“Dally up, dally up”!

Before I get too far into this epistle, take a look at the photo of my two starvelings – “Is it feeding time yet??” Doesn’t that break your heart? They remind me of that character in the Dickens novel (Oliver Twist, wasn’t it?) who, at some meal time or other went up to the front of the refectory holding up his bowl to the stern master, hoping for a second helping.

But – to get on with this, I can hardly believe that so much time has passed and no blog – so here are the reasons!

First of all, of course, round up, which took place, as always, early this month. My left arthritic knee has been so bad that I have to wear a brace and, coupled with a bum back, I often need a crutch to walk with – so I wondered how the branding would be. I thought perhaps I might be the first cowperson to be branding on a crutch – but luckily, the body decided to cooperate and I was able to get by without – but undoubtedly, as I often think nowadays, young was better!

We branded 72 calves with lots more to come later, but we had three excellent ropers and the work went fast. The star of the day was undoubtedly Steve from the UK, who comes every year, and who had been diligently practicing at home, roping a bucket. He did so well with the bucket that he asked me, somewhat diffidently, if he could try his hand at the real thing. Of course, I said, go to it, and he did. And so, would you believe, he was the FIRST to catch a calf, and was initially so stunned that he sat there for a second or two with the rope in his hand, with all of us yelling at him “Dally up, dally up”! And swiftly, he did – and then caught one after the other, so that he actually roped the first four or five calves! With ropers like that the work went fast and we got done by lunchtime – unheard of!!

Steve is staying with us for about a month, so Danny took this opportunity to take his vacation, and he and Bonnie went to Lousianna to see her kids and grandkids. Of course, as Murphy’s Law decrees, the moment he left things came unglued. The first problem was with the replacement heifers, who are apart from the main herd so they don’t get bred too early, and so are grazing in the Grapevine Canyon Ranch headquarters – now that there are no guests to object to the cow ploopers on the drive, and the main gate is locked. It’s nice being able to use this pasture, which has never been grazed and which, therefore, has grass belly high. So you would think, wouldn’t you, that the little blighters would be happy there?? But no- all they can think about is escaping back into Grapevine Canyon – and it’s become a daily routine to be missing 18 or 20 out of the 28 that should be there. All this began before Danny left, and he spent many a dreary hour fixing the fence here and there – and when he left, he did so with the optimistic idea that the fence was secure, and the heifers would be in where we had put them.

But no …. Every day Kate (the resident Grapevine caretaker and cowboy) reports that she can only count 12, or 14 or 18 – and every day Steve and she saddle up and go rounding up the little blighters. Today Steve pronounced that he had fixed the very last bit of fence that they could possibly be escaping through, and that from now on they are secure – so we will see!

A couple of days ago a neighbor called and said that one of our bulls had crossed the cattle guard east of the ranch and was out heading towards town. It happened that it was the one day of this winter that it was really cold – sleeting and miserable. Steve was out riding anyway – nothing will put him off if there’s a horse to be ridden – so I got into my Isuzu 4 wheel drive, and we went bull hunting. No sign of the bull for quite a while – I drove all over the pasture south of the road, bushwhacking my way through trees and dried up swamps till I got to Pearce Road, two miles to the south. Steve turned back toward the cattle guard and suddenly noticed hoof prints – and there was the bull, nicely settled under a bush. I got back to the cattle guard, opened the side gate and waited.

After a while, here came the bull on the trot and none too pleased, bellowing under his breath as he motored along. He got to the cattle guard, took a disdainful look at the gate, then a measured look at the cattle guard grid, put one pudd’n foot on the edge of it and hop! right across it, no problem at all. Steve drove him on about 2 miles and left him in the middle of a group of young, good looking cows – what more could a bull want?

Evidently, a lot more – next day, here comes another phone call – the bull is out again. This time Steve went with reinforcements – Kate and he, both horseback. They found the bull, turned him back, and, no problem at all, across the cattle guard he hopped again like a jackrabbit. So that sealed his fate – not only does he jump cattle guards, just asking for a broken leg one of these days, but he also evidently has totally forgotten his job as a bull, leaving all those handsome cows just to migrate to town! So that very afternoon he was on his way to the sale – better a live 1800 bull on the hoof than a 1800 lb carcass – and he brought almost the exact price I paid for him – $1500. Not bad – at last cattle prices are up a bit, around to where they should have been for years past.

And in the meantime, there are another 20 heifers out in Grapevine Canyon, having got there before the final fence fix – so tomorrow, while I have to go to Tucson, Kate and Steve are off again on another round up!

Princess Ayita

You all remember our filly, Ayita? The day she was born we put a halter on her and began leading her around, as you can’t start too early …. we said to each other. There have been several foals with whom we waited for various amounts of time, resulting in lots of problems, so with Ayita, this early training was invaluable. As the halter comes off after each session, it provides lots of opportunities for further halter-putting-on training.

But the bad fairy of halter breaking is apparently with us. The other day Ayita stuck her head into the front corral panel, which is designed as a gate so we can take if off to get in there with a tractor to clean the pen. Of course, as she lifted her head it came off its hinge and got hung around her neck. We didn’t see this – we just surmise it happened, as the corral panel was off its hinge, and as Ayita suddenly doesn’t want to hear about any halter or anything else which could possibly be put around her neck! What a bummer – here she was progressing so well and now this! So now we are spending many a happy time working with her as if she had never been halter broken all over again – talk about plans of nice and men! The good thing is that at least she didn’t get herself hurt. She is growing like a weed – has a wonderful conformation, and quite an opinion of herself, too. As I said before, this is one foal on whose back I am not clamoring to be the first!!

And lastly I must tell you that I am so busy that I can’t imagine how I ever had time for Grapevine! I guess that work expands into time available, but also I am catching up on lots of stuff that needs done, as for instance, the cleaning out of the garbage dump that I fancifully referred to as my garage. All clean now – clean enough to charge admission to enter! Another item on my list is the organization of the cattle records, complete with the retagging of all cows who have lost their eartags – apparently the sun rots off the retainer pin at the back of the ear and the whole thing falls off. I guess the ones with the lost tags are the ones who spend more time in the sun – like sunbathing? Anyway, a major re-tag is on the agenda come fall, and then, boy howdy! Look out – my cow records will be as never before… I had planned to change over to the electronic tags that you can read with a scanner, but have been told that they also fall off, as it’s – again – the button at the back of the ear that evidently is the weaker part of the tag – and I sure don’t need expensive electronic tags to fall off – bad enough with the normal ones.

Lastly, Ben, the webmaster, requests that anyone who wants to be notified of a new blog posting should add a comment indicating this and he will take care of the rest.

So – have a wonderful spring, and till next time…..

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39 Responses to “Dally up, dally up”!

  1. Oskar Nihil says:

    Howdy Ben,
    Please notify me when the next installment is out.

  2. Kelly & Al says:

    Always good to “catch up ” with news of Grapvine…..
    Our blogroll updates each post you write Eve…..


  3. Pat Withers says:

    Hi Ben…
    Please send along updates to the blog, as well.
    Thank you!

  4. Ben says:

    Howdy Oskar and Pat,

    Thank you for your comments. I have subscribed both of you to future blog updates from Eve.

    All the best to everyone and thank you for reading and sharing.

    Take care,

  5. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Eve,
    Sometimes I wonder just how you do what you do… My Joyce is having to do ALL of our ranch work, but it is down to just feeding, watering and taking care of me.. The feeding & watering
    of the horses, too.. We lost two of our little mini-mares in foaling this month, so, things aren’t
    starting off real good this year.. We have one more mare bred, but she’s had 3 foals(horse colts) so we’re not worried about her.. I really enjoy hearing about your ranch and all y’all do…
    Sure, keep me posted or I’ll catch you off that Canuck feller Al’s blog.. I never seen anyone branding on a crutch before.. Should have had a picture!!! Glad you got rid of that bull !!!

  6. sue says:

    hi Ben
    please send me updates for Eve’s blog thank you.

    I stayed at the reanch twice in 2005 and LOVED it. I had the best two holidays there
    . I feel in love with a horse called Sabino. I hope he found a good home xx

  7. Lovely to hear from you again Eve, I will wait to hear all about Steve’s visit when he gets back to the UK and catches up on his life here. Missing you all as always x

    and yes please keep me on the mailing list!

  8. Nigel and Lesley Ede says:

    Hi Ben. Please subscribe us to blog updates. Grapevine has such a special place in our hearts. I, unfortunately , only managed 2 trips, Nigel 7 or 8. The first one was when I met Nigel and the second was when he proposed!!!! Eve and Bonnie made it so special for us, laying out a trail up the mountain with pink ribbon. We came out ontoba plateau and there was a bottle of champagne, flowers etc wonderful !! So sad it’s closed. Lesley x

  9. Marilyn says:

    Yes keep the blog updates coming. I was just thinking about Grapevine the other day and how great it would be to get down there.

  10. Hi Eve,
    great to hear from you and the ranch.

    Hi Ben,
    please keep me updated…
    The “Follow” didn’t work…

    See ya,

  11. Chris Derrick says:

    Please add me to the list for the updates.

  12. Sarah Stanley says:

    Please add me – I love reading about life on the ranch – brings back happy memories xx

  13. mike franke says:

    We are all (jackie and I ) in need of not only the GC blog fix, but we need a ranch to go to, sure miss everyone, too bad you cant turn the ranch into a time share, we would be the first investors, mike and jackie franke,

  14. Meagan Walters says:

    Hey…I’d love to keep hearing about the ranch (I miss it!), so please add me to the list!

  15. Trish and John says:

    Hi to all, we only discovered Grapevine in 2010 and so just stayed there the once, never to be forgotten, so sorry it had to close. Does Eve take overnight guests at CL? I thought she might? Did our horses go to good homes? Tango and Bubba. Yes please add me to the list for future news.

    Thanks – Trishxx

  16. kerry Johnson says:

    Ben, Let me know when there is a new blog, thank you

  17. Marilyn says:

    Yes Eve what a great round up so quick again this year, at bid scarry when that Mom decided she did’nt what this done to her precious little calf and we all made fast to the fence.

    As you know I read your blog avidly to keep in touch with whats going on so please keep my name on the circulation list, I know Dai dos’nt always get time to read it himself but he gets a fragmented versions from me.

    Local electionbs over and this weekend after our first open field archery shoot of the season we will chat over the round up, sort out those pictures we promised to get to you and I will relay your latest blogg.

    Keep well, hope the visit to Tucson went well.

    Hope to see you again real soon.
    Love Marilyn & Dai

  18. NANCY GATES says:

    Miss you all at GCR Love to all

  19. NANCY GATES says:

    Miss you all at GCR

  20. Tina Harley says:

    Absolutely – let me know when there is a new blog. Let Eve know to write more often!

  21. Anna says:

    Hi Eve,
    love reading your updates on life at CL. Brings back lots of happy memories. Sounds like you are enjoying your ‘retirement’.

    Please add me to the list

  22. Bev Greene says:

    Please keep me informed of new blogs.


  23. Claudia says:

    Love, love love your blog, I so hope to be able to come out again one time! Miss you and the ranch.
    Ben, please notify me for new blogs. thanks

  24. Vicki Starin says:

    I always love hearing about the Grapevine, please put me on the list.

  25. Jan Nicolau says:

    So many fun memories of Grapevine….miss visiting the ranch, and always look forward to Eve’s updates. Put me on the blog update list….thank you!!!!

  26. Jackie Sheppard says:

    Would love to be on the blog list…such great stories!

  27. Jenny Childs says:

    Please put me on the list too. I really enjoy reading Eve’s tales, I think she ought to publish a book!
    I am currently awaiting the birth of a Welsh foal and yes, I always start them from day 1. Saves a lot of trouble later unless of course they put their heads where they shouldn’t! Also, I like playing with them.
    Very best wishes to all.

  28. Jan Bennett says:

    I would like to be kept abreast of the Grapevine Ranch. Great memories when Jerry was around.

    Jan Bennett

  29. Honor Incorvaja says:

    Hi Eve,

    Glad to see you are enjoying your retirement – but it seems a very busy one! All our traveling these days seems to be to London where our son Alex is working at the moment. He and his wife Tasha have an 11 month old daughter, so we visit quite often. Lisa and Niki live here in Malta which is nice as we see their 3 year old son nearly every day.

    One day we hope to get back to the States as we have so many happy memories – especially of Grapevine. We love reading your blog. Could you please ask Ben to put us on the list to inform us when the next one is one is written.

    With very best wishes from us all.

  30. Anita Nash says:

    Ben, please add me to the list for blog updates, many thanks!

  31. Tracy Mecrow says:

    Hi Ben

    Please add me to the list for blog updates, thank you

  32. Elizabeth A. Leopold says:

    Hi Eve & Ben

    Please add me to the Blog e-mail list. Eve, I just sent you an e-mail using the “info” e-mail address. Hopefully you will get it.

  33. Eve says:

    Hi everyone!! I am so touched by all your comments and your enthusiasm about the blogs!! So – I am in the process of an update and I promise to be more timely in the future!

    Big hug to you all!!

  34. Chris & Mike Maskell says:

    Hi Ben
    Please add us to the Blog email list. Love reading Eve’s Blogs. Have such wonderful memories of many visits to Grapevine.

  35. Ben says:

    Hello all,

    I have added all you all to receive updates on new posts. A new entry is coming soon.

    All the best

  36. Laura says:

    Please send me notifications of blog updates!!

    thanks very much

  37. Elaine Grills says:

    Please let me know when a new blog is out.Sure miss Grapevine.

  38. I’m wondering which blogging platform you’re running? I’m new to blogging and have been thinking about using the Hubpages platform. Do you consider this is a good foundation to start with? I would be extremely grateful if I could ask you some questions through e-mail so I can learn a bit more prior to getting started. When you have some free time, please make sure to get in touch with me at: Fosse581@gmail.com. Cheers

  39. Ellen and Mac Friedman says:

    Mac and I enjoyed reading your blog, Eve, as we both think of you, Bonnie/Danny and the Grapevine Canyon Ranch with such fondness. After 9 stays we felt like it was “our” ranch and we are still so attached to it and you. We have such wonderful memories and we definitely want to receive your blog on a regular basis.

    Ellen and Mac

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