Gathering Time….Cattle Drives….Heading For Home

During the fall months, mainly in September and October…old memories flood back to my mind when I first wake up…I want to grab my long johns…(under armour with the nice slick material had not been invented yet)…instead we had the thick long johns which were never long enough for me…next I put on my heavy socks, then my wrangler jeans that I had to struggle with to get on over the heavy long johns…without the long john legs riding up my leg…which added to my mood of grrrr. I added a layer or two of tee-shirts on top with either a flannel shirt or sweatshirt or both with the finishing touch of one of my brightly colored wild rags to keep my neck warm and mouth/nose if needed…shoved my boots on with the heavy socks, grabbed my chaps, heavy coat and gloves and I was good to go…all depending on the weather as you never knew if you were going out in an early snow storm or rain or frigid temperatures. My knee jerk reaction in the fall is to be gathering cows on the mountain…after living it and doing it for over 40 years…old memories remain. I should be horseback in the mountains looking for cows…gathering and herding them towards camp…where we sorted and organized them for the long 90 mile cattle drive home to the winter grounds.

After gathering a large bunch of cattle, we pushed them back to the headquarters at Beaver Creek…somehow they seemed to know it was time to leave their summer home and go home to lower winter pastures where they had better grass and open lands. It is amazing to me how animals can sense the seasons changing…or an approaching storm…they have a sixth sense of life around them as well as what we are feeling with the sense of our emotions that they pick up from us.

It took many long days and several weeks to find and gather 1860 head off 25,000 mountainous acres…lots of ground to cover and many miles…and as Dad always told me “Now push them slow Marcy, we want to keep the weight on them and not work them too hard.” I can still hear him telling me this in my dreams…I already knew this fact from years of riding with him, as keeping the weight on them was what we wanted…but he would diplomatically tell me this in front of town friends who did not know. I would get the lecture of sorts…privately I had to roll my eyes and often I was embarrassed as everyone would look at me…”Dad, I know”..and no I never said that to him…I knew I was the fall guy.

We began to ride various pastures from the middle of August on to push herds closer to our headquarters at the main ranch on Beaver Creek where we had corrals and the set up to sort cattle and load them out into cattle trucks. We had 800 Black Angus mama cows to gather along with their calves…200 head of replacement heifers and 60 head of bulls…so that was 1860 head of cattle to round-up and account for…and every year we would find that we were short 20 to 30 head…thanks to the work of cattle rustlers.

One of our cowboys taking a bath in the Grande Ronde River…it took time to find each and every cow…and sometimes the cows would get confused and try to run away from you as their natural instinct was fear or flight…they did not understand what to do…especially if one got separated like this one.

The first two years Dad tried to run both Herefords and Angus…and then went to 100% Black Angus  and Black Bawly Cross as they surpassed the Herefords in weight gain, endurance and did much better overall in the high country.

Dad on horse Bucky with dog Blue…holding herd. One of my favorite pictures of my Dad as I can see his life and humanity…he loved what he did…cattle…horses…mountains…family. It was his life. When he was so very ill I often whispered the good old memories and times riding with him gathering cattle in the high country…and how God rides in the high country too and He is with us and with you Dad…and so am I…and someday I will ride with you again in the high country of God’s mountains:)

Another of my favorite pictures as this picture truly shows my Mom and Dad…you can see their committment and love. Mom grew up in the city with a cook and cleaning lady….then she fell in love with a cowboy and here she is with a smile on her face…she learned how to cook and run a ranch beside her man.  I learned about love and true committment from my parents…I was so very blessed to have them as examples:)  You can see why I called my parents “John Wayne and His Lady”. One of  my favorite John Wayne movies is McClintock with Maureen O’Hara.

Working cows in the corrals, sorting off the calves etc…in the background you can see the cattle trucks waiting for their loads. In the fall we sold the calves at the sale in Baker…the bulls were trucked down to the winter ranch and the mama cows would make the cattle drive to the winter pastures. In the spring we trucked the entire herd up, mama cows and their babies and the bulls…we tried to drive them up a few time in the early years but it was not do-able as the cows wanted to turn back and after several stampedes it was decided to truck them up June 1st.

The Juniper T cattle drive historically began October 15th and would last 10-14 days depending on weather and also how well the cattle moved. I have the cattle drive pictures matted and framed…this is early morning on October 15, the cows are leaving Beaver Creek heading for the low lands…they are crossing the Grande Ronde River at Starkey.

Heading out the second day from Four Corners…towards Indian Lake…two days ahead of us…cold with snow. In the early years the cattle did not know the way but in later years the older ones knew and would lead out pretty well.

Cows milling around close to Indian Lake…we are about half way through the drive.

From the air the herd is stretched out…

Cattle reaching the stock driveway…smelling home getting closer.

Taking a coffee break at the chuck wagon bus (WB wants to restore the bus as it is a Diamond Reo). Dad on the far left with the dark cowboy hat on and his brothers…and hired man “Big John”.

I am sure this was our friend and cattle buyer’s plane’s shadow, doing a fly over to see where the herd was at. He taught me how to play Gin Rummy and dang…I was good at it…I loved playing it with him and miss him. When we lived in Wyoming we called it Wyoming Rummy and when Oregon friends and family visited we challenged them to Wyoming Rummy verses Oregon Rummy:)

This in the Birch Creek crossing in Pilot Rock…we have about 2 to 3 days left before we hit winter pastures…as you see it is quite a bunch of cows! Going through Pilot Rock at daybreak was always interesting to me as I saw so many women out with hair curlers in their bathrobes ready to attack any dang cow who wondered into their yard to grab a bite or two of flowers or grass or shrubs…they had brooms ready to swat any wayward cow! We tried hard to not let that happen but it was tough to keep every cow out of yards….once we got over Birch creek we got on a road that became a stock driveway all the way to Butter Creek and the winter ground and headquarters for the Juniper T.

Today WB and his HRCG are celebrating our 36th Anniversary…can you believe we got married on October 15th…the first day of the cattle drive!!!! Long story for another time….

Stay tuned the story will be continued:) and I have some new photos to upload towards the end of the week hopefully if the weather co-operates with me:)

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

I am a bit late with posting this but seems life right now is a bit fast and crazier than I want…today is a very special day of honoring our Dad’s.

This is my Dad…he was an amazing man…he lived with a left stiff leg from a football injury during his senior year in high school. Yet not once did he ever complain or make excuses for his life. Instead he fought to live a normal life and he did. I saw it and was witness to it…Dad was the real deal when it came to being a cowboy and a great Dad!

Dad with his horse Jingle across the road from the house in the 1940’s.

Dad roping in the 1950’s…

Dad in the 1970’s running one of the biggest cattle ranches in the state of Oregon. One of the very last cattle ranches in the state to drive their cattle down from the mountains in the late fall to the winter pasture. It was a 90 mile cattle drive with 800 head of mamma cows.

Newspaper Article On The Juniper T

Yearly Fall Cattle Drive

Cows headed home…we drove the cattle every fall for almost 30 years and by the time we did it the last year…it was a piece of cake. They knew where they were going…home.

Dad looking weary on the drive about half way through. This is my Dad…his horse Bucky…his dog Blue. He was pretty much John Wayne to me and Mom and kinda scary to Wild Bill:)

Oh come on WB Dad does not look scary here!!!

 “WB are you gonna marry my daughter?”

“Yes sir….I am!”

“She is our little girl…and our only child…so I am watching you!”

“Don’t worry Dad…I am good with WB.”

I have so many good memories of growing up riding with Dad and working cows…but some of the best ones are when Dad took me fishing or when he taught me how to drive a four speed Scout up in the mountains…he was the solid comfort in Mom’s and my life…and he always kept a going.

Dad, you gave me the gift of life and horses:)

Happy Father’s Day…I learned everything I could from you about life and living and I miss you and Mom so very much.

I thank God for giving me a cowboy Dad like you!

Hotrod Cowgirl headed on down the road with horse power and horsepower:) Over and out…see ya on down the dusty trail!

Looking Out My Kitchen Window Into The Vast Portal Of Time…Chapter Two

Memories flood back to me as I look out my kitchen window…from a baby on my Mama’s shoulder looking out…to a young wife looking for Wild Bill to come in for dinner…watching the children that we grew together, drive off in the car the first time down the driveway without me…looking next door to see if my parents had a light on in their house…so many memorable views, emotions and heartfelt life has been lived here…looking out my simple window of time.

The quiet peace of solitude that you see in this view is filled with incredible beauty as it is what you know and what you have lived. Sometimes when I ride my horses out in the fields…I can close my eyes and hear the teams of horses farming the land from long ago…or hear the laughter of two brothers riding bareback on their Dad’s work horses. My Dad and his older brother rode all the way down Juniper Canyon, about 15 miles, to the Columbia River to swim, this would have been in the 1920’s…can you imagine?

Before we chose to make this our forever home here…Wild Bill and I pursued our cowboy lifestyle for many years. He grew up on the edge of the Owyhee Desert…which is pretty much Buckaroo Country…Jordan Valley…Big Loop Contest…The Alvord…The Crowley Ranch…Hole In One Ranch.

When we lived outside of Jordan Valley, I rode horseback with a BLM crew a couple times, while WB taught a welding class at the school in Jordan Valley.

We moved several head of cows on the high desert several miles out of Rome, OR. The Steen Mountains had my attention all day long…they were incredible jutting out of the desert floor. I was in awe of the vast cowboy country…but mainly I was in love with WB:)

I grew up on my parent’s isolated cattle ranch in the Blue Mountains…about 100 miles from our home here…the ranch encompassed 50,000 acres with 800 head of Black Angus mother cows. We had one of the last cattle drives in Oregon as we drove our mama cows 100 miles down from the mountains to our winter pasture.

The cattle drive would last about 10 days but when we first began the tradition it took a good two weeks…the cows began to learn the trail and their way in later years.

Because of our history together with owning and running cattle and doing this cowboy life…we were asked to manage and run two cattle operations away from here…we went through some incredible times on both ranches.

We loved living in Wyoming at 7200′ elevation on the Continental Divide…this was my view…we lived in the log house to the left of the picture…my kitchen window looked out at the divide.

We also ran a ranch in Central Oregon on the Crooked River…we lived through a 100 year flash flood on the ranch with God’s grace…however we lost one life in the flood…and one horse.

The life lessons we learned in both places were profound…with both hard times and good times in our lives. When it was time to come home to the Juniper T, we were thankful to come down the long hill, into Juniper Canyon, rounding the corner and seeing “home”…with the big yellow barn and big yellow house.

Moving home from Wyoming in the spring was not easy as I found it hard to leave the incredible never boring Rockies…yet it was time for us to move back.

We had been home about two months, when in the dark before dawn…the phone rang and woke us up…Mom was calling us as my Dad was quite ill…we called 911 and waited for the ambulance to come.

I was scared to death…I felt so very helpless…I did not know how to do this medical thing of life and death with your parents and it was a shock to grasp it.

Dad was like John Wayne to me…rough and tough…full of life with tremendous strength of heart.

Once the ambulance arrived and the paramedics had Dad settled…I stood with Dad at the back door of the ambulance…Dad was on a gurney propped up so he could see me and thankfully the sunrise, which was beautiful…it was truly radiant that dark cold morning…and then Dad asked me…

“So…where and what place are you and Wild Bill going to call home? Where will you put down your roots? Roots and family…a place to call home, is important.”

Then his eyes shifted above my head and he looked up to the hill behind me where he planted the trees when I was little and he said “I hope I see this place again…it means the world to me Marcy…it is home to me.”

Dad thankfully came home but his health began to deteriorate from that time on…I was then thankful that God moved us home from Wyoming so that as an only child I was here and able to take care of both my parents…while it was hard at times, it has been one of the treasured blessings of my life.

That crisp clear morning was a defining moment in my life…I became an adult daughter and I knew in my heart..I was home.
Snapshots of my life…Mom always did the turkey as she told me that it was too hard to do…so I could make the pies and salads…Mom was smart:)  After I lost my Mom, I roasted the impossible turkey and I am sure she gave me her turkey blessing.
“Love you Greggers…always will my “Moose Son.”
“You too Cowboy…”
And until next time…Ride hard…don’t push the cows too hard as you will wear off the fat of our profits…and don’t leave any strays behind!

Simple Times In A Simple Country Girl’s Life

Simple times in a simple country girls life in Juniper Canyon can be interesting…always changing…certainly not boring. What is it like where you live? If you were to ask me what is it like here, this is what I would say…

Amazing views because you can see forever…ever changing incredible light for picture taking nuts like me…you never know what living scene of daily life you will see or experience.

Most mornings you wake to a beautiful sunrise…filled with a revered quiet…stillness that fills you with a sense of God and peace for the new day.

Equally beautiful sunsets kiss your face each night and never fail to put on a chromatic color scheme of pure country beauty.

Solitude…looking into forever…not seeing another person…just you and the stillness of the land.

I know that horses will be in heaven because God made them and He loves to ride them…I feel like I am already  in heaven when I ride Melody…she makes my heart rest and my spirit go ahhhhhhh.

A warm winter’s night that feels like spring…it was incredible to look up and see two jets overhead in the golden evening twilight.

One of our resident hawks taking off to hunt for dinner. I then convinced Wild Bill to hike up on the hill as I was hoping for some moon shots.

Even after living here forever I never get tired of the views and knowing that the ground I walk on has been in my family for over 100 years…that speaks deep to your soul. I thank God for our home and this land everyday.

Here is a bit of history…the old clubhouse that we made for our kids and eventually became our grandkids. It has been everything from a rocket ship to a fort to a tank to a spaceship. In real life though it was an original tractor cab way back in the early 40’s. It kept the weather out and some of the dust…if only it could talk the stories it would tell.

And then…the moon peeked out from over the hill….perfectly blessed:)

Wild Bill agrees the hike was worth it!

Country beauty…country blessings.

Always interesting and intriguing.

As we headed for home we passed the stand of old trees that my Dad planted way back when. The weather and harsh winds take a toll on them but they have an enduring beauty of their own.

Hey Little Buck Buck…he is enjoying his evening hay dinner.

One last Juniper moon shot.

I hope you have enjoyed a small…very small part of our simple life here. May you be blessed where ever you are.

“You’re Still The One That Makes Me Laugh…Happy Anniversary Baby!

You’re still the one that makes me laugh…still the one that’s my better half…we’re still having fun and you’re still the one!. Last weekend we were able to get away to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

The day we were married on October 15, 1976…we were so in love.

And we are still are today….35 years and counting:)

Remember that song “Still The One” by Orleans? Yep…that’s us! Sing along with me if you have the song or can find the tune.

“We’ve been together since way back when….but I want you to know that after all these years you’re still the one I want to whisperin my ear…”

“You’re still the one I want to talk to in bed….still the one who turns my head…we’re still having fun, and you’re still the one!”

“You’re still the one…that makes me laugh….still the one…that’s my better half…we’re still having fun, and you’re still the one…”

“That makes me strong…still the one I want to take along…we’re still having fun and you’re still the one.”

“Changing, our love is going gold…even though we grow old, it grows new…”

“You’re still the one…that I love to touch…still the one…and I can’t get enough…we’re still having fun, and you’re still the one!”

“You’re still the one…who can scratch my itch…still the one…

And I wouldn’t switch…we’re still having fun and you’re still the one!”

“You’re still the one that makes me shout…still the one that I dream about.”

“We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one…”

“You’re still the one, yeah still the one!”

“We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one!”

‘You’re still the one…”

“I love ya Wild Bill.”

Check out http://www.holtonsecretlab.com

Our new web site is up and going! I have another blog about our business Holton Secret Lab.

Harvest…Hot Rods…Horses…One Hot Time In Juniper Canyon

Harvest…Hot Rods…Horses…one hot time in Juniper Canyon…I am writing to you from a very warm and dry Juniper Canyon tonight.

Long days…hard work…dust and heat mean harvest is finally here!

Harvest memories flood my mind with family times…driving wheat truck with my cousins and my uncles running the combines…harvest lunches cooked by my aunts or my Mom…harvest was the best time of the year!

This makes me itch seeing the wheat chaff..we used to douse ourselves with baby powder so that the chaff would not stick to our sweaty skin. Wheat chaff was not fun but barley chaff was the worst.

When we would harvest a field of barley one of us cousins got to follow one of our uncles when they opened up the field…right behind the combine spitting out the chaff  into your truck…even if it was 105 degrees I would keep my windows rolled up tight…we did not have air-conditioned trucks then.

With harvest going full swing…semi trucks haul wheat out of our canyon night and day…when I was little the trucks coming up the canyon at night would scare me as I would see the lights coming on my bedroom walls…the road in front of the house had a large bump on it…so the trucks would hit the bump with a ka-bang rattle and pop!

The semi trucks either load the wheat out of  the elevator about a mile from our house or they load right out of the farmer’s field from the bank out wagon.

The wheat from the elevators is trucked down to the Columbia River which is not far from here….about 38 miles.

The wheat is then loaded on to a barge headed down the Columbia River to Portland Oregon…which is about a 200 mile trip…in this picture there are two barges loaded with wheat.

Harvest is a happy time of year for farm families…working together to bring in the crop…hoping for a good yield and good price. Harvest also means the season is changing.

We go from this view right before harvest gets under way as the wheat has turned golden and the heads are full of grain.

This is an early summer view and the fields look pretty as everything that you can see out here is green…the wheat begins to turn gradually over several weeks time until it ripens to the golden-yellow color.

Here is a view of the field bare…it’s bounty has been harvested and sold…we go from beautiful green fields to golden wheat fields to bare dry and dead fields…so the cycle of life begins again for next year. Our house is down below in the trees that you see. Wild Bill’s burn out strip of highway is visible too.

With true summer colors all around me I get to take great pictures…golden days and incredible evening skies.

August colors and light… templates paint the evening sky with golden crimson purple colors…every color you can imagine.

With ever-changing light…colors and views…we spend our summer nights on the patio enjoying the smells of the wheat ripening…the night sounds of crickets…every once in a while the cool breeze that comes up the canyon from the creek…warm nights that are filled with amazing skies and views!

Home truly is where the heart is and we love our history here…our home…ranch and shop…our life.

We live in God’s country…His beauty surrounds us!

Where anything is possible.

Such as a street rod shop on a cowboy ranch in a wheat field of dreams…

Not just any street rod shop…but Holton Secret Lab…your dreams do come true here!

We are here to build your dream…we understand dreams…we have the qualifications and history to support what we do and our talent that we sell.

Visit our web page and see for yourself…call us…come tour our shop and facility  www.holtonsecretlab.com

On a side note…at Holton Secret Lab we require our employees to know how to ride a horse…in case we need flesh and blood horse power…yep Cowboy Flame is on a mission!!!

Son Greg works for Holton Secret Lab too…I know I have a picture of him on a horse…hang on I will find it!!! He volunteers at the Pendleton Round Up…he used to rodeo himself…my baby boy all 6’5″ of him! Go Ducks!

This is our other cowboy son Curt…he knows how to ride and throws the “Big Loop”…he works for Microsoft…very smart cowboy he is:)

Circa 1930

No Wild Bill This Is Not When I Drove Truck!!! WB tries hard to make me be his age…sorry WB you are older…neener neener!

See This Look….He Is Being A Smarty Pants!

Wild Bill…I have the last word…you know…what I said about our employees…yah you have to ride them ponies with real horsepower too!

Wild Bill is getting his own horse in a month!!! Yee-Haw!!! Ride Em Cowboy!!!

Hey Leonard…I have not forgotten you….stay tuned!

Hello World…MJ Here!

Hello world…MJ here…my name is MJ for the most part….although my husband calls me Lucy and my actual name is Marcy….I live where my Norwegian Grandfather homesteaded back in the late 1890’s. The house we live in today was built by my Grandpa Gunder in 1920 for his mother, my Great Grandmother Anne-Marie , my Dad remembered hauling lumber for the house with his Dad when he was 10 years old by horse and wagon from the small town of Helix 8 miles from the house.

Of course Minnie thinks it is her house…and it is….the floors are old and original…pretty huh? We exposed them in 2006, the entire main floor was this beautiful red fir tongue and groove. It is funny that when my Mom moved into the house with Dad in 1939 she spent her time here making the old house modern…I grew up here and did not know that the floors were wood and beautiful…thank goodness Mom had them so well covered to protect them!

Because of the old red fir floors…when we remodeled the kitchen…we had a local cabinet-maker come give us a bid. The first thing he noticed was the old red fir floors…he said “Would you be interested in antique wood red fir cabinets for your kitchen? He told me he bid on a stack of old red fir wood about 30 years ago and it has just sat in his studio….I said YES YES YES…that will restore the kitchen to the original cupboards! I have refinished the pass through cabinet to the original dining room and also have refinished the bar in the middle of my kitchen…it used to be by the sink as I remember my Mom and I rolling cookie dough on the wood bread board that is still intact. That is the bar you see by Minnie!

Isn’t the kitchen incredible…it turned out beautiful! My neighbor painted and fired all my tile for the back splash. I had purchased the tile behind the range several years ago.

Juniper T Ranch Brand

I lost my Dad in 1997 and my Mom in 1998…they were married almost 60 years… they had me late in life…..it was very hard loosing them as I am an only child. I miss them everyday.

Bill and I looked at moving our shop to Portland or Seattle or Bend or Boise or Spokane or Bozeman or Billings but we finally saw that this is where we are to live….most Americans do not have the family history or heritage anymore due to the world we live in and that we have the heritage here and family is huge…so we decided in spite of great odds we would stay right here and market our shop as “The Secret Lab”. Notice that I am making a joke…we were being interviewed for TV.

I do all the marketing and ads for us as well as run our office and I am the Quick Book expert and do all our financial bookkeeping etc. I knew if we got out and showed who we are…that Wild BIll who is an artist and a one of a kind professional car restoration builder that the business would work here….and it has.

We still do get the deer in the headlight look when potential customers at shows ask us where we are located….as the marketing person I have had to fight that misconception about us….that yes we are located in an isolated area that means you will have to drive a few miles to get here BUT Holton Secret Lab is worth it as we are a destination that you want to reach….that is if you want quality and perfection with attention to detail….your call…just do it…you know you want it right? We are worth it…you will not be disappointed!!! We are a one stop shop as we do it all right here in our state of art 8000′ shop with three full-time employees.

I am a cowgirl by heart and spirit. My Dad ran over 800 head of Black Angus cows…each year at the end of school my parents and I moved to the Blue Mountains to take care of the cows for the summer…I was my dad’s right hand man so to speak…he had me riding a horse before I was 2 years old.

To this day I am still riding my horses…running cows and riding hard was my life before I meant and married Wild Bill…and some of his early life was that way too…he buckarooed out in the Owyhee Desert on several large ranches….his Dad had a body shop in Vale and Bill learned how to paint cars by the time he was 16…he worked on  old cars back in the 60’s and 70’s so he knows exactly how to restore them.

This blog will be more about my life as a cowgirl and as a hot rodders wild and crazy wife too…..I hope you will enjoy the memories and way of life I grew up in….I hope you will also enjoy my blogs about Holton Secret Lab too….we have fun out here in Juniper Canyon…so come on in and sit a spell! Welcome to our home and our life!

My parents and I…and our horses up at the cattle ranch in the mountains on Beaver Creek.

Wild Bill and I at the Wyoming Cattleman’s Ball In Pinedale, Wyoming

Riding With Friends Is The Best Medicine For The Soul…Thank You Lana!

Summer Nights Feels So Good…Love You Melody!

Cowboy Son with Hobby and Bo

Cowboy Son Rubbing On Buck…3 Years Old

Cowboy Son On Buck’s Back For The First Time!

Buck is coming to live with us in a month or so…we are very excited to have him come home…and our Cowboy Son will always know where he is at and can come ride anytime…Yep!

So Hey Ya All…Hang On Tight…We Will Travel to Wyoming and To Post Oregon…and To Beaver Creek And To The White House…And To Juniper T Ranch!

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