Friday, January 23, 2009

Western?

Many people have different meanings for the word western. My meaning for western is kaos, flying by the seat of your pants. That is how I would describe my day yesterday. "Western"
Let me start at the beginning. I have two Kelpies in to be worked, trained and need to be sold. This is partially a result of me not being able to say no and partially due to a really great "Smile". So fine two more dogs and puppies on the way just what I need more stuff to do. I have been working these dogs on sheep for two weeks and they are bored. They have been working cows all their life and they were bred to work cows.
I had a standing invitation from Wayne to go and work cows with him at work. Wayne works for Sears ranches one on the large cattle ranches in Alberta. Sears own 25,000 acres and tens of thousand head of cattle. Sounds like fun right. Jerry and I picked a day to met Wayne. Wayne said the earlier the better. Those how know me know I am not a morning person. I woke up Thursday morning to minus 15 and blowing snow. I would have backed out in a second but Jerry had already left his house and his cell phone is currently out of order. So fine I suit up and load up dogs. We head off down the road in four wheel drive, three Kelpies and two Starbucks coffees.
Get to Wayne's and load up in the farm truck and off to gather feeder calves in the hills. We now have four Kelpies and a Kelpie cross.. Our mission for the day was to bring the calves in from the fields before the feed trucks come. That way everyone gets their share of food. Then when the feed trucks come in we push the calves off the bunks so the feed truck can dispense the food without running over any calves.(close your ears PETA) apparently this happens a far bit. When I say calves these are not cute baby calves they are 800 lbs calves that will run over you if they want. We drive out to the first field which I would have to say is about 200 to 300 acres. I am feeling confident because Katie is suppose to be super good on cattle which is the reason she has a $4000 price tag. she has been doing really well for me on sheep. I let her out of the truck and she takes off like a shot and she is gone after the calves and I am calling her back but she is no where to be found. Oh great I lost the priciest dog in the truck. I walk over the hill and I see a little black dot trying to stop the calves about 1 mile or more away. We hop in the truck to go fetch my dog. At this point I am thinking OMG how embarrassing. Wayne is the most laid back person I have met. I am apologizing for my idiot dog and he is saying "isn't this fun" and taking pictures out the truck window. I was freaking out. Finally catch up to my dog and get control of her and push the calves through the gate. Katie actually decides to listen. Ok confidence back up. Off to the next field which is even bigger and more hills. Imagine the hills of Scotland only in Alberta and instead of sheep it was cattle. Like a fool I think Katie is tried and ready to listen WRONG. Off she goes gathering cattle in the next township. Thank goodness we had Jed to bring the ones Katie left behind. Spent most of the morning driving in the truck looking for my dog. As bad as she was she got the cattle t0 the feed bucks every time.
For the next field my dogs stayed in the truck and Jerry used Jed to move cattle. And let me tell all you guys who say Kelpies can't out run like a Border Collie Jed can prove you wrong. Jerry sent him on some spectacular outruns so far you couldn't see him. He picked up cows out of the brush and moved the to the feed bunks. Now I will say there was times when Jed did not listen. I am going to blame it on the wind and the excitement of finally getting to work cows. I love that dog and Jerry totally owes me for forcing him to buy Jed.
After all the big fields were done we took Bear the 18 month old shit disturber to a "smaller pen". Which in my head is 200x200. Oh more like 40 acres and 200 head of steers. I walked around with Bear and then finally let him go and he did really well. He is not broke, has no flanks and will lie down sometimes. But I just moved the cows around using his name and he was great. Gripped when he needed to. Bear is a bargain at $1500 compared to Katie.
After all the craziness with my dogs Wayne said we are welcome to come back anytime and we can even do the work on our own. It was really fun despite my bad dog. I will definitely go back but with my own dogs. I think Kipp would have a blast on those big hills. Next time we will go on a warmer day.
Sorry I did not get any pictures or video but next time I will totally bring my camera. I don't think it would have been a good sale video for Katie.

3 comments:

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Lynda said...

I could see the whole day unfold in my mind's eye as I read your blog. Made me wish that I was there as I know how beautiful the country is down that way.
to see the dogs working .....
take care

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