Back At it Again

Howdy Friends

We had a very good winter here at the Ranch.  With the horses in the field, enjoying their eight months off between Chuckwagon Racing seasons, someone always needs to be tending to them.  They are always on free choice hay and are fed rolled oats daily across the field, which they love.

Nov 20 2017 feeding

Daily Fed Oats

Throughout the winter, there are always many activities, some holidays and family get together’s to attend.  All these activities make the cold winter days pass by just a little bit faster.  Despite the cold, we still enjoy and appreciate everything that we do each and every day.


The Hockey Boys

My guys love hockey!  Whether they are playing it or following along with their beloved Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League, its something they share together.  Back a few months ago, the Chuckwagon drivers and outriders hosted a game in Strathmore Alberta, playing a game of hockey against some of the NHL Alumni.  The turn out was great and all who attended truly enjoyed the evening.


Happy To Be Me


While the spring and summer is quite the run on the Chuckwagon trail, a well deserved holiday is something that I truly enjoy.  Rick had gifted me a holiday back when I turned 50, and this past October I cashed it in.  I flew to the Grand Cayman Islands with nine other gals for a ladies wellness retreat.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope to do it again.



Christmas time is always so magical, especially if you have wee ones in the house.  We enjoyed the excitement of our two grandsons, and our kids Amy, Kaylee and Cody along with their spouses, Chris 1 and Chris 2.  (Both daughters married Chris’s).  The day couldn’t have been any better as Santa came in the night bearing gifts for all.

Throughout the winter I managed to take a photography class to gain some more insight on my journey in taking photos during the year.  My teacher was Greg Johnson off the TV show Storm Chasers.  He is so full of knowledge in the photography world and brings along so much fun and laughter into his classes.  I am looking forward to the next one I attend in the future.


A Boy and His Best Bud

My little buddy Coy, our grandson had come out to feed oats with me one day.   I took my camera along in hopes to get a few photos.  I was totally impressed with how this one turned out.  His puppy Toopee means the world to him.  He’s such a unique dog with his two different eyes.  Such a beautiful connection they have.



I so enjoy my grandboys!  They bring me so much joy and happiness and I can never spend enough time with them.  Ryker is now 2 and just a going concern.  He’s got the biggest blue eyes, is very active and enjoys playing with cars, trains and blocks.  He keeps his mom and dad pretty busy day in and day out.


Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction

As Spring rolls around, so does the Chuckwagon season.  And to kick off the 2018 season, is the yearly Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction that was held on March 22nd in the big city.  It is always so exciting to see the continuing sponsors, new potential sponsors and all the Chuckwagon volunteers that work so hard to make things happen.  We appreciate each and every one of them.  Every driver takes their turn and steps up onto the stage and the bidding begins.  This year we obtained a new sponsor during the 10 days of Stampede named Cleo Energy Services and we are excited to connect with them and promote their company for the full 10 days of Stampede.



In the Chuckwagon world, there are many long-lasting blood lines. Rick was born into the Dorchester family, his late mom being Joan Dorchester.  His Granfather was the Great Tommy Dorchester who raced Chuckwagons many years ago.  Rick’s cousin Troy Dorchester also races in the same circuit as Rick.  His dad is Garry Dorchester who raced back in the 60’s.  When you grow up in the sport your family is involved in, it’s a pretty good promise that you might get involved some way as well.  I know for these two guys, they love what they do and take pride in all their horses that get them to where they are.


April Spring Training

Even though the snow is lying on the ground, taking its time to melt, the training of the ponies has begun.  It started about one week later than usual but is going full straight ahead.  The sleigh will be in use one more day or two, then we will begin using the chuckwagon.  Puddles, or we may call them little lakes are forming in the field because of the run off, so we have pumps running around the clock draining them to help dry up the field much faster.

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Today while we were out training, my camera came with me.  I wanted to share a few of these close-ups that tell a story on their own.  My favorite is of our son Cody’s hand and the horse that was sniffing and gently nibbling on him.  The connection was priceless.  Animals may not speak out loud but their actions tell so much.

Rick & Sue Oct 2017

A Strong Connection

As another season gets rolling along, I look forward to you all following along on my journey as a chuckwagon wife.  Its an adventure that is unique, special, trying some days, fulfilling and unlike any other summer lifestyle that I know of.

From Home on the Ranch


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P.S.  The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.

Oprah Winfrey


Time Well Invested

Hello Friends

My yearning to write is always there, and it never leaves.  Yet, the pace of life on the Ranch and the list of things to do keeps me very busy, thus putting my writing on the back burner.   I know I need to learn how to time block and allow myself to set aside a couple of hours to write and share my thoughts as I so enjoy  to do, much more often.

Our Chuckwagon Awards banquet on October 14th came and went and was a very successful, fun and enjoyable evening.

When I celebrated my 50th birthday 2 years ago in May, my wonderful hubby granted me with a gift of a vacation to go and spend time on a girls trip somewhere of my choice.  When returning after a Chuckwagon Summer and being gone from home for three months straight, all I want to do is just stay home, even though there are many things to catch up on at the Ranch.


A Place of Solitude

This past spring, my on-line fitness trainer, Nadine Dumas who lives on the lovely Grand Cayman Island, down in the Caribbean (who is originally from Red Deer AB)  had announced her first ever Luxe & Well Ladies retreat being held in October 2017.  I knew I wanted to attend.


Well, after finishing up all my to do list, sending my books off to the accountant for our year-end, and preparing a few meals for my hubby, I was off on a big West-jet plane headed south to green waters and sunshine.


My Friend Marci

Upon arrival at the beautiful Luxurious Point of View Villa, we received a bag full of goodies from many of the local sponsors around the Island.  What an awesome gift to be given.  The other nine ladies and I were in for a real week-long treat and I think I found a new happy place.


Early Morning Sunrise

Our first morning was filled with a fitness session on the beach, and a yoga hour on the dock.  Both sessions were invigorating and I enjoyed them both very much.


Chicken Cordon Bleu

For supper one night we ventured down to the Bonvivante, a kitchen store/kitchen.  Chef Maureen taught us a few lessons in food preparation and we were the lucky ones that got to enjoy the wonderful results of the evening.


A Little Bit of Heaven


Beverage of Choice

And an evening meal is always better with a chilled glass of very good white wine.


Yoga on the Water

In life, it is always good to embark on new adventures to broaden our horizons.  Our group ventured down to Seven Mile Beach, which is a long crescent of coral-sand on the western end of Grand Cayman Island.  It looked just like it does in the travel magazines.  Again, we had another yoga session, but this time it was out on the water upon a paddle board.  We all had to have lots of concentration to make sure we didn’t tip over into the water.  Again, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and yes, there were a few that went for a swim.


Keepin Cool

I really enjoyed our down time on seven mile beach.  It was not too busy, yet was fun to take a few shots of the kids around us.  It brings me much joy to see the innocence and the no care in the world around them.  They just love life to the fullest.


I need a Caption.  What do you suggest?

This is my favorite photo.  These young teenage gals were having fun doing their thing, and exercising their gymnastics moves.  It was incredible to see their flexibility.


Sand Castles

And who doesn’t go to the beach and not play in the sand.  There is something about the feeling of soft white sand in your toes as you walk along the beach.


In My Happy Place

So far, this vacation has been a very relaxing, meditative time full of many giggles too.  I am looking forward to the rest of the days, and hope to get a few more shots to share with all of you.

From Down South in the Grand Cayman

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P.S. Fill you life with adventures, not things.  Have stories to tell not stuff to show.

Home On The Ranch September 2017

Howdy Folks,

As September is upon us, so is the farmers and their fall harvesting across the prairies and beyond.  As I ventured over to our daughter Amy’s home in Consort, Alberta with Bruce and Bonnie a couple of weeks ago, we fully enjoyed our journey.  I shared just a few photos on my last blog, and decided I needed to share some more of the great photos that were captured.  I always like to say, a picture is worth a thousand words and more.


Our arrival at the long driveway, was a sign we could not miss.  When travelling in new areas, some sort of landmark is always a good thing.  Coy, our grandson was very excited to see us and show us around.  But not until we enjoyed a delicious good home cooked meal with the kids and Amy’s in-laws.


“Awesome!” Come Along with Me

As Consort sits approximately 62 km west of the Saskatchewan border, the lay of the land is fairly flat with rolling hills for miles and miles.  The area has had very, very warm temperatures for the last month or so, and this has put a twist on the harvesting of the crops.


Paths Along the Fields

We began our journey driving side-by-sides across the fields to the paths that follow along the edges of the quarters.  This area is quite different from central Alberta.  Many huge power towers scatter over the landscape, continuing on in the distance for miles.


“Doe Alert”


Off and Running

Wildlife is everywhere you go when traveling this great world of ours and here was no different.  We came upon this doe grazing in the field.  She never saw, heard or smelled  us right away, as the wind was blowing in a different direction for this.  But when she spotted us, there was a very still look, and then away she went not wasting any time heading south to safety.


The Long Wooden Fence


On Top of the World

We continued on, enjoying the warmth of the day, along with the breeze, and the dusty o’l trail.  By the look of things, some of the fence lines have been around for a good long while, giving them character in the distance.  All the farmers in the area have picked many rocks from the fields over time, and continue as the land gets worked up year after year.  We passed by a few large rock piles along the way of the beautiful golden fields.


Golden Treasures

Some of the back roads were pretty much built of dirt.  I’m pretty sure they would be impassable when the rains come down.


Long Long Road

The views from the top of the hills were amazing as we could see for miles abroad.


The Old Wooden Tree

As we traveled from field to field, there were clumps of trees here and there.  Some were just a few bushes gathered together, and others were small little water sloughs with several different types of birds enjoying a swim.


Long Forgottern

We happened to spy this old combine that was pushed to the side and hidden away.  I often ponder on what it was like for the folks who purchased this piece so long ago, what it cost, how excited they were to have it, and all the work that it completed on their life on the farm.


“Which Way Now?”

It seemed like out in the middle of nowhere, these co-ordinate signs were posted.  I believe that they have only been putting these out in the country areas for the last 10 – 15 years or so.


Progress in the Distance


A Golden View

When I was taking photos that day, I decided to try out the black and white look, along with the color.  I really like how both options describe the scenes, as they really give a different flavor to the photo.


A Full Load


Checking the Field

Even though the day was hot, and it wasn’t just right to combine yet, the bales could still be loaded and brought back to the Ranch.  A Farmers work is never done.  These were some of my favorite photos that I shot.  They really do tell a story.


A Farmers Classic

When we reached the crew, we stopped and chatted and reminisced about the farming in the area, how the crops were doing and what they foresee in the future to come.


Checking Things Out

Our Grandson Coy, is one special little guy.  His love for life around him shines through beyond measures.  Throughout his first few years of growing up in Wetaskiwin with us, Coy and Amy’s bond with our relatives, Bruce and Bonnie grew close right from when he was born.  Bruce and Coy, have this relationship that is quite special and will be for a very long time to come.  I put together this little slide show in the field.  And as you watch it, you can just see what I mean when I say they have a bond.  Even though you might not know them, it is very easy to tell.

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“Thanks for Coming Along.”

All in all, we had a fabulous day.   Memories were made, and will be cherished and remembered forever.


Buried Treasures

From the Travelin Trailer…………..

Till Next Time


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P.S.  Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.

Home on the Ranch

Howdy Friends,

I was looking at the calendar, and seen that it has been only 2 weeks since we arrived home from our journey on the summer Chuckwagon trail.   For some reason, for me, it has felt much longer than that.  I guess it is because since I have been home, the work continues.  It is so good to be home, but there are many things to attend to.  First item to attack was our home on wheels.  We pack so much stuff in there, most of it has to come back out when we arrive home.  I have yet to complete that job, but I am gaining on it little by little.  I like to bring things in bit by bit.  This way I can clean out cupboards and closets in the house, and rid of things that are no longer needed.  Kind of a spring cleaning, only it’s happening in the fall.  As a matter of fact, I even joined up with some relatives and had a garage sale last week and made a few bucks.  The weather was great and what the heck! it was an afternoon off from work.


Eye Spy

I am glad also to be back, and settling into my morning routine of me time.  I’ve been going out for my morning runs and enjoying the quietness and the beautiful sunrises.

I am always so grateful to have the ability and freedom to do this.  For one, it makes me feel so energized, and another reason is it keeps me feeling young and able to keep up with my grand-kids who I enjoy spending time with as much as I can.


A Little Pool Party

The  weather has been so warm here, that little Ryker enjoyed an afternoon swim in his little pool while his momma ran some errands.  I had no problem sitting and enjoying some play time with the little one.


Animal Balloon Coming Right Up

The Lakedell Annual Fair, down the road 30 minutes, was held this past weekend, so Daughter Kaylee and I gathered up the kids and headed on out to enjoy all the activities for the young and old alike.


Train Ride for All

The turnout was awesome as the weather rose into the high 20’s.  A very enjoyable day for all.



As the days are getting shorter, the sunsets are becoming more spectacular on the evening horizon.  Just tonight, Rick and I ventured on out to feed the oats to the hungry ponies.  I managed to capture some pretty neat photos with my camera phone.


A Bucket Here and a Bucket There

When you have several head of horses, it is a daily routine to go out among them and make sure they are all free from injuries.  You just never know how much mischief they can get into when playing with each other throughout the day and night.

Once the quad has started up, the horses hear this and start milling around, then follow us out into the field to eat their favored oats.  Did you know that  thoroughbred horses will only eat enough oats till they are full, leave and come back later to finish up?  Unlike a pony who will gorge themselves to possible death from eating too much?  Yes, a pony or saddle horse do not have the sense to stop when they are full.  Just a little bit of tidbit information you might like to know, if you didn’t already .


After attending the races at Northlands today, we came home to a suspicious flag flying on our post.  It definitely does not belong to Rick, as most who know him, is a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan and always will be.  I think we have a lead on who put it there, so when the time comes, I’m sure he will deal with the culprit, in one way or another.  Oh what fun has begun.  Hahaha.

I took last Wednesday off, picked up relatives Bruce and Bonnie and headed out east to visit our daughter Amy and her husband Chris and grandson Coy on their farm just past the town of Consort Alberta.


Long Long Road

The land is very dry there right now and the crops are not far from being harvested.  We all enjoy the warmth of the sun, but too much heat on the crops is not that good.  Hopefully things will be profitable for the farmers in that area.


Down the Fence Line

We took the side-by-sides and toured around the many acres around the Ranch.  The terrain in that area is so very different than here in Wetaskiwin.  The hills are rolling for as long as the eyes can see.


Sight Seeing


A Load full of Straw

I so enjoyed seeing the tractors in the fields, the bales being loaded and the trucks hauling it away.  It brings me back home to the days when I was a kid.


Although my father was not a full-fledged farmer by any means, we did grow up on a farm with many of the regular animals a farm usually has, and I helped with the stooking of the hay into square bales, once my older brothers had left the farm.


There’s just something to be said about being a kid and growing up on a farm.  There is just no place on earth like it.

From Home on the Ranch

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P.S.  It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you.  It’s what you leave behind you when you go.    Randy Travis




Rocky Mountain House Battle of the Rockies Day #4

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

It’s important to have friends.  You don’t necessarily need many, just a few good quality ones sometimes is the best.



Well Saturday night, my friends and family headed to the Broken Spoke Saloon for some fun.


Watching Over Me

Well we did have lots of fun, a few beverages and even a dance or two.  My son Cody and his friend High Tower (aka Tim) towered over me just a little bit.  I call them my body guards.


Can You See Me?

The races were slated early for today, so after breakfast and a bit of relaxation of coffee and visiting, it was time to pack up for the trip on home.  Everyone got at it, and baby Ryker kept busy playing.  Who needs store-bought toys when you  have a cardboard box to play with.

Our 2nd hook, racing in the first heat off the four barrel, was made up of Chad Harden’s horses, with only one of our outriding horses being used.  Rick had an amazing tight turn around the top barrel, and then they fired.


By the second turn, Rick had to have been at least six lengths in front of the other teams.


It would have been a day money run, but unfortunately he went so fast, one of the outriders had a hard time getting to the finish line in time.  We were assessed a one second penalty, bringing our time to a 1:16.36.  It was a very impressive run ranking us 3rd on the day and 3rd overall in the show.


Full Steam Ahead

Our main hook for heat number 8,  was Law on the Left Wheel, Jim on the Right.  Louie the grey on the Left Lead and Speedy on the Right.  Our outriders, Chance Flad rode Air and held the leaders, with Ryan MacNeill throwing the stove with Andy.


Focusing Ahead

Things went well in the infield, and then they ran hard around the track posting a 1:16.53 which was good enough to put us 5th on the day.



We were very proud of how they performed along with all of our others horses this week.  After all the times were tallied, we ended up taking 5th in the overall race meet.  Very good indeed.  Congratulations to Dustin and Jaycee  Gorst on winning Rocky.  Well deserved.


My Sidekick

This past weekend and during Bonnyville, we had Searirra out friend from Saskatoon come and help us with the chores and other jobs around the barns.  Some day she will be old enough to become a full fledge barn hand.  She sure enjoys it.

We made it home to our Ranch safely around 8 PM, unloaded, enjoyed a nice long hot shower and headed to bed.

I will be doing a wrap up blog soon.  Thank you all for following  along.


From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  There is no limit to the amount o good a person can do if they don’t care who gets the credit.