Went to our 3rd branding in a row, yesterday. Chance and kids went along. Windy and had a little rain but got them done.. have another one today. Getting lots of calves. Had to pull one out of a heifer and it was quite a deal.

My friend Raymond was here, photographing at the branding, for material to paint.. he is a great artist, so comes out when he can for background material. He and I drove down south where the drop bunch is and found a heifer calving.. we drove on and checked the rest of the cattle, came back and sh hadn’t made any progress, so stopped at Chances when we got back and told him to go check his heifer after bit… we putted around the house for awhile and then the three of us and Addy Bear went back and even took some supplies along, in case we needed to help her, and if we could get her caught.. sure enough, she is still trying, one foot and a nose.. it’s getting late so we decide to try and just rope her out of the Nitro… Chance ties a big knot in the end of the rope, hangs out the door with one leg out the window, door open and I build to her.. she can run real fast.. and she is smart enough to go down in the creek when we get in pursuit. Yeah, this will be much “faster” and “handier” than going home getting horses and taking her to the house!!! After several attempts, Chance gets her roped, I run up on the tail of the rope with the tire of the Nitro and bang, we got her caught….she drops over the edge os a shadow creek that is dry and we wait for her to choke down so we can hobble her and pull the calf… no dice, she won’t choke down, tho’ she sounds like she will never get enough breath.. So Chance attempts to walk up to her and work on the calf… she makes a sideways run, almost clotheslining Raymond and me and pops the rope out from under the tire and away she goes… we do this about 3 times before I manage to get two wheels on the rope and she is pretty short… Chance goes to work on her and she’s had enough and takes a run, swings around the backside of the Nitro and bashes in the side, behind the back door. Addy Bear and Raymond are in the back seat and they thought she was going to come in the window!

I have been on steroids for thew past few days trying to remedy a pinched nerve in my neck/back, so I am starting to have a “road rage”! I scream, “Lets go get the horses and do this right!” No one argues!

We go home and saddle a couple of broke horses and head back south on a lope.. Raymond and Tate come down with the Nitro, but can’t find us in the dark.. Chance and I get split up in the dark and I luck onto the heifer as I see her cross a creek in the dark but there is enough moonlight I can see the rope trailing her in the water! I start hollering at Chance that I have found her. No answer! I holler at Tate, that I have found her. No answer…! Reid rage in a fever, I am cussing everyone and every cow , stupid enough to not lay down and calf by herself….. she joins up with several other cows. All are black angus… it is real dark now.. I don’t have a flashlight, I am over a mile away from the buildings, in rough and rolling grassland, with water in creeks and no help… I lose the cow, as they all split and I can’t see which one is trailing the rope…Finally Chance finds me, then Tate and Raymond. I cuss and swap with Tate and now I am in the Nitro and Tate is horseback…I go tearing around the pasture, shining the lights all over looking for cows and one specific cow trailing a rope….It seems like we drove 100 miles, back and forth and round and round, looking… finally we decide it ain’t going to work and we will just have to come back at daylight…Next morning reallllll early, Chance and I have two horse in the trailer, drive down to the pasture and set up the trailer next to a fence with the gate open, trot out and find the heifer… still no calf! We trot her to the trailer, she jumps in like she has been pasture loaded in a trailer all her life. we had horse, get her in the oral and successfully remove the calf from her. Of course, by now the calf is dead, but she isn’t so thats a partial win….the things you do, trying to “save time” and “this will work slick”!

As rain and then switched over to real small flakes of snow… not real windy…yet! But sure wet out there…

We’ve been getting some rain of late…a quarter to half inch, here and there.. cows are calving.. getting a new pairs kicked out.. getting some riding in..

About a month ago, I started have some pain in my left shoulder blade. I’ve had it off and on for years.. but this just kept getting worse and worse… finally I went to a Chiro.. he popped and snapped some stuff in my neck and back, but it didn’t seem to help the pain too much.. he showed me some stretches to do and they didn’t help much either.. had to go to town the next day, so went back and saw a different Chiro.. about the same deal, some pops and cracks, but not much help for the pain.. went in the next day and saw a PA and she prescribed some pills… they helped, but not all night long.. I’d wake up in the morning with screaming pain… morning being any time after 12 am… I’d go to my chair and watch TV while alternating heat and cold on my shoulder and neck… after a couple days of that I went and saw my doctor and she prescribed some other pills… they’d help a little, but still not completely.. couldn’t get much sleep…finally I went and saw a Physical Therapist who had helped me in the past.. he showed me some stretches to do and my doc sent me a different prescription… so now most of the sharp pain is gone, but still some dull pain and numbness in my fingers and that arm just feels weak and weird… hopefully these new stretches will get it taken care of in time…

Not sure what kicked this in, but sure hope it goes away in time.. I can afford MRI’s and such as our insurance is a joke…very high deductible and still can’t afford the premiums.. yeah, Obama care…. what a wonderful deal it is!

So that is one of the reasons I haven’t been posting much on here… branding season has started…. Chance took my place at the first one.. got another scheduled for tomorrow, but with this weather I bet they hold off.. then 4 in a row end of this week and the weekend.. hopefully I will be able to go to all and even help with the work.. may have too just set on my horse and get in the way! 😀

Been pretty nice, warmer temps, some wind of course, some snow, some rain, water is running down the creeks.. we are getting a few calves.. cows prefer eating short green grass over dry, old hay.

Next week is Cowboy Poetry week, so Shelane Graham, who is the rural library teacher for our area, talked me in to going to the rural schools while she has her class, and discussing and presenting poetry, especially cowboy poetry. It’s been fun and hopefully we have stirred some young minds.

Good Friday, today. The day our Lord was scourged and crucified for us. Cindy and I watched the Passion, by Mel Gibson last night. It is hard to watch and from what I can read it was not even as bad, the way they show it, as it probably actually was. Hard for me to comprehend that kind of determination, courage and love, that a man would go thru’ all of that willingly, just for me…and you.. and everyone who believes in HIM. Of course, he was God/man so we can rationalize that he had super human strength and endurance, but I think we need to remember, that as a man, he felt every lash and nail and curse and all other pains and ridicule, just as we would. As God, he understood and had such deep compassion, that he was willing to allow this to happen. To save all who believe in him. And of course, we know, as Paul would say, the Rest of the Story! We know he will rise on the morning of the third day. And if we believe in him and follow his commandments, we too can do the same, on the day we leave this earthly life behind!

I hope you have a Blessed Easter and remember, it isn’t about bunny’s Easter eggs and baby chicks. It’s about the One who rose up and reigns in heaven! Viva Christo Rey!

Yup, it is that time of the year.. started raining Tuesday night, woke up at daylight to snow and it has snowed of and on since with up to 40 + mph winds. Looks like over a foot of snow here, but hard to tell as much has drifted and some has went into the ground.

We’ve seen worse, but never much fun for those who have livestock out in it. Especially those who are getting calves now. All the ranchers are out in it, doing their best to feed and save the lives of those baby calves.. sleepy and tired and still going… this is the test of cow people on the northern ranges… South of us they just had a real bad one with terrible flooding a few weeks ago.

The frost is out, so it is snow on top of mud.. the good thing is that this will melt right in, where the soil will take it.. the bad thing is, it will run off and flood where the soil is saturated.

Yeah, ranching on the the northern plains sure is fun. Good thing we have God with us, holding us by the hand and helping us…if we let Him.

We went out and saddled up a bunch of horses and moved all the cows south of the road, up into the 80, across from the house… looks like we got a spring blizzard coming in.. starting with rain on Tuesday and then switching to snow Wednesday, early morning.. lots of wind.. they are predicting about an inch of rain and 6 inches of snow as of now.. but that can all change as we get closer… Gramma rode Pilgrim and I rode my colt, Feather… Chance and his crew rode their regular mounts. Nice warm day today, a little breeze. We have had a few heifers calves that weren’t supposed to until later and a couple cows, as the bull got out early last year… but we are not really calving, so it won’t be real tough, but we still have to watch them close in case something does calve and it’s amazing how a spring storm can make cows calve.

60 degrees or so and supposed to be warmer tomorrow.. I fed yearlings then went to cleaning corrals.. they ain’t perfect but much better than they were. I hauled a bunch of old dried manure that had gotten pushed up in a pile for years, out onto the hardpans last fall, with Chances dump trailer.. I have about got the pile back to the same size! This will shrink down as it dries out.. lots of it real sloppy… we are going to have cattle in the corral Friday or Saturday so it will be nice to have them better.. still need to push manure up in the lot out back… I make piles, they dry out and cattle love to lay on them and they even give a little wind protection… if we had a manure spreader or the money to hire one, I guess we could scatter it and make the grass better in places… but I don’t so I won’t.

Spring or what passes for it, seems to have hit.. snow is mostly gone except in the deepest draws and creeks.. water running down the creeks and draws. Warmer.. I love that! Got a few calves, tho’ they are not supposed to be calving yet.. according to the bull turn out, but cows and especially bulls, can be sneaky… cattle are getting picky about what kind of hay they will eat.. starting to see a slight green tinge around.. it’s a good time of the year. We did get a bit of snow the other morning, but melted almost as fast as it hit the ground. Geese every where.. had a bunch of turkey’s come up almost to the house the other day. Seen my first Meadowlark yesterday. Horses are shedding. My colt humped up with me the other day. Ahh, spring.

Snow is melting and water is running. the dam out east is going over the spillway.. the big dam up west is almost full.. creeks are starting to run, tho’ not all of them, where you can see it.. I imagine some is running under the snow, but where it’s on top, it is mostly bank full.. I love it!

Chance topped off Feather fro me this afternoon, tho’ it didn’t amount to anything, he was fine, so then I went out and made a ride on him. He’s nice. I want to keep riding him every day I can. We got cattle in this morning and sorted the heifers off that are supposed to stat calving May 1st. Chance tagged the two calves we got out of them already. Moved the horses so they can go north up on the rocky hill. I plan on gathering thievery day, so will keep a broke horse in and my colt. It all feels like spring work, so it must be spring!

Ol’ Sol has been working and we have mud. Wonderful glorious mud!

I know, most people don’t like mud, but mud means warmth and snow going away and creeks and dams getting full, so I like mud. Give me a few weeks of it and I probably won’t be so high on it!

I saddled up Pilgrim this afternoon and rode him for the first time since he lost his eye.. same ol’ good feller.. maybe stumbles a bit more, but we were on uneven snow ground, so I won’t fault him. We went north and shut gates so yearlings can’t get next to one bunch of cows we have sorted off. We had to pick and choose and ride around draws where the snow was deep, but we made it. Nice to be horseback again.

Chance had a couple heifers calve this morning.. supposedly they weren’t supposed to start until around May 1, but I guess if they aren’t ones you had yourself, they can calve anytime! Both mama’s and babies are fine, but Chance is in a panic trying to figure out where to put these heifers who might calve next. He decided we needed to get a shed cleaned out and the corrals which are full of frozen and wet muck. So after I got done feeding I was helping him, me on the tractor, him in his skid loader… then the tractor started acting up, like it had water in the fuel.. we couldn’t get it running, so drug it into the shed and we are proceeding from there.. I am thinking this could be a real good opportunity and excuse to star feeding with the team.. not sure if I can talk him into it, we will see.. we can feed with the skid steer, but it isn’t quite as handy.

Anyway, we got snow melting making mud and I like it!

It finally started snowing about 4 yesterday afternoon.. of course the wind blew… not sure how much we got but ai think most of it blew down south east of us. We had all the livestock behind protection and fed.. went out this morning and fed again.. seems they all survived..as far as blizzards go, I have seen lots worse ones, around here.. I see they are having flooding in the eastern part of the state and north eastern Nebraska.. them poor folks are getting walloped. I talked to Fr Tyler this afternoon and they had rain and then snow, so got lots tougher conditions than we did. Sure glad we aren’t calving in this, but have in the past and if you got your sheds all bedded down and check real often, you save most of them..going to be muddy after this.. when there is bare ground it was muddy this late afternoon. It’s all moisture and we will be glad we had it, later on when the grass starts to grow. Not too big of drifts to dig out tomorrow. I am old school and remember digging out after thesis with a two wheel drive tractor and no chains, so with these front wheel assist tractors, this doesn’t seem too bad.