Man, Cindy Sue, Bella Jo and I headed over to the Round Barn Visitor Center to exchange a wool cap...and do some pre-Christmas browsing.

Pilot 'n co-pilot seem to have it all
under control...so I just sat back 'n
sipped my cup of coffee.

Dry Lake had some ice on it still and
Riddle Mountain is in the background.

Cows are still foraging some, but pretty soon
all the ranchers will be feeding hay.

Dick has the Christmas tree up and decorated already, so I tried to get some nice shots of Bella Jo and Cindy Sue...neither of whom wanted to cooperate!

20 photos later, this is the best one I could get
of Bella Jo. Cindy Sue just refused!

I finally corralled the two for a family portrait.


Is anyone going to the Columbia Circuit Finals Rodeo in Redmond this weekend? We'll be there on Saturday night. Email me (top left on the blog) and we can try to hook up at the Event Center!

I'm totally swamped with my Horsefly publication for December, so that's why I haven't been making it to anyone's blogs for the past few days. I went into town Monday and sold 14 new ads and now I'm designing them all.

Then we'll be gone to the Rodeo Finals for 3 days this weekend...and Thanksgiving is next week?!? I'm panicking!!!

OK...remember to breath~~ahhhhh~~


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Stills ~ Fins, Feathers & Fur

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is a triple play...Fins...Feathers...Fur...

The fur 'n feathers was fairly easy...just needed to get some willing suspects...er...subjects.

But the Fins portion was going to be tough. We don't even have a pet store that sells fish in town and I'm just not the fish type person. I started diggin' in the ol' dresser that has a lot of miscellaneous stuff in it.

I came upon a great lil' find that my mother had in her things; why, I couldn't tell you, but it's something that I thought was worth hanging on to if she did.


The May 1946 issue of Outdoor Life.
Click the photo biggify...notice the whoppin' 25 cent price?

This page caught my eye because Veterans' Day
was last week. It's a really nice story...and...I
see some Fins!

This page was interesting too...that's one
big fish in the upper right and the advertisement
about fishing in the State of Maine was pretty funny!


This is the mother Great Horned Owl who lives in
the trees in our yard, and she was more than willing to
have her photo taken.
Out of the three babies from
last spring, there is just one left with the
parents. I don't know if the others didn't make it
or if they are off on their own now.


Stetson and Catnip are demonstrating how their
winter coats keep them insulated and warm...
even in a snow storm.

Lil' Cindy Sue doesn't have near enough fur...
consequently she wears a coat in the winter.
Look at those cute lil' belly spots through her fur!
Her belly is red because she's laying in front
of the wood stove gettin' warm.

Our newest addition, Bella Jo, has whorls on the
bridge of her nose. I've never seen a dog
with this type of fur pattern.

Check out other Sunday Stills participants and see their Fins, Feathers, & Fur HERE.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Wild Bunch

Since I moved my old man Toby who's a QH, that leaves The Wild Bunch running the hill. It's about 270 acres and they're still grazing up there. But, the nutrition is pretty much non existent and with the snow and colder temperatures, we've started feeding them a little bit of hay.

As you can see from their skinny, riby bodies, they're poorly fed ;~) Winter time is when they're on a diet to get rid of some of the fat they put on in the summer...especially Coyote!

I caught them comin' down the hill yesterday in the snow.


Bella Jo is going to take a trip with the Save A Stray gal, Michele, to Bend. She has an appointment on Monday at the Bend Spay & Neuter Project to be spayed...it's a good thing to get this done quickly because she's probably pregnant. No one needs another litter of pups!

I feel really bad for Bella though because I'll be dropping her off at Michele's tomorrow at noon. Michele was the foster home where she lived before she came to us. I'm sure that Bella's gonna think that she won't come back to the ranch! I'll tell her she's coming back home...and hope she understands.

Bella likes the toy basket...which is good since
it's full of toys that no one has played with for years!
She's already lookin' sad :(

Cowboy says "Please bring Bella back...I kinda like her!"

Cindy Sue says "Well...OK...she can come back."

I've got my favorite spaghetti recipe in the crockpot and Sam and Rusty from the TI Ranch are comin' over for dinner tonight. So, I better get to my "skirt work" as Prairierunner would say!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Tank Heaters~The Sure Sign of Winter

It seems pretty official that winter's here. Yesterday afternoon we got another lil' snow storm that gave us 2 inches or so.

Bella Jo really likes the snow. She
wanted to be outside playing...with her rat!
And, I guess it's time to put the doggie pool up
after it thaws out in a few days.

It was supposed to snow some more throughout the evening, but the skies turned clear and then the fog rolled in and it never did snow. I had all the stalls ready for the horses to stay in for the night, so I brought them in anyhow. I brought my old man Toby in from the "Wild Bunch" on the hill for the winter. He can get some special TLC which he deserves at his age.

I had to go to town for the 1st meeting of the new officers of the High Desert Cutters club...I volunteered to be treasurer for some crazy reason! It was a slow, slick drive in and back home. Freezing fog is not fun.

This morning was still foggy until about 8 AM and the skies turned blue again! But, it was around 17 degrees when I fed...it was definitely insulated bib weather. The tank heaters are all plugged in...winter is here to stay.

One of the Great Horned owls sitting high
in one of the Elm trees.

Horseshoe snow art?

It's not a bad day for Friday the 13th!

How's your day going?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snow on the Sage

Post #200

WoW...that's a lot of posts! I never knew I had that much to say. After scrolling back through the titles, there isn't a lot there. Well, all there is to do is to post another 200!

Thanks for spendin' some time at the Rough String!

We got a nice snowfall last night.
It was 20 degrees this AM and the skies
were clear...a beautiful mornin'.

Colt & Brego were very happy to get their breakfast!

It's really nice to see something else besides brown.
Snow always brightens up the
landscape and makes simple
objects more interesting.

Stoic Bella Jo...

...is not always stoic! Cindy Sue can't quite figure out
what Bella's all excited about!

But, Ms Bella is really getting into this ranch life!

I've lost a few readers because of our varmint procedures around here...and I apologize for offending anyone. But, I will say that Bella Jo knows exactly what to do with a pack rat! She's dang quick let me tell you!

Yesterday Bella Jo, Cindy Sue and I packed the lil' commuter car and headed over to Bend. I had an exciting date with an endodontic specialist...in English that means Root Canal :( Three and a half hours of driving...two and a half hours in the dentist's chair...and then I had to pay them because I had such a good time...the good news is that the tooth is not fractured and they were able to complete the procedure.

Since we drove all that way, we had to stop in at Bend Pet Express and get Bella a new collar...and treats too of course! She had a blast in the pet store and was hugged on by everyone. Lil' Cindy Sue, who usually gets all the attention, had her worried look on her face. But, she was fine with it all...she still rides in the front seat, so that makes it all right!

We ran into some snow on the way home and didn't make it back until 5:30. It was a long 11 hour day away from home. There were some hungry ponies standing there in the dark with a hoof on each hip saying "It's 'bout time ya got here to feed us!"


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Taco Soup, Hay, Calves, & Bella Jo

Bella Jo is such a sweet dog. She's trying so hard to do everything right! I'm not worried about her taking off; she's thinkin' this ranch life is the life for her!

I start out the day with feeding the horses of course, so we head to the barn on leash. Then after determining where Tat the cat is and Bella gets told "no" when she wants to go aggressively toward Tat, I let her off leash. BTW, Tat is always on top of the hay stack in the barn and knows to keep his distance. Bella is definitely getting the idea that Tat is off limits!

Then I load up the wheelbarrow with hay and we go out behind the round pen. Colt's the only horse at that point. I lay out the piles of hay while Bella stands by the round pen watching intently. Then I let Whiskey and Brego out of their pasture to come eat.

Bella's finding her comfort zone. She sticks with me
but keeps her distance from the horses.
She's figured out that fences are her friend and
knows how to get around the barn to keep
me in her sight, but away from the horses.

On Sunday, we helped Rusty and Sam at the TI Ranch
run their calves through for their last shots.
Bella sat on the flat bed and watched.
She got a little excited when some of the calves
were banging around in the chute and she started
barking at them. I told her "no bark" and that was
the end. She sat and watched intently.

My Man ran the chute this time.

After the calves were done, Bella got to smell her
first cow manure...she loved that!

I walked Bella on leash along the inside of the calf pen and she got to see the calves moving away from her as we walked along. She needs better leash control still because she pulls back when she panics. It'll take time, but it feels like she's making improvement already.


On the hay front...I really like this photo:

The two rows of 1st cutting are all gone!
You can see where the bales had been sitting
since last July...empty is good!

And this is the last semi truck load of 2nd cutting!
So, it's all gone too! All that's left is 28 bales
of 3rd cutting...it's sold, they just have to haul it.


It's that time of year when soup, stew and chili are on our dinner plates quite often. This is an easy recipe for Taco Soup that you can make either on the stove top or in a crock pot.

Simple Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 - 1/2 cups water
1 can (15 oz) mild chili beans in sauce
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies (optional)
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

Brown beef; drain. Add taco seasoning and mix well. Transfer meat mixture to large soup pot or crock pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. If using the stove top: simmer until heated through and flavors are blended, stirring occasionally (I like to let it simmer for a couple of hours). For the crock pot: Heat on high for 4 hours.

Yield: 6-8 servings (about 2 quarts)

Serve with cheese, sour cream, chips, and avocado. Corn bread is wonderful too!

BTW...I don't put in the small can of chilies...that makes it way to hot for us.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meet Bella Jo

I've been contemplating the idea of getting another dog to help me with gathering and trailing cows. Now, you all know what happens when you visit a shelter...ya wanna take 'um ALL home with you!

Harney County doesn't have a Humane Society...or any other shelter as a matter of fact. But, we do have the Harney County Save A Stray Rescue which I just did an article on for Horsefly. As I interviewed them, we of course talked about available animals...and they had an 8 month old Australian Cattle Dog, Bella, who might fit the bill for me.

Bella Jo looks a lot confused...but is just
as sweet as they come.

Cindy Sue is a LOT concerned that
she's going to play second fiddle to Bella Jo.

Bella was taken to the vet clinic (where all strays and owner relinquished animals are taken) by her previous owner. He said to put her to sleep because she wouldn't mind him. Well the dumb a$$ didn't train her!!! How could she obey him if he didn't teach her anything?!? Some people shouldn't be allowed to own animals or have children...IMHO.

So, Save A Stray took her and soon found out that she really is a NICE dog...without a bunch of baggage; she just needs basic training. Bella loves people and gets along great with other dogs.

My Man isn't sure if he can handle four dogs...but he said the same thing before we got Cindy Sue, who made three dogs ;~)

Save A Stray wants to make sure that the home is the right home, so she's here for a trial.

Bella has been a city dog I think, so I'm keeping
her on a leash for initial training purposes...and
to make sure she doesn't take off!

I picked her up at the feed store in Crane. She rides in the back seat of the truck like an old pro. We drove out to the Round Barn to deliver Horseflys and she definitely enjoyed a treat from Dick.

All was going well...until the "devil horses" showed up while I was cleaning the paddock. The big brave cattle dog is TERRIFIED of horses...and probably cows too I assume! I don't think I'll have a problem with an over obsessive herding dog...I wonder if she'll ever be able to herd at all!

Brego, Whiskey and Colt...the "devil herd."

Cowboy seemed to be a comfort for Bella Jo.

Bella is trying to be good...she's picking up "sit," "down," and "wait" very well. Besides being afraid of livestock, she may have a cat chasin' problem. The one time I let her off leash so I could at least get the horses fed, Tat came around the corner of the barn and Bella promptly took off like a bullet and chased him into the awning off the shop where we park the tractor...with Cindy Sue, Cowboy, and Abby in hot pursuit...not good.

The only other issue we know of so far is that she needs to be spayed...ASAP!

We'll just take it a day at a time and she how she does. We're off to the TI Ranch today to help give calves shots and wean. Bella Jo will get to stay on the back of the flat bed and observe.

Just an FYI on her breeding. The previous owner said she is "papered." But with what, we've yet to see. She is definitely NOT within the Australian Cattle Dog breed standards. Whoever is doing the breeding is doing a disservice to the ACD breed. Here is a great site for ACD info. Too many dogs are euthanized, so I prefer to get a rescue dog than buy a "registered dog" since I don't plan on showing or breeding...I just want the dog to be loving, loyal, enjoy its life with us. And, in Bella Jo's case, I hope she can do a job too.