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!

Hello Sunday

Its hard to know how to write about the day we have had. Two problems exist. I only have about 10 minutes to write and there is too much to put into words even if I had an hour.

Good weather this weekend meant a big change in plans for Russell. He says he woke up yesterday with a thought ringing through his mind…..”we need to Ivomec the bulls today.” We were able to access Ivomec at the last minute and the plan expanded, despite having a big party at our house tonight and hopes to get to Church, we put sixty cow calf pairs through the chute today as well as 60 bred heifers. We had the party, we didn’t get to church. The work with the cows went really really well. Russ wants to give credit to a welder who has helped us to adjust our working chute so that calves move through without turning around. This makes everything safer. Thanks Joe! I think Russ is really grateful that we were able to get the Ivomec applied and shots of Vitamin A&D in these groups while the weather was good. Meanwhile ….. with Morg and Jill at the chute with Russ I boogied to get final tidying done and meal prep underway. We were expecting 42 people for supper but some last minute changes meant we were about 33.

I spent alot of the day pondering what I might say during speech time. Thats a tradition we have. We always have a speech and grace before we eat. Its usually a time to say thanks and reflect on the day a bit. Tonight we got to say thanks and reflect on the whole season just a bit. As I pondered I became aware that the way things unfold around here has given Russ and I chances to explore and discover skills we hold. The fact that all these people come together has given us the chance to test and prove ourselves as crew boss and mealtime mastermind. It is cool to get to discover and then expands on things about yourself that you didn’t know were there.

It was a special night for us. It was great to be surrounded by alot of our awesome crew, some of our people couldn’t make it and we missed them. We had crew gifts to share and people seemed to like them. For me there was quite a powerful sense of being held up, I mean, being seen and being supported. One of our crew offered to come early to help. Her hands were busy, as were here daughters and then other friends that came along. I felt a little scatter brained, but I had my list and I had these helping hands and it all got done. Another friend had a speech too, and gifts for Russ and I. Several brought hostess gifts and food to contribute. My sister in law heard what we were up to and sent out a new specialty of hers, beatniks. They were delicious. I have to say, it feels sacred to be seen and then to be supported. I am really touched.

It was a big day. Here are a few pictures.

The herd being brought in late yesterday afternoon in preparation for this mornings work.
Our cow named Ambulance needed a new tag. Jill didn’t feel like fitting the word Ambulance on a tag, she got permission from Russ to do it a bit differently. The sound an ambulance makes….
Meal prep. These were essential helpers. I am not sure why the Ernie statue was still standing there despite the tidying done over the weekend. He is awaiting a trip to Toronto to join Gina once she is fully settled in.
I love the look on Liam’s face…..our youngest cowboy. Russ was helping him dish up.
In an effort to please everyone’s taste buds and have enough food for the number we were expecting I created a few main courses and the food line started on the inside of the peninsula and went all the way around. That was a first. This picture features our star truck driver Sharon and her son Michael.
Terrific cowboys.
The basement was put to good use.
Russ and I had a small tiff about creating an extra dining room in my office. He wanted to keep everyone together in the main room. I was certain a peaceful corner for visiting would be appreciated. I think I was right. Tonight we were able to include spouses of the crew and it was so nice to have them.