Category: Cowgirl Voices

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Cow-camp, Once A Week, And Other Matters

Well, hi there!

I’ve missed you! Ironically, I’m writing more than ever, but not here :( Because of that, I’ve been doing some thinking and decided to start keeping one day a week as my “blog deadline day”.  That way I’ll keep up, at least with a few pictures, once a week.  So… Monday is the day. Blog day.  I have LOVED keeping this blog, documenting our life, and I would be awfully sad if I let it go. Unfortunately, at the rate I’ve been blogging, it’s being let go. So… here I am.  Every Monday I’ll show up here.  I’d be delighted if you would, too.  I realize we might have some trust issues to work out.  I haven’t followed through in the past and you might not want to trust again.  But I’ll do my best! I’ll give it the ol’ college try (And I tried hard in college! Except the semester Buck and I were dating and got engaged. Then my friends had to drag me through some tough classes! But other than that, I tried really hard! :) So lets get this show on the road. Cowcamp.  Cow-camp.  CowCamp.  Cow camp.  Cow Camp.  (Pick your spelling!)


The kids and I spent a long weekend at camp… always fun to come home with coolers, bags, laundry, sleeping bags, and gear…all needing to be unpacked.  I pick someone else to do that job!  Any takers?!   The girls went to school today. Cooper is cutting up small pieces of paper.  And taping them to the floor.  He’s working on his fine motor skills!  (I’ll be working on mine later when I peel the small, taped, pieces of paper off the floor!) Anyway.  Cowcamp.  The kids and I held down the fort- we kept the fires going and played at camp.  Lucy rode one day with the crew and boy did that get me excited about the day we’ll all be able to go!  But I enjoy camp time, too, and am glad for the down time.  I got to drink coffee, read, and write a few letters.  See… Untitled

I even took a picture ;-)  Note the yarn in the background… Katelyn worked on a project at camp.  The girls have a “Loop De Loom” and she was able to get most of a scarf done.  It was white.  At cow camp.  But never mind that! Here’s the kids, out on an adventure walk… Untitled

Whoa! Hey look! Here they were a-couple-a-years-ago… 1383529_10201213750079806_808805413_n It appears that we have all moved out of stretchy pants (at least in the picture!)   Back to this year.  Here’s Cooper looking quite grown up and man-like…

Untitled Here’s Lucy looking quite amused at her little brother taking her picture by the campfire…

Untitled And the girls, looking like sweet sisters…

 Caitlin & Beau having a moment…

Untitled Buck & Mo having a moment….

Untitled Caitlin, Beau and Scooby-Do having a moment…

Untitled And Katelyn Claire, waiting in the tent…

Untitled There it is.  A picture recap of cow-camp.  And I’m already excited about writing for next week! So much to say!  See you soon! -Chels                  

Sunset & News

posted by Chelsea



was the sunset on the ranch last night. Straight out of the camera. No filter. It’s been smokey and made the sun really bright orange/red.  I’m in love with this picture.

That was the “Sunset” part of the title of this post.  Now for the “News” part.

Buck’s Grandma Janie has been writing a column, “Janie’s Journal” for a Northwest newspaper, “Agritimes” for the last 30 years or so.  Recently she decided to downsize her schedule and asked if I’d fill in for her, possibly indefinately.  I wrote for the month of July and yesterday I got a call from the newspaper asking if I’d write permanently because Janie has decided to be done with her twice a month column.  So… I’m doing it!  These are large boots to fill as Janie has a huge following and fan base.  She has been writing about their ranch life for a Very. Long. Time.  

I’m excited. And nervous. And excited. I’ll try not to let things completely fall apart here at CC! Maybe HAVING to write more will make me write more here, too!  And maybe since I can’t include our entire life in the newspaper I’ll fill in the gaps here.

OK. And here’s our Cooper, with our new puppy, Clyde. (Buck didn’t get a chance to use the name on a child, so he decided to use it on his new pup :) DSC_3708

Real Quick

posted by Chelsea

Real Quick.

Summer is treating us well.

A couple of pics this morning because it seems like the right thing to do.

First, a disclaimer.  I tried to use my photo editing capabilities to blot the dirt off of Cooper’s face, but it just made his face look weird. The thing is, this boy of mine plays really hard. And this mom of his can’t keep up with the dirt on his face.  And quite frankly, I love this picture- dirt and all.


And the freckles on this girl…

I love those, too.

And the budding confidence in this girl along with her always-matching-outfits…


I love as well.

Summer seems to always have a few surprises.  This year, we have a couple of them.  The first, is a school/music teacher who wanted to come work on the ranch for a couple of weeks.  He has worked, taught us new music skills and played for us…


And we have been blessed by his positive-go-get-em-work-hard-enjoy-life attitude.

We also have a teenager!


She lives back East and is experiencing ranch life with us for a few weeks. So far, she’s had a full schedule of riding, playing, helping & living the wild-and-wooley-western-life with us!

Real Quick Recap– Summer is full and busy, but good!


Summer Stuff

posted by Chelsea

Summer.  It’s happening.

Despite our need for rain, the canyon is brilliant…


… and green.  And looking like summer.

We’ve done cowgirl things…


And frilly things…


We even snuck in an afternoon visit with Papa Doug & Grandma Janie…


Then Rose & Zinnia went on a road trip to Idaho.  A road trip to make sure Zinny has a sibling next spring. And a half sibling from our mare, Hobby.  We don’t want her to be an only child :-)

We tagged along for the road trip.  And snuck in a fast & furious overnighter with my family. We celebrated our nephew turning ONE and our boy turning THREE…


I snuck in a 20 mile bike ride with my mom…

While the kids fished with Buck & Papa…

And we even managed to stop at the lake & I stuck my feet in with some old friends on the way to the birthday party…

We made it home, moved cows around…


And then Buck…

… and I left the kids with his parents at our house while we took off for a grazing seminar in Northern California… to a location as remote as where we live.  I teased on the long drive in that I’m “owed” a seminar in a location less remote than Troy.  But lo and behold!  The woman who owned the “Inn” where we stayed (think shared bathrooms, no locks on bedroom doors) had to be so sweet. And had to make us yummy food.  Really yummy food.  And the seminar was fantastic and we learned so much that I decided nobody owes me anything.  Except a hotel with a spa.  Just that :)

And now we’re home.  And Cooper has been trying to keep up with the girls…


… which is not an easy task :)

And the girls have been getting up before 5 a.m. to help move cows.  Yesterday, after they left, Cooper was still sleeping and I was trying to do Yoga, but the phone kept interrupting me.  Do you know that our phone rings more before 6 a.m. then it does all day?  That’s the only time anyone thinks they can get ahold of Buck… and they’re wrong.  Anyway, I was taking messages for Buck, all while trying to do some  basic yoga poses, and this rode by…

And I decided the following…

A. The Riding Pose is always better than Warrior Pose.

B. I’ll gladly give up my lame Yoga attempts the day Cooper is old enough to be woken before 5 a.m. to go move cows and we can all go.

C. I love seeing this girl happily ride by the house.  It’s the very best way to start my morning.



Cooper, Computer & Calves

posted by Chelsea



For some reason, he’s really serious in most pictures I have of him. Buck had a similar look in pictures I’ve seen of him as a kid- a sort of “why are you interrupting me with that camera?” kind of look.  Cooper’s face is usually dirty, too.  I don’t know how the camera always manages to catch the dirt on his face… because it’s usually clean.  I mean, it is, right? Super clean!  You know, right before bed, after a tub.  Anyway! In some ways it seems like Cooper has always been here.  In other ways, it seems like just yesterday we brought his sweet little self home from the hospital…


Be still my heart.  I can still smell his sweet little self.  So snuggly.  And easy.  And happy.  And ready to run.  I mean, relatively speaking.   As soon as he could lift his head up, he wanted to run with the girls.  And he hasn’t stopped since.

In other news, our computer is on the fritz.  I’ve been procrastinating over buying a new one for about a year now.  Well, this old one finally pushed me to finally push “Add to Cart” and a new one is on the way.  So far my buyers-regret is at a minimum.

We branded the rest of the calves this last weekend.  Aunt Angie took some pictures and then let me play with her camera and I took a bunch of pictures and I decided, after the computer purchase has worn off, I’d really like to upgrade my camera- I loved hers.  At any rate, she took this one…


… and I love that it looks like we are branding on the edge of the world.  Just for a reference… that road in the background is part of our drive to town.  For those of you who haven’t been here, this is not the house we live in.  Josh…


… lives in that cute little house… the one on the edge of the world… or at least the edge of the canyon.

I’m working on picking out my favorite branding pictures. Buck really likes action shots and so I’ve challenged myself to take more this year. I kind of like to take non-action shots…


And not just because it’s tough to catch a roping picture at just the right time…


but because I like what happens when the action isn’t happening. I like to catch the quiet stuff. Like Uncle Todd coiling his rope, his young horse so at ease that he’s not even holding onto the reins while he coils…


There’s something about this picture, the quietness of it, I suppose, that I love.

But then again, there’s something about this action picture that Angie took…


…that I also love.

I also like the personable stuff. Like this…


Conversations in the grass, under the shade tree.  Kids playing.  Babies wandering off. Lovely.

And this…


I like to not see the rest of what’s going on- just a little snapshot.  Scott & his horse… a few cows and a great big canyon.  What else is there to see? really?  Scott saved his wife’s dog’s life a couple of weeks ago.  It was dead and he gave it CPR for approximately 6-8 minutes and brought it back to life.  I think the full story should be in the newspaper.  It’s inspiring.   I mean, who can say they’ve done CPR on their wife’s dog?  Scott can.  That’s who.

OK. Another action shot…


The guy on the roan horse. I really really like him.  Here he is again…


And a little more action…


I think, the true value in the pictures, is always the people in them…


When we were all done on Saturday, the ranch owners, seen here…


and on the right, here…


were sitting at the picnic tables with us, eating leftover pretzels and drinking something cold, talking about the day.  And the conversation hit on how cow-people still get together to help eachother out. It takes their entire Saturday– many of them took three Saturdays to help us this year. They are paid with lunch. And they work really hard. There’s fun involved, but it always amazes me, especially living this far out, that they come.  And once again, I think we are some of the luckiest people on the planet to get to be a part…


…of this kind of life.

Black & White

posted by Chelsea

I haven’t taken quite as many branding pictures this year as I usually do.  But the ones I have taken, I’ve enjoyed editing.  And I happen to be on a black & white “kick”.  I’m going to share some pictures today- from two different brandings on the ranch.  We have one more big branding next weekend and every calf should have an iron on it!  For now, some black & white pics… and I’ll start right… with the girls…









A three-picture-sequence…


learning the ropes












posted by Chelsea

After much anticipation and waiting, I’m pleased to announce the arrival of Rose’s filly, Zinnia “Zinny”.


She arrived this morning about 12:30 a.m.

We knew Rose was close yesterday evening, so I went down to check on her at midnight.  It didn’t take long to see that labor was in full swing so I called Buck and he woke up the kids.  It was dark, but with the help of a spotlight everyone got to see Zinny make her entrance into a 60 degree drizzly May night.  This is Rose’s first foal so she was a little confused and surprised and baffled and tired. (Who’s to blame her?!) After Zinnia was born and Rose was all clued into what was going on, we sat in the grass and watched them get acquainted.

And then I was filled up with a lot of emotion.  For starters, Rose is as good a horse as we could ever ask for.  She was 4 when Buck and I got married- he had started her the summer before and was just beginning to really use her.  She has been a champion for us ever since- she’ll go anywhere and do anything.  She does it all with a competent and easy-to-get-along-with-attitude.  I’ve watched her hold a rope tight on big angry bulls, several wild cows, and she’s drug more calves to the fire than she cares to count.  We love her.  And basically her baby is like our baby.  Except it’ll stay with her and stuff.  Yay! And we won’t be doing anymore midnight checks.  Yay!

Back to my emotion– Second.  To have our kids there and for them to just get to revel in the moment of this new life was super special.


Ranch life carries with it some really neat times, but it also carries with it a lot of disappointment.  I can’t tell you how many calves the kids have helped doctor only to have them die.  The chickens they raised have suffered the wrath of our aggressive cow dogs.  We lost the other foal we were anxiously waiting for this spring.  Disappointments are part of the deal.  So when the good comes,


it’s extra sweet.  To sit out in the pasture as a family and watch this miracle- this newly born foal who has the God-given ability to jump up on it’s wobbly four legs and know right where to go for food


and to whinny and knicker at her mama…. is not only a good reason to be awake at one o’clock in the morning, it is just downright “livin’ the dream”.


Crazy Mom

posted by Chelsea

During calving season we often walk out through the cows to check on things.  We might tag some calves, band a few bulls calves, or check to make sure we didn’t miss a set of twins or something.  During these “walk-throughs” the cows don’t “panic” because they’re used to us and this routine, but they usually pop their heads up from eating and make a quick look around to spot their calf…


and often, they mother-up with them, unless their too busy eating or something.  Normal newborn scenario, right?  I did would have done the same thing when my babies were new and someone wanted to come rope them or tag them, even if I was eating…. I mean, I don’t blame the mama cows one bit.

So the funny part.  You remember “the Lucy Cow“…


Well, we thought she was open (not bred!) last year and she’s getting older, and so we would have sold her except she is “The Lucy Cow” and so we kept her.  Well, she ended up being bred really late and was a fall calver, she calved in September or something.  Normally we would sell fall calvers because they’re hard to get back on a spring calving schedule, blah blah blah, but because she is “The Lucy Cow”… you’re catching on here… we kept her!   And so… she is currently in with the rest of the cows, along with her giant baby…


who is now nearly weaning age.  Every time we walk out into the field (to check on the newborns!) she bellers and runs for her giant like he’s an infant.  He’s usually off eating grass or drinking water from the river and looks up at her like “Are you crazy?!”  It’s basically like a human-type-mom running through a nursery of newborn babies desperate to get to her teenager before someone else tries to swaddle him.  While it makes us laugh every time she goes bellering through the newborns to find her teenager, that’s part of the reason we love her- she’s a good mama!  A little bit crazy… but good!  I think we’ll keep her.


December WHAT?!

posted by Chelsea

Good morning December!

WHAT?! December?!


In the last two posts I believe I told you I was going to tell you all about the cows coming home…


Well, I was in kind of a weird (mental) place before our Thanksgiving trip (more on the trip later).  The last couple months of Buck’s intense cattle gathering was getting to me- this was not the first time I’ve been in such a (mental) place and I’m pretty certain it won’t be the last.  Anyway, I was ready to “get out of Dodge!” for a few days and in my anxiousness to leave I wasn’t being real productive.  I did manage to get the refrigerator cleaned out and was down to meals made from nothing but pure condiments.  And I packed for our trip.  And I talked to my mom on the phone a time or two or fifty.  But… no cow post.

All that to say… now I’m in a (much) better mental place and am happy to report: The cows came home from summer range!  I’ll start with my favorite shot of the day.  I think they look like they posed for this….


… but they didn’t.  In fact, they were only lined up for the split second I took the picture and then a logging truck got in the way…


Anyway….It was cold.  Real cold.  Cooper and I drove to meet the crew with hot coffee and treats to keep them going. Cooper was pretty anxious to ride with Buck for awhile…


Even I rode…


… for about an hour.  And I probably shouldn’t mention it, but I chatted so much that I failed to notice some cows who took a wrong turn. Fortunately, it all worked out and they got right back with the herd.

I think the canyon is pretty spectacular, but seeing it from the ground, walking the grade…


makes it even more so.

And there’s something wonderful about seeing the cows, knowing where they’re headed…


… making the trek to winter ground.

The day started out cold and ended in a blizzard…


But the cows, as well as the crew, including Buck and Spiderman…


made it home sweet home.

Next time I’ll tell you about our trek West…


… and our own return to home sweet home!

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!






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