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.

What's your health score?
Just Take Your FREE Health Assessment: Click Here
Please DO NOT copy or reproduce my photos or writing in any way without my permission...just ask!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

SkyWatch Friday

~When I'm not fair with my partners, 
I end up ridin' alone.~ 
~Mary H. Cutter, 1865~

Dedicated to fellow blogger and awesome photographer at SkyWatch Friday...

Klaus Peter 1960 - 2011

Good Mornin' Sunshine
Good Mornin' Sunshine
This volunteer sunflower showed up in my garden. The wild birds must have dropped a seed...all it takes is one lil' seed, dirt, and some water...God makes everything beautiful.

Note the half moon in the sky too. OH...and the fly is in there for a lil' bit of protein ;~)

May your day be filled with happiness~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is the Adventure Ending?

~No one can keep me down if I have a mind to get up.~
~Netta Simpson 1902~

When I started blogging in Oct of 2008, I had a lot of stuff to talk about...things that I wanted to explain, so the readers would understand what I was doing. One of those posts was in January 2009.

River Bug Rambler (aka "Colt")

That post told the story of how and why I got Colt, and what we had done since I bought him in November of 2006. It was a LONG post, since it covered a little over 2 years of training and showing.

The day I picked Colt out of the pen of long yearlings. Nov 2006
He wasn't my first choice, but he was the right choice in hind sight.

My Man had to come over to Todd's place to see this new acquisition I'd made! Dec 2006

The first line of that old post read: "This is the story of my adventure...a challenge to myself...to train a horse as a working cow horse."

If you've been following me along, you've probably read quite a few of the 100 posts that I've done on Colt. Of course this is another Colt post...documenting yet another monumental event in his training.

In the Bridle
Colt in the bridle.

Tuesday is the first day that I rode Colt without the hackamore under the bridle...no crutch to fall back on. My hand felt almost naked without that wad of reins in my hand. I spent time walking him around the arena just pondering the things we'd done in the past 5 1/2 years.

I remember taking him to that 2 year old Futurity halter class. Our class was the first thing in the morning. But, I spent the rest of the day watching the other horses. The 3 year old class in the snaffle...the 4 year old class in the hackamore...the 5 year old class in the two-rein...and the final stage, the 6 year old class in the bridle (and they had to rope a steer too)...oh my...what had I gotten myself into. Would I ever be able to ride a horse like the fine ranch/cow horses I was seeing...and train it myself?!? I had so much to learn myself...let alone teach it to a green horse! I din't know how to cut a cow, do a spin, or do a flying lead change!

But, here we are. In a very short 20 days, we'll be at the Futurity...the final stage as a 6 year old. We're just going to do the best we can...and have fun while we're at it!!!

What will we do after that? Well, at the time I bought Colt, I had never heard of Mike Bridges and his 5 year Project. And, even though Colt is working pretty good in the bridle, he has a lot of holes. There are a lot of steps that I didn't do (because I didn't know about them...remember, I'm just doing this by the seat of my pants) so, we'll be going back to the hackamore and completing the Project with Mike Bridges; following the steps that he has outlined through years of experience to build a true "California Vaquero Bridle Horse."

I almost quit the Futurity at the two-rein stage because of the 5 year Project, but a friend of mine said I couldn't do that...she wouldn't let me do that. She said that I needed to finish what I set out to do no matter what, and that Colt and I were a team.

Why couldn't I do both? I thought it would be very confusing for Colt and didn't want to screw him all up. But, Colt is a very flexible horse...through all my goof ups in his training...doing something wrong and having to fix it...he's always had the attitude of "OK, we'll just do it this way now." He never argues about it. I've never had such a willing horse in all my life...and probably won't again.

So, Colt and I are coming close to the end of our first "adventure," but we'll just be moving on to the next one!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sometimes You Just Don't Know Why

~The stars out here are so bright,
I can ride my horse anywhere at night.~
~Edith Wright 1862~

If you're a horse person, then you know how hard we work to make our places safe for our horses. But, yesterday, I found that making something safe for my horses was a death trap for another species...deer.

When we built the fence line for the irrigated pasture, it met here in the corner with another fence at an angle which made a really tight spot for the horses to get into a wreck if they got to fighting or just playing too hard. So, we put three rails up across that corner (which made a tiny triangle) to prevent any accidents. The new fence is built of woven wire that we call sheep fencing, and we brought it across the H braces to the gate.

At the far end of the irrigated pasture, the existing fence is 4 strands of barbed wire which I have put two lines of hot wire up with it to keep the horses away from the barbed wire.

I rode two horses yesterday and was out there for almost 4 hours (until about 2 PM). I didn't see anything strange at the time. But at feeding time, I found the body of a baby deer inside the triangle of the corner.

It was awful. The poor thing had its front leg through the fence and its head was turned around over its back. All of the hair had been scraped off of its neck and there was blood splattered everywhere. It was quite evident that it had been struggling for a long time and died a horrible, painful death. The body was cold and already stiff. I'm assuming that it had been trying to get through the fence and that's how it lost all the fur from its neck.

What I can't figure out is if its leg was actually stuck in the fence and it couldn't pull it out. The other thing that is bothering me is if Colt chased the baby into the corner. When we put a cow with its calf out in his pasture last summer, all he would do was chase the cow...well, duh, he's a cow horse. But would he chase a baby deer? Or, did I just not see the body while making four trips to the gates with the horses?!?

I'm just feeling awful about the whole thing...no matter how it happened. I think I'm going to cut a hole in the fence so if that ever happened again, the lil' one could get out.

Life is hard...we have to take the good with the bad~

Friday, August 12, 2011

SkyWatch Friday

~I've been called a fun-lovin' woman by many a man.~ 
~Betsy Mueller 1902~

The days are getting shorter...we're moving wheel lines in the mornin' before the sun comes up...sort of by Braille since we can't see much.  But we're up early enough to see the beautiful sunrises!

Approaching Dawn

The Canadian Geese are already flying over...does this mean an early winter? I surely hope not...but the cool mornings are starting to feel like fall already.

Mornin' Flight

Click HERE to see more SkyWatch Friday photos!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gathering in the Forest

~When things get ya down, go for a ride.
You can think better in the open.~
~J.P. Harder 1898~

We don't live too far from the forest, but we rarely get time to go there to ride. Last Sunday I got a call from Ty asking if I could help gather and move pairs on Tuesday in the forest...what a treat!!! I'll be there!!

Ty and I were up at the meeting spot by 8 AM, but the other riders were already out on their horses. We rode up to the top of the hill where the boundary fence was and found Glen. We all split up at that point. I took the fence line since I hadn't ridden up in this country before, and I could keep my bearings.

OH my gosh...the smell of the pine trees was incredible!!! I don't think I'd been in the trees since February when I drove to Portland. I love my sagebrush ground, but trees are nice too!

Ty and I met back up at a two-track road by a cattle guard as planned. I didn't find any pairs, but Ty found a few pairs. We started them out moving north along a fence line.

Along the Fence Line
Moving Along the Fence Line
Ty headed out toward the ridge to the west to find some more pairs, and I kept the herd going on north. Cows will be cows of course and instead of staying on the fence line, they took off toward the northwest as they topped the rise...and took off at a run down the hill...in a cloud of dust.

Colt and I just kept up a good long trot down the hill following the dust cloud!

Off in a Cloud of Dust
I caught up to them when they hit this two-track.
Beginning last summer, and infestation of White Pine Butterflies started killing the pine trees. At that time, it was just a hundred acres or so...this year they have devastated thousands of acres...and at this point, the government is letting it go unchecked. Right now they are in the worm stage...there are literally thousands of these inch long green worms crawling on every pine tree...spinning their sticky, silky threads...sucking the life out of every tree.

Death in the Forest
The trees on the hill on the horizon are ones that have been
killed by the butterflies vs the trees in the foreground that they haven't touched yet.

Cows are creatures of habit and have a pretty good sense of direction too...they knew exactly where they needed to go, and we came out in Cabin Meadow where Glen and his dad Ron were waiting with the pairs they had gathered.

A clean, fresh spring is piping water into this hand hewn log water trough.

Log Trough
This log trough will out last metal water tanks by decades.

Cool Drink
Colt enjoyed a cool, fresh drink!
The government requires that the cattle owners fence off all of the meadows to prevent over grazing and protect the riparian areas. The meadows are very beautiful.

I liked the capture of Ron riding his horse through the meadow (he'd gone through the gate to check the spring. He's 76 years old and still puts a good day's work in the saddle. I hope I can do that when I'm his age!

Riding Cabin Meadow
Riding the meadow

As we were waiting for Ty to get down with his bunch, one cow took off out of the herd. She headed back up the hill lookin' for her calf (which may or may not have been in the herd). I went after her, and every time I got in front of her, she'd blow past me. There were too many rocks and trees in the way to keep her from getting past us. But, I kept trying. Pretty soon I'm in the middle of a small herd that had been missed.

I got them all together going down the hill (including the renegade cow). But, pretty soon, the herd split. Again, with the rocks and trees, it was impossible to get them back together. I followed two pair down to the meadow, met up with Ty and he went back up for the others.

We finally got everything gathered up and started them down the road toward the new field.

Workin' Dogs 'n Horses
Buckaroos, good horses, and good dogs...teamwork.
L-R is Ron, Ty and Glen

Glen brought two horses...he rode one and the other one just followed along...totally loose, not lead. His second horse was a young two year old, so when the work was easy, he'd switch to the young horse and his older horse would just tag along...Glen's quite the horseman!

Tag Along
Taggin' Along

Well, those boys all got to go back up on Wednesday and do it all over again (I had to work at the Post Office). We had found maybe half of what was up in that field. It usually takes two days to get them all flushed out. And still they usually find a few pair down at the meadow as the snow starts to fly that are finally wanting to head for home...and hay!

Thanks for comin' along for the ride!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

High Desert Cutters~2011 Final Show

~You can be happy in any 
circumstances if you have to~
~Pauline Cody 1903~

Our local cutting club, the High Desert Cutters, had its final show for the season on Saturday. It was held at the Harney County fairgrounds this time and the cattle were trucked in.

We had 5 shows this season. Some years we've had more, but the availability of cattle is not easy...even if we are in cattle country! Everyone's cows are out on grazing land and they're not readily available. So, we take what we can get.

Colt and I missed the first show in April when I was at my Mike Bridges Clinic. The second show, we did OK, but Colt and I hadn't worked a herd of cows since September of 2010. We didn't have a high enough score to earn us any points.

But we were getting better...the last two shows Colt and I won our class, and that put us into second place...in the running for that coveted 1st place buckle!

I've been riding up into the next class above me for a warm up. The last two shows it was a wreck. But Saturday, Colt felt really on!

The first cow was perfect and it was an awesome feeling. But, something happened and the cows in the herd decided to come forward and they got in the way of the cow I was cutting. I didn't want to stir up the herd, so I just backed off and lost the cow. We still scored a 65...it would have been a 71 if things had gone right. Stuff like that happens.

Then in my class, Colt felt really good. The first cow was pretty nice, but I was being cautious because this particular herd was a lil' more flighty than the previous herd in the 150 class. When I worked the second cow, I made it a quick work, 'cause I had this feelin' the cow would get pushy real quick and I'd loose him...so I quit while I was ahead. I just got my third cow out and my time was up...we scored a 69...and won the class!!!

I was so excited...that was three classes in a row (3 different shows in the 125 class) that I'd won...would I have enough points to take first place and win the buckle?!?

Nope...I was one point behind the leading horse in the year end standings...

But, I'm not sad or frustrated by any means. Colt worked wonderfully and I'm SOOOOO PROUD of him!!!  If we keep it up, we'll do just as good or better when we go to the Lakeview Stock Horse Show and when we compete in our Harney County Reined Stock Horse Futurity...this is Colt's last year as a 6 year old in the Futurity!

So, that was our big day on Saturday...lots of fun, good horses, good cattle, great friends, and lots of sunshine...a perfect day!!!

In the video, the first cow is from the 150 class that I rode up into and the second and third cows are from my 125 class.

Thanks for comin' along...and I appreciate all your well wishes...they mean a lot to me!

OH...and a big thank you to My Man for all his support, and thanks to my friend Andi for the use of her great photos!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Stills~Sunrise or Sunset

~The land is beautiful and hard, like life itself.~
~Pearl Morgan 1900~

This week's Sunday Stills photo challenge is sunrises or sunsets...I chose the later.

We don't get the spectacular sunsets like Arizona gets, but when the elements are just right, they can be quite pretty.

Summer Sunset 1/2
Summer Sunset to the west (of course).

And like Ed has stressed in the past...look behind you...

Summer Sunset 2/2
Reflection of the Summer Sunset looking Northwest.

Check out all the other sunrise and sunset photos over at Sunday Stills...look in the comments for the links!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Farm Photo Friday~Hay & Hollyhocks

With the dry weather, it took a few days longer to get the hay baled...no moisture. Yea, I know, folks say that they usually have too much moisture...not here on the high desert. We pray that the night or the morning brings in enough moisture to get some baling done.

Co-Pilot Cindy Sue
Cindy Sue says "I love farmin' wiff  my mom!"
As I drove the backhoe stacking the big bales into twos,
Cindy Sue has to co-pilot of course!

We were extremely lucky that Hay Man Rudy was able to get the baling finished on Wednesday. My Man and I got the big bales off the field that same day, and Rudy came over with his hay wagon yesterday and picked up the two-string bales and got them stacked...just before a huge storm came through!

It started with distant thunder...then we could see the lightening coming in from the east...and then it started coming in from the west...the wind took off blowing huge clouds of dust (quick...close all the windows in the house) and then the rain followed that...and it rained for a good three hours!

I know there were lots of ground strikes, but no reports of fires yet...hopefully the rain put them out. But a hay stack was hit and burned...bummer.

Makin' Hay While the Sun is Shinin'
Second cutting...two-string and 3x3 bales in the field.
My Man and I got all the wheel lines up and running before the storm came in too. So, we're back to the early to rise and late to bed schedule...only one more cutting to go!

Then there's my pretty Heirloom Hollyhocks. And I'm calling them heirloom because I found them in the alfalfa field close to where the old farmstead used to sit. I dug them up and transplanted them to spots around the house.

Heirloom Hollyhocks
They look gorgeous at this angle...but then look at the whole plant...

They're dying on me!!!

It started about two weeks ago with these cobweb type things encasing the shorter plant tops...and then the leaves started dying. It's slowly working its way up to the top of the plants.

I've looked for bugs and didn't see any, but I sprinkled Sevin on them anyway. I hope the problem doesn't kill the plants forever.

Does anyone know what the problem is? How did you treat it? Thanks for any info you can give me!

We're off to the last cutting show tomorrow...see ya! Have a great weekend and do lots of fun stuff!!

SkyWatch Friday

~I want to think for myself and not be influenced by men.~
~Abbey Salter 1901~

I always love the morning light. As the grass begins to show that we are well into summer, the colors of the sage brush and grasses, mixed with the lichen on the rim rock always makes a pretty picture. Add a few fluffy white clouds with a bright blue sky...and a good cup of coffee...it's another perfect day!

Sky Above the Rim Rock
Sky Above the Rim Rock

Participating in SkyWatch Friday...where you can enjoy photos of the skies from around the world!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Coltster Post!

~I've always wondered if other women feel
like I do about their life.~
~Mary Hayward 1901~

It's been a crazy weekend and a crazy week...and it's only Tuesday!

But, I only have time to say a few words...Saturday was another High Desert Cutters competition. As usual, we did really crappy in the 150 class...then we did awesome in our 125 class.

We scored a 71...

...and won our class!

This coming Saturday is our last cutting...we're in second place for the year end standings...we have a chance to win...but I'm not countin' my eggs before they're hatched!!

Hope everyone is having a great week~