Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm telling you, there are a lot of nice things to love about Leavitt. Lou Lou comes out every other week from Lethbridge and then every other week I leave the country to go to the big city of Lethbridge. It's fun. Period. Just last week she came out to visit, and we were driving over the hills on our homestead, listening to country music because that is what we do when we are in the truck on the hills looking for gophers, when she just out of the blue said, " I really like coming here LeeLee, I just love coming out to Leavitt and forgetting my troubles". I think I should make bumper stickers that say, "Love it in Leavitt". Anyways, it makes me feel good when she says things like that. It feels like home to her and I like that. Back to my story, Lou Lou came out again on Saturday because her husband, Chris, is tiling her kitchen area and thought it be better if she was away from the mess. Nice yah? I had already made plans to help Dixie sort her 16 pairs from the herd of 300 pairs in the morning so Lou Lou just hung out at home until I was finished. I went home to pickup Lou Lou and we headed back out to Dixie's to do a little gopher hunting for an hour or so , but when we got to her place plans had been made to brand her 16 babies after gopher hunting. Do you know what that meant for me? Getting back on that horse and rounding up the cattle and putting them in the pen then sorting. Love that!

This is Downey and I pretty much love her. Remember my last post when I said that I wasn't going to ride Downey because Dixie was getting ready to show her and I didn't want to do anything to mess up all the training? Well, the event was cancelled/postponed for at least a month due to the equine herpes virus that is going around in the states right now so I was able to ride Downey and it was fu-un let me tell you. Right here I am sorting the mammas from their babies in the pen. See how Downey's head is pointed towards the mamma cow? That is how it is done. Downey/me is steering the momma in the direction I need her to go. Oh man, this is fun. To be on a horse riding is fun, but when you have a job to do it makes it more fun.

And here I am doing the same thing. Sorting the mammas from the babies. See the mammas behind the metal fence? They want their babies real bad and the babies want their mammas real bad too.

When it is branding time people seem to come out of the woodwork. Trucks and trailers just kept coming with people of all ages, from little babies to grandmas and grandpas.

Look at all these friends and family that came to help Dixie with her cows. Country folk are nice like that.

After the mammas are separated then you have to get the babies one by one to brand them. When Neal and I went to watch branding a few years ago at another place and last fall, it was done differently. Here they rope the babies, hold them down, then do their thing. This is Austin, he is the Jr. High Principal and the teachers' quorum advisor for Neal.

Poor thing. She just wants her baby.

Lou Lou totally feels the mammas' pain because she knows what is coming up. But look at those cute little boys with their little cowboy hats.

Branding irons in hot coals.

It takes at least two people to hold these babies down. They not only get branded with three separate brading irons, they also get vaccinated and? if you are a boy baby a couple of things get removed and now the term, " it's like adding salt to the wound" really hits home. Rio had a nice little treat when I got home. Ok, a few nice little treats.

Girls do this sort of thing too. That is Raven in the green and she is one of my Mia Maids. Jill is there too, she is a Beehive but would like to be with the Mia Maids, anyways, her dad is Austin. She has three sisters and they can all ride. Her mom Kaylynn learned how to load horses into a trailer and haul the trailer this year. I think that is amazing that she can do that all by herself. When she married Austin she didn't know a thing about horses and now she is an old pro.

Here is Jill and her grandpa, Buck, showing her the ropes of wrangling a calf.

A family affair with Dixie, her niece Raven and her dad, Denver.

Here is Dixie's brand. Three separate brands. Ouch. Double ouch, and Triple Ouch! It's Bar Ziggy Ranch. This is on the upper back corner on the left hip. I tried to turn this picture right side up and it just looked funny.

Lou Lou took this picture of me and I love it. I am a little bit country and a little rock and roll because I have a designer hair bobble thingy in my hair from my California days. See, I still have a bit of city girl in me. Oh, in YW on Sunday, we had a minute of telling what we did on Saturday and the girls said this and that. I told them that I had sorted cattle, rounded up cattle, separated cattle, and went gopher hunting. The advisor then told the girls that this is a cool thing because I am a city girl. Then you know what I said? I said yep, I can shoot and shop!

Ok, I wasn't going to post this picture, but I love it almost as much as the one above. I love the coloring, the background, the look on my face, all of it. Only one thing wrong with this picture though, is one hand is on the horn. Darn it.
I'm working on loping with two hands on the bridle more. It's coming, but I'm told that it takes more time in the saddle. I'll work on that.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Springtime in Leavitt

When the crocus appear in the pastures it means spring has sprung in these here parts and I am happy. We haven't had snow for a few weeks which is a big thing because two years ago it snowed on my 49th birthday (June 7th). Not good! Below are the things that tell me that spring is all around and that the next season is summer which means warmth and heat and tans and creeks visits, and fishing, and Waterton days, and all things sunny and yummy.

Michelle is home for the summer and she loves planting pots with flowers and herbs so last week we went downtown to the indoor nursery and bought a few things to make our home feel like spring.

We keep these in our house on our window sill because the wind blows on our house on the hill and they would not survive on the deck, plus it brings the outdoors inside which we like.

This poor momma robin got stuck in our garage and Rio really really wanted her. She finally got a hold of the robin then took it to her doghouse, but the robin somehow escaped and she was spared. And so were her babies-to be.

Yep, here she is on top of our garage door opener. She just sits quietly and warms those eggs up while Rio barks, but she pays no mind to Rio because she has a job to do.

Neal loves loves loves to mow lawns. He would mow lawns all day everyday if he could. After he mows he just sits back, so to speak, and looks over his mow job. He loves the lines the rider mower makes and the plushness of the grass. Our garden boxes and getting close to being planted. Hopefully next week.

Last week I went riding with Dixie on her land. It was warm (around 60 degrees maybe) with a slight breeze. Remember, springtime in Leavitt is different, it can be snowing so this is super great weather for this time of year. Ziggy and her baby are standing oh so close to each other that it is hard to see them.

I am on Shasta here. She has been a real good horse for me to learn on. I'm not crazy about her lope though. Now Downey is nice for loping, but Dixie is showing her next week and I do not want to be responsible for anything happening to Downey beforehand. I will totally wait my turn.

PS. I am riding my father's saddle.

Here is a much better picture of Ziggy and her baby right between the horses ears. See? always beside her momma.

A couple of weeks ago Mark and I went gopher hunting on the Cahoon Homestead which is where these cows are from. Nope, they are not ours but the land is. Now I know these next few shots are weird, but I found it interesting that these cows look so different. Look at these ears. Straight out the side with a defined point!

Kinda squatty and fluffy and she has horns too. She was suppose to be dehorned at branding. I don't think a girl looks cute with horns, ever.

Average ears but look at her tummy, she is ready to burst, dontcha think? Yep, it's spring when the momma cows have their babies. You should see the newborn babies run and play. So so cute.

Her ears are fat and round.

Now on to prettier things, crocus. I learned that to get really great crocus shots you have to lie down on your tummy. You just have to remember to brush off the dirt and dried cow poo poo.

Love my little camera folks.

And you thought that swans were only found in fairy tales, but nope, we have them right here in Leavitt.

I took this photo as the sun was setting, and on my tummy of course.

So there you have just some of the spring things that go on in Leavitt that make us all pretty darn happy around here. And guess what I saw in the classifieds today? Uh huh, the Gopher Hunt is set for June 4th. Stayed tuned !

Monday, May 16, 2011

California. The End.

I'm thinking that Mark is not going to be as cool about this as Marlboro Man, with this photo of his, well, Levi's. But there really is a story to this so keep reading and you will totally be on my side after you see these pictures below.

El Matador Beach with a very full parking lot.

A visit to the beach was on top of Michelle's list for this trip so we obliged her. We discovered El Matador Beach a year before we moved and have loved visiting there each time we go to California. If you are on the PCH and don't really know what you are looking for you might just miss the sign. In fact, now that I think about it, I think we just happened upon this beach. Ya, I think that's right. Pretty positive about that.

Hmmm... we are getting closer now, but these guys do not look like they are ready to jump in the water at all.

And why is she all dressed up sitting on a rock? We had to know cuz she definitely is not ready for a dip in the ocean either. Let's ask someone.

"Excuse me sir, what's going on here?" asks Bradley.
"Oh, we're shooting a Levi's ad for Europe", says the camera man.
See? So there you have the reason I could not resist taking the picture of Mark's Levi's.
El Matador is frequently shooting something here and I am 100% sure it is NEVER gophers. It's that time of year, sorry.

We had a family photo shoot here at El Matador just before Brad went on his mission. 2005 at sundown

Three Pelicans

Just heading into Ventura on the 101. It was so weird to see these palm trees along the freeway, I felt at home, yet I felt like a tourist at the same time.

This stretch of the 101 (Camarillo grade) means we are almost home. Just up over the hill is our old neck of the woods.

We are up and over and into the Conejo Valley. I realize there are lots of cars, but really, this is pretty open freeway for this area. The exit to your right takes you to Clark, Brad, Laurel, and Michelle's old high school, and up a few exits to your right is our Lynn Road exit to home.

So anyways, since we were only visiting "home" we stayed in a hotel right down the road from "home" and right next to In & Out, which we took advantage of. We walked to In & Out and it was great. Recognize the jogger waving to me? That's my Mark.

Just relaxing by the pool. Had to do it right? Even fully dressed it was a real treat.

Ok, this is the best place to have Mexican tacos like you cannot even believe. It is just down the road from where Mark used to have his shop and discovered it from his workers. It is a little Mexican grocery store when you walk in, but head on to the back of the store and it gets a little more interesting.

Told ya. This is a place where you have to know what you want and just order. There is really weird stuff in those pans. We just ordered chicken and carne asada tacos. They double up on the small corn tortillas and stuff them full of yummy ingredients. Oh man oh man. And can I just mention the price? Um, 2 for $1.00 !!! Yah, 50 cents each.

We were pretty happy to have Brad, our translator with us. That boy of ours really does come in handy for a few things. Thanks Brad.

Yah, because he served his mission in Nicaragua where they eat every bit of a cow, Brad thought he would go back in time and order a cow tongue taco. He didn't actually say that when he ordered. It's lengua in Spanish and he said it was pretty tasty.

Look at these sweet Mexican popsicles. We were a little disappointed with the flavor though because they were not that distinguishable. But I would get them again because it was a perfect ending to our yummy tacos.

And this was on the top of my California list. Buying strawberries from the truck on the corner. A 1/2 flat with 9 baskets was $11.00. The price whether it was good or bad was not much of an issue, just buying them from a truck, and knowing they were picked that day, locally, was the thrill. They were pretty delicioso.

Michelle is not too thrilled that Laurel is tanner than she is. Ok, I'll tell you why. Laurel's friend, Kelly has an older sister who just got certified as a spray tan gal so Maren sprayed Laurel for free. There. You're ok with this information getting out right Laurel? Michelle and I would have done the same thing, right Michelle? And who doesn't want an instant tan while in California?

So there you finally have the conclusion of the Cahoon Utah/California vacation. The only thing wrong with it was that Clark was not with us. We will make up for it this summer though. Clark has a job in Waterton. Michelle has a job in Waterton, and Laurel pretty much has a job in Waterton as well. So it will be a busy house this summer which is going to be fun fun fun!!