Ranch Life Articles

Pros and Cons of Take Your Son to Work Day

October 6, 2021
Jolyn Young

I’m a full time mom, part time writer, and very occasional day worker. My oldest two kids go to school every day while my three-year-old son Levi tags along with me wherever I go. Last week, me and Levi helped a local rancher process cattle for the fall works. The processing chute and corrals are […]


Bucking Horse Attraction

October 4, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

When my son was not quite four years old, we bought a place in the country that was right along a county road. I worried about the traffic as everyone drove it like the Indy 500. Consequently, I had lectured him repeatedly about the dangers of that road and to never, ever get out by […]


Early Morning Gather

September 30, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

It’s early fall right now, with people shipping livestock and doing the fall works on cattle. I rode on pasture cattle for years, so this time of year always makes me think of those days. By this time, my string of horses would be weary along with me. Troublesome bunches of yearlings were gladly seen […]


Say What? Colorful Phrases With Cowboy Origins

September 28, 2021
Jolyn Young

The cowboy world has produced many colorful phrases that folks might use and not realize their Western ties. “Ride for the brand,” “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” and “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” are common phrases used by country and city people alike. Here […]


Hard Lesson Well Learned

September 15, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

When I was a little runt of a kid, probably around five years old, I rode a pony that I loved in spite of his tendency to run off with me. His name was Skipper. I spent hours every day just hanging out with him and riding him around in the corrals with no bridle […]


Spider the Bucking Horse

September 10, 2021
Ruth Nicolaus

There’s a hole a special horse used to fill, at the Gunderson ranch in western North Dakota. H46 Spider, a bucking horse in the Bailey Pro Rodeo string, has passed on to greener pastures. He was originally owned by Montanan Jack Hinland, who sold him to Shane Vaira. The 26-year-old gelding died of colic on […]


Cow Pasture Napping

September 3, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

It had been a very long, hot summer riding on contract cattle. The yearling steers and spayed heifers had pinkeye running rampant, the replacement heifers had footrot going strong, and the cow/calf pairs had the usual bull problems. So, after three months, my string and I were weary. Especially me, as there was only one […]


Mommy, You Saved Me!

August 24, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

When my son was three, my husband and I took on a cattle contract. We had charge of about 4000 yearling steers and 750 mother cows. The yearlings were about evenly split between two summer leases 25 miles apart, and the cows were on the lease closest to our headquarters. We started early and quit […]


“Wild Cow” Hunt

August 6, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

It was late afternoon when I headed out to gather a single cow out of a pasture. The pasture had deep creek beds lined with willows and brush in many spots. The creek was nearly dry so the cow could very well be down in the channel out of sight. It was late summer, so […]


Horse Tying Safety Tip

July 26, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

We’ve all done it. After a graphic illustration of why not to many years ago, though, I stopped doing it. Doing what? Tying a horse up with your back to it. Let me explain further. I see it often. Someone leads a horse up to a fence, trailer or a barn wall tie, with the […]