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, February 28, 2013

Trailing Cows ~ Day 2

The weather forecast was correct this time...cold, snowy, and windy.

We pulled into the Jenkins place where the cows were left overnight expecting to see 8-10 newborn calves, but there were only two! As we separated the pairs from the herd, the snow was pelting our faces...I thought to myself that there are buckaroos out here doing this on a daily basis...this was not the glamorous part of being a buckaroo!

But, we got the lil' calves loaded into the trailer and Rancher Dan's wife (G) drove them to the ranch and put them in the barn under a heat lamp to wait for their mother's arrival. The momma cows were not too happy with us, but they joined up with the rest of the herd and headed on down the road.

Rural Traffic Jam
A rural traffic jam

The early mornin' snow was just a shower thank goodness...the sun came and went all day with a few snow showers here and there, but the wind picked up it's pace as the day progressed.

Yes, those are red ears in that photo...Rohan is going to get his fair share of riding this year. He's been left to sit in the pasture and get fat far too long! He'll never be the cow horse Colt is, but gathering, trailing and a bit of sorting will be really good for him. It's always good to have a back up horse ready to go when needed.

My Ride: Rohan
Rohan is my cow pony for the day!

Today's trip is about 13 miles, and like the day before, the cows were making good time with a nice, steady pace headin' for home.

Walking the Wide Open Spaces
Overlooking the beginning of the Diamond Valley toward the west.

About 5 miles from the ranch, we saw one cow laying down along the side of the road...we figured she might have her calf right there. But when we reached her on horseback, she got up and headed into the middle of the herd. Shortly after that, we turned onto the road going east and the wind was to our backs with tumbleweeds rolling along with us...I felt like a tumbleweed! The wind was pretty gusty!

We took the herd through a neighboring rancher's field and then onto the 2 mile driveway...everything was going smoothly!

Almost to the ranch and the sun is shinning brightly! But the wind was still rippin'.

Rancher Dan was in the front opening gates, and My Man and I were bringing up the rear closing gates behind us as we went. By the time we got to the ranch and into the field with the end of the herd, the cow that had laid down along side the road was already giving birth...such a good ol' girl!

New Born
Just in time...this cow laid down immediately and had her calf. Yes, those are snow flakes dotting the photo.

We had to sort out the two mother cows from this morning and reunite them with their calves; they mothered up nicely. And there was another calf in the barn that had been gathered up the day before; that calf was too cold to be left behind with its mother, so G took him to the ranch (riding on the floor board of the pickup) to get warmed up and bottle fed. They locked that cow into the barn with the calf...after two days apart, the momma cow may reject the calf. But, last I heard, they were starting to mother up.

Cool Refreshment
Rastus is getting a bit of cool refreshment from McCoy Creek.

We moved some heifers around for Rancher Dan, and then tied the horses up on the trailer. G had an awesome lunch for us...the end of a great day! For D & G it'll be a 24/7 job until all the cows and heifers are done calving...hard work, but well worth the doin'.

Thanks for comin' along on the drive!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Back & Forth, Up & Down, North to South

The seasons go by quickly...it seems like we just moved Rancher Dan's cows north to Princeton for the winter, and now we're already moving them south to Diamond to calve!

Day One:

The temperature was in the teens, but the sun was shining, and the wind kept itself to a minimum. We started early so we could get the cows across the desert before the ground surface got greasy and hard to travel on.

Four new calves were born that night, so we had to cut them out and leave them behind. Many of the cows looked like they were ready to pop any moment! Today's trip is about 14 miles.

Cow Drive
Starting out across the desert...the sage brush sea.

The cows were moving out really good...they kept up a steady pace and stayed on track most of the time. Their internal GPS was pretty much on target!

Across the Sage Brush
Looking back at where we came...between the two buttes.

There were spots of snow under the sage brush and ice covered the water holes. But by the time we reached the county road, the ground had started to thaw out and it was mucky.

Counting cows through the gate...the numbers are all recorded in the Red Book.

I was bundled up from head to toe...including insulated bib overalls, wool railroad cap and hooded sweatshirt...I didn't look like much, but I stayed relatively warm. We started the cows out at about 8 AM and arrived at the half way point around 3 PM.

From the Horse's Eye
On the county road...we walked our horses to keep our ol' bones movin'! This is the view from Colt's eye.

Rastus got to help some when a few cows would decide they needed to veer off track...and he did a very good job...I was proud of him since he's been off all winter with just a few practice days on our cows. When we got onto the county road, there's a fence on both sides, so there wasn't much need for his help. But Rastus was content to just be there.

Lined Out
The cows are lined out for over a mile.

Rancher Dan's wife showed up with refreshments and food. Even though it was cold, the beer I had tasted pretty good! We waited for the sandwiches until we got to the destination...too cold to take my gloves off!

Walking Shadows
My two good boys.

Everyone arrived safely and the cows went straight for the hay that had been laid out for them...except for one cow who went straight to the fence line, stopped in the corner and burst her water...the first of how many calves for that night?

Tomorrow...day two~

Participating in:
Rurality Blog Hop #4

Rurality Blog Hop #4

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ahem...I have nothin' cutesie for Valentine's Day...it's kinda just another day around here.

Lil' Ms Cindy Sue is going into the vet today to have her teeth cleaned. She was sound asleep, covered  up with her blankie when I woke her up to go potty at 5 AM...My Man is taking her with him to work and will run her to the vet office when they open. She was a bit confused looking this mornin' to say the least...poor lil' girl~

I took her in last week for a pre-check and it looked like there was a loose tooth that would need extraction...but I've been looking in her mouth since then, and can't find it. I'm hoping that the first diagnosis was wrong and she just needs the cleaning.

On a Mission
Ms Cindy Sue...on an important secret mission.

The weather's been on the upswing...still have an ice sheet by the gates into the two pastures, but with these 45 degree days it's slowly melting away, we're hoping by the weekend we can put Whiskey out in the rim pasture again.

Today, I'm loading Colt and Whiskey up to go ride at a friend's place...I've ridden once since last year, and I've got to get in gear...weekend after next is a cutting practice on Saturday and we're helping move cows for two days on Sunday and Monday. The boys need some legging up!

Brush off the mud, trim up the bridle path...it's "back in the saddle again!"
I don't want to get too excited yet, but My Man and I are working out the details for me to ride in the clinic that Mugs at Mugwump Chronicles is having in Montana in July...crossing my fingers we can get it all lined out.

We've got to give up some things up in order to go; I'm only going to show in the local cutting club, no Lakeview or Harney County Futurity, and no Pendleton Roundup...but, oh my gosh, what a fun time to get to travel to Montana. I've never been there! We'll take the LQ horse trailer, Colt and Whiskey, and hopefully get to ride a few days with friends up around Missoula.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day. My Man will get a nice shrimp linguine dinner, a card and some chocolate...so, it's not all that boring 'round here  ;~)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Stills ~ Circles

The braided reata is not only a working tool, but a beautiful piece of art. Buckaroos who use them to rope livestock take pride in them and care for them as a treasure...they are expensive!

The coils of the reata form beautiful circles...there are other circles in the photo too if you search for them.

Rawhide Reata
Neatly organized coils of a hand braided rawhide reata.

Below, another buckaroo uses a nylon ranch rope; personal preference, economics, and sometimes the weather dictates what the buckaroo will use on a particular day.

Either way, a loop is thrown to catch the calf's head and another one to catch the calf's heels for branding, vaccinations and castration if it's a bull calf.

Aiming True
The circle loop is thrown with practiced accuracy and lands around the calf's neck. It's branding day.

(Yes, I cheated and used my archives)

Check out other circle photos at Sunday Stills!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Eggs and Pasta? You Betcha! Another Perfect Breakfast for One!

Well, eggs and pasta probably isn't a surprise to you...but I'm usually the last one on the boat.

I can't just have a bowl of cereal in the morning and make it until noon; I've got to have something substantial in my stomach...and it always includes an egg.

Fried, scrambled, poached, soft boiled, egg in a hole...toast, English muffins, tortillas, pita bread, rice, refried beans...you name it, I've had them all, or so I thought.

Looking in the fridge yesterday mornin' I see a bowl of left over spaghetti noodles..."I wonder...." Google here I come.

Eggs and Pasta = Yummy!!

There are tons of recipes out there!! So, I chose a quick, easy one and it was awesome.

Scrambled Egg Pasta

This can be made with bacon or cooked ham and is easy to adjust the serving size: 1 egg to 1 cup pasta; adjust other ingredients accordingly.

4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8 slices thick bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4  cups al-dente cooked pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and cheese; set aside.
2. In a large skillet, fry the bacon and onion together until the meat is browned and crispy and the onion has begun to caramelize.
3. Add the pasta (if using cold day-old pasta, cook until it’s just warmed through, about 1 minute).
4. Pour the egg-and-cheese mixture into the skillet and reduce heat to low. Stir continuously until the pasta is coated with the eggs and they have begun to solidify.
5. Season with the salt and pepper, then serve immediately, with extra grated Parmesan on the side.

I easily adapted this for one serving (1 egg to 1 cup pasta). The recipe calls for bacon, but I have cooked ham on hand, so I chopped about two slices of bacon's worth and used that instead. I keep bacon grease on hand for cooking (sorry, but we love it) so I used that in my cast iron skillet.

My Man saw the recipe on the computer and hinted that it could be a good weekend breakfast...guess I better boil up some more pasta noodles!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day Dreaming...Branding Season

Yes, I've been day dreaming...sparked by baby calves.

A lot of the ranches around here are starting to get calves on the ground...it's an exciting time. I saw many on my drive to town yesterday. So far the weather's been holding pretty good. A lot of ranchers won't start calving until March (like us); it's a personal preference...decisions made by past experience usually, or maybe tradition.

January and February can be pretty harsh in SE Oregon, and loosing calves to bad weather is terrible...if you only have a few head, it's easy to keep an eye on everyone. But many ranches have hundreds or even thousands of cows to calve out, which makes it very difficult to make sure every calf gets up to nurse for that first time.

I dug through my archives from last year's brandings for this photo. Since I was usually holding a rope instead of a camera last year, I don't have near the number of photos I've had in year's past.

But, I'm ready to hold the rope again...it's an addiction ;~)

Ranch Horse
A steady ranch horse holds a calf at the fire for vaccinations, branding and castration.

My Man found this video the other night...it's always fun to find something that hits close to home. The photographer is from our area, JoAnna Lamb, and she's got some awesome photos of the Great Basin Buckaroos (and Buckaretts!) hard at work doing what they do best.

And the music is by Dave Stamey...who I can listen to all day long. The song is the perfect accompaniment to JoAnna's photos. I think you'll enjoy~

I'm joining Madge Bloom's new meme:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Muddy Monday ~ Round Two!

I hope by next week at this time, things might be back to normal. The sheet of ice at the gates and in the rim pasture is still 3 inches thick. It hasn't changed much from the photo I posted on Thursday, January 31...poor ponies are making the best of the situation though!

Mud Play ~ 1
Pierce says "Here, let me show you how to do this!"
You wouldn't know it from the background in these photos...there's hardly any snow or ice to be seen.

Mud Play ~ 2
Smile for the camera!
I worry about the two of them playing together, so they only get turned out in the round pen when I'm there to supervise. They get to ripping in the pen and Whiskey gets to ripping on the outside of the pen. Colt likes to push Pierce like a cow and herds him around.

Mud Play ~ 3
Yahooooooo....this is FUN!!
Yes, Pierce is way shorter in the wither than the hip...runnin' down hill...which is accentuated by the bucking!!  Crossing my fingers that he'll be even when he's grown up. I need to measure him...he's grown a lot since we got him.

Mud Play ~ 4
Pierce says "I'm bigger than you Colt!"
And Pierce LOVES to rear!

Mud Play ~ 5
Awwwww...kissy face.
By the time they're done playing, they're all huffing and puffing with steam rolling off their backs. Then I have to cool them out. But, it's good to keep them occupied for some mental and physical stimulation.

Like I said at the beginning, it's going to be a while longer before I can turn anyone out to their pastures.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Stills ~ Fabric

The world is made of fabric...it's everywhere!!! This was a very fun challenge; thanks Ed!

Not only do I get to show off my favorite wild rag, but the beautiful custom made silver tie slide was my surprise Christmas present from My Man. The slide was made by Pat Horlacher...farrier and silversmith.

Texture and colors...a set of kitchen towels I made.

My favorite blanket. Vintage from the early 1960's. My mother made this quilt, and I don't remember ever being without it. When I'm feeling sick, I still grab this quilt, wrap it around me and curl up on the couch. I call it my Magic Pink Blanket.

Wild rags...one can never have too many...this is just a few of ours.

Check out the other fabric photo links in the comments at Sunday Stills!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Colt ~ Barn Wood Shadow

Ol' favorites...chipped, cracking blue paint on the barn siding and my best horse ~

Barn Wood Shadow
Barn Wood Shadow

Friday, February 1, 2013

And The Melting Continues...

I blogged about the melt down back on January 9...and it's still going at it! It's warmed up, gotten cold, snowed, warmed up again...but, most of the snow is gone now except for the piles.

But the ice remains in the shaded areas, so the horses are still confined to the barn. The sun rises and shines on the north side, but the strip along the rim rock is quickly in the shade by noon.

One slick sucker!

So, Pierce, Colt and Whiskey are confined to the barn area. It was 24* this morning and the afternoon high is 40*.

The water fall was really strong on Thursday. I love hearing the sound and watching the water make its way through the rocks and sagebrush...then heading under the snow to come up in a small stream flowing toward the gates.

Temporary Water Fall
The temporary water fall...maybe we need to name it!?!
Being in the high desert, I miss having water like over in the west part of the state. But, I'll just enjoy this when I can...every two to three years.

Rock, Snow, Water
Flowing water over the rocks and under the snow.
We've got ditches made now (since the top layer of soil has softened up somewhat) so, that is keeping the majority of the water out of the barn.

I turned Colt into the round pen with Pierce yesterday afternoon, and they had a great time kickin' up their heels. The footing was good enough that they didn't slip.

In a couple of weeks, we'll be moving cows from Princeton to Diamond for Rancher Dan, so I've got to get a couple of horses legged up at least a lil' bit...I'm ready to get back into the saddle again!

In other news...

It looks like moma owl has taken to nestin' in the Hole in the Rock. Both of them had been gone for a couple of days and now, for the past two days, only papa owl is in the tree...which leads me to believe that Love is in the Air!

Hole in the Rock Nest
The Hole in the Rock Nest

Find the Owl
Can you spot the owl? Mother Nature's camouflage.

Papa owl will have to work double hard...hunting for himself and her...and then for the lil' ones when they're born. They've had 3 to 5 owlets in the past...wonder how many they'll have this year?!

Papa Owl
Papa owl...waiting patiently...