Welcome to My Little Piece of the Prairies ...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Badger Attitude!

I've seen many over the years but being 5 ft away from one is the closest I've EVER been!  I'm not sure who was more startled ... the Badger or myself??  All I know is, being startled didn't help improve Mr. or Mrs. Badger's attitude!  Oh the creatures I literally stumble upon!  Oops!  I questioned who could run faster but Mr. Badger retreated to his den!  I was pleased with that choice!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Stormy Evening

And when it rains on your parade, 
look up rather than down.  
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.  
~G.K. Chesterton

After enjoying a gorgeous summer's day, the clouds rolled in late this afternoon!  Prior to the rain coming down, I managed to run out to the end of our lane way to capture the clouds sweeping over the fields.

The sun momentarily broke through, producing a HUGE, faint double rainbow!  I couldn't fit it all in, even with my wide angle lens.  Don't mind the rain drops!  It was windy and still raining when I nabbed this quick shot.  Have a super weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rescuing "Reddy-Redtail!"

Meet "Reddy" the juvenile Red-tail Hawk born this spring.  "Reddy" was spotted while my husband and I were gone but up until today we haven't been able to locate her.  "Reddy" doesn't fly.

While moving the haying equipment home (YES, home!) today we managed to spot her so we headed back to the field she was in with a bed sheet and leather gloves in hand.  I wasn't sure we would be able to catch her.

"Reddy" definitely could not fly but she was able to climb up our hay bales using her very sharp talons!!!  However, once on the ground, I was able to get close enough to get the sheet over her and scooped her up, putting her into an animal carrier.

I have to say, the boys thought I was a pretty cool Mom for capturing a HAWK!  I was just impressed with the sheer beauty of this incredible raptor and the fact that I was able to catch her!  From the field we actually headed home and made a phone call to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre, the same place we took "Olive the Owl".  After giving them the heads-up that we were on our way, we drove the 2 hours to deliver her.  "Reddy" was very dehydrated and certainly has not been eating like she should, especially considering Fall Migration will soon be upon us.  In fact, "Reddy" only weighed 1/2 a lb.  Most female Red-tail Hawks weigh as much as 3 lbs.  On quick inspection, "Reddy" suffered a broken left wing that has already started to heal.  The wildlife centre is going to see if they can get her weight back up and the veterinarian is going to assess if they can re-break and properly set her wing.  In the meantime, "Reddy" is in good hands and likely will be remaining in Canada for the winter!

Why rescue a hawk???  A family of hawks can consume as many as 500 gophers each summer!!!  That's not calculating in the mice or voles!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fuzzy Wuzzy ...

Was a caterpillar!  When you have boys ... the things that are exciting often include the word 'crawly!'  At least caterpillars, for the most part, are an acceptable 'crawly' to this Mom!  Sorry ... just a quick snap of 'something' today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Anything simple always interests me.  
~David Hockney

A beautiful day and an even more beautiful and simple evening!  
There's solitude in that!  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Joe's Getting ...

... BIG!

While out checking on the 'Moo Cows' tonight ... JB decided to come over to say 'hello!'  He's getting so big.  *Sigh* ... the spring babes are no longer babes.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Mist On a August Morn

I love the magic and mystery of a morning mist!  As we head into the last week of August 2013 I suspect there are going to be a few more misty mornings.  Have a great week everyone.  Cheers!  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Seasonal Signs

Hey?!?!  What the heck is with the yellow leaves already?  I know it's the end of August but September isn't here ... at least not just yet!  Summer has finally arrived so 'Fall' can just take a hike for a few more weeks!

I know I planted my garden late but if 'Fall' has any sense of humour it will let my pumpkins mature and let my sunflowers continue to flower (after all they've only just begun!).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Home Again Home Again Jiggity-Jig

Hmm ... unfortunately my husband and I managed to spend more time in airports and in airplanes than we ever did on the Vegas strip!  It's a LONG story.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the triple digit temps while I was there! Yes, I am certain I am the only Canadian to have ever gone to Vegas in August and still wore a jacket!  ????  Well, as I fight off the sniffles this evening, I will say that the hotels in Vegas definitely utilize their air conditioning!  I found the temperature in the hotels a tad bit too cold for this chick but I am whimp! Something else my husband and I really noticed was the smoke in the casino's.  All of Alberta's public areas have been smoke free and designated Non-smoking for at least 10 years now, so it was odd to see so many smokers in a public area (yup, even our pubs and casinos are smoke free).  Although I wasn't there long enough to really explore Vegas (we didn't even make it to a show or the Grand Canyon) I will say Vegas is certainly an interesting place.  

These were the cozy, comfy chairs we slept on during our 12 hour stay at the airport in Seattle (I did say it was a long story; haha ... we were never supposed to fly through Seattle nor were we supposed to fly with Air Alaska!)  Truthfully, they really were not that bad to sleep on but I could have used a blanket!

This is Lori and her faithful companion 'Jet' aka 'Jet Black!'  After a long night tossing and turning in the airport terminal, these 2 were absolute rays of sunshine!  'Jet' is the most handsome lad and has been with Lori for just over a year.  Listening to Lori speak of 'Jet' absolutely warmed a persons heart.  It was so great to meet Lori and Jet!  Both my husband and I hope we can cross paths with them again!  Thanks for the great conversation Lori!  You and Jet made our trip and our day!  

Beautiful Seattle!  Hopefully I will get to see it outside of the airport next time.

Headed for home!  At least this route took us over the scenic Rockies!  
You can't beat that!  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Viva ...

We left beautiful southern Alberta and my awesome relatives behind and headed for home but we won't be home for long!  We are headed to Calgary in the morning for a business trip!  Vegas here we come!  I'll catch up with you when we return in a few days!  Have a fantastic week everyone!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

On Time ...

Despite not arriving to the Cypress Hills in southern Alberta until after midnight!  We were 'bright-eyed and bushy tailed' for my cousins wedding!  My cousin was a beautiful bride and they had a perfect day!  We couldn't be more happy for M & D!  Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness!

We even cleaned up 'not too badly!'  LOL!  

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Convenience of INCONVENIENCE!

Well, if you've been following along lately, which has likely proved a bit painful, you've noticed we've been haying FOREVER and I am great at sharing haying photos (sorry)!  However, not only is it a must but a portion of the season has taken just a bit longer than usual due not only to the weather but in an attempt to teach our boys some life lessons!  You see, we humans have worked very hard at 'improving' the amount of work required to do something.  We want things done with convenience and ease but with so many of us complaining about children, society and 'entitlement' these days both my husband and I have questioned 'what values, lessons and work ethic' are being forgotten about due to the push for 'convenience?'

Our boys are getting old enough and are enthusiastic about 'helping!'  The dilemmas:  the boys want to help hay but to 'our convenience,' the large round baler is 'way too much' for the boys to handle at this point in time.  There are becoming fewer and fewer people putting hay up into small square bales and small square bales are always in demand.  Putting up 'LOTS' of small square bales takes longer and is more labour intensive than the large round bales.  Well, you've already figured out that we went ahead and started baling small square bales.  OMG!!!!!  After round baling for all these years ... baling small square bales is PAINFULLY slow and is indeed very inconvenient!!!  The beauty ... the boys can run the small square baler and in fact they've put up about 3000 small square bales without much assistance.

On this foggy Friday morning, we had a flat deck trailer to load and without hesitation, the boys jumped in to help load their bales.  Oh ... they grunted and had to 'stop for a cold drink of water' several times but in the end they were happy to be done (so were Mom and Dad!).

Heading to Southern Alberta for a family wedding,  we had to make a pitstop to deliver the load of bales to one of our customers later in the day.  The boys were proud as punch that they could make small square hay bales and sell a load to the Calgary Stampede Ranch!  In fact, our oldest said "that's pretty cool that we are selling hay to the Stampede Ranch ... we're not even super-big farmers!"  We both agreed and then mentioned to both the boys that you don't have to be the biggest to do great things!  **sigh ... a lesson**

After meeting up with the ranch hands and decking our trailer, which will be unloaded over the weekend, we continued on our merry way!  Baling the small square bales is NOT convenient for my husband and I but it has conveniently taught our boys how hard work can pay off.  It's our hope that the boys will continue to bale small square bales and learn to understand the business side of what they are doing.  My husband and do not want the boys feeling they should be 'entitled' to things in life and although, the stepping stones may be an inconvenience to us, we know that those stepping stones will conveniently help mould our boys into hard-working, honest young men that we will forever be proud of!  Heck ... we are already so proud of them!!!  There are not very many kids out there that know what 'elbow grease' is anymore!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunrise to Sunset

Aaaah!  The sun rose ... the dawn of a new day!

Morning wildlife! A Great Blue Heron in the distance.  

Aside from a few arguments with my baler today (a bit of a touchy subject at this point!  LOL!)  I managed to kick out some more round bales and the boys put up another load of small square bales.

Our oldest waiting to go home!  

Hmm ... I think someone needs to clean her tractor windows!  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Counting Crows ...

Today, our youngest was my sidekick and big brother was helping Dad.  Something our youngest has really noticed while haying is the 'crows' and how they congregate!  So, in order to entertain himself while hanging out in the tractor with 'Mom,' ... he counts crows!  I on the other hand seem to be counting bales and the number of acres that remain!

My lil' man out testing the hay bales with a bale moisture probe and making sure the bales are a 'thumbs up' ... 'just right!'

Later this afternoon, we switched over to the small square baler.

Finito!  This field is DONE and the equipment is moved to the last field!  Yeah!  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Day Done ...

Our oldest and myself spent the day back in our 2nd last hayfield raking and baling.  When Dad returned from work with lil' brother in hand, we stopped and enjoyed some chicken for supper in the field and then carried on for a couple of more hours.  We'll finish this field tomorrow and move onto the last field from there ... thank goodness!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Grumbles ...

The clouds grumbled and rumbled most of the day but alas only a few drops fell.  Now if only those darn clouds would roll on out of here so I could perhaps catch a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower ... something I have yet to do this year!!!  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

#20 - Sweet Cow of Mine

Cattle come and go but there are always certain ones that make their mark.  It's interesting to look back over the years.  Having recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and looking into the home pasture with our yearling heifers, my husband and I smile! There is one exception in that pasture and she has been with us through thick and thin!  The fall after we were married, my husband and I sold the 'auction mart specials' that were on our place and stepped out and purchased some ranch-raised hereford and hereford-red angus cross yearling heifers.  These girls would be the beginning of our base herd!  Ooooooh the slack we got!!!!  "Ranch cattle are WILD" ... "those hereford, hereford-red angus cattle will never work!"

The man we purchased our yearling heifers from was a very well known rancher in Southern Alberta by the name of Don Dubeau.  I had known Don for many years being from the area but my husband did not.  Brad grew very fond of Don and had a great respect and admiration for him.  He had a great wit, was extremely kind and a remarkable knowledge of cattle.  Over the course of 5 yrs, we bought yearling heifers from Don building our herd to 200 head.  In that time frame, drought and BSE made things 'TOUGH' and as first generation mixed farmers extremely tough decisions had to be made.  When you could sell feed for more than what you could get feeding it to your cows, the business decision to sell the majority of our herd was made.  We both really dislike such business decisions but you do what you have to do to survive.  Needless to say, we did keep a few of our top girls back with the plan to rebuild our herd.  Some of those girls are still here but one in particular rules this roost!  #20 ... that sweet cow of mine (yes, I claimed her as mine 15 yrs ago) is now 16 yrs old and is still producing for us!  She was late this year but we had bull troubles last year (so I blame the boy).  Besides when your on your 14th child I'm not going to complain!  Donny without a doubt you sold us great cattle with great genetics!!! I hope you are looking down from those heavenly pastures with a big grin!  And those 'WILD hereford, hereford-red angus cross ranch cattle' must not have been that bad as they graced the back cover of a purebred simmental sale catelogue for a number of years!  ;)

#20 ... you will forever remain at home in 'your' pastures!  

By the way ... she had a heifer!!  Woo Hoo!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Golden Pond

The boys have moved the haying equipment close to home and have started cutting 'the last' of the hay.  While taking water and snacks (snacks are soooo important when you are 8) out to the field this evening, our youngest and I admired the grebe swimming on the 'golden pond!'  OKAY ... it's a prairie pothole slough but it's still picturesque!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Miss Me?

Hmm ... I've been off the radar!  I was still snapping photos but somehow I did't get to posting them until now!  So here we go, a long post recapping what happened this past week:

The boys were involved in the AMSA Rounds 6 & 7 this past weekend in Drumheller, AB at DORVA.  It was a fantastic weekend, the kids had a blast and they had some great rides.  They have really improved since just starting back in the spring.  


Somehow, watching our boys in the 7-11yr old class is easier on this Mom's nerves than it is to watch the 17yr old you know making some serious 'whips!'  This was Justin's first weekend back riding since May and he did a great job on his Yamaha YZ250F.

After escaping the rain that kept to the north of Drumheller most of the day, we headed home to the rain!  


Tuesday found the boys out checking the pea crops ... and not only filling their faces but stuffing their pockets full of peas for the remainder of the evening!  Who said kids don't eat peas?

As the sun was setting, we checked on the flax as well.  Hmm ... almost done blooming.


Wednesday found the boys and myself back in the hayfield, raking and baling the last of what was cut.  We managed to bale it all before the rain returned.  It's amazing to see how the fields are beginning to ripen.  *sigh* ... our greens are starting to become golden.


The boys and their Dad out checking the canola.  If you don't know much about canola, it is certainly worth educating yourself about it. Canola Oil is the healthiest oil available!


Aaaaah yes!  It's finally Friday and I am once again caught up!  
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  


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