It’s Official…

It’s official SPRING IS FINALLY HERE! I am making this official statement because I finally shed my long johns today and no longer needed gloves while working outside, which seems crazy because this time last week there was 3 inches of snow on the ground! I spent this wonderfully beautiful day on my horse moving pairs (a cow and her baby calf). After the calves are born they spend at least three days in a field close to the barn, so we can still watch them because it is their first couple days of life that they are the most vulnerable. After those first couple of days we want to get them out of the smaller field into a bigger field to decrease the chance of disease spreading like scours. Scours is like our version of diarrhea, it effects the calf’s intestine and causes them to be unable to use the nutrients from their mom’s milk and they can also get dehydrated. My horse Mare and I were moving pairs from our smaller calving field into a bigger field where the older calves go with their mom’s!Image

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More than a cute accessory!

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Our ranch depends greatly on working cattle dogs!  In the old days, when labour was cheaper, ranchers could afford many cowboys to get the job done.  Today as our ranch expands, my husband & I and his parents, look after the same land base and number of cows that 20 years ago was managed by 4 separate families!

The cow dog is becoming more and more important to our ranch, as we chase cows over more acres of land.  Here in B.C., our forested ranch land can be so thick, it is tricky to get ahead of a fast moving cow going in the wrong direction.  A dog who can go to the front of a herd and stop them and/or turn them is a necessity!

We lost our good dog last fall and quickly had to seek out these two dogs to help with the fall round-up. We were able to locate these two from a cowboy friend. The one (red, in the bottom picture) was a year old and was nicely started, having whistle commands going both ways. We paid $700 for her, although that was a spectacular price as trained dogs can be up to $2500 or more. It was very kind of our friend to give us such a great deal in our time of need. We also bought the fluffy puppy in the top picture (who slept in the truck throughout the entire fall round-up) , and hope she will develop into something amazing also!

So when you drive into a rancher’s yard and run over his best dog, understand that not only did you kill his best friend; you cost him a month’s salary and his arthritic knees and his horse will now take a severe pounding as he brings in his last cows, alone.
~Erika Fossen~

Calving Season

We start calving in the middle of February and calve until about the middle of April. We calve out 200 cows and 50 heifers (heifers are  two years old and are having their first baby!) As of March 1 we had 130 calves, so February was a really busy month because as ranchers calving season […]

Ummm…….Fresh Fruit Pie!

Ummm.......Fresh Fruit Pie!

I make this wonderful recipe, given to me by my mother-in-law, all summer long! It never gets old because you can use whatever fresh fruit you have on hand. Try it, I am sure you will love it too.

Fresh Fruit Pie
Sauce: make on stovetop in saucepan

1 cup Sugar

4 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1 small Jello, matching flavor of fruit

mix, then add

1 cup Water

Bring to boil, then set aside to cool.

Crust:

1 cup Flour

1 Tbsp. Icing Sugar

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup oil

1 Tbsp. milk

Mix in pie dish, then press into shape.  Bake for 12-15 minutes @ 375.  Cool to warm.

I usually do these two steps then walk away and get something else done for a while.  When I come back, I:

Put 3 cups Fresh fruit into baked pie shell.  I have used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, really anything you have, with the corresponding jello (or at least the corresponding color).

Pour the slightly set up sauce over fresh fruit.  Set in refrigerator, at least 4 hours.

Enjoy!!

p.s.  This recipe is for a medium sized pie.  I usually X’s it by 1 1/2 and put it in my bigger pie dish, which works great!  The more of this recipe, the better!

~Erika Fossen~

Oh Crap!

Oh Crap!

This is what happens when one tire slightly sinks and your manure hangs up………. This happened last April. We are working up the nerve to haul manure again.

Manure is awesome natural fertilizer for our hay fields and crops. A layer of manure on the field also holds moisture. In our dry climate this is very important to keep as much moisture as we can.We feed our cows on our fields so that they put the manure out there for us. But there always ends up to be a bit of manure to haul out.

~Erika Fossen~

A little about me

baby calf and I

I was born and raised on my family’s cattle ranch. When I graduated I moved to Edmonton to attend the University of Alberta where I obtained a degree in Education with a minor in Agriculture. During my time at the U of A I also was a member of the varsity rugby team. After earning my degree I moved back to my home town to pursue my love of ranching and teaching. I am currently working on our ranch full time alongside my father, who once operated the ranch along side his father. There are many ups and downs to this industry, but ultimately I love waking up in the morning to go to work!