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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Saturday, July 31, 2010

All the Pretty Bales in a Row

~If you tell the truth, a man doesn't have a chance to talk back.~
~Cecilia Adams 1900~

Hay Man Rudy and his wife Marsha started baling early this AM...I was pretty groggy, but I think it was 3:30 or so.

All the Pretty Bales in a Row
Small 2-string bales...and the baler sitting in the windrow.
About 5:30 or so the breeze came up and Marsha lost the moisture in the east field with the 2-stringers. Rudy was baling the mid-size bales in the west field and for some reason he still had enough moisture to finish the field.

So, My Man and I are spending the day hauling the mid-size bales off the field to the stack yard. I get to drive the semi-truck...Cindy Sue will be my trusty co-pilot! Rudy will bring the bale wagon and pick up the 2-stringers.

Then we have to lay down the main line and start the wheel lines on the west field...and start one of the wheel lines in the east field.

That should bring up the moisture this evening, and they can finish the east field in the AM.

So, no trip to Central Oregon for the Wild Trails Horse Expo...or the concert with Don Edwards...we're bummed. 

This is specially for My Man:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hay...Can You Ever Have Too Much Hay?!?

~I'm not an evil woman, but if you cross
my family or friends, you'll have
to reckon with me.~
~Sandra Wood 1904~

I answer that hay question with "Usually not!"

So, we're stacking another load. This load goes in what we call "The Mustang Barn." The spoiled Quarter Horses get stalls at the Big Barn, and the tough, sturdy mustangs and burros get the run-in shed (which they prefer anyhow).

This is the second bale wagon of grass hay...yes, we buy grass hay...and raise and sell alfalfa hay. I don't like feeding straight alfalfa. I feed my QH half and half. The mustangs and burros get wayyyyy too fat and only get grass. 

Hard Workin' Man
My Man is in charge of loading and stacking...as usual.

Forks on the Lil' Tractor
Instead of the bucket, My Man tried the forks (which are made to pick up the mid-sized alfalfa bales)...it worked much better. Anything to make the job easier!! 

Lil' Tractor Go!
Stack them on in threes, and I drive to the barn.

Hay!!! I Love Hay!
Helpers!!! They all wanted to help of course. Rohan was the most persistent.

Enjoying the Sunset
They finally gave it up and enjoyed the sunset as the day cooled off.

I'll Scratch Yours if You Scratch Mine
Stetson and Catnip definitely enjoyed each others scratchin'.

Stack it to the Roof!
Stuffed and stacked to the roof! We still need to add about 2 more ton in this barn.

Waiting for the Baler
And our alfalfa...as of right now, it's still in the field just like this...waiting for enough moisture to bale.
It's been very hot, and we're lacking moisture here on the High Desert to get the alfalfa in the bale. Hopefully we'll get some tonight...time will tell...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Smoky Pritchett Clinic & Life at the Ranch

~If I ever become successful in life, I'm 
going to get me a ranch of my own.~
~Emily Downs 1892~

The days are flying by!!! It's already Wednesday, and I'm finally sneaking time in to do a blog about last weekend! I've got my Horsefly publication deadline coming up...and some ag surveys to do also...OK...gotta make this quick!

The Smoky Pritchett clinic was awesome!

Smoky Pritchett, Me & Colt
The only photo of the clinic. I was too busy listening!!

Every rider got to work one on one with Smoky with a maneuver in the reining pattern...rider's choice. Horses were at all levels of training (green snaffle bit to bridle) and riders were of all ages (youth and adult). What everyone's main point of trouble boiled down to moving the horse's body parts...hip, shoulder, nose. For example with the lead departure, the hip needs to be to the inside as well as the nose...and the horse drives from the hip to pick up the correct lead. If the body parts can't be moved by the rider, the horse won't be able to do the maneuver very well.

For me personally, I rode Colt in the two-rein and asked Smoky for some help on getting him starting correctly and some basic use tips. Since I've never had any formal training with the two-rein, it seemed like a good place to start...from a man who's been there and done that! I brought along my hackamore just in case, but never had to use it.

After Smoky helped me adjust my bosal under the bridle correctly, we got started. First he had me pick up the bridle reins...well, I'd only been riding Colt with just contact on the hackamore reins...so, I took the slack out. We practiced his neck reining...making sure that Colt's eye was tipped to the inside. We'd spiral down in the circle and come back out in the same direction and pick up the lope. Colt tends to drop his shoulder going to the left and I need to work on keeping him balanced. It was a really good exercise to get the horse positioned correctly.

After we had finished, I told Smoky that I'd never picked up the bridle reins before today...he said that it seemed like I had and that I had a really nice horse. That was a wonderful compliment coming from a man with his background!

Then after everyone had their one on one, we each got to box a cow...a fresh one at that too! I've never had professional help with my boxing or fence work either, so it was a great learning experience. I just need to do my job..."stop the cow!" I've got to make sure that going to the left I get in front of the cow (I tend to lag behind too far) and then Colt needs to finish his stop before he turns (rider adjustment).

There was another gal there in the two-rein and she'd been in it for a year, so I got great info from watching and listening to her works.

It was supposed to be a two hour clinic, and it ran 3 hours and 15 minutes...but everyone was learning and they wanted everyone to get their works in...it was a great day!

After the clinic, they started the horse sale. This is the annual Shelman Family Horse Sale. I didn't stay too long, but saw this photo op and couldn't resist:

If You Want to Sell a Horse~Get a Cute Cowboy
If you want to sell a horse, get a cute lil' buckaroo to show it for ya!


It's been pretty hot for the past week or so...the dogs are taking full advantage of the pool too!

Abby Loves Her Pool
Abby loves her pool and is always laying down in the cool water!
Everyone except Abby only wants to get their feet wet...Abby's the water dog!


What do you do on a hot Saturday night at the Rough String? Well, stack hay in the barn...what else is there to do?!?

Thank Goodness for Tractor Buckets
First My Man puts 3 bales in the tractor bucket...

My Man Stacks a Mean Load of Hay
...then My Man stacks it in the barn....what am I doing? I'm driving...and taking pictures!
This photo in the barn looks like it's snowing...but it's just hay dust emphasized by the flash. We finally got done around 9:15 PM or so...we only have to stack 3 more loads (including our own alfalfa bales).


Hmmmmmm...Sunday...what shall we do? Let's put in the new deck!

My Man got a smokin' deal on this "already built" deck that was used for a home and garden show...and we'd been thinking about putting a deck off the front steps.

Whala...instant deck!

The Grunting Lil' Tractor
This load made that lil' tractor grunt!
This is probably the heaviest load our lil' tractor has ever carried...My Man had to drive it in backwards because it didn't steer right! But after wiggling it around for a while, he finally got it into place.

We placed pier pads underneath it...and it's in!

Now all of the landscaping comes (that's like my job). I'm planing on using the "lasagna" method. This link talks about vegetable gardens, but it's the same theory for flower beds. If anyone has had any experience with this method, I'd love to hear your thoughts...pros or cons.

The Deck in Place
The pups have moved right in!
The posts are coming off the deck and My Man is going to make a cedar flower trough along the front that will hide the pier blocks. Finish it off with one of my Leopold benches, a two chair bistro set and the BBQ...we're ready for outdoor entertaining...until the skeeters drive us indoors ;~)

Sunset Above the Rim
A picture perfect ending to another great weekend!
The hay is cut...raked this AM...and now I hear thunder and it looks pretty dark up behind our hill...pray that the rain and wind hold off for a couple of days~

Monday, July 26, 2010

Macro Monday

~Always keep a piece of your heart for yourself.~
~Ireen Martin 1904~

Two Bee or Not Two Bee
Two Bee or Not Two Bee

Sweet Deal
Yep, Two Bee!

Check out more wonderful macro photography by going here and find the links in the comments.

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gus's First Ride...My Birthday...and a Cow Horse Clinic!

~I've never, ever worn anything else but britches.~
~Kate Buffalo 1901~

Last evening Gus had his first ride. It seems like it took us forever to get here, but slow is a lot better than rushing it too fast (in my opinion).

He's been coming along really well, and I thought he was ready a couple of weeks ago. But, he was really worried with me being above him. So, I did a lot of ponying with Colt. I could side up to Gus and pet him, lean on his saddle, move the off stirrup around, and just let him get used to me being above him...and it worked great! I've always used a broke horse to help me with the young ones, and Colt's working out really well in his new position as "best broke horse on the place."

After doing Gus's round pen work and drive lining, we were ready to move forward.

Ready to Step Up
Gus gets lots of pats around the rear end, I make sure his nose is turned toward me, so if he does move, it will be toward and around me not away from me (leaving me in the dirt).  I move the saddle around on him, slap the stirrups a few times, and put my foot into the stirrup. I do this on both sides of the horse...they have a left brain and a right brain and both brains need to be trained.

Preparing to Climb On
Starting with top left clockwise: Up and put my weight over his back (pat him,  move the stirrup on the off side, and bend his nose to the off side so he can see me). Swing my leg up to his rear and let it rest there (I want him to be OK with my boot or leg touching him when I mount or dismount). Do it all again from the off side. Lastly, swing the leg over and sit.
Once in the saddle, I keep my seat moving side to side so he knows I'm there. If I were to sit still and then move, he could be startled and then get scared...I want him to remember I'm up there at all times.

Gus Takes His First Steps
Clockwise again: I don't push too quickly...while he's still being calm, I dismount and tell him what a good boy he is...build his confidence. Then I get back on again...still using the side to side motion to let him know I'm there. Sometimes that's where I'd quit for the first time on, but I felt good about asking for a step or two from Gus...and he obliged very quietly and confidently!

From his ground driving training, he knows left, right, stop and back. After asking him to take a few steps each direction, I hopped off...I call that a perfect first ride.

What a Good Boy!
Then Gus gets lots of praise for being such a good boy!

Now, we just go out and do it again today...and keep building up each day.

Ha! Did someone say birthday!! Why, yes I did...today I'm 50 something...nothing special...it's just another day. My Man left me a very sweet card at the computer this morning, and he's bring home Chinese take out tonight...yummmmm...so I don't have to cook!!

Also, My Man is a very practical gift giver (usually it's something I ask for; and it's not jewelry LOL)...this year, I get a gate for the arena...and...a working cow horse clinic with National Reined Cow Horse Hall of Fame...Smoky Pritchett. That's tomorrow!! I'm really excited about that! I'll let you all know how that goes!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

~When I die, I'm going to be stuffed and mounted on top of my horse.~
~Rosie Pale 1904~

A Dust Bath

Ahhhhhh...A Lil' More on the Left

Get more Wordless HERE!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hot Fun at the Cutting Show!

Yes, it was HOT...95 degrees...thank goodness there was a nice gentle breeze to keep us cooled down!

But, really we had an awesome day at the High Desert Cutters show which was held at the Roaring Springs Ranch in Catlow Valley...my favorite place! We had finished the cutting shortly after noon and with the lil' bit of clean up and some chatting over a cold beverage, we were home by around 2 PM.

My Man did a great job with the video too!

I signed us up for two classes; our class which is the 125, and I rode up into the next class, the 150. We rode last in the 150 and first in the 125...so we rode our classes back to back with no cattle change in between.

You can see in the video that Colt (and I) got sort of excited on the first cow in the 150 class...I find it hard to just be as cool as a cucumber when I'm competing...my insides just start stirring and the adrenaline starts to pump...which of course Colt picks up on. But, we settled in and made a couple of good runs.

I was super proud of Colt...we placed 2nd in the 150 class and won the 125 class!! Colt definitely gets the next couple of days off. We had worked M-F and had the show on Saturday...he was tired!

But, we're makin' progress for the futurity!!!

Thank you everyone for your good luck wishes and thoughts...I know it made a difference!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Stills ~ Summer

We're right dab in the middle of summer...and the theme of "Summer" for this week's Sunday Stills photo challenge couldn't be better! Thanks Linda!

The challenge is to show what "summer" congers up in your mind and to show our summer shots. Ha, I wish I could say it was just a refreshing, ice cold lemonade...but we work hard and play hard too!

So, I picked the three things that are special to me in the summer here at the Rough String...

Summer Morn Irrigation
Summer Mornin' Irrigation

We get three cuttings of alfalfa hay for the year. Starting as early as the end of May we start irrigating; up at 4:30 AM and changing the lines by 5:00 AM, and changing them again at 5:00 PM...it makes for a very long summer.


Ranch Hand Rodeo Collage
We don't get to go to as many rodeos as we used to, but we always take in the Harney County Ranch Hand Rodeo (photos from this year in a collage above) and the Pendleton Roundup.

And last...

Cuttin' the Cow
Trainer Bob Kerby at a practice at the Bell-A Ranch
...but definitely not least, is cutting and working cow horse. This is where all my time and money goes to!!! Riding a good cow horse is the ultimate adrenalin rush!

Want to check out some more "Summer" photos?!? Head on over to Sunday Stills~Summer and go to the comments.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another Cutting Show

The unexpected always happens when you least expect it.
~Lola Parkins 1900~

After a very busy week, we'll do some R & R at the Roaring Springs Ranch...the High Desert Cutters is having a show there today.

After the Bath
All cleaned up and ready to go!
We had a good practice yesterday at the Bell-A Ranch, he got a good roll in the dirt, ate in the pasture all afternoon, and got a good hosing off at 7 PM last evening. That's the only thing I like about 95 degree days!

So, we're off and running...Hopefully my camera man will get something good!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pack Rats~I Hate Pack Rats!

I've been told I can move mountains.
~T.C. Wood 1875~ 

And the nasty, dang things are trying to take over the ranch! They're in the big barn, the lil' Mustang barn, the shop, the woodshed, the chicken coup, under the house, and I've seen them scurrying around in the rock rim. I've found lil' chew marks on a couple of the saddles while we had them out of the tack room during the makeover! Everywhere I go, I smell the stench of rat urine...gag!

Day before yesterday, our 5 chickens had 5 eggs...yesterday...not ONE egg! Now where do you think all my eggs went??!!??

Well, we caught the bugger last night in the trap...and we caught one the night before under the house...there was another one in the trap at the Mustang barn this morning too (but the dogs got at the trap before I did and lost it).

In all, we've probably trapped at least 20 pack rats...probably more...I quit counting!!

My Man went to the farm store to get another trap this week, and they were out of the smaller one like we have already. So, we went for the bigger one ... $38 bucks for the dang thing!

OK...on to the best part...well, if you are a pack rat lover...turn back now!!! (I had a reader that believed they should be caught and relocated) Well, my neighbors who are having the same problem as we are wouldn't appreciate it one bit...in fact the whole County is having a problem. Our newspaper editor even wrote her weekly editorial on their problem with pack rats. They're getting into vehicles and eating upholstery, chewing wires...see the problem???!!!

So, what DO you do with over 20 pack rats? Well...we have 4 sporting pups, who love to play the game of "Get the Rat."

Sometimes the hardest thing is to get the rat out of the trap (I guess you can't blame the rat for not wanting to come out)! Notice the mid-air rat and its shadow on the ground?!?

Rattie Ranch Dog Cindy Sue moves in for the take...

...hmmmmm...Bella Jo is makin' her move...

...and Bella Jo scores!!!

You probably noticed that My Man is wearing a jacket...this was from way back at the first part of May...so this has been going on for a LONG time...and at this point, I'm pretty sure we're not even close to done.

Well...gotta go set the trap again...grrrrrr...

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Date at the Ranch Hand Rodeo

What more could I ask for than to spend our wedding anniversary day at the annual Ranch Hand Rodeo with My Man?!?

We sat with our good friends, Judy and Don, we got to know some more people from other areas in the County, and we just didn't do a darn thing but enjoy the day!!

Cindy Sue came along to keep us company too!

I took a bunch of photos, and these are some of my favorites...(my "best photo of the day" will be posted on Wordless Wednesday this week!)

Hangin' On
Glen Shelley, the pick up man, is having just as much fun as the rider!

Let 'er Buck Ol' Paint
Yes, they get to use two hands in Ranch Hand competition.

Ride that Bronc
Whoops...he's lost a stirrup!

1st Prize
This is first prize...rawhide braided romel reins, silver bit and headstall~

Rodeo~A Family Affair
Rodeo is always a family affair!

Lil' Buckaroos
In a few short years, these lil' buckaroos will be out there in the big arena.

The All Girl Team
This is the all girl team: The Kings River Gals

The Gals Get Their Steer Roped
The gals got their steer headed and heeled...

Kings River Gals~Ranch Doctoring
Done! They got a good time in the Ranch Doctoring!

I tell you what, those gals are tough!

Ranch Rodeo is a team sport; four on a team and there were 24 teams. Each team competes in Team Branding, Saddle Bronc, Ranch Doctoring, Muley Roping, Wild Cow Milking and Horse Roping...that makes for a very long day! It was hot too...90 degrees.

1st place gets the bridles, but there was a bunch of great stuff for 2nd and 3rd places too!

Wishin' I Was Competing
I would expect to see this young man out there in the near future.

Hold Her Still!!
The cow milking is always fun to watch...those cows are BIG...and MEAN!

I've Got Milk!
He's not gonna spill a drop!

After the rodeo, we went to the Pine Room for a delicious dinner, headed home and watched a movie...It was a perfect Date with My Man!