I know the bling bling rhinestone belts have been pretty popular in the western community here lately. And they do add some drama and glamour to a gal’s waistline as she speeds through the arena. That being said – I’m a fan of belts just like this one. I love, love this belt. It just seems so versatile and for those of us who prefer a lower rise jean, this seems like the perfect solution to keepin’ yer britches hitched.
The sun is shining and the snow has stopped, but the wind is still blowing. It’s hard to say how much snow accumulation we’ve received because in places (front of our house) there are 4′ drifts & in other places nada. Hopefully all the baby calves are soaking up the sun and frolicking in the powdery white stuff. So far the only havoc it has wreaked around here (that I can tell) is a couple loose horses wandering ‘downtown’ and several cases of cabin fever.
Heard around ‘town’;
“I can see why Russians drink so much vodka.”
“I hate snow!”
Oh, I was so close — my brother Tait (pictured above w/ my girlies) is on his way to Austin right now for the rodeo. And if I would’ve known a hair sooner, I would’ve jumped in too! I was arm deep in our landscape project and couldn’t get my loose ends tied before one whole week of playin’ hookie in TX.
It’s not that Tait didn’t want company or a driving buddy for the big trip – he just got called at the last minute because Todd Suhn broke his arm and couldn’t compete in the steer wrestling. Hopefully Todd heals up soon & hopefully my brother makes the best of the chance he’s been given.
We’re bracing ourselves for a big spring storm – with predictions of up to 18″ of snow. Thankfully we finished our landscaping project and now we can spend the next couple days playing Scrabble and eating cookies. Come to think of it, who needs Austin anyway?
…but since I’m still situated much, much farther North I’d like to share with you some FREE music courtesy of NPR & the SXSW Music, Film & Interactive Festival going on this week in Austin, TX. So as if a week of battling bands and other way cool conferences weren’t enough, Rodeo Austin is underway as well. I just checked out their schedule of events and it is LONG! There seems to be no end to the possibilities for interaction & entertainment in Austin.
ps. does anyone know if K’naan copied the album name ‘Troubadour’ from George Strait, or was it the other way around? two ‘Troubadour’ed’ albums is kinda confusing to us country folks… maybe some day they’ll collaborate on a song (that would be soooo Austin)
pps. don’t download if you have a strict policy of only listening to country music, as the SXSW album would probably fall under the Alternative category, oh and you’re gonna need iTunes.
ppps. thanks Amy for the heads up on the free tuneage!
You don’t have to go very far from ‘downtown’ Marsland to find yourself in the heart of Western Nebraska ranch country. And you don’t have to travel too far to find yourself in some good company. Tim & Stephanie Hruby live & work on the Hagman Ranch.
Stephanie is known as Mrs. Hruby to her students at the Pink School which is a small country school near Harrison, NE and Tim is the main man in charge of all ranch operations. During this time of year, the green shoots of seemingly innocent cheat grass are starting to peak out of last year’s brown tufted fodder. A daffodil might even have the audacity to bloom taking it’s chances with the unpredictable March weather, and if you listen very closely you might even hear the sound of lowing cows giving birth to this year’s calf crop. Calving time is a busy time for the ranch – there are cows to check throughout the night, calves to pull, cows to move, calves to tag, cows to distract while tagging their calves, bums & twins to tend to and an endless assortment of miscellaneous cattle care-taking activities.
Just the other day we had the opportunity to go over and help Tim sort some cows & pairs. I use the term ‘we’ loosely because I actually didn’t do any sorting to speak of. I had high hopes of getting some really cute baby calf pictures, but it was blowing so hard that we spent most of the time in the feed truck observing and snapping pictures when it seemed convenient. We left the chousing, coralling and sorting to the guys.
It’s really pretty amazing that one human can tend to all these cows. Especially given their size, temperament and the varying weather conditions. There are a couple ‘helpers’ in the equation, their names are Belle & Tess. Two heelers who will work for food … and occasional pats on the head . There are several ranches that rely on a 4-wheeler to get around (maybe the majority), but Tim still uses horses to tag calves. It’s a great way to expose younger horses to a variety of situations and for Tim, riding outside horses is another way of earning some extra income.
It seems that the Tim, the cows, the dogs, and the horses all had a pretty copacetic working relationship. I’m sure there are times during calving season when the cows are under some undue strain (been there) and there might be some harsh words/bellering, some pushing & shoving, a heel nipped, maybe even a horse tipped. But usually the whole scuffle is resolved and the respective parties continue on their day as if not much has happened. After all, you can’t hold too much of a grudge against the guy that provides your feed.
We had the privilege of garnering alot of extra attention. The feed truck is pretty important to these mamas when the snow gets deep. They’re basically conditioned to love the rumble of the diesel and the occasional toot of the horn. It’s alot like break time in the work place – when 10:30 rolls around and word has circulated that there is cake, cookies or rolls in the break room – the scene outside in the hallway looks alot like this.
This one is the crazy chick that nobody messes with – if she wants cake, she gets cake. Red-heads are always unpredictable.
The process of sorting is a fairly uncomplicated one. Move a bunch of cows into a large pen, then a smaller batch into a medium-sized pen, then move a portion into an alley. Both sorters enter the alley and one controls the gate while the other looks them over to distinguish which ones are the ‘heavies’ (about to calve), which ones will calve later and the occasional open cow. It’s up to the sorter to relay the message to the gate guy which pen each big mama should head to. An efficient team can get this job done pretty quickly – an inefficient team can get run over, knocked down, pinched in a gate, let the wrong cow out and have to bring her back and generally take all day to do the job. Thankfully we were done in under 2 hours.
We (me & my 2 small side-kicks) had just enough time to appreciate the scenery and animals and to just hang out together and take it all in.
After all, it was about 10:30 & that’s break time!
We’re sure thankful to have Tim & Stephanie & Baby Sophie as neighbors – they’re great rodeo traveling partners and friends. I think the cows are awful fond of them too.