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, October 30, 2010

The Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra Centennial Celebration

"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world." 
~ Albert Einstein ~

This evening, My Man and I are going to get a lil' bit of culture. We are going to the Symphony! The opportunity isn't going to present itself ever again here in Harney County...and because this story is just so interesting, we had to be part of the celebration.

Written below is the article that was published in my Horsefly publication in October. I find it a fascinating story of what one woman can do to make history. Oregon Public Broadcasting did an excellent 30 minute show and you can see it online. There are other photos and interesting facts about the story all at this link.

1916 Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra
1916 photo of the Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra. Mary Dodge is seated on the right. Photo: courtesy of the Western History Reading Room, Harney County Library.

The Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra~Centennial Celebration
by Debby Peckham (as published in the Horsefly, October 2010)

In 1910, Mary Dodge arrived in Burns, Oregon with her husband, Mott, who was an engineer working on the Silvies Valley dam project. Mary was vivacious, extremely talented and a true visionary. She was a professional violinist from the Boston Conservatory of Music.

Her love of music and children soon combined into teaching the young children of the Burns community how to play violin. Before long, the Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra was formed. This group of talented musicians soon became well known throughout Oregon.

1916 Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra
Circa 1916 Sagebrush Symphony  Orchestra. Photo: courtesy of the Western History Reading Room, Harney County Library.

They performed in Eastern Oregon for the Chautauqua programs that were so popular in that time. They went to the Oregon State Fair and won first prize and $100 for their performance. The orchestra was also invited to Portland and played to standing room only crowds. Amazing, coming from the remote Eastern Oregon county!

1916 Sagebrush Float
The violin float that was used for many years in the annual  Harney County Parade. 1916 Photo: courtesy of the Western History Reading Room, Harney County Library.

World War I caused the orchestra to disband, and Mary moved back to Portland. Several of her local students went with her to continue their studies. She formed a new orchestra in Portland, the Portland Junior Symphony. This wonderful group became the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

The Portland Youth Philharmonic is truly one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. They have performed all over the world, China, England etc. and also for a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall in New York City. This year, instead of touring, and in addition to their rigorous performance schedule, they are returning to their roots in Harney County to pay respect to one of the truly unsung heroines of Oregon, Mary Dodge.

The Harney County Arts in Education Foundation is hosting the centennial. They reconstructed the historical violin float for the Fair Parade. They also have a pictorial retrospective that will be on display throughout the community, information is being gathered for a new book - "Celebrating 100 Years of Music in Harney County, 1910 - 2010" and of course the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Concert, October 30, 2010.

The Foundation has planned to give the PYP musicians a true "Harney County Welcome," with a Sagebrush Barbeque, Old Time Fiddlers and the Johnson Brothers concert on Friday evening at the Catholic Parish Hall. Saturday the PYP will trek to the fair grounds for an old fashioned rendezvous with the Black Powder Club, Paiute Nation Dancers, bull and bronc riding demonstration and a lunch prepared by the Basque Community.

The Mary Dodge story was chronicled last fall on OPB Oregon Experience. This has been such an amazing journey for us -- a year in the planning.

The proceeds from the concert will stay here in Harney County to support our foundation which is dedicated to restoring Music, Art and Drama at Crane and Burns Schools. The Foundation believes that every child has the right to the magnificent benefits of a music education! It is their goal to see the four teaching positions that have been cut, restored. And future plans are proposing a regional Performing Arts Center in Harney County.

The Portland Youth Philharmonic concert will be at Burns High School Gym, 7:00 pm with a reception to follow in the cafeteria. Tickets are on sale at Gourmet & Gadgets, Roundbarn Visitors Center, and the Harney County Chamber of Commerce. Concert and ticket info 541-573-2427 or 541-493-2070

So, I better get a couple of shirts ironed...My Man and I've got a date!

Friday, October 29, 2010

And the Blogiversary Winner Is...

~I don't have any more room on my face for another character line.~
~Amanda Davis 1887~

Hey!!! What fun!! Thanks to everyone who entered the give-away to help me celebrate my two year blogiversary!!!

A very special thanks to Heart of a Cowgirl for her generosity in helping me with this give-away...she's got some awesome stuff doesn't she?!?

I put all the entries into a spreadsheet...a total of 56...

Then I went over to www.random.org and used their nifty lil' "True Random Number Generator" and in two seconds I had a winner!!!

And it is Luck Number 13!!!

Now that's spooky!

Rhandir...that's you!!! Congratulations!!! Looks like you're gonna get to have that Lapis Running Horse Bracelet that you like!!  Send me an email to gtyyup at wildblue.net, and I'll let you know how you can redeem your $25 gift certificate with Heart of a Cowgirl!!

Thanks again to everyone...I sure wish I could make you all winners today...maybe I'll win the lottery...and I'll share!!

Happy Friday and have a great Halloween weekend!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

End of the Rough String's Fiscal Year

~My handmade quilts can keep a person warm - and
make a home look cozy.~
~Martha Reeves 1904~

Mornin' Light
The rim behind the house in the mornin' light.

Our farming and "lil' bit of a ranch" year all came to a close in the past two days. The last of the alfalfa and the calves from months of hard work went down the road.

Two semi trucks came to pick up 3rd cutting two nights ago...in the dark. We were so thankful that Hay Man Rudy was available to load the trucks with his tractor. The back hoe we use to load is fine in the daylight, but it's tricky to see around the bucket...which makes loading in the dark almost impossible.

But, it's done now...one load went to a dairy in Rickreall and one load went to a dairy in Tillamook...hey, maybe I'll eat some of the best cheese in the world (Tillamook) from cows that ate our hay!!!

Summer's Bounty
Some of the fruit of this summer's hard work.

Then the lil' boys spent their last days in paradise eating...which is what cows do best! My Man and I loaded them up in the horse trailer and I drove them to a ranch close to Burns. They were shipping a semi load and had just enough room to add our two boys. That was yesterday...it was really sad to see their confused faces as they climbed the loading chute into the semi trailer with all the other calves...but, that's how we all eat...and that's why I didn't name them...well except for Black Calf and Brown Calf...not really names. But, these were our first two calves.

We look forward to Annabelle and Ellie Mae's new calves in the spring...Goof's babies!!

Enjoying their last meal in paradise. I will be glad to claim my riding arena back again as it was used for their weaning pen...I hope we can get this corner back to normal!!

Don't Forget~~~

Today's the last day to get entered into my 2 Year Blogiversary Give-Away. Click the link and get entered in before midnight tonight...I'll be announcing the WINNER tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

~If you do a foolish thing, do it like you mean it.~
~Sarah Blacksmith 1900~

It's almost wordless...First Snow...

First Snow

Check out all the other Wordless Wednesday photos for this week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Years~A Blogiversary Give-Away!!!

~I learned not to be lonely by talking to my
horse and the ranch animals.~
~Geraldine Bartley 1901~

The above quote is very fitting for today...I talk daily to my horses, dogs, the cat...even the chickens and the cows because sometimes the only person I'll see for days on end will be My Man (not that that's a bad thing) and it does make the loneliness go away...

...but technology has given us new ways to talk...and travel the world...without leaving our home! The friendships that have been created over the past two years with this blog of mine are awesome to me to say the least!

The blog has come a long way from this very first post two years ago. Blogger has new, fun templates and ways to make the blog look unique...like each of us are!


As of today, the two year blogiversary, there are 200 public followers (of course there are tons of visits from internet browsers), there have been 61,881 visits (from some date that I don't know, but quite a long time ago), and I've done 366 posts.

What it boils down to is that I've had blast writing the posts, learning better photography to share my pics with everyone, and the best of all is making friends...from everywhere in the world!!

We should celebrate...don't ya think?!?!?!?!


So, here's what we're going to do. I'm giving a $25 gift certificate for fellow blogger Heart of a Cowgirl, Rustic Cowgirl Jewelry Shop, to one randomly drawn person, to spend on whatever their lil' heart desires.

To enter the drawing:
  1. Leave a comment on this post that you would like to be entered for one entry. 
  2. To get an extra entry become a follower. 
  3. To get another extra entry in, head on over to Heart of a Cowgirl's Etsey Shop and come back here and leave me a comment on this post of what your favorite piece of her lovely jewelry or accessory is.
On Friday, October 29, I will choose and post the winner using Random.org, so make sure you come back and check to see if you're the winner (I'll tell you how to redeem your certificate)!!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you
for being the greatest blogging friends ever 
and for helping me celebrate!!
Cheers to the years to come!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Stills ~ Fall Foliage (Into McCoy Creek Canyon)

~I feel rooted to the earth like an old oak tree 
and no one can move me.~
~Nancy Park 1897~

I've missed the past couple of Sunday Stills photo challenges...but I'm hopefully back on track again!!

This week's challenge is Fall Foliage...and I actually got something other than dry grass and a sunset like last year!!  The past couple of weeks has been lots of saddle time on Colt gathering and moving cow/calf pairs. Friday, Dan asked if I wanted to help him search for some of his missing pairs by "going down into the canyon." Well of course!!! I wasn't sure how bad it might be, but if he goes in, it couldn't be that bad.

The day was gorgeous (the calm before the storm), and the Quaking Aspen trees added the perfect touch...colors galore (well...this is about as good as it gets for our high desert)!

Steens Mountain, SE Oregon
The view of Steens Mountain on the plateau above the canyon.The mountain is 9,733 feet high. I don't know what elevation we were at, but it's probably at least 7,000...we were a ways up there.

After a half hour drive up to Moon Hill, we got the horses out and started riding east. There's been 2+ inches of rain in the past couple of weeks up there, and all the grass looks like new spring growth. Lots of feed for the cows and it's not very cold...that's why they aren't too interested in coming home yet.

Following cow trails with fairly fresh cow tracks, we came to this gorgeous plateau with a spectacular view of Steens Mountain. It was still very early and the sun was not in the right position, but I knew I wouldn't be back that way, so I shot what I could. The immense expanse of open land is awe inspiring.

Across the Plateau
Lookin' south across the plateau.

Gunsight on Steens Mountain
Zooming in on "Gun Sight" the notch on Steens Mountain. The huge gorge you see is Kiger Gorge; one of three gorges that make up the interesting geographical shape to Steens.

We didn't find any cows, but they're up there somewhere. Dan will go back for them another day. Our goal for the day was to ride into the canyon and see what we could find.

Lookin' into McCoy Creek Canyon
Lookin' down into McCoy Creek Canyon.

The bottom is somewhere down there! As we rode further down, I asked if those were cows or stumps on the other side of the canyon...yep...cows. That meant riding to the bottom of the canyon and half way up the other side to push them to the bottom...hard riding on a horse, but they've got to be gathered.

Juniper, Aspen & Sagebrush
Part way down the canyon lookin' up.

Going a lil' but further we took a cow trail to a fence line toward the south...no tracks...that's good. But the Quaking Aspen trees were calling to me!! I wanted to tie my horse up and spend an hour or so just taking pics and listening to the trees...its was soooooooo perfect. But, there was a job at hand...

The rest of the trip into the bottom and back out was busy. We had to dismount for a lil' bit to get through some trees. But just as we hit McCoy Creek, we find a cow...and another...further up the creek we find a few more. Eleven cows and about 9 calves (two of the cows were dry). I took this lil' herd up out of the canyon on another trail while Dan went down stream to search for more.

Trailin' 'um off Moon Hill
The lil' renegade herd of cows with their calves up out of the canyon.

Dan and I met up hours later. I had got the herd back to the two track road and heading down hill, put Colt into the horse trailer and drove behind the herd (had to get Colt out a couple of times to get them back on track) to the meeting place. Dan never did find any others...it was a really hard ride and his horse was exhausted. By the time we got these down to the Ruby Springs pasture, it was dark. The full moon helped!

Hey...can't say I didn't try hard to get some color shots. Maybe next year I could take pics when I'm not on my horse (yes, all of these were taken horseback...as usual!)!

Thanks for ridin' along~

Check out lots more colorful fall shots on Sunday Stills...go to the comments to find the links.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Look and Feel of Indian Summer

~I'll shoot any man who looks at me wrong,
or make love to any man who looks at me right.~
~Ellen Banks 1886~

Are we really into fall? Sometimes I still feel like I'm waiting for summer to get here!!! OK...I'll take the late Indian Summer...it's been so pleasant. But the house was 59 degrees this mornin' so I fired up the wood stove...ahhhh it feels sooooo good!

Mr. Augustus McCrae
Mr. Augustus McCrae

Gus is back into training after a month off...we have so much to do. But I'm proud of the lil' man getting right back into the swing of things without any fuss. He's got promise!

Dialin' in the Shot
Here mom...I'll help you dial in the shot!

I'm out in the pasture playing with the camera and Cowboy comes over and plops right in front of me...he doesn't make any bones about wanting some attention!

How Many Legs?
Playin' with the early mornin' sun...who's legs are who's?!?

Warmin' in the Sun
The wood pile has been swarming with these dragon flies. They sit comatose, warming themselves in the sunshine. The aroma rising from the juniper wood as it dries is heavenly.

Garden's End
My now ugly garden.

We've covered the garden a couple of weeks ago when it got down to freezing a few times. Then the temps came back up again. Now, it's freezing almost every night. The cabbage heads and onions sure turned out nice this year as well as the tomatoes. I cut the tomato plants at the base and put them in the green house (with all the green tomatoes still attached). The tomatoes are slowly ripening!

Keepin' an Eye on You
The owls are still keeping and eye on us. The babies are nowhere to be seen. They must have struck out on their own.

Last Friday I helped our friends down in the Diamond Valley gather up cows. The calves had already been weaned off and they were just waiting for the guy to come out and preg check the cows. They checked them on Saturday. Then the cows get trailed about 25 miles from Diamond to Princeton. It took two days, Sunday and Monday.

Fall Colors in Diamond Valley
This ol' homestead is one of my favorites in the Diamond Valley. The fall colors are showing their best.

You wouldn't believe the goofy tourists...seeing a cattle drive is such a big deal to them and everybody's got to take pictures. This one lady drove through the herd (like she's supposed to) then she stops the car in the middle of the road and is taking pics as we're trying to push the cows up the road. Of course the cows don't want to go, because she's sitting in the middle of the road blocking their way...we finally get the cows past her...and she drives through the herd one more time...thankfully she drove on...*rolling eyes here*!!!

Trailin' the Cows Toward Dry Lake
Moving the cows north...Dry Lake is on the horizon.

A lot of the way is following the county road, but eventually we cut cross country, across BLM grazing allotments, to reach their winter pastures.

Countin' at the Gate
Double checkin' the head count as the cows go through the gate. My Man got to ride on Monday!

It's amazing how the cows know the way. We only had to nudge them a couple of times to adjust their line of travel. In the photo above you can see the two buttes. Their winter pastures are on a ranch that lies between them. It's probably 5 miles across.

Heifers on the Pivot
The young heifers get to graze on the green grass under the pivot. Steens Mountain is way off in the distance.

Needless to say, it was an enjoyable two day of riding. The weather was perfect. When we help bring them back to the home ranch in February, it's going to be a lil' bit on the cool side!

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Shoes~Off to Gather & Trail

~How could anyone steal another woman's horse?~
~Louisa Alder 1860~

Colt got a new set of shoes yesterday. I try to limit him to two sets a year, but this is #3 this year. There's still more gathering and trailing cows to do for the neighbors, and it's impossible to do it without shoes.

Checkin' the Fit
Checkin' the Fit

Nailed into Place
Nailing into Place

I've been dinking with my settings and finally got the action to stop with the hammer motion!

Well...I got to get out to catch my trusty cow pony and head down to Diamond...of course I'll take the camera!!  I've got a couple of posts in the works too (Mike Bridges clinic & another wine dinner)...just not enough time!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Two Cow Ranch~Fall Update

~There was a time in my life when I would have given anything for a man.~
~Jeannie Tandy 1900~

Remember way back in the spring...

First came lil' Brown Calf...

EllieMae & Black Calf
...then came lil' Black Calf.

After a long summer of good grazing and mothers milk...

Black Calf & Brown Calf
They're not lil' anymore!

Brown Calf isn't very brown anymore either. The two boys are being weaned and eating lots of our lovely alfalfa. They will soon be going to the Vale Producers Livestock sale...such is life for calves. It's pretty safe to say, we survived our first year in the cow business...even if it was only two cows!

We're definitely lookin' forward to Goof's calves this comin' spring...and doin' it all over again!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

~When you're lookin' for a meal, a rattlesnake can do the trick.~


Heads Up on the Infield!!

Horse & Rider~Similar Expressions?

Interesting moments at the 2010 Pendleton Round-Up.

Check out other WW photos here!