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Monday, June 30, 2014

Skydiving and Rodeo

It’s starting to feel like I am on vacation more than I am at work these days. This weekend I went down to the Bella Coola Rodeo, a couple weekends ago I went skydiving in Kamloops, and in two days I am off to Calgary. However, as soon as Janelle and I get home from the Calgary Stampede it will be back to work for the rest of the summer. But it is fun work!
Skydiving was so amazing! I would highly recommend doing it (it is less scary than you’d think). I thought I was going to be freaking out in the plane ride up, but I was pretty relaxed. Once the door opened I did get scared but mainly just because it was so loud and kind of hard to breathe. Next thing I knew we were tumbling towards the earth at 200 km/hr. Once I got my mind to relax during the freefall it was really enjoyable. Then the parachute came out, we did some super fun spins and whatnot, then gently drifted down to land. And in the blink of an eye it was over. If it weren’t so expensive, I’d have totally gone again!
Last Friday Janelle and I caught a ride down the hill with some friends to go see the Bella Coola Rodeo. We brought our tent and sleeping bags and just camped on the rodeo grounds. Danced the night away on Friday, even though we were basically the only ones dancing, it was pretty fun. And I was delighted to find my good friend Brody was back from Alberta on a surprise visit. It was nice to catch up with her after so long. Spent Saturday watching the rodeo which was fairly entertaining. There was another dance Saturday night, which was even more fun than Friday. Sunday morning we caught a ride back up to the ranch with some other friends. I got so carsick driving up the winding hill, that wasn’t so fun…
Irrigation is continuing to be a struggle thanks to the many beavers that infest the creeks around the meadows. A few days ago, on the hottest day yet up here, Janelle and I were told to go down and pull some beaver dams. We weren’t really thinking and just wore our cowboy boots and shorts… Not a clever idea. The beavers had flooded the area where we normally walk in, so we had to bush wack and wade our way to the dams. Got lost coming out too. Legs were pretty scrapped up, muddy, and bug bitten. Learn from your mistakes I guess.
Calving is now officially done! All the babies are out and about. One morning we were eating breakfast and Roger saw a dead cow on the flat. But as we watched, it moved a leg. So we all ran out to get her up off her back. I am so surprised she didn’t die of bloat. When we got her flipped over she stood there for a couple hours just belching up all the gas. Poor girl, but she is fine now.
So wish me luck on my 19 hour bus ride from Williams Lake to Calgary, I’m sure it will be worth it though! J

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Baby beavers and horse whispering

Well there has certainly been a lot happening in these last couple weeks.
Janelle and I went out at twilight one night to hunt some beaver. They must have heard us coming because we didn’t see any after sitting there for 30 minutes. So changing our tactics, we proceeded to call them and throw things at their house. As you may imagine this too failed.
Then Roger and I went to the same spot a couple of days ago to pull the beaver dam. While pulling the dam, we heard Tuft (Rogers dog) yelp. She had gotten her head caught in a beaver trap. A few scary moments ensued as we frantically tried to get it off of her neck. Aside from being dazed and sore she was fine, but lucky that it hadn’t broken her neck.
Baby beavers take the cake! Eli found two baby beavers (there mother had been killed by some animal) last night and kept them in the bathtub. Oh my. I know I say this all the time, but they have got to be the cutest things I have EVER seen! Punky took them to an wildlife rescue centre in Williams Lake today. It was so hard to say goodbye…
But anyways, I seem to have a busier social calendar here than I do in Victoria, haha! Every weekend there is something fun. A couple weekends ago I went to the wedding reception of a local couple. Danced the night away until about 4:00 in the morning. I don’t think my dancing has improved much, but it sure is fun trying! Last weekend Janelle, Laura, and I went to the Tatla Lake gymkhana. It was fun watching the little kids on ponies go bouncing through the poles and around the barrels. On our way home from the gymkhana I showed the girls Charlotte Lake. It is a beautiful glacier lake with a lovely sand beach, great to swim in on a hot August day. Though, as we were driving in we saw a mama grizzly and her two yearling cubs. They were so impressive; it was incredible! This weekend I am headed to Kamloops to attempt skydiving. I haven’t yet decided if I am willing to cough up the money to do it… we’ll see I guess. Should be a nice getaway anyhow.
Been doing some more range riding lately and all of my jeans are getting thin/holy in the crotch. I was riding my mare (who is usually very level headed) while chasing about 200 head of cattle when she decided to give me a fright. She got worried about where the other horses were so she had a little out of control hissy fit. Thankfully I managed to stay on, yay! I was pretty cranky with her afterwards; we really weren’t having our best day.
When we got home we discovered that Punky hit a deer with her van on the way back from Williams Lake. Everyone was okay, but this will be her 3th van lost due to deer.
There are only two cows left to calve. My milk cow, Jessica, finally had her baby! It is really tiny. Needless to say I have been milking.
One night I was milking her out and randomly thought I should check the calving cow pen (we don’t do a lot of checking anymore). Walking out there I saw a cow on her back and just thought “oh no, I am going to have to tell them they have a dead cow”. But I hollered at her and she moved! So I booked it to the house to grab help and a rope. It only takes a few minutes for them to die of bloat when they are on their back like she was. So boy was it this cows lucky day. We got her flipped over and she had her baby just fine.
Three Circle hosted a horse clinic last Thursday and Friday. The guy that was doing it was an older cowboy named Evan, one of Punky’s good friends. He is the most amazing horseman I have ever seen, I can’t even describe it. The horses seemed drawn to him. He is just incredible at reading animals, calling everything the horses were going to do before they did it. He started (saddled and rode) four colts and worked with us on a few of the ranch horses. I didn’t really want to ride in the clinic at first (a bit daunting with an audience), but Wanda got me in there and I actually really enjoyed it. Learned a TON! He had my mare and I kicking a huge yoga ball around the round pen by the end. I think we might start a hoof ball team ;)  It was such a blast!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June already?!

Some more stuff that’s happened:
Got to lance a lump (about the size of a golf ball) that was on a calf’s cheek. Squeezed out a whole bunch of pussy grossness. I rechecked my calves with the maggoty infections and I am happy to announce that they are healing very well and are maggot free! I am so excited about that.
The annual canoe race took place a couple weekends ago. The competitors paddle the Dean River from Nimpo Lake to just outside of Anahim Lake. Afterwards the community association puts on a big dinner and dance. So the whole town came out and it ended up being a lot of fun. The crazy thing is that people actually dance (like real dancing!); it was so cool to watch! A couple people even dragged me out there!
Went to Bella Coola for the weekend with Punky, Janelle, and the boys. Punky was on a shoeing trip but there was also a horsemanship clinic on at the rodeo grounds. Janelle and I spent the day there watching the clinic and helping Punky shoe. Janelle borrowed one of Lorri’s (she is one of my favorite people in Bella Coola!) horses and rode in the clinic and even tried barrel racing for the first time. She says it’s her new favorite sport. We saw three black bears down there. Janelle opened the van door to get a good picture and it was about 1.5 meters away and didn’t even care about us… scary! Bella Coola seriously needs to do something about its bear population.
Since then Wanda has been trying to get some of the trail ride cooking done. We have been doing lots of big batches of cooking and baking. I’ve been helping Roger turn the irrigation on in the hay meadows too. Its such a fun job because you basically just get to make a dam and play in the water :P
Also, there has been lots of range riding happening. Just making sure the cows are where they should be, out of where they shouldn’t be, and that all the groups of cows have at least one bull with them.
Today I went with Ben to his kindergarten orientation, which was a lot of fun!
Next few weeks will likely be filled with lots of trail ride prep.