HDR Moves North, Part Two

The Arrival:

Is this where I get out?

Having loaded the goats first thing in the morning before leaving Howling Duck Ranch, once Nick was installed in the rear, I was set to go. Originally, I had thought about over nighting in Williams Lake. I phoned the Veterinary Clinic there to see if this was possible. It was in theory but because it was a Sunday, I would have to get there before by 5 pm when they closed. In light of the fact I had to conquer The Hill and get 458 kms of rough road behind me, I just couldn’t see how I could to it. Also, I was still tired from the trip in and needed to visit a few more people before leaving town. I realized, talking with the clinic, that I was going to have to do the trip in one go.

Tens hours into the journey, I stopped in Quesnel for a Tim Hortons coffee. I wondered if Nick needed a break from being cooped up but worried about the wisdom of letting him out. After all, what would I do if I couldn’t get him back into the trailer? What would Claire do, I wondered. Rex (the Vet) had told me that I could safely drive with the animals for 36 hours. But, because I knew I had nearly 24 to do, and I worried that if I had a flat or some other vehicle trouble, we could easily get over that time limit and then what would I do? Finally, I decided to risk it.  I walked him around a field for about twenty minutes while he sniffed the night air and fed on the grass. When it was time to load him back up, again, lovely boy that he was, he went in without any drama.

Nick's first minutes on Couplands farm. I'm talking with Rex about how to integrate him into his herd.

Twenty-two hours of total driving time later, I was at Rex’s just outside Grande Prairie on Saskatoon Mountain. I unloaded Nick and introduced him to Rex’s herd, Dusty and Bo. Rex was certain that Dusty would create a fight, or at least a bit of a horse rodeo so Rex asked if I would stay for a while just in case. I assured Rex that I thought Nick would integrate nicely and not cause any fuss. I took Nick into the pasture and turned him loose. Just as Rex suspected, Dusty was the first to run up to greet him. She pranced around Nick trying to stir the pot. Nick put his ears back once and turned his bum to her. “Well, I think that’s all the show we’re going to see today Rex,” I said. Rex was unconvinced, “I’m sure there’s going to be some trouble. Dusty is a bit of a terror. She seems to get other horses whipped up. I’ve seen it before!” And so we waited. And, we waited some more. And nothing happened. Finally, Rex visibly relaxed and I headed to the next farm to unload my goats. “I’ll call you later to see how things are going,” I said before getting into the truck.

Within minutes of being let loose into the paddock with his new herd mates, Nick is happily integrated.

Not more than two miles down the road, I saw something odd. There was a vast number of deer bunched up along the brush line just off the road. I wondered why they were all clumped up like that until I saw a flicker out of the corner of my eye. Not more than 30 yards in front of them was a full grown cougar laying like a house cat in the snow. His tail flicking in concentration every now and then. I pulled over to watch the scene and called Rex. “Really? In nearly thirty years of living up here I’ve never seen a cougar. Trust you to see one in your first five minutes of being here!” I didn’t wait for Rex to get to the scene but moved on with my load. To this day, Rex still has not seen a cougar. He’d moved off before Rex got to the scene of the crime. A few hours later Rex called to say that Nick and Dusty and Bo were all acting like they’d known each other forever.

Thirty minutes later I pulled up to Russ and Brenda’s farm and unloaded the goats. I introduced my ‘Group of Seven’ into their herd, and then there were 60. Theirs had just had kids so there were goats of all shapes, sexes, and sizes in the mix along with one token guard llama, Gibbs. So devoted to his job was he that he would not let my goats into the feeding area. Russ eventually had to have a talk with him and let him know his job duties extended to the seven newcomers!

My 'Group of Seven' follow me like perfect little citizens into their new home.

Today, I farm sit at both places and look after my own and others’ animals. I have farm sat for Russ and Brenda a few times and gotten to look after their livestock. Before that I had never taken care of cows. It was a unique opportunity for me.  Presently, Rex and Debbie are away and I’m sitting their farm. It is a beautiful place on the mountain. Best of all, I get to see my horse every day. These opportunities not only make me happy but also they let me play farmer.

Fatty-Fat coming in for a pet.

I'm very happy to have my animal family united with me after 18 long months!

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9 Comments

Filed under Animal issues, Developing Community, Horses

9 responses to “HDR Moves North, Part Two

  1. Hi,
    I found your neat blog when my 7 year old and I looked up how to butcher a Turkey. I grew up in the country and enjoy your site very much. Word press seems like a neat simple format for nice blogs. I have 2 blogs and enjoy your material very much. The Steve Tichi Family, Everett WA.

  2. dND

    I’m so pleased you are sorted :-) and I wish you much joy and luck in your new home. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with the livestock issues you did – it will be a long time before the bears, 200 miles south, or the wolves, also 200 miles south or 700 miles east, get here. Dx

  3. Jo

    You all look so relaxed and content in the latter photos. Wonderful to see.

    “Really? In nearly thirty years of living up here I’ve never seen a cougar. Trust you to see one in your first five minutes of being here!”
    :lol: :lol:

  4. Just really lovin’ the ‘Nick’ pic. Cheers from Nelson.

  5. makasinkwe

    Well, so long Bella Bella :) That’s okay, I have a brother in Prince George. I got a slack-jawed wha?? in Toronto once, from a friend from Williams Lake. I said, “108 Mile”, and she’s like you know where that is? Well d’oh! I’m following you ‘n all the other living things now. Have a great winter.
    Ann in Toronto

  6. How interesting to stumble across this blog. I’m in Grande Prairie as well, working on my family’s small farm near Clairmont. This area needs more folks like you seem to be, I must say.

  7. Hello, new follower here! I would love to have you link up with my Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/10/upcycled-chicken-coop-clever-chicks.html

    I hope to see you there!
    Cheers!
    Kathy
    The Chicken Chick

  8. cool blogs! I appreciate you writing this article plus the rest of the site is also good.

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