Year 53

Russell has a birthday today.  Here is a post celebrating him and the moments to remember from his 53rd year. 

One year ago on his birthday, looking like the cowboy that he is.
Russ and I have a favorite spot to treat ourselves in Carnduff.  It’s this booth at the Flying M Diner.  This year found us seated here pretty often for a while.
Russ oversaw putting a new ranch yard sign up.  We made the back of it a little history capsule.
I appreciate it so very much that Russ is encouraging.
This was the first of 3 blizzards that happened in Russell’s 53rd year.  He didn’t flinch from the work or discomfort.
Part of the blizzard team.
I love this picture despite the stress within it.
A couple days past the blizzard. 
Russ and Buster the cat are very connected.
The start of blizzard #2, it began with a morning of rain.
A calf that needed help to survive, Russ was the ambulance.
The first night of the power outage, Russ only  played to do his part in keeping things calm and morale up.
The first power outage morning in the cowboy cottage.  The first time it was used for its intended purpose of shelter and heat.
This was perhaps Russell’s favorite meal of his 53rd year.  A BBQ roast and veggies sent out by the Powells, our first hot meal of the 2nd blizzard.  The sun had warmed the house in the absence of power
Russ was so dedicated in this moment.  His arm fell asleep keeping a prolapse in until the vet could arrive. 
Better days…..and a Hawaiian shirt!
This picture celebrates Russ the storyteller. You might see his elbow to the left.
Russ has a major strength in making teamwork happen.  This was a fence repair from the blizzard.
Russ shares his Hawaiian shirts.
Russ has an incredible instinct to teach anyone almost anything he knows.
Russ lent his support to Regina Pride celebrations in June.
Russ adores kids and savored these moments.
Russ got a perfect card for Father’s Day.
In his 53rd year Russ was the father of a high school graduate.
Russ loves to party. We had a pretty good shindig to celebrate Jill’s graduation.
With all the kids home for a week Russ suggested we sneak away for a family holiday. A couple nights in Winnipeg followed, with a good visit to the human rights museum.
Russ loves matching outfits. We added this shirt to our collection in July.
Haying season 2022…..a mixed experience but do-able. Russ is back in his tractor.
A summer cowboy.
These two started the day as strangers, by days end this groom was lined up to come chase cows with us. This pic celebrates Russell’s heart for connecting with people.
A great moment for Russ in August, celebrating Jill’s amazing performance in Frozen, and hanging out with family he loves dearly.
Dropping his son off for the first day of school. I don’t remember why we were all there. Gina had moved home after finishing up in Victoria.
Russell adores this picture. A moment from the Hubbard Trailride in September.
In his 53rd year Russ became an owner of an Andalusian stud colt and a lovely donkey.
This year held a fall visit to Nova Scotia, a visit to Peggy’s Cove happening here.
We met family we didn’t know before and Russ set his eyes on Berry ranching. It was quite amazing.
Other family toured us through their Maple Sugar woods. Another first for Russ.
My favorite rancher found himself on the iconic Bluenose II ship while it was docked in Lunenberg.
This jar of honey purchased in Nova Scotia has made Russ into a bit of a honey snob in his 53rd year.
And just like that it’s cow chase season again. These are the very first moments of the 2022 season.
Russ loves kissing. Liz Griffin caught this moment when Russ popped in to check on my progress with the breakfast rolls.
A total treat for this year was having Gina on the trail for the entire chase season.
Teamwork and friendship are everything to Russ.
Fall work included lots of bale hauling.
A joy at Agribition ’22…running into family from Saskatoon.
The start of December meant attending a bull sale, buying new bulls and as luck would have it finally catching Covid.
Suited up for an epically cold December day.
A gift from Jill….merging Russell’s love of Hawaiian shirts and his interest in Sasquatch.
Russ was photoshopped into this family green shirt picture when he missed Kyle Christmas so he could be near the cows.
Russ cleaned out his closet and discovered his high school jacket still mostly fit.
A joy for Russ in his 53rd year, finding that Costco sells their baked goods in frozen, pre-cooked form.  Here he handles 17 kg of crossaints.
Our dog Bingo has always looked up to Russ but this year she became absolutely obsessed with him. 
Russ savored this morning where we marketed calves and got very good prices for them. 
More delicious coffee in Russell’s life now that Jill is working at Starbucks.
The Russell and Buster connection.
I don’t remember what led to this moment but it’s funny and Russ creates moments like this.  Yes that’s my Bible in my hand.
And it’s time to clean up from blizzard number 3 of the 53rd year. 
Just a goofy picture.
Russell’s hugs have made people smile in his 53rd year.
As the 54th year begins Russ can be assured of the constant support of our dogs.
We had a few friends over last night to celebrate Russell’s day. He prepped these roll-ups with great care.
Happy birthday Russ!  That was a good year and you always brought your A game. You did it!

Song of the Day: Happy Birthday!

I wrote about Gina and her first 20 years a few weeks ago because the days were ripe with stories. But as I post this its Saturday and officially her birthday.

As I get started on this blog I am tucked in the back seat of our Hyundai, Gina is in the front seat and she and Russ are swapping stories, currently discussing their experiences with caffeine. We are enroute home from Regina Airport. It’s currently Wednesday, Gina is home for Jill’s grad. The beauty of this moment is not lost on me. To be in the presence of my first born, enjoying her, but mostly just being near, is really nice.

At my checkup after Gina’s birth Dr. Naidu told me “that was a hard one.” Her observation was affirming, I had never done this before and I didn’t know how to describe what I had been through. The relevance to this blog is that this day 20 years ago Russ was actively caring for our girl and I was doing the bare bare minimum. I hardly knew Gina yet. What I am experiencing right now is not anything I could ever have imagined looking at those wise eyes staring back at me as we started to find our way 20 years ago.

Gina’s story has seen another big step since the blog about her earlier this month. She recently completed a two week intensive course in Vancouver, a national workshop of Fight Directors Canada. It gave her a “basic actor combatant” certificate. The first of 5 levels of training she needs to become an on set fight director. She LOVES this stuff and she is good at it. At the conclusion of the course she was assessed by fight masters and then received adjudication. What she heard was so encouraging. They told her, “you’re good, if you want to make a career of this you just have to go for it.” The part I loved hearing about as her mother was that she excelled at her teamwork. She was awarded “rookie of the year” for her group. Interesting options are emerging. A couple days ago Gina received an invitation to a regional workshop in Montreal, a chance to get her next level of training. The instructors and fight masters Gina worked with in Vancouver are encouraging her to attend more school in Toronto, another setting for more levels. She has an audition this weekend for more traditional musical theatre work. As her Mom it is thrilling to see her having options and although she has no clear plan at this point she said to me last week, “I’m in the right place.”

She shared pictures from practice sessions at the course and gave me permission to use them.

The picture below has Gina on the left. This is “quarter staff” training.

The picture below is Gina on the right doing what she loves, sword fighting.

The pictures below have her in “unarmed” fight training.

The conclusion of the course allowed Gina some time to hang out with my sister and brother in law in Vancouver. It was sweet for me to think about Jan and Ray being able to celebrate Gina’s accomplishments with her.

I can’t believe this sweet smiling face loves fighting so much! My sister reported back to me she had been shown some mighty bruises.

We are proud of you Gina and thankful, infinitely thankful for all the people and events that have got you where you are today. Happy birthday to you!