Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tally Touche...

It was that time of year when marking and branding is in full swing.  
 The bawl of calves, the lowing of mama cows, the horses sweating. Leather creaking, ropes swinging.  Dust swirling, smoke from the branding fire, and the smells. The youngsters working the ground crews, the young buckaroos trying to show the old buckaroos a thing or two.  
I, like most I know, have been marked by a hot branding iron, and vaccinated for a lot of things that humans are not prone to. Nicked by a cutters knife, and rope burned, and had the air knocked out of me by a well placed kick.

The cowboy sense of humor is often strange to those from outside.  
The Cowman had a small bald spot on the top of his head. At one branding he saw the ground crew had a large calf with a nut sack the same color as his hair.  He did the castrating on the calf, threw the nuts in the nut bucket, and slipped the large hairy sack into his vest.  Later in the day when we broke for lunch, and all were balancing plates and drinks on knees, sitting around the fire, the Cowman took off his Stetson to wipe his brow, and there sat the nut sack over the little bald spot. No one said a word about it, everyone tried not to look at it, but one's eyes were drawn to it like a magnet. One youngster started to giggle and the Cowman gave'm the look, which put paid to that.  The Cowman put his Stetson back on, and we finished the branding.  That evening as we gathered around the fire, having a few well earned toddies, the Cowman took off his Stetson and said... 
"In this business it helps to be concentric diversified, and when this takes (he pointed to the nut sack on his head) I'm going to the bank with an expanded business plan!"  He never cracked a smile or looked anything but serious.  We paused for a moment in sheer wonder at his cowman's logic and business acumen. Then with much laughter we sent the kids to roundup all the nut sacks they could find.  
And that's how he double verified the bull calf count. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Country Lullaby...UPDATED

The fence project supervisors are gett'n ansy about the delay caused by the city not having marked their lines yet. So, I have been telling them of wild flowers, grasses, three delicious types of clover, and assorted other goodies to be had nearby

It works til nightfall, when they listen to a country lullaby from the waterfall by the deck to send them off to dreamland...


UPDATE:  After leaving many One Ringy Dingy messages for "Vinnie" at city hall to find out when he is coming to mark the city lines, he has called back to say, "I don't need to do that, just go ahead with the project."  Now our helper guy is not answering his phone... DAMMIT. 
Oh well, there are other things to work on, Dad & the cronies have decided to permanently have poker nights here, and Dad has an order in for ribs...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday bits...

My Hi-Lift handyman jack has seen more country than a lot of truckers. When I moved up to Dad's I left mine under a tarp in the barn next to the bunkhouse. I didn't bring it, as I figured Dad had one.  Now that I could use it, I find he doesn't have one. He's been a townie too long.


There have been more than a few times that thing has saved me.  From using it to change a tire, or winch the heavily loaded Gator out of a sinkhole in the creek, to pulling posts or binding down a load of hay, it is just darn handy to have. A trip down to pick it up is on the agenda, and a cozy spot behind the back seat in the little SUV awaits it.

The turkeys are back in country.  Willie and I spotted them on the morning walk. A Jake and two small hens.  We were down wind and they never saw us, or they would have hightailed it out of there.

Picked up Dad from his poker tournament and he was all smiles.  He came in 7th out of 100 players, and won a gift certificate to Home Depot!
As I have heard from more than one friend recently "you scare the crap out of most men, Brig".  Well dang, isn't that just special!  I'm going to take a nice long shower, paint the cowgirl toenails "Get it Girl Red" and call it a day.
The "Get it Girl Red" nail polish has gone missing, leaving me to decide between  "I'm Not a Waitress" and "Shoot Out at the OK Coral "

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Flour power...

The fencing project is progressing slowly. A work order for the utilities to be marked has been done.  I tried to do it via phone, and may have been a little short with the lady, as she kept telling me "this is being recorded". "Yes ma'am I know that". "I also know that you should be able to give clear and concise instructions"  that ended trying to do it via phone...

 After that I went on line and did it that way, which was a snap.  One of the things that the phone lady told me was I had to mark, with white paint, where the fence line was going. On the website they say you can mark it with a variety of things, white flour being one. So now flour marks the fence line, and one of the utilities has come and marked two of the lines, with the others to follow, most likely Monday. Then we are good to get the fence in.

To keep Dad from getting too antsy about the fence I entered him in a Texas Hold'm poker tournament this weekend. He is looking forward to it, and has been playing dang near non stop on line to get in winning form.

I promised the Padre (LSP) that I would post pictures of some of the stone fences, built by the Chinese around the time of the gold rush, in N. Calif.  These pics are not mine (I could not find mine).

Oh, and the picture at the very top... my all time Favorite piece of Dad's welding... 
(three old disk blades)

Monday, March 9, 2015


Even the lowliest of fence builders get a day off now and again, although Dad does not seem to agree with that statement. Dad does say, he and I are a lot a like in that we tend to go all in til a project is done.  Pacing ourselves does not seem to be part of our makeup. Dad has completed installing the two gates that were needed for the fence project. We only butted heads on a couple of things, and it all got sorted with minimal blood and no tears. 
I got quotes for the fencing and posts, and for a few dollars more can support the local guys. Will call PG&E to have them mark the underground utility lines before I drive the posts in, I don't want any surprises in that department. Between running for parts for Dad and bushwhacking the jungle it has made for long days.
 While on a parts run, I came close to getting rear ended  by a tractor/trailer rig as I was turning into the parts store parking lot,  and I cut the corner into the lot too sharp. An ominous pop came from my right front tire, clean busted the sidewall open. So I am out the cost of a new tire, which depressed one of my emergency contingency funds, damn!

While I'm working as Dad's fencing crew... the SILs are at the Oregon coast, and on the beach in Hawaii, T (the range buddy) & his lady are getting ready to vacation in Alaska, and the kayaking crew is in Arizona to watch spring training... I did manage to get away for a few hours with friends Sunday for some Diamond in the rough therapy.

As soon as the fence project is done, and I've replenished the contingency fund, I'm doing one of my favorite things, Grandkids Therapy!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Field fencing...

The field fence building course has begun, and by golly if an ol cowgirl can do it, darn near anyone can. Not that they would be jackwagon enough to try...

painting by Jamie Wyeth

Dad has decided to fence the back yard so Willie can run around outside.  With some highly technical figuring and blurry vision he has determined the perimeters of the courseIn order to put the fence in a couple hundred feet of landscaping jungle needs to be tamed.

I know the Cowman would have hired a fencing crew and given them a D4 to smooth the way. Isn't happening like that here.  Just an ol cowgirl, a small chain saw, pruning shears and a post driver...  

It is frustrating when you realize that you are long past having the strength of a 35 year old berserker or that you have to crawl to get into that glorious hot shower at the end of the day.


If you don't hear from me for a while, it is just that I haven't completed the course yet, or have gone off course in the underbrush...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

lonely hearts night..

charcoal by Carrie L Ballantyne