It’s so great to be back up in this beautiful country after being away for almost a year! It is nice to see all my friends up here and all the changes around town and the ranches etc. I can’t believe Ben and Jackson are 5 and 8 now, incredible! There is a new ranch hand, Janelle, she is from New Zealand and is super cool. I think we will have lots of fun this summer; we’re planning on going to the Calgary Stampede!
I’m afraid that I have brought the Vancouver rain with me though. Since it is turn out at the moment the rain is not the best thing for many reasons, but mainly because it creates so much mud! However, it is allowing for the range to start greening up. And somehow I managed to sunburn my lips…
My dad drove me up this year because he wanted to see how branding works. He was in there flipping calves like a dirty shirt. Although he looked like he was dying, everyone seemed pretty impressed. Eli said he was doing more than a lot of the guys in cowboy hats, haha! The calves were big this year, so the next day everyone had some nasty cuts and bruises to show off.
Since then we have mainly been sorting the cows into groups to be kicked onto rangelands for the summer. We have been having some fairly long days of riding, sometimes not having dinner until 10:00. Its good to be back in the saddle again and I haven’t even fallen off yet (touch wood)! I was riding over a culvert and the ground caved in underneath us, but thankfully my horse got us out of that one. She also saved me from being mowed over by a couple of bulls in a bullfight (it was a close call).
One day Janelle and I were the only ones on the ranch and a cow had begun to calve. I don’t know what the cows problem was, it was a tiny calf, but she was taking forever to have it, so we went in there and pulled it out all by ourselves. (: A neighbor called yesterday and was like “Is there a vet student around? We need her to come do a caesarean!” Haha, I had to explain that I wasn’t in vet school quite yet. But we headed over and managed to get the calf out without having to do a caesarean. It was a full breech and there were twins. Sadly both had died, but at least the cow is going to be okay and we didn’t have to cut her. There have been a few calves that got nasty infections in their sides and on hot days the flies got in there and laid eggs. So they allowed me to be the doctor, sooo exciting! I got to scrape out all the maggots that were basically eating these poor calves alive, flushed the wounds, packed them full of antibiotics, and taped a bandage on (that will hopefully keep the flies out). I rechecked them today and one calf looks really good. Another is healing very well but the maggots got back in there and started digging more holes, but we fixed it up again. And there is one that looks pretty bad still, lots of maggots. There is also a calf with a huge lump on the side of its face. Janelle and I are waiting for Roger to get back so that we can lance it and see what comes out. It is pretty exciting stuff.
Been seeing lots of wildlife too. A black wolf came trotting down the flat one morning, almost right up to the house. Janelle took a shot at it from the window, but she just missed. Then I was driving home the other night and a black bear ran across the road in front of me. I also managed to catch a hummingbird (I’ll try and post a picture). He was banging against the window in Roger’s shop and I just scooped him up and took him outside. I can’t believe how tiny and colorful they are! The mosquitoes haven’t been too bad, so I am hoping it will be a light bug year (but I may be dreaming).
My cat is very unhappy at the moment. He sat at the back door and cried for the first few days because he wanted inside; poor little guy. There is one cow that loves to chase him too. She would be fast asleep in the pen, hear him meow, and she’ll get up and chase him out. It is quite hilarious to watch. One thing is for certain: he is far more affectionate in the country than in the city.
Drove the tractor today for the first time. It went fairly well and I didn’t break anything, yay!
Anyways, lots of action around here! Getting very dirty, tanned, tired, and hopefully fit, its great to be back!