Western Wednesday ~ Branding Calves

For those who aren’t familiar, yes, we’re western here…and calves get branded and their ears notched just like they did 100 years ago.

Why? Because there are cattle rustlers still today…just like 100 years ago. True story. This is the best way for a rancher to protect his or her property.

Catchin' the Heels

Nice double heel catch by Erik (who BTW, makes a living as a buckaroo).


Some ranches catch heels only, but in our area, most ranches catch the head then the heels. The calf is then drug to the fire by the heels.

Your’s truly and Colt holding the front legs while the ears are being notched.

Does that last photo look a little hazy? By the end of the day, the wind was blowing 30 mph and the dust was thick and heavy. My camera had never been so dirty!


Western Wednesday ~ Gathering Pairs at Crowley Ranch

Moving Pairs

Last week I spent two days at Crowley ranch gathering and moving pairs. Fall is when most ranchers gather their pairs from summer pasture, sort the mamma cows from the calves then ship the calves to auction yards. Yes, the clouds were threatening rain, but we were lucky this time.

Searching for Pairs

The cow boss usually runs three border collie cow dogs at a time. I can only handle my one! It was great fun and can’t wait to go back in the spring to help turn out the newborn pairs to summer pasture…and the cycle goes on and on…

Dec 27 – Still Life

I fussed and fussed with this…and I finally have something…I think! Learning a DSLR camera is not that fun at this point, but I’m sure it will get easier as time goes on…and I’m sure there was an easier way to accomplish this than what I did 😉

This is a precious painting of my cow horse Colt by my good friend Kathleen Coy and a vintage Pendleton Round Up scarf given to me by another dear friend. The star of light? Colt IS a star!


Dec 23 – Shoot a Color

In my book, barn wood is a color 😉  The weathered wood goes hand in hand with the dry high desert winter colors. This is the Pete French Round Barn which is about 10 miles down the road from us. Riddle Mountain is in the background. When visiting the Round Barn, it’s a MUST to see the Visitor’s Center; they have the best gift shop in Harney County!

For a little history…quoting from their website:

“The Pete French round barn is one of the stops on your (Jenkins) tour. It was here that cattle king Pete French trained horses (for driving) during the winter months. The inside of the barn is uniquely made from juniper posts and lumber that was hauled from over 60 miles from the north. The round barn was built in the late 1870’s or early 1880’s, the date is not certain. The barn remains much as it was in Pete French’s day with some minor repairs to the outside and roof. The (Jenkins) family donated the Pete French Round Barn to the state of Oregon in 1969.”


Dec 20 – Panning

My first attempt at panning…

I started with the dogs, and they wouldn’t run the right direction or angle for me, so I thought I’d cheat and use the round pen and a horse! I have to say, it was a half fail…I never did get a nice, crisp shot of Pierce…the legs were always really fuzzy. I did use the Tv (shutter speed) setting for the first time ever and figured out I had to adjust the ISO (HUGE learning curve for me today). But, it was cloudy and snowy too…I wish there had been sun!

There was one shot that was pretty good, but I chose this shot because Rastus was in there too on the outside of the pen, and even though I chopped off his nose, this photo is more interesting…not to mention Pierce is givin’ a bit of a buck…he was frisky!

IMG_3760Oh heck…this is my blog, and I can post whatever I want! 😉 So, here’s the better shot…but I have a LOT of practicing to do to perfect the technique of panning!


Dec 18 – Equine

For today’s photo challenge, I opted to photograph my best cow horse EVER, Colt 45 (aka Colt, AQHA registered name River Bug Rambler) and our new saddle. We’ve had saddle fitting issues and had to finally break down and get a custom made saddle.

Nothing fancy, it’s a working saddle. But I rode him today, and when I pulled the saddle off of him, he didn’t crank his tail…I think he likes it!!! We’re ready to go day work cows now…and I can’t wait to rope the first calf come branding season!

I think my favorite thing about this photo is the snow on Colt’s nose 😉


Dec 7 – Winter

Ha! The challenge subject couldn’t have landed on a better day! 4-6 inches of snow last night and 10 degrees this morning…wind chills into the minus.

The pups and I went for a quick winter walk after breakfast. It’s not nearly as cold here as a lot of places, but 13 degrees and a wind chill of -3 is cold enough for me! The forecast for tonight is -12 with wind chills down to -25. Brrrrrr…Thank goodness for the barn…and the wood stove in the house!

This is my “Wild Bunch.” L-R Stetson, Catnip and Rohan. We adopted Catnip from the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge in northern Nevada, and of course she was pregnant, which produced Stetson. We also adopted Rohan, and he is from the Hog Creek HMA out of Vale, Oregon.

This is an easy question for most horse people…so, for everyone else: Are these guys warm or cold? How can you tell?