Archive: November 2014

Photo Shoot

posted by Chelsea

sidenote: I know I said I would show you the cows coming home today, but I got distracted.  Cows coming home tomorrow! Three days in a row of posts! Whoa!

If this cold weather and early evenings are good for anything at all, it’s pictures.  Sunday evening the kids and I went out to do chores and I grabbed my camera because the lighting was puuuurrrfect!  And our Lucy girl had her hair down.  A rare occasion as our Lucy is a girl who doesn’t like anything to slow her down and hair, if left untamed, is a major slower-downer in her life.  It’s not only her hair… she also refuses to wear untapered pants for fear they may get stuck under a shoe or cause her to trip while she runs.  Lucy makes sure she has on tapered jeans and hair back in a ponytail so her movement is unhindered.  That’s how she rolls.

So… Sunday evening when her curls were flowing and the light was fabulous, I slowed her down long enough to get a few pictures…


A little something Grandma Janie taught me… backlighting…


And a close up…


Another close up that I “doctored” a little- to show the rosey cheeks and freckles a little better..


This next one is a “Lucy look”…


So is this one…


But my favorite shot of the evening is this next one…


And that was all I got.  Because soon her sister caught up and off they went…


Lucky for me, this guy…


didn’t mind joining in the shoot :-)

Sorted, Shipped, COLD

posted by Chelsea

While the river, and the fall trees were stunning early last week…


It was cold.  Bitter cold.  Which, technically, was better than snow or rain or anything wet.  The ranch calves needed to be weaned and then shipped outta here.  I’ve always been a math girl, so let me show you the conditions in an equation:

Wet roads + cattle trucks= no bueno.

It rained Sunday night.  Calves were to be shipped Tuesday.  If Buck could’ve physically made the rain stop, he’d have been outside catching every drop before it hit the ground.  But since he couldn’t, he just laid awake Sunday night listening to the pouring rain on the roof, checking the forecast, hoping something might change.  Well, Monday morning, change it did!  The rain storm broke, the sun was shining, and it was bitter cold.  “Fortunately” it’s dry enough around here that the rain soaked into the ground and the roads were NOT icy.  Hallelujah.

Shipping day… The girls were at school, so Cooper was my side-kick. Getting out of the truck to watch the events of the day was awfully appealing from inside the truck.  Getting out..


… made us just want to get back in the warm rig.  When he talks, Cooper replaces “t” for “c” so it was “TOLD OUTSIDE!”

We did manage…


to watch…


a little of the sorting…


Once the calves were sorted, we waited for the cattle trucks to arrive.  Once again, the cheeriest truck drivers were not so cheery after their trek to the corrals.  They were “not in Kansas anymore” and despite their competence, the canyon has a way of testing both patience and skill.  When all the calves were loaded, Buck, Cooper…


and I followed the trucks to the bottom of the canyon.  And while Cooper slept without a worry in the world, Buck and I watched the trucks take make their way down the canyon…


and even though the drivers couldn’t hear him from inside our their trucks, Buck was coaching them through every corner…


We all let out a sigh of relief once the trucks were off the edge of the canyon…


and on flat, paved ground.

The weather held cold until Thursday afternoon.  In the morning, the cows made the “drive” home from the summer ground…

And by the time they hit their hooves on the ranch, it was snowing.  How’s that for timing?!  I’ll show it to you in pictures… tomorrow!






Autumn Wood ~ Autumn

Posted by Donna

Autumn ~ Emily Dickinson 1830 =- 1866
The morns are meeker than they were,

CC Wood 67

The nuts are getting brown,

CC Wood 66

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

CC Wood 72

The rose is out of town.

CC Wood 71

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

CC Wood 64

The field a scarlet gown.

CC Wood 74

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

{Autumn beauty compliments of Wells, Maine.}

In The Books

posted by Chelsea

Sometimes, often times, I have a running story going in my mind… stories of our days, like the one we just spent weaning and shipping our calves… stories of people, like the truck driver with the raspy deep laugh, who came to haul our calves- the one who has known Buck as long as he’s been alive… stories of livestock- like the Lucy cow who actually wasn’t “open” and is now a “fall pair” making her valuable and sellable and probably heading her down the road… stories about this wild and wooley western life, like the one we keep plugging along on.


And yet, I have a hard time sitting to get it down on “paper”.  And yet, I want to.  I not only want to, I almost feel like this life demands it… while our ranch life is not unusual in this part of the country and amongst our friends, I’m fully aware that the life of a family in agriculture is no longer “normal”.  Amidst the seemingly constant challenges ranching seemingly constantly provides, I’m pretty cognizant of the fact that this agricultural existence could be slipping right through our fingers if we’re not careful to protect it.  AND I feel like the one place I can share the story and in turn help protect this way of life, is right here.  If I can find the time, make the time, prioritize the time, to sit… and type.

One of the things I’ve learned about cattle is that it’s a rare day when everything goes “as planned”.  Days that are supposed to take “just a few hours” often end up being long arduous ones.  The best plans have been ruined changed by renegade cows, broken equipment and flat tires.  Weaning day went as planned for nearly 2 hours, the 2 hours before the truck came to get the calves.  I dropped the girls at school and proceeded, with Cooper, to meet the truck, brand inspector, and calf contractor, to lead them up to the corrals.  It was a foggy morning in the canyon…


but we weren’t staying there- the corrals are up on the flat and that day, were out of the fog.  Wisely, I brought snacks along with my current reading material Ivan Doig’s “This House of Sky” because I planned to arrive early so as not to miss any of the above listed attendees.  I planned to give Cooper a snack and settle in and read.  Well, turns out I didn’t plan to arrive  any earlier  than the brand inspector did.  He beat me by about 20 minutes.  The brand inspector is a delightfully chatty man and I enjoyed his company for the half hour we waited for the rest of the crew.  Everyone arrived and I fired up the pickup, prepared to lead.  The truck driver hesitated on his way back into the cab of his truck and bent down to look under the big rig.  He pulled the hood back


and pulled out a dangling piece of a rubber– a fan belt.   Apparently big cattle trucks need these belts attached somewhere under that hood.  Seeing as we were an hour and a half from town, I took the calf contractor down to the school (nearest phone) and he called town to have someone bring a new belt.  We made it back to the crew and while they each were mumbling to each other… “oh 35 minutes or so and we’ll be on the road”, I inconspicuously rolled my eyes, knowing an hour and a half (plus!) was more like it.  The men folk chatted in a circle by the road and I picked up with Mr. Doig in the cab of the pickup.  Cooper had toys in the backseat. The men folk (and their circle) soon meandered toward my pickup.  I put down the book and entered “man-land”…. And thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I didn’t add a lot to the conversation, but I did listen and I sat back and observed them several times.  There isn’t an easy way to explain the gratitude I feel living in this county.  While the three men were there to do a job- one they get paid for- I feel like it’s more than that.  There is an unspoken camaraderie that feels somewhat like a safety net.  Other people who care.  Other people who are competent.  Other people who are trying to “make it”, too.

All that to say, we eventually “made it” to the corrals… where, after the long trek to get there, even the cheeriest truck driver is usually on edge.  And rightly so. The truck driver and his skill at navigating these roads (ones not exactly designed for semi’s!)…


amaze me. Serious skill.

My side-kick, Cooper…


watched in awe…


as the calves were loaded. Once loaded, they were taken to town, weighed, and sent on their way. This year, to the White Horse Ranch in the SE corner of Oregon.

We breath a big sigh of relief mixed with a heavy dose of thankfulness each year when the calves load on the truck and head down the road. This year was no different.  Another calf crop.  Another chunk of loan paid off.  Another year in the books. Well, since I do the books, it’s technically not “IN” the books… yet.  The yearly cycle with cows is a fulfilling one– fresh calves in the spring… branding and turnout…keeping everything healthy… hoping for a good breed up… weaning… shipping… cows fattening up with a new calf on the way… feeding… calving… a yearly cycle of life.  It’s fitting that we ship at the beginning of November… the month of Thanksgiving.  We. Are. Thankful!

Stay tuned… we’ll be shipping the ranch calves next week.  More adventure awaits :-)

Autumn Song ~ How Great Thou Art

Posted by Donna ~
To declare that New England experienced one of its best foliage seasons in many, many years is an understatement.

song 53

Leaf peeping in New England is always an event to anticipate eagerly and with wonder. But some years, for lack of a better term, can be dull.

song dull

Colors are muted, deciduous leaves only half turned. Not so in the autumn of 2014.

This year might be described as eye-popping,

song 36


song 24


song 21

extending in every direction

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as far as the eye can see. I found myself humming “How Great Thou Art” as reds and oranges and yellows of multiple hues assailed my senses. Sing or hum along if you like.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
song 60
song 47
song 56
song 61
song 12

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

song 46
song 55
song 39
song 54

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

song 68
song 64
song 67

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

song 70

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!