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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“Doe Alert”

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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.

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The Long Wooden Fence

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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.

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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.

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Long Long Road

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

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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Progress in the Distance

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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.

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A Full Load

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Buried Treasures

From the Travelin Trailer…………..

Till Next Time

 

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Sue

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Train Ride for All

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

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sight Seeing

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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.

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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.

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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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Sue

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.

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Friends

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Power

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.

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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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Sue

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

Rocky Mountain House Battle of the Rockies Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

After the races last night, the wind came up and the rains came down.   We didn’t stick around the bonfire, as a matter of fact we put it out with some water and headed for cover.  Once inside with the adult kids, the discussion was on about heading to the Broken Spoke Saloon here on the grounds for some two stepping, beverages and some fun.  The final decision was the younger kids headed out, and us wiser group stayed back.  That was okay with me as I was tired from the night before and I also got to cuddle with Ryker our little grandson.  We’ll go out tonight for sure.

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Happy Receivers

These young bucks came by so Rick could sign the little mini Chuckwagon they caught last night.  They were very happy to receive it.  The best part about them coming by, was they told us they were deciding to give the gift to their Great Grandfather, as he is in the hospital and is a very big fan of the Chuckwagons.  WOW!  How cool is that for these kids to think of such a thing.  So  very proud of them.

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This morning I had the pleasure of going out early and playing a round of golf with my two son in laws.  And would you believe, both are named Chris!  So as a family, we have been calling them Chris 1 and Chris 2.  I know there has been a little competition going, each trying to gain a few brownie points with their Mother-In-Law.  And today on the greens, it was definitely obvious.   All in all, we had a good time, lots of long drives, a few balls lost, more balls found (just not ours), and some early morning exercise.  And at the end of it all…………….I think they are tied in the points department.

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What the Cowboys do at the Western Store

Today, many of the drivers stopped in at the local Western Wear Store called Henry’s.  Mabel and her crew were having a sale day with beef on a bun for all the customers who came by.  Many drivers, families,friends and fans came by to take it all in.  I had to chuckle when I notice Rick, fellow drivers Ross Knight and Mitch Sutherland watching a horse race on a phone that was tucked in the jeans pile while their wives did some shopping.  I guess if you asked the wives opinion, it would be a win win situation.

Henry’s Western Wear store has sponsored driver Ross Knight here at the Battle of the Rockies.  He’s a very friendly, nice guy with a very infectious laugh.  When you hear it, you just laugh right along too.  So the girls bet Rick $5.00 to make Ross laugh hard and loud for them to hear.  Well, Rick did the job by telling Ross a great funny story of some sort and he laughed and laughed and so did they.

Rick earned his $5.00.  But, that is not the end of the story.  Rick gave the girls the option to win back the $5.00 or he would gain another $5.00.  He got one of them to foot race down the street, and back up to where they started.  Well, she didn’t listen to the rules very well, she didn’t win.  She was supposed to BACK UP to the finish line.

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Double the Money

Some of us don’t take directions very well.  Yet it was all in some very good fun.  A great crew, Mable and the girls at Henrys Western Wear downtown Rocky Mountain House Alberta.

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Money Well Spent

And with Rick’s earnings, he took his wife out on a date to the local A&W for a teen burger.  He made sure he let the girls know that it didn’t go to waste.  OK………just my waist.

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Tonight, Rick drove on our 2nd outfit sponosored by Tomco Group of Companies in the first heat, Louie our grey on the Left Lead, Speedy on the Right.   The wheelers were 2 of Mike Vigen horses.  The outriding horses were one of our horses, Ice and one of Chad Hardens horses.  They didn’t start like Rick would have wanted, but yet posted a 1:17.24.

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Our main outfit in the eighth heat, sponsored by Northwell Oilfield Hauling Ltd. was Spirit on the Left Lead, Speedy on the Right.  Law on the Left Wheel and Jim on the Right.  Spirit got a little excited and moved the chuckwagon just sligthly before the horn sounded.  The judges assessed us with a 1 second penalty for starting ahead of the horn, darn it.  This brought our time up to a 1:18.02.

Our outriders tonight were Chance Flad holding the leader with Ed, and Ryan McNeil throwing the stove on Stadium.  Both these guys have done well riding for us.

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Chance Flad

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Ryan McNeil

One more night of racing, and it will be a wrap.  Looking forward to going out and enjoying my time with friends at the Broken Spoke Saloon tonight.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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Sue

P.S.  Close friends are truly life’s treasures.  Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves.  With gentle honesty, they are our guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears.  Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.

Rocky Mountain House Battle of the Rockies Day #2

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

We are now at the very end of our summer here on the Chuckwagon trail.  With only 3 more days of racing, it is kind of surreal.  Mainly because the days from the beginning of April in training, to the middle of May when we depart to travel on the road, to now, has gone by so fast.  It really feels that we just began.  When one travels from one location to another each and every week, it kind blends the time together.

As we were visiting family, friends, fans and sponsors around the campfire last night after the races, it was said to us that the life we lead in this Chuckwagon world, is unique like no other.  For these folks, it has brought family and friends together to come and enjoy kind of a country style way of life without having to leave the city so to speak.

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Each and every week, we are camping at a different location.  Our daughter bought a pony named Gus from a friend up in the Grande Prairie region.  When we left Dawson Creek, we brought him south with us.  We have him here in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.    He is a big attraction to all the kids, big and small alike.  He’s getting plenty of attention.  Kids from other families among the Chuckwagon group, will come and go for a ride.  When sponsors or fans come about, we make sure the kids get to hop up on him too!.

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A Dedicated Fan

We meet so many folks, and many of them are die hard fans, that don’t miss a race.  This fella is here for the weekend enjoying his time during the day riding around and watching the horses run, buck and play in their pens and also chatting with the wagon folks at their barns.

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Our Australian barn hand Duncan, was looking to blow out a horse.  This is the term we use when we are exercising the horses and they run full force speed ahead.  Duncan was pretty excited as this was something he really wanted to experience.  We saddled up our horse Ernie, got our outrider Chanse Flad to ride alongside and away they went.

Things went very well and when I asked him what he thought of his experience  when coming off the track, his reply was “That was sick!”.  I’m thinking that was a full on successful experience of a lifetime.

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The Guiding Hands

Our 2nd hook tonight in Heat number one was comprised of all of Chad Hardens horses pulling the chuckwagon.  The outriding horses were one of Chads and one of ours.

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Charging

Rick said they started and charged hard around the barrels.  He had a great run placing 8th on the day.  He was assessed a 1 second penalty for a late outrider.  Without the penalty the outfit would have been 4th on the day.

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On the Run

Our main hook tonight coming off the one barrel was Spirit on the Left Lead, Sporty on the Right.  Rick changed things up and put Law on the Left Wheel, and Jim on the Right.  Cody our son is here and giving us a helping hand, and we sure do appreciate it.

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Father and Son

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TeamWork

Rick was really happy how Jim did on the Right Wheel.  He really charged hard when the horn sounded.  Sometimes its good to make a change or two to see if a horse works better in another position.  Tonight was one of those nights.

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Charging on the Horn

You can see the chestnut on the Right Wheel position, Jim how hard he started.  He’s a pretty good horse.  After two nights of racing, our main outfit and 2nd outfit are sitting 3rd and 4th in the average.  That feels pretty good.  I think the driver is doing a pretty awesome job.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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Sue

P.S.  Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed.  It means the damage no longer controls our lives.