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Mirror KB Ranch

Tales of the Twin Wranglers  

May 2009

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May 31, 2009

Whoa! Seems we've been caught up in some sort of stampede an' can't get 'em stopped.  It's hard to believe that today is the last day of May already.  We'll be reinin' down a new trail right soon....but  afore we do we'd better round up this past month first.  It's been a busy week with our attention wanderin' 'round like a pony without a bridle.

In other words we jumped from one project to another, takin' care of a variety of spring chores. On the 22nd we cleared brush - a Hawthorn tree that the county grader had bowled over onto our pasture fence this past winter.  Once the brush was out of the way we repaired the fence - replacin' three broken fence posts then re-stretched the five strands of wire.

On the 23rd we rounded up all of the horses an' gave 'em their annual spring vaccinations which will protect 'em against various strains of Encephalomyelitis (sleepin' sickness) as well as tetanus.  The next day we trimmed a few of the horses' feet. 

That's Kari with the hoof nippers trimmin' Southern Alibi


Later we caught up two of the younger horses, clipped their whiskers an' bridle paths then spent a bit of time with 'em on a refresher course of ground work. Each summer we intend to get more of the young stock trail broke, but for some reason we just can't seem to move 'em very far along with all of the other things we need, or want to do 'round here.  Maybe this summer will be different an' we'll make some headway on horse trainin'...probably not.

trimming hooves

Besides horsin' around, we spent the past week, fillin' an order from our Robert Fuller gift collection (a Laramie mantel clock, a mug, an' a mouse pad), repairin' more fences - both post an' rail as well as a section or two of wire fence, splittin' a small amount of firewood,  plantin' Petunias in our two half barrel planters, an' clearin' out deadfall in one of our trails that meander up the west ridge.  We also spot sprayed a faction of obstinate Oxeye Daisies that have the intention of takin' over the west pasture.  If our attempt to thin 'em out works we'll go to battle on the Daisies in a couple of the other pastures too.

fixing fence

Kim uses an' axe on a fence rail

clearing trail

Later she stands on top of the ATV
to trim a branch on one of our horse trails

cowboy bedroll

Kari's Cowboy Bedroll

We eradicated any spare time by each makin' our own canvas cowboy bedrolls. We have to admit that they turned out reasonably nice, considerin' that we're miserable with a needle an' thread.  Fact is, we can build a  pasture fence ten times straighter 'n we can sew a hem!..an' that ain't sayin' a whole lot - if ya can follow our drift.

Rarely have we ever attempted to create anything that uses a regular needle an' thread.  Leather 'n lace is more our style, but for this project we used mom's old Singer sewin' machine....a real relic that had performed quite well for mom over the years.... but for us, it strayed back 'n forth zigzaggin' along like that ol' pony that was missin' a bridle. Oh well, we've never cottoned much to the straight an' narrow anyway.  Each time we use a fence post or rail with a bit of a crook in it we don't grumble for we figure that it simply adds a little personality an' character to the fence....so it is with our cowboy bedrolls, an' life in general.


May 19, 2009

Plagued with several rainy days this past week we spent a good deal of time indoors workin' on an order for business cards as well as an' order for a Robert Fuller seatback cover.  One wet day last week we drove into town to ship off an order for a couple t-shirts, picked up a few groceries an' put a check in the bank - no dadgum we forgot to bring the check so today when we made our weekly trip to town we took care of the banking...which was okay since now we had three checks to deposit.  But shoot!  this week we forgot to stop at Alpha computers to pick up the computer that had been in the shop gettin' fixed.  We hate makin' more'n one trip to town per week, but dependin' on what kind of weather we have, we might make another trip to town this week for the computer.  We'll have an order for a t-shirt to ship off at the post office too so maybe we'll feel it all worth a second trip.  Might stop in at the sport store - our favorite place to shop in Libby - to purchase our fishin' licenses too.

Between rains we managed to get more fences repaired, dragged the pastures with the harrow, planted four Honeyberry Bushes in the backyard, an' cleaned up the bull corral, as well as treated all of the horses with a paste dewormer.  Oh, we also found that we have four new kittens out of the skinny stray black tabby cat that showed up at our place last Christmas. Guess we're goin' to have to officially adopt mama cat now so that we can get her spayed before we end up ridin' herd on more cats 'n we got cows!

Reckon the most interestin' happenin' this past week occurred one night.  Not too long after we'd turned out the lights an' were 'bout to ride into dreamland - somewhere betwixt 10:00 an' 11:00 pm - car lights darted onto the north wall an' ceilin' of our bedroom. We figured it was the neighbors on the spread north of us comin' in late, but then the light just stalled instead of movin' 'long the room as it would had it been our neighbors. Creepin' out of bed we peered out the window. Someone was parked at our ranch gate.  We surmised that they were lost an' were just turnin' 'round, that is 'til we realized the interloper had opened the gate an' was drivin' down the lane toward the house.

Slippin' into our jeans quicker 'n you can say boo, we met the lady at our front door.  She was drivin' a beat up ol' pick up truck an' said that she was pert near out of gas an' wondered if we had any to spare.  Well no, but we'd be willin' to give her enough to get to town.  We were a bit skeptical - why would any woman drive a mile off of the highway down a dark one lane dirt road if'n her car was 'bout to go dry?  It would make more sense to stop somewhere 'long the highway where it would be easier to get help.  So bein' uncertain 'bout it all we kept our eyes peeled for trouble.

As we poured fuel into her tank she chatted on 'bout one thing then 'nother, an' even brought out her billfold to show us pictures of her two sons an' her boy friend who we learned works at Ace hardware store in town.  She kept on chattin' well after we determined that she could easily make it to town on what she now had in her gas tank.  "Go away lady, we want to go back to bed."  Course we didn't come out an' say that, but for awhile we were wonderin' if she was plannin' to stay the night.

Finally she revved up the truck an' headed back out our lane.  We watched to make sure she closed the gate, then were taken aback when instead of turnin' south to head back to the highway, she wrestled her truck north. While you can get to town via that route it ain't one folks generally would take, particularly at night since it's a rough, narrow, windy forest trail a good part of the way an' we're pretty sure it wouldn't constitute as a favorable short cut to town.

Anyway, we decided not to worry 'bout the strange woman, an' headed back to bed.  It was on to 'bout an hour later that more lights came wanderin' up the road, their lights dartin' 'cross our bedroom wall an' ceilin' again.  This time, along with the usual beams from their headlights there came a rotatin'  flash from atop a couple rescue vehicles.  What the heck was goin' on now?

Back at our bedroom window we watched as the parade of rescue vehicles drove past our ranch gate an' continued on up the narrow road.  After awhile the procession returned on their way back to the highway. We didn't learn 'bout what went on 'till the next day, an' only got it second hand, but guess it to be pretty reliable.

Evidently our night time visitor was directionally bewildered when she left our place, so had turned north instead of headin' back out the way she had come in, which would have been south toward the highway.  She then somehow managed to drive into a shallow ditch somewhere 'long the neighbor's spread.  At this point no one could figure out why, but the lady requested that an' ambulance come get her an' also asked that her truck be towed to town.  Reckon that'd be one way to save gas....get your car towed!  Though it doesn't seem like the cheep way to go since we'd suspect that she'll have to pay for gettin' it towed.  We imagine her insurance will likely pay for the ambulance ride though. Anyway, that eventful night was definitely a strange one for this neck of the woods. 



May 12, 2009

Peers we've been caught on a snag once again.  Sota the bull has made another escape from the bull corral.  He barreled his way out a the same area that he'd broke out last week.  After  he'd knocked down the steel panel fence in the course of last week's escape, we made double darn sure that he wouldn't be able to move or knock down any panels again...which he didn't.  Instead, this time he slunk  - if you can image a winter fattened bull slinking - out from underneath the fence.

We didn't witness the breakout since we had taken our new ATV, along with two chainsaws up the west ridge to cut 22 foot Lodgepole trees for fence rails. Together we'd cut down an' limbed 'bout 23 poles an' were in the process of skiddin' 'em down off the ridge an' into the barnyard where we'd stack 'em.  That's when we noticed the hole in the bull corral, along with a newly twisted an' warped steel fence panel. Shiftin' our gaze, we spotted the bull out in the north pasture eagerly courtin' one of the cows. Thrustin' our hand skyward we called out, okay Sota, we give up, you win.

With the bull out with the cows this early means that we have a mighty good chance at havin' calves startin' to hit the ground come early February next year. We'd much rather hold off to have March calves, but when a bull wants to be flirtatious with a cow he's a tough obnoxious critter to keep corralled....at least our bull is. At any rate, we've got a new idea of how to fix up our bull corral that we think will keep him contained, but it's goin' to take a fair 'mount of time an' sweat to get the corral fortified so it won't make any difference this spring but we should have it ready to test out next spring.

Well, we sure hope everyone enjoyed Mother's Day.  With all of the windy rainy days we've been havin' this spring we were tickled that Mother's Day turned out somewhat pleasant.

With a bit of sunny sky above us we saddled up a couple horses to use for a photo shoot for possible magazine publication.  The magazine wanted summer trail ridin' images an' the deadline was upon us.  Unfortunately it really doesn't look all that much like summer here in the northwest corner of Montana - not quite yet anyway, but at least the grass is green.

After snappin' a few ridin' shots we reined the horses out the ranch gate an' rode out to fetch home the Sunday newspaper, along with Saturday's mail which we hadn't gone after due to the miserable weather we'd been havin'.

Mounting up for a ride

Kim mounts up for the shoot

Twin Wranglers ride down a trail

Here we've combined a couple images so that the
two of us appear to be ridin' down a trail together

Checking on the remuda

Kari on Solo, checks on the ranch remuda
as we ride through the south pasture




May 7, 2009

The past few days have been rainy with highs 'round fifty degrees which wouldn't be too bad 'cept for the husky breeze that has escorted this weather system into the valley. Though we've received rain here, the ridges that watch over our ranch all have a fresh blanket of white down to about 4500 feet elevation.  With the weather as it is, we've been spendin' more time inside the house fillin' a few orders for our sublimated t-shirts an' products as well as tryin' to come up with new designs. While our usual creations are horse or ranch related, several of our newer designs deal with fish an' the sport of fishing.  We've also worked on a personal design for ranch table placemats.

Of course once we came up with, an' created all of our new designs, we needed to incorporate 'em into our website an' shoppin' cart so more time was spent on the computers...guess this rain is helpin' us out by keepin' us in so that we can get our important office work done an' it'll also help the grass in the pastures an' hay fields grow. 

Before this rainy weather set in, we spent one day rebuildin' an' fortifyin' the chicken coop so that we could return the three surviving chicks to the chicken house.  The chicks seem to enjoy the extra elbow room an' appear very comfortable.  Though they are nearly all  feathered out we leave a heat lamp where the chicks can use if they feel chilled by this in climate weather. The best part is that so far our extra work has paid off an' our trio has remained safe an' secure from maraudin' neighbor dogs.  We're not foolin' ourselves though.... a more powerful critter, such as a mountain lion, would probably have no trouble gettin' to our chicks.

The same day we busily worked on the chicken house, the wily bull made his escape from the corral. Sota had managed to knock down one of the inner pipe panels lining his corral - probably by accident while he was tryin' to scratch off his wiry winter coat...but once he'd knocked down the steel panel, crashin' out through the wood rail corral fence was as easy as knockin' down a house of cards.  Once he was out of his corral he stopped to check out the hay in the hay barn - breakin' down the barn door in the process - before he crashed through a section of rail fence to get out with the cows an' calves.

So, we then spent the remainin' part of the day replacin' corral an' pasture fence rails, then settin' up an' securin' the interior pipe corral panel once again.  When the cows wandered in close we grasped the opportunity to cut the bull back out of the herd, an' hazed him back to the corral, where he stood an' bawled for a good hour or so.  If it was closer to the end of the month we'd have left the bull with the cows, but it's still just a tad bit too early.

Besides reconstructin' the chicken coop an' the bull corral we've spent  a good deal of time out in the pastures fillin' in nasty badger holes, an' also doin' other fence repair. Above and beyond the routine rotten fence posts that need to be replaced each year, the elk did a fair amount of damage this last winter - so we have a lot of extra work. One day as we walked 'long the east line of the south pasture - takin' note of the damage an' what repairin' it would entail - we made a wonderful discovery. We found a four point elk antler, from the 4x5 bull elk that had spent the winter snaggin' hay from the horses an' cows.

Sage thinks that the antler belongs to her since she beat us to the find, but Kari saw it first so we figure it's legally ours. To keep it safe we've placed it up on the mantel of the fireplace with a small collection of deer horns.  For two days Sage would sit in front of the fireplace, head cocked back to gaze up longingly at the antler then would dart her sorrowful pleadin' eyes toward us. "Aw come-on Sage, this one is ours."  We gave her an old weathered an' bleached deer antler that had been chewed on by porcupines, but she refused the buy-off.


May 2, 2009

As we cross the border into May it's finally beginnin' to feel a tad bit more like spring rather than winter, but of course it could always turn wintry again. 'Round these parts we can get a snow flurry pert near every single month of the year - though it doesn't happen all too often.

We have a new neighbor, a retired nurse from California.  While she's busy lookin' to purchase a small piece of acreage in this area  - for her three dogs an' three horses, she'll rent the Ridin' P Ranch....which is up for sale but it's more than what she needs or can afford. 


Bein' neighborly, the other day we decided we should go meet our new neighbor so we created a new design that we felt was fittin' for the occasion then sublimated the new design on to a couple mugs.

We then saddled up two horses an' rode out to get our mail.  On the way back we reined in through the Ridin' P Ranch gate.



The image to the right is the design we applied to the two mugs.  The top part was placed on the front of the mugs with the bottom portion - the definition of how the sayin' came about - was placed on the backside of each mug.

howdy wagon mug

Unlike the one lane graveled county road, the long lane up to the ranch house is blacktopped. Our two horses weren't all to sure they liked cloppin' along on the strange black ribbon, but they did as we asked....that is until we came to a crack in the blacktop that ran all the way across the road.  Puttin' on their brakes, the horses dropped their heads an' snorted at the fissure.  "We ain't goin' any farther," the horses seemed to say.

When asked to go forward, Lakota on rubber legs complied.  Solo went in reverse. After requestin' that Solo cross over the crevice several times an' only gettin' a refusal, Kari turned Solo around an' backed her over it. Once across she reined around an' once again headed up the road.....that is 'till we came across another fracture in the blacktop. This time both horses crossed over the line, Solo nearly jumpin' it, but at least it was forward not backwards.

Time an' time again we came upon a break in the road an' though the horses were uneasy 'bout it they tiptoed across each one. Then we came to another halt. Now what has the horses buggered? It was the new neighbor's three horses in the pasture up by the house, decked out in stable blankets an' tail bags.

It's been a long while since we'd shown our horses so the sight was quite unfamiliar to our two mounts. To make matters worse their view was disrupted by trees so our horses were very unsure of what kind of monsters were millin' 'round up ahead.  "Lets turn around," they hinted. "No way you stubborn nags," we've got a mission an' were goin' to finish it....which we did.

After a nice chat with Karen, an' her oldest son - who was there helpin' her move in, we forked our horses, said our goodbyes, an' headed back down the ribbon of black an' out through the ranch gate.  Once we were back out on the gravel road we felt the nervous tension flow out of our horses. They were certainly relieved to get off of that strange band of black ground. So were we.


Ride the  April  2009 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  March  2009 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  February  2009 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  January  2009 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  December 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  November 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  October  2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  Aug-Sept  2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  July  2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  June  2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  May  2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  April  2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the  March 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

Ride the February 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers

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