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, April 27, 2012

Friday Fences ~ Tat the Cat

I don't think Tat's been on the blog for over two years...since his "Photo Shoot" post in March of 2010!

Let's see...I got Tat in October of 1996 as a kitten...so that makes him 16 years old?!? He's pretty spry for an ol' man...he still likes to rule the two feral cats in the barn!

Tat the Cat
Tat the barn cat
Last year's weeds are hiding the field fencing...I've got a lot of spring cleaning still to do!

Happy Friday!

Friday Fence's with Life According to Jan and Jer!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rural Thursday ~ Spring Branding

It's addicting...this brandin' thing!!

Saturday was brandin' day for Rancher Dan's calves. A lot of planning goes into making the day run smoothly. Last week we had gathered all the wayward cows and calves that were let out of their field by someone who had left the gate open...thankfully they were all still where they were supposed to be this time!

Rancher Dan's checklist for the day:

Doctoring supplies...check
Branding irons...check
Firewood & starter...check
Sharp knives...check
Gather up a crew...check
50 other miscellaneous things...check

We arrived around 9:30 and once the field is gathered and all the cows and calves are put into the branding pen...the fun begins!

Now, there are two ways to catch the calves...heels first or neck first. Rancher Dan prefers heels first, but the majority are caught by the neck first.

Setting Up to Catch the Heels
Colt works hard and steady to pull the calf for the heeler.
I was very proud of him...if my roping skills were better, we'd get done a lot quicker!

Ground Crew at Work
Do you think we have enough ground crew help?!?
Colt is very good to stand with the right amount of pressure on the rope
while the crew gets the job done.

Every calf gets vaccinated, both ears notched, and branded. The bull calves are castrated. Brands are registered with the State of Oregon and are unique in their style and placement on the calf. The ear notches are registered along with the brand too and are mostly for easy identification when your calves are mixed with another rancher's calves during the sorting process in the fall.

The Brand
The most important part...the brand...clean and easily read.

It's just as much fun to watch a branding as it is to participate...I enjoyed taking photos when I wasn't roping.

Throwing a Long Loop
Throwing a long loop.
The benefit of watching is noting what you should...or shouldn't do in the branding pen. Learning how to get the job done with the least amount of stress on the calves is the main goal.

Catching the Heels
Catching the heels.

Young Horse Learning His Job
This young horse is learning his job well.
I enjoy looking at all the gear the horses are using...nothing fancy...just good working gear.

Holding Steady at the Fire
Standing firm and steady while holding the calf at the fire
is necessary for every horse to get the job done.
This gentleman has a horse that is a half-brother to Colt. He didn't bring him, but wished he had because this nice roan horse was pretty tired at the end of the day. Hopefully I'll get to see the half-brother at another branding this year.

Last but not least is a photo of my dear friend Mary. She roped the heels on my cow at last summer's futurity...she's a gritty lil' thing and sure knows her way around a ranch...something I really admire.

Made the Catch
My friend Mary...I want to be able to rope like her...she's a hand.

After the last calf was branded, the horses are watered and the food was laid out on two tailgates...Gretchen does the BEST dutch oven over a fire. The perfect ending to a perfect day~

Come along on the Rural Thursday blog hop...see what else is happening in rural places around the world!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Stills ~ In Honor of Ed

It's a potluck photo challenge today at Sunday Stills in honor of the photographin' truck driver...Ed at Thoughts From the Road. It was his birthday on the 18th!

Instructions are to use any of Ed's past challenges...well, I'm sure there were "birds" in there somewhere...so, knowing that these are one of Ed's favorites...may I present this year's brood of Great Horned owlets that live at the Rough String Ranch!

Great Horned Owlets 2/3
Momma owl looks on with pride.

Great Horned Owlets 1/3
Let's crop this off and get a lil' bit closer

Great Horned Owlets 3/3
I see three!! There could be more back in behind.

Sorry for the bit of a blur...that's all my camera can do with it's 20x!

Happy Birthday Ed!!

Check out the other Sunday Stills participants in the comments HERE.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Man and His Whiskey

My Man & His Whiskey
 ;~)  The horse's name is Whiskey!
They're spendin' some quality time together gathering pairs. 

Linking up today with Madge's

We're off early this mornin' to brand calves...and a perfect day it'll be...75 degrees WhoooHooooo!!!

And from there Colt, Cindy Sue, Red Dog and I leave for Central Oregon for my Mike Bridges clinic.

See ya'll on Wednesday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Fences ~ The Round Pen

With branding season upon us, My Man and I are honing up our roping skills. To be honest, we're both rookies at roping, so we need all the practice we can get!

This was a pleasant Friday evening with the sun starting to set making the shadows long. My Man is practicing his rope management skills by dragging a log in the round pen with his horse Whiskey. I'm watching from up above on the circus pole area (giving him my 2 cents worth as usual!). The shadow at Colt's front feet is Red Dog.

Evening shadows
This fence isn't ornamental, but very functional...and a place where I spend a lot of time training young horses.

Come along on Life According to Jan and Jer's Friday Fences blog hop!!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rural Thursday ~ Close the Gate!

Rule Number One: 
If the gate's closed, close it behind you; if the gate's open, leave it open.

Don't ya think that's a pretty simple rule?!?

You'd be surprised how many people don't get it...and it's not the ranchers...it's the recreationists. I guess their thought process is "Well, we'll be right back through this gate, so we'll close it when we come back." Then they totally forget about it or leave the area on another road...leaving the gate open...and all the cows that are supposed to be in that field are left to wander...for miles!

The plan for Sunday was to brand a few more calves for Rancher Dan...but when the gate was left open and his other herd of cows spread all over three fields, the priority was to get them gathered back up and into the field they were supposed to be in.

It's a gorgeous area, and the sun was shining. We rode out from the ranch at about 10:00AM; three of us, My Man, Rancher Dan's son and me. Climbing out of McCoy Creek Canyon is a good warm up for you and your horse...it's so steep that you have to lead your horse up the last half of the climb. But look at the view!!

On the top of McCoy Creek Canyon

There are dirt roads that criss-cross the desert, so Rancher Dan knew where the cow/calf pairs were in general. We just had to gather every field and push them to the gate and trail them to the right field.

Oh yes...then there was the neighbor's bull that had been missing all winter...he found Rancher Dan's cows too...that won't bode well next winter when the cows he impregnates calve in the dead of winter. So, we gathered him up too and eventually got him down to the ranch.

Across the desert in search of cow/calf pairs

As we gather the first field, we found a calf with no mother, and it was a young one...just a day old, and too young to travel. We were going to carry it out on horseback, but it took off running before we could get it caught...fast lil' buggers even when they're young! When it stopped, I was getting my rope ready to catch it, Rancher Dan's son turned his head to see how far I was from him, and when he turned back the calf had disappeared...yes, totally disappeared!!

We spend the next 45 minutes zig-zagging across the area with no luck in finding the lil' guy. It had hidden itself under a sagebrush or a rock...which of course is just what his mother had told him to do! At that point, all we could do was leave it and hope the mother would show herself in the gathered herd. Sure enough, there was one cow that wanted to go back...so we pushed her up to the rim in the area where the calf should be. The cow should start bawling for it's calf, and the calf will come out of hiding.

On to find more pairs...as I came down around a rim rock face, I spotted this...

Indian pictograph? Probably not this time, but I like to imagine...

There are quite a few pictographs in the area from the Paiute tribes who lived here. Many get warn away by weather, and some get warn by the cows rubbing on them. This caught my eye, but the more I look at it, I think it's just natural coloring on the rock.

We finally got the biggest field gathered. As we drove the herd through the second field, those pairs just started moving toward the herd, so that was an easy gather.

Found this bunch at Mistake Lake
After we got the herd into the right field, we got the bull cut out and drove him through two gates to the north end of McCoy Creek Canyon where there's an easier trail down to the creek.

McCoy Creek

There were pairs down here too...where they weren't supposed to be...so we spread out again and gathered this field along the top side and pushed the pairs that were in the canyon back up to the top and through the gate into the right field.

Finally done. By the time we got back to the ranch (with the bull), it was 5:30 PM...7 1/2 hours of gathering and moving because someone left a gate open...enough to just chap your hide huh?

Hopefully this Saturday they'll all still be in the right field because Rancher Dan plans on branding the calves that day!!

Linking in today with Nancy at A Rural Journal and Lisa at Two Bears Farm...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sagebrush vs Fence ~ A Struggle?

Fence vs Sagebrush
Who's winning...the fence or the sagebrush?

Actually, I think they're working together in harmony...to keep the fence standing!

Linking up today with Friday Fences #28 

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rural Thursday ~ Sorting 'n Trailing

We only have two cows, but it's wonderful to live close to neighbors that have hundreds...and they ask for help sometimes!!  When we moved here over six years ago, I never dreamed that I'd get to brand, sort and move cattle...My Man and I call it "livin' the dream."

The 3J Ranch is just a few miles from our place, so it's a quick trailer haul to their place...and Monday we sorted branded cow/calf pairs from those that weren't branded. Then the branded pairs were taken out onto the range land where they'll spend spring and summer feeding.

It was a cloudy day, but fairly warm...68 or so. Perfect for working the cows. Not so good for photos, and I take my lil' point 'n shoot instead of the good camera.

Ty searches for branded pairs

We gathered the field and put them all into a corner. There were five of us...three held herd and the other two searched for pairs. Obviously the most important thing is to get the right calf with the right mother!

This pair heads out of the bunch.
As they pair up, we let them out of the herd and back into the field. That's My Man on his horse Whiskey in the background. The other lil' calf came up to sniff noses with Whiskey...it made a real cute photo for yesterday's Wordless Wednesday shot!

Once we've got all the branded pairs out, two of us held the remaining herd in the corner while the other three riders (yes, one was on an ATV as you see below) gather up the pairs and move them through the gate.

Moving the pairs to range land
The dogs do their job too...they help a lot when a calf wants to go back (because they are easily confused). Calves can out run a horse over the rocky terrain...the dogs get in their and get them turned around in quick time. We were moving over 150 pair on this trip.

Colt is winking at you!

By now the sun is getting lower in the sky and we put our jackets back on. We only had to trail them a couple of miles to the first watering hole.
The lead cows smell water and the herd trails out nicely

Once they arrive at the watering hole, we wait for the cows and calves to "mother up" again. Sometimes the cows are too busy wanting to eat the fresh green grass to care where their calf is...it can be a long wait...

Colt 'n yours truly
Thanks for comin' along!!

I'm linking up today with Nancy at A Rural Journey and Lisa at Two Bears Farm for the Rural Thursday #12 blog hop...come join us!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Stills ~ New Beginnings

The definination for Spring should be: "New Beginnings"...which happens to be the theme for this week's Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Hat Butte Sunrise
Dawn is the beginning of a new day

New beginnings of life come in spring...like cute lil' calves...Paddy was born on St. Patrick's eve.

Milk Face Paddy
Milk Face Paddy

Tumbleweed arrived three days later...and tumbled into this world as you can see on her previous posts of when we witnessed her birth and how she got her name.

Jersey Calf Eyes
Tumbleweed bats her pretty Jersey calf eyes for the camera...look at those eyelashes!

Robins have arrived, but we haven't found any nests yet. The photo below was through my dirty kitchen window; yes, it snowed last Wednesday. He's sitting in the Lilac which is just getting some leaf buds.

Puffed Up 'n Stayin' Warm
All Puffed Up

The elm trees will be a while before the leaves start budding out, but they always get these brown, round things in early spring (not sure what they are).

Elm tree in spring

And the beginning of our farming year...the alfalfa is finally coming out of dormancy...it won't be long before we're back to irrigating!

Frost on the Alfalfa
Frost on the Alfalfa

Well, this happens to be my 600th post...I have no idea where I came up with that much to say...I'm actually a pretty quiet person ;~)

Thanks for comin' along on this ride...I appreciate your comments and friendship...you all sure have made it enjoyable...we'll see if I make it another 600!