Latest Blog Posts

The Things that Scare Horses Make No Sense

By Katherine Grand

The past two weekends my husband Eric and I have gone for long high country rides  in the unit we’ll be hunting in Colorado’s gorgeous Gunnison county.  We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area with so much public land and awesome hunting opportunities.  After years of being horseless last spring I was given a beautiful grey mare we named Fiona and we found Eric a great Missouri Fox Trotter gelding named Remington.  I taught Eric to ride and he has turned out to be a natural horseman.  I grew up riding and competing out east in English and jumping so we both have learned a lot hunting and backcountry riding with horses.  Back east where I rode horses were kept in stalls, they were let out individually in small pens so as not to hurt each other, ridden in indoor arenas and generally coddled and protected in every way possible.  Here in Gunnison horses roam large pastures in herds, they are loaded into stock trailers fully tacked without shipping boots, and cuts and scrapes are almost an everyday occurrence.  Rather than being fearful of the outdoors like our babied eastern horses, they are afraid of man-made objects and totally at home in the wild.

 

Remington checking out a highly suspicious ranch goat

This winter the awesome backcountry horses I had become accustomed to seemed to lose their minds.  Fiona injured her eye, cut a large gash in her chest and they  both became terrified of everything from birds, nesting waterfowl, blue tarps, and the ranch goats they had walked past a million times at the ranch.  One particular corridor of willows we aptly names the gauntlet which we had to ride through EVERYDAY was always greeted with terror alert RED.   Any sign of movement would send them leaping through the air and riding them felt like riding a stick of dynamite.  After Fiona healed we have ridden the heck out of our two crazies this spring and they have regained their composure.  Two weekend ago on out ride I was trotting around a corner on a high country trail when I heard a thrashing through the brush.  The large butt of a big cinnamon bear was bounding away from only 20 yards away.  I exclaimed “OH BEAR!!” and the horses didn’t even flinch.  Me and the bear were far more startled than the horses.  This is coming from horses that can find an electrical box, trash bag, or a fly mask that has been hung from a fence petrifying.  Stepping over a hose is akin to an anaconda, but a bear?  No problem.  Crazy horses.

No big deal, it's just a bear

A Traumatic and Memorable Day

By Katherine Grand

 

The day began with no foreshadowing of events to come; normal as things get here at  Prois.  The morning started with Joni and Kirstie ruthlessly chiding me about my unorganized desk and the fact that I had no leg room under my desk as I was storing things there.   I texted Kirstie a very unattractive picture of me flipping her off as she would not come over and look at my legs fitting comfortably under my desk. Needless to say said photo ended up on facebook.

Do not text your boss pictures that you do not want to end up on facebook

I was saved by the bell when one of my dealers called with some questions and Joni and Kirstie continued to cackle loudly while I diligently worked.  Out of nowhere I looked over and a dying mouse was convulsing next to my chair.  I exclaimed “Oh my God, hold on a second” and immediately put my dealer on hold.  While I regained my composure Joni kindly scooped up the dying mouse and deposited it outside.  The cackling increased exponentially as Joni and Kirstie discussed how there were mice living under my desk.  The timing was impeccable for an animal to crawl out and die next to me.

 

Joni scooping up the dying mouse. Note to self, do not use the blue bowl.

While feeling thoroughly weird about the random dying mouse, my husband appeared in the office to accompany me on a hunt with Aurora our red-tailed hawk and our dogs Lucky and Sadie.  I was sure hunting would make me feel better.  Eric and I started hunting and Aurora was following us well and chasing each rabbit we flushed.  While hunting an immature golden eagle suddenly flew less than 10 feet over Aurora which sent me screaming and waving my arms wildly to scare it off.  Golden eagles will kill and eat other birds of prey when they see an opportunity and many falconers have lost their birds to goldens.  The golden continued out of the valley but our dog Sadie is old and was having trouble with the icy, punchy snow so I suggested Eric to take her back to the truck.  The timing couldn’t have been worse.  While he was gone, I continued to try to flush bunnies when suddenly Aurora made a spectacular dive and loudly crashed into some brush in a ditch below me.  I excitedly ran to where I saw her disappear and found her holding a rabbit and she and the rabbit were totally tangled in the brush.  I stretched the bunny to break its neck and in the excitement of untangling Aurora and her rabbit from the brush she grabbed a hold of my right index finger and sunk her talons into my flesh.  She was super amped up from catching the rabbit and was not going to let go.  The more I tried to pry her off the tighter her grip became.  The pain was intense and I knew that I would need Eric the pry her front and back toes off at the same time which is almost impossible to do one handed.  The other option was to wait until she relaxed which I have had to do in the past while hunting alone.  However, Aurora is one of the strongest birds I have worked with and the pain was excruciating.  Oh the mayhem!  I started screaming for Eric and he heard me as her rounded the corner in our truck with the windows up.  I must have been pretty loud.  I was crying by the time her found me and he pried her talons off my finger, one of which was sunk in over a half an inch right into my joint.  I calmed down and gave Aurora a feast on her bunny.  She quickly forgot the incident and dug into her prize.

 

Owwwwwey owwwwww owwwwww

On the drive back home I realized I was due for my tetanus shot and was concerned over the location of the deepest puncture wound which quickly sealed up trapping in all the awesome bacteria and gore from Aurora’s talons that had just been sunk in the rabbit.  Upon returning to the office CEO Kirstie Pike and certified award winning nurse told me I should go into the doctor because I did not want an infected joint. When I called to make an appointment and the nurses asked me what had happened, it took me a while to explain the circumstances of my injury.  When I arrived at the office the nurses were asking me a million questions and treating me like I was some sort of newly discovered 2 headed creature.  Apparently being home to the oldest consecutive rodeo in the Colorado, they have lots of experience with bull horn injuries but this was their first talon maiming.  After listening to some awful cat bite stories about people that ended up filleted open (he definitely used the word filleted) I was prescribed a course of antibiotics.  Unfortunately there is little literature about the bacteria common to a hawk’s talons so I received the cat bite meds, my tetanus shot,  and was ordered to return in two days.

We still got a bunny!

 

I returned back to the office and retold the harrowing tales of my day to Kirstie, Joni, and Shonda who has since arrived.  It was a thoroughly traumatic and memorable day but I learned some good lessons about the importance of office cleanliness and I now bring an extra leather glove and pruning shears to cut my hawk out of the crazy tangles of brush she crashes into after rabbits.  This suggestion came from another lady falconer,Laura Culley.  Also I learned not text your boss pictures you do not want to end up on facebook if you happen to work for Kirstie Pike.  Thanks Kirstie Pike for putting up with me going on lunch hunts and the subsequent doctor’s visits that are sometimes required.

Small Things Come in Big Packages

By Katherine Grand

A riveting true story . . . call to inquire about the movie rights.

 

 

My good friend Mary who works for FedEx walked in with an exceeding large box.  I am taking refrigerator sized Jerry rigged box that at least 7 umpa lumpas could fit inside.  I saw her carrying it in and admired her physical prowess as she seemed not to be phased in the least by this enormous and I assumed heavy box.

Boxicus Humungolous

I called out “That thing is huge!”. She said, “Yeah but it’s really light.” 

 

What could it be I wondered?  I opened it up to see the most unexpected and ridiculous contents imaginable.  Well I guess the contents were not so strange as the amount of space that was utilized.  Inside this box that could house a large family of badgers was a broken fishing rod and a Pro-Edition Jacket.

What in the . . . ?

These items had been deemed defective by a big box store that shall remain nameless and sent back to us for a refund.  Strangely we do not make fishing rods and the PHD candidate that packed this box had mistaken the wayward rod for a second Pro-Edition Jacket.  Strange days indeed.  Luckily we now have a castle, or submarine, or cave, or spaceship available when we need a break from work at the Prois office.

Katherine's famous possessed by demons look

 

Cleanliness is Next to Kirstieness

By Katherine Grand

 

Kirstie Pike, AKA Manshoe, and CEO of Prois Hunting Apparel is insanely clean and organized person.  She derives more pleasure from cleaning out her garage than I do from eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.  She is borderline OCD if not certifiable.  I am confused by her tendencies as cleaning my garage is akin to my own personal hell and I am extremely good at finding things I would rather do than clean or organize, hence, the state of my house.

Kirstie's pristine work area

Working  for  Kirstie has been a challenge and  a crash course in cleanliness and organization to say the least.  She very patiently leaves me subtle notes from my inanimate objects within my office that tell me they are very sad about being dirty.

Kirstie is currently on the road through March 5th and I am here all by my lonesome sitting in my quiet lonely cave with no music and the shades drawn tight.  Somehow my desk knew Kirstie would be gone and spontaneously erupted.  Luckily I have almost two weeks to wallow in my own filth before boss lady returns and I find a vacuum cleaner parked in my office.  

Sad but true, my messy desk

 

Prois Extreme Jacket and Pants: Gear Review

Prois Field Staffer and Prois Award Winner Andrea Fisher

Andrea Fisher is on Prois’ elite Field Staff Team.  She was the recipient of the 2011 Prois Award where she won the hunting trip described in this gear review.
By Andrea Fisher
My recent hunting trip to Alberta, Canada proved to be an extreme test of the Prois Xtreme jacket and pants combination! Zero degree Fahrenheit temperatures are certainly a test of ANY outerwear and Prois has really hit it out of the park with the design and features of these two pieces! I can only say I was SO happy to have this quality outerwear, because it kept me outside, hunting, in the treestand and in the blind, warm and comfortable for the duration of my hunt despite severe cold conditions!
Both the jacket and pants are very well constructed of a polyester waterproof and breathable fabric that was quiet, and offered protection from the wind, and insulated with 150 gram 3M Ultra Thinsulate that was perfect for the very cold conditions encountered on the hunt. Both jacket and pants are fully lined with the Prois smooth tricot lining. The jacket sleeves have deep inner knit cuffs that seal out the wind and the cold, and the pants have zippers on the lower legs to help when putting on or pulling off boots. Elastic drawstring closures at the bottom of the jacket could be cinched snug, sealing out the wind and cold, and the elastic drawstring closure at the waist of the pants keep the fit snug, keeping body warmth in. A slick added feature is the safety harness access at the neck of the jacket, allowing a safety harness to be worn under the jacket. The Prois ducktail on the back of the jacket came in very handy, allowing me to drop the tail to sit on, as the treestand seats had fresh snow almost every morning, and the extra layer kept me warm and dry! The jacket has several zippered front pockets, that perfectly held my camera and other small items, and the zippered side pockets are large and roomy. The hood has a drawstring for pulling it closer to the head, and the hood was warm and ample.

On most days, my jacket and pants were worn over my baselayer set of medium weight fleece, and a medium weight wool sweater. This worked well sitting in the treestand in temperatures of 20’s and low 30’s. However, the mercury really plunged and some mornings the temperature was zero degrees Fahrenheit, and I did make some changes to my layering strategy: I first put on a baselayer set of a silk top and bottoms, followed by the fleece baselayer, and wore my Prois fleece vest over my sweater. Then, followed by my jacket and pants. This worked well for me, and I was warm and comfortable sitting in a treestand or in a blind!

The Xtreme series is must-have gear for those hunting in extreme cold conditions! I absolutely LOVE mine and believe me, I will not be without it on a winter hunt! Thanks, Prois!!!!!

It’s All Rather Unconventional…This Little Piggy Should Have Stayed Home.

By: Kirstie Pike, CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel

Life on our world is weird. It just is. I am not talking weird in the sense that neighbors call to report strange odors or reclusive habits (although we have had a number of calls to the local dispatch office due to rogue buffaloes, but that is a story for another day). I mean weird in the sense that things occur in daily life that make us pause, scratch our heads, and say, “Do we need to tell the kids not to repeat this at school?”. Despite the fact that I feel compelled to constantly assure people that we are not products of intermarriage from generations past, I cannot help but look at our life without stifling a maniacal giggle. Yesterday was no exception.

It’s pig season. I don’t mean hog season. I mean pig season. Our kids are very much into 4-H and have raised market hogs since they were eight years old. It is a way of life around here from March through July. They have become competitive and compulsive about their pigs and how they want to raise them and finish them. In fact, I was recently informed that “it was time to split the barrow from the gilts and change the feed”. Huh…who knew? The pigs are a big deal. I think I am beginning to understand the sacred cow philosophy in India. However, these hogs will end up on the dinner plate. No exceptions.

So,the hogs got out. I do not mean they escaped their pens and were milling about happily. They were out and not to be found. Apparently, this was a result of some supreme procine planning. These suckers not only escaped their pens and the weather port. They traveled down the road, around the cattleguard and found themselves frolicking side by side with the buffaloes in the fields ¼ mile from the house. For those wondering, pigs are non-migratory. I don’t really need to say more. They typically opt to stay close and root up my yard or wallow in the irrigation ditch. It is unusual to find these wily critters this far away from home.

Upon closer inspection, only two of the three had made it to the field. The third was missing in action. Two pigs were rounded up (a process that vaguely resembles herding cats) and led back home. Should you have no previous pig-herding experience, here is how it goes: the herder walks behind said pigs with a pig stick, prodding and guiding as the pigs willfully move…wherever they want, that is. This can be a very slow and tedious process. The only comforting thoughts at moments like this are nestled in the knowledge that each of these beasts would eventually end up at market. It is sort of pork karma.

It then became time to launch a ranch wide search and rescue effort for pig number three. After some extensive searching, the gilt was located…far, far away in another pasture. Efforts were made to begin the death march back to the house. However, this pig was having nothing to do with these efforts. Nothing. Mind over matter…pig over person…call it what you will. She was not moving. She was exhausted and stressed.

At this point, my husband went somewhat catatonic. This state of mind is typically indicative of one of two things; (1) an amazing act of brilliance or (2) an amazing act of desperation. The course of the events that followed could be attributed to either brilliance, desperation or both. I suppose the point is moot, but it does make one pause. Once this occurs, he has had enough. There is no negotiation, whether he is dealing with pigs, cattle, great danes, his wife or his children. A solution, whatever it may be, was eminent.

Husband leaves.
Husband returns.
With a backhoe.

Now, for those of you who live on ranches, you know the backhoe is typically reserved for carcass removal in these instances. Desperation or brilliance? Within minutes, he had the pig handled, wrestled into the bucket of the backhoe, levitated above ground and en route to the pens. Apparently, there was no more pig negotiation. (Rest assured, when he is done negotiating with the kids, they are not packed up in a backhoe bucket and transplanted…not yet anyway) Said pig was lowered to the ground and herded into the pens where she too went rather catatonic. Good news! Madame Pig is doing great and is as happy as a clam. Assuming that clams are fairly content by nature.

Whether this was ranching ingenuity or brilliant desperation…problem solved. Even if it was rather unconventional.

This little piggy should have stayed home.

It’s All Rather Unconventional…A Game of Cat and Moose

By: Kirstie Pike, CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel

As most who know our family understand, life around the ranch can be anything BUT conventional. At any given time there is some level of ridiculous catastrophe unfolding. Some catastrophes are too good NOT to share while others should not be shared without legal counsel.

On a recent hunting trip to Alaska, my husband Steve harvested an amazing bull moose. The mount arrived a couple of weeks ago, but the effort to get that massive animal on the wall could arguably be compared to childbirth. Not only does the moose require two men (a fact we quickly learned in our first attempts to hang the thing, but thankfully we figured it out before blood was shed) but it was too big to fit anywhere. ANYWHERE. This thing is huge.

So, what started out as a seemingly simple task took an entire Sunday. Within an hour ALL mounts were removed from the walls. It looked like the carnage from a scene in the Cabelas Dangerous Hunts Wii game. The moose migrated from spot to spot but we finally found the perfect perch for it. We commenced rearranging the other animals and pictures until we were satisfied. I will not go into the part about needing to retexture and paint various portions of the house. I may need legal counsel on that one.

I will divert here, but bear with me. I will get to the point quickly. One fact that must be understood is that cats do not thrive long in the Pike household. It is not that we do not like cats. It just seems that the coyotes and owls like them more. In fact, my daughters decided we should start naming the cats numbers instead of names. They also thought it would be funny to name the next cat Appetizer. Their father felt that was tasteless. This coming from the man who will neither confirm nor deny that he had possibly been spotted slaying a menacing raccoon while wearing his boxers and Crocs. Any further information may require legal counsel.

The latest cat is, in fact, Bridget. A cat my daughters decided they had to have from the local pet store to the tune of $100 (their own money, to be sure). At least she was spayed, which gave this particular cat an advantage over the rest because it seems that as soon as we spent $150 to spay or neuter a cat, it was a sure sign that the thing would disappear within a week. Much to our dismay, we all fell in love with this cat. She is The Princess. She has toys. She has a cat box. We even perform a search and destroy mission each evening to make sure she gets in the house before she becomes fodder. A service never provided to any previous felines.

That said, Bridget has on more than one occasion been found on top of some of our mounts. Her favorite perch was often the antlers of the elk which occupied the spot the moose overtook. We tried everything to keep her down, but we soon learned that she is like a willful child- best to ignore her and she will give up the game.

She quickly found her place on top of the massive moose. We frequently found her splayed out across the broad based antlers. This habit came to an abrupt halt early one morning.

The following events were not witnessed by any of us, so we can only speculate the true nature of this particular catastrophe. First, a very loud crashing sound is heard from the living room. Second, the cat is running at a blinding speed down the hallway away from said loud crashing sound. (In fact, she was running in place at points because as she was peeling out on the hardwood floors) Upon inspection, the moose had come crashing down. I am not sure if I have mentioned how massive this thing is, but let us just say that it must believe in the Scorched Earth policy as it cleared EVERYTHING in its path. Amazingly, it did not break. As we cleaned up the mess, we assumed Bridget was at the bottom of this somehow. My daughter went to find her.

We are unsure of how the cat was involved, but not only would she steer entirely clear of the moose, she would not venture into the living room. At all. If she needed to get to food or water, she chose a path around the entire perimeter of the room keeping a keen eye on the killer moose at all times. The following evening, I caught her on one of her stealthy stalks. I felt it prudent to try to make her sit in my lap and calm down. That decision only resulted in blood loss. So I chose the next logical thing any adult would consider…I asked the kids to do it.

As my two teenage daughters held the cat down (yes, it took two of them…) the cat could not stop staring at the killer moose. It was at this point we figured she may have been under the moose when it fell. As she would look up, she started to back away from ALL mounts on the wall. It didn’t matter if it was a goat, buck or caribou- everything was apparently going to attack her from above. She quickly escaped the girls’ grasps and backed herself into the wall, carefully inspecting each different animal. She then ran to the cat box…a natural reaction when one is quite frightened. On subsequent trips through the living room, Bridget would make a stealthy track, but if she happened to gaze upward at any of the mounts she would quickly hit reverse and back herself away. As terrified as the cat was, it became fairly fun family game to try to coax her through the living room and see exactly how she would get through.

Today, she will venture into the living room. She avoids the moose at all costs, but has somehow determined the bucks, goat, elk and caribou pose no immediate threat.

It seems it’s just a game of cat and moose.

It’s Rather Unconventional… Murder, Mold and Life on the Road

By: Kirstie Pike

CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women

Being involved in the hunting and shooting industry requires attendance of many shows, events and store openings.  Prois has been on the road much of the Spring, with our latest attendance being the 2010 NRA Convention in Charlotte, NC.  During the course of our travels we have covered thousands of miles, eaten more Subway sandwiches and consumed copious amounts of Monster drinks and Starbucks.  As well, there are many  nights spent in hotel rooms and rental houses.  Over the course of the last year, we have officially stayed in some of THE worst places in the lower 48.  Following a brief stay in what we fondly call “the murder hotel” (to be described in detail below) it has become somewhat of a sport for us at Prois to torment Keli Van Cleave, Prois Pro-Staffer and frequent show help, with a cat and mouse game of “Let’s See Where We Can Put Keli”.  

The “Murder Hotel” was simply a case of right person, wrong motel.  Coffee County, Tennessee.   It was simply a matter of road weariness and sleep deprivation.  We pulled into what seemed like a decent place to stay for a few hours.  I am not certain if my first red flag should have been the fact  that I had to pay in cash or the fact that the room rate was $32.  However, if neither of those incidents were cause for alarm, the fact that it was attached to a truck stop should have been.  We entered the room which can only be described as squalid.  Maybe it was the fact that we couldn’t walk around without our shoes that should have made us question our stay.  Maybe it was the fact that the beds were elevated on 2×4’s (maybe to elevate above vermin level?) that should have made us question our stay.  Maybe it was the fact that the hot water handle in the shower was marked with a Budweiser cap that should have made us question our stay.  However, it was definitely the fact that we had to run across the street to the 24 hour Walmart to purchase bedding that made us stop to think, “Should we really stay?”.  It didn’t look any better in the morning light.  After a morning questioning from local Starbucks staff, we learned why the Scottish Inn in Coffee County, TN was the least savory motel around.  Apparently a murder occurred there the week before.  Maybe that wasn’t really a vomit stain on Keli’s box spring after all. 

The “Trucker Hotel” was a brief encounter in Kansas.  14 hours of driving does indeed make one tired.  Keli and I opted to stop to sleep in a small Kansas town.  We pulled in at 1:00 am in the middle of a snowstorm.  We were greeted by an odd looking young man who I would guess was involved in an underground group of Dungeons and Dragons as he appeared not to have seen daylight in years.  Should I have been offended when he offered us the “Truckers Discount”?  Probably, but hey, I am cheap….so I went with it.  At least there was complementary continental breakfast.  Or was there?  Apparently  a recent car crash through the front windows dashed any hopes for orange juice and yogurt.  Things definitely look different in the daylight. 

The “Mold Motel” is located in greater metro Winnemucca, Nevada.  Another long day at the shows followed by late night driving  resulted in a need to stop.  After stopping at a seedy little motel where we were greeted by  a paunchy man in his underwear carrying a fussing toddler, we chose a small motel that  was clearly above the rest as it based all advertisement on “clean rooms”.  After the “Murder Motel”,  we felt comforted by the fact that a motel might feel cleanliness is important.  Clearly cleanliness is subjective.  What I initially thought to be dust bunnies along the carpeted baseboards turned out to be a moldy substance.  Same with the air conditioner.  Sleep was limited as we were certain we were going to die of some rare mold inhalation pneumonia.  We didn’t.  However, if either of us die of a mysterious pulmonary disease, please notify the Winnemucca health department.

Our recent trip to the NRA convention lead us to the amazing new digs.  We arrived at the StayInn Residence Suites at 11:00 pm.  We probably should have been deterred by the fact that this place looked eerily like a housing project.  However, there were a couple of Cadillac Escalades and Hummers parked about so we felt that maybe the advertised renovated rooms were terrific.  We entered our “suite” to find that the “renovated kitchenette” was simply a hotplate and a sink on a plywood stand.  Oh, and not one cup or dish to be found.  Handy.  It turns out that one must also pay a $20 deposit to “borrow” the iron at the desk.  Oh yeah.  The ultimate red flag SHOULD have been the fact that  the cost of the motel for 5 days was cheaper than my rental car.  However, that was not as much of an issue as the fact that the peep hole was stuffed with toilet paper and the screws to the locks were stripped.  Yet, we stayed for one sleepless night.  The good news is that we found the one and only available room in the region at a very respectable Holiday Inn.  The bad news was the fact that  two local police officers who work vice took great humor in the fact that the StayInn was one of their frequent ‘busts’.  I guess that explains the Escalades parked outside late at night.  Welcome to the “Vice Motel”, Keli. 

In spite of it all, Keli Van Cleave remains a great friend and a die-hard member of the Prois Pro-Staff team.  That’s not to say she hasn’t quit a few times.  Oh, and might I add that Keli’s mom has stripped me of any lodging responsibility.  Ever. 

It’s All Rather Unconventional…”Muthah’s Day”, Burning Stuff & Dirty Danes

Kirstie Pike
CEO Prois Hunting Apparel

Yep…about everything in our lives is rather unconventional.  To say that our family marches to the beat of a different drum is simply an understatement.  From all outward appearances, we appear to be the regular family next door.  However,  I am certain that more than one person has observed our family with a quizical look and a whisper of, “What in the world?”.  We are simply rather unconventional. 

Mother’s Day 2010.  Mother’s Day conjures up images of scripted cards, floral arrangements and never-ending brunches.  Perhaps a family gathering at church followed by a delightful dinner.  This is undeniably NOT the vision of Muthah’s Day at the Pike household. 

The day commenced with a long anticipated weed burning episode that produced enough smoke to blot the sun from the sky and cause my daughter and I to stop, drop and roll into a combat crawl to get away from the smoke chokehold.  We maintained this method of transportation to the front of the house as we met the local Park Service Rangers who were responding to what appeared to be a gargantuan brush fire.  It seems they would like for us to notify dispatch before the next weed burn.  Who would have thought that a leachfield burn could be seen for miles?  Note to self.

What could be more interesting than a springtime brush fire?  You guessed it, branding cattle!  I know, you see these images on so many Mother’s Day cards, right?  My husband and I, with our two teenage daughters commenced to the task.  Steve would rope the calves, the girls and I would stretch and hold them until branding, banding and vaccinations were through.  I am certain that Steve gazed out over the scene before him and quietly wished for male assistance to arrive.  With each task, the poor man was met with a barrage of female-fueled input sounding much like clucking hens in a hen house.  His masculine help never arrived.  Not until we were done.  It’s all a bit unconventional, but did you know it is probably more comfortable to brand in jeans rather than shorts and running shoes? 

Yardwork.  Who doesn’t love yard work!?  In the Gunnison basin, the winds blow incessantly until the snow melts from the high peaks.  This would occur somewhere in late June.  I am not talking winds that are akin to a breeze…I am talking gale force winds that could rival Hurricane Katrina.  This little trick from Mother Nature makes yardwork a matter of physics.  All I can say is that after hours of toiling in the flower beds, tending the lawn and filling the many bird feeders, the only result was a large cache of mulch, birdseed and clean laundry in a windblown jumble 300 yards from our house.  Luckily I planted the new perinneals my daughters gave me for Muthah’s Day.  The great news is that I did not find them in the pile with the laundry and birdseed.  The bad news is that I can’t find them anywhere.   

My husband and I are still trying to remember why we thought it was a great idea to have not one, but two Great Danes.  While they really have extremely sweet temperments…they are just, well, BIG.  And needy.  Big

Can anyone find my clean laundry and dirty danes in here?

and needy.  Living on a ranch, our dogs are constantly filthy and thus spend relatively little time in the house.  (Part of that reason is that daughter #1 dislikes them.  Thus, when the dogs enter the house, she quickly diverts them right back out the living room doors before they can get comfortable.  No one truly fights this either.)  It was my plan to give these lunks a bath for Mutha’s Day.  Did you know Danes hate water?  Daughter #2 and I wrestled the 130 lb dogs through 30 minutes of cold water, foam and wind.  We finished the job and high-fived our way back to the house only to find the dogs rolling in the windswept debris pile where our mulch, yard art and clean laundry land.   There may, in fact, be a small bonus in the fact that danes have a shorter life expectancy than most other breeds.  I think I know why. 

So when people ask me about Muthah’s Day…I simply tell them it was just another day in the life.  And it was…it’s all just a bit unconventional.