Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer 2008

JULY 2008 – The area around my hayshed was full of tall grass, so I let Breezie and Snickers graze it down so it wouldn’t be a fire hazard when it dried out. Michael and Carolyn were custom cutting hay all month, and trying to irrigate all their leased places.
One Sunday a neighbor called to say he had a cow and calf of Michael’s that came in from the range with their cows and he’d put the pair in his corral. Michael was cutting hay, so Lynn and I hauled the cow and calf to our corral.
The next morning I put front shoes on Rubbie, and rode with granddaughter Heather to take that pair back to the range, gathering up 7 more pair on the low range that had come down through the fence. We took them back up to the middle range pasture. When we came home we rode through the lower fields and gathered 11 cows and calves that had come through the fence from the neighboring range, and brought them up to our corrals so their owners could come get them. While rounding them up, I accidentally rode through some old barbed wire hidden in the tall grass. Rubbie’s hind legs were tangled in it. She didn’t panic, so I was able to get off and have Heather hold her while I pushed the loops of wire down to the ground where I could hold them down with my feet and gently pick up Rubbie’s feet one by one and get them out of the wire.
Lynn cut some of our hay and got it baled. We moved the last few bales out of my hay shed so Lynn could start hauling and filling the shed again. Andrea came out to the ranch and rode with me for 5 hours; we gathered 9 more pair from the low range that came back through the fence. We put them on the middle range, fixed a water trough, then rode along the fence to see where the cattle were coming through. We found a hole where the top 2 wires were broken and the bottom 2 mashed to the ground—probably from elk travel. We spliced the wire and patched the hole, so the cows would stay where they belong.
[[use photo of me and Andrea ready to start our ride, and 2 photos of Andrea moving cattle]]

On July 10 our grandson Nick (age 15) and 2 other boys from Salmon went to Boise, to meet up with the rest of the runners to fly to Los Angeles and then to Hawaii, on the first leg of their trip to Australia for the invitational track meet. While in Hawaii they toured Pearl Harbor and Nick saw the cemetery where my uncle Dix Moser (who died in World War II) is buried, and took photos of the headstone.
The track team did a practice run on the beach at Waikiki and ran to the top of Diamondhead Crater. At the Down Under track meet there were 300 runners from Australia and New Zealand, and 200 from the U.S. Nick placed 3rd in a cross-country race with about 100 runners. They got home in late July, and Nick went back to his summer job, irrigating and changing sprinkler pipe.
AUGUST - Lynn finally went to a doctor to check his back. It has been bothering him for a long time. The last few years he’s had pain and numbness in his left leg and foot. Nothing showed on x-rays, so he had an MRI, which showed bone spurs and a pinched nerve. The doctor wanted to try cortisone shots (into the area between the vertebrae where the nerve is pinched) to see if that would relieve pressure on the nerve. In early August Lynn cut our last 2 fields of hay, hoping to get those baled and hauled before his first cortisone shot (since he was not supposed to do anything strenuous for a few days after the shot).
Andrea and kids were here one day and the two little girls drew pictures and made headbands, and Charlie (age 6) rode around with Lynn baling hay; that little kid loves tractors! Lynn didn’t get the last field baled before he had his first cortisone shot, and it rained the next day. It took a few more days for the hay to dry out enough to bale and haul. His back was painful for several days from the shot, since the doctor made 3 tries to get the needle into the joint space, because of all the calcium deposits in the way. The cortisone helped for awhile; the leg was still numb, but not as painful.
[[photo of Dani & Sam, making headbands]]

Michael, Carolyn and kids started moving their range cows from the middle pasture to the high range. I put hind shoes on Rubbie that morning and rode with them. They didn’t get a very early start, due to irrigation/sprinkler problems on the Maurer place, but we rode all afternoon and into the evening and gathered cattle from the south end of the pasture. One of the dogs began having problems as we finished gathering, just before we started the long trek up Baker Creek. He was hot, but also having gut pain and was staggering, dragging his hind legs. So granddaughter Heather took the dog home. He couldn’t travel, so she picked him up and got on her horse, holding him—mounting her horse from the uphill side—and carried the dog 2 miles home on the horse.
[[photo of riders going through gate, starting out to find and move cattle]]

We had a near catastrophe before we started up Baker Creek canyon. As we were bringing cattle down into the canyon, a few went out through the cliffy rocks instead of down the trail, so Michael rode out through the rocks to head them down. He got off his horse to lead him through the worst of it, and sent the dogs after the cows. When he turned Captain around to lead him back out of the rock cliffs, the horse scrambled and panicked—and reared up, with the cliff right behind him. For an instant it looked like he was going over backward, right over the cliff, teetering there on the edge, past the point of no return. The only thing that saved him was Michael pulling on his head, serving as an anchor. Just as Michael was afraid he’d have to let the horse go—or be pulled over the cliff with him—Captain regained his balance and got his front end back down.
[[photos of Michael riding Captain]]

The rest of our ride was without incident, except for a freak hailstorm that hit us as we got toward the high range—drenching and pounding us with big hailstones and huge raindrops, with the sun still shining! It cooled us and the cows off nicely.
[[photos of Nick and cattle after the rain]]

We made a longer ride the next day (Sunday) and gathered 75 more pairs, then gave the horses and dogs (and ourselves) a day off and rode again Tuesday. Rolley, the dog that was sick on Saturday, was recovered enough to go again. It was a LONG hard day, gathering the final cows. We split up and covered 3 drainages, taking cattle to the top. Rubbie and I gathered cattle in the middle canyon and herded 25 pair up through the brush and headed out to the ridge near the top—which took a lot of effort. I needed to be in 3 places at once and had to outrun several pair that tried to go back down the draw while I was gathering others out of the brush above them.
Eventually we got all the groups converged at the top of the pasture and took them around the mountain to the high range. On the way home we found 4 more pair in the bottom of Baker Creek. As we started them up the canyon, Michael’s horse began having muscle spasms (a different horse than the one he rode earlier—a spare horse that was not in shape). So he led the horse back down into Baker Creek and stood in the shade before starting to lead him home. The rest of us took the cows up to the high range, and caught up with Michael an hour later. The horse was recovering by then, and we got home before dark.
Andrea moved back to Salmon from Challis. It’s nice to have her closer, and her kids were looking forward to going to school here again. She’s renting a house on the edge of town. The kids were staying with us some days, while Andrea made trips to Challis to get her things moved.
Our handicapped calf, Boomerang, ate all the grass in our back yard, so we moved him to the pen in front of the calving barn. He followed me around the driveway, as I enticed him with his bottle. The kids still enjoyed playing with him and feeding him a bottle, and grain. He was growing rapidly, but still had abnormally long legs and an upward bend in his back. We did some research and found out that his deformity was due to a genetic defect in the Angus breed (fawn calf syndrome). He must have inherited a recessive gene from each parent. This was the first case we’d ever seen.
[[photo of Emily and Boomerang by calving barn]]

Lynn had his second and third cortisone shots. I drove him home from the hospital each time since he wasn’t supposed to drive or do very much after the injection.
We had temperatures up to 100 degrees F. in mid August and then had cold nights. It froze hard one night and nipped Lynn’s garden and froze my hose for watering the horses. He went out before daylight that morning and sprinkled his garden in hopes it would help keep it from freezing, and most of it survived. After that, we covered it nearly every night, and I started draining my water hose.
The evening of August 24 we had a birthday party for Charlie (just turned 7) at Andrea’s new place. Emily and Jim got there about 8 p.m. after driving all day from Tonopah, Nevada. Em spent the summer there with her dad, and he brought her back when he came to spend a month working for his friend in Montana as a hunting guide—so Andrea didn’t have to drive to Nevada to get Emily. Jim borrowed a saddle pad from us, since he forgot to bring his. He brought some of his antler lamps and chandeliers, to sell here in Salmon. Jim has been doing well with his antler art, making some beautiful pieces.
The next day, Lynn took some things into town for Andrea and picked up Emily. She and I made a short ride on Veggie and Rubbie on the low range. This was Emily’s first chance this year to ride with me since her ride in June to help me check cows on our 160-acre pasture. She stayed overnight with us, and rode again with me. We went to the high range, through our 320-acre pasture, but didn’t have time to go very far. She enjoyed the chance to try out her new binoculars, to check the cattle. We made sure there was still a little water in Baker Creek and that the top gate in the 320 was still shut, then hurried home so Lynn could take Em back to town on his way to go locate a water well for some people near Challis.
[[photos of Emily riding Veggie001 & Em checking cows001 & Em & Veg003.]]

A bear went into our neighbor’s cabin up the creek while the neighbor John was gone to town. When John came home he discovered that the bear had gone through the screen door, trashed the kitchen, rubbing on the cook stove and licking grease out of a frying pan. A few days later a bear was on top of the chicken coop at another neighbor’s place.
Lynn set steel posts in the fence below our house where the range cows got into the lower place this summer, and was able to get the fence standing up again. It’s swampy there and hard to hold a fence where the range cows press it, trying to get into the field. The cows on that range would be drifting home along that fence in the fall, so it needed fixed. The next day Lynn fixed fence on the upper place where deer and elk had broken off a post and pushed the fence down, and made a wire gate along the road by our old stackyard. We had a couple metal gates there earlier, but took them last winter for a more urgent purpose, so we needed another gate for the stackyard.
On Sunday Emily rode with me again and we made a longer ride to check troughs and gates on the high range. We discovered that someone had vandalized almost all the water troughs, taking the upright plastic pipes apart at the elbows where the pipe comes out of the ground to go up into the trough. For several of the troughs, I was able to find the pieces of pipe they’d thrown into the bushes or down the hill. I put the pipes back onto the elbows, and used my pocketknife as a screwdriver to tighten the clips to hold them on.
[[Em riding Veggie checking water trough]]

Our most crucial trough at the head of Baker Creek was also dry. Apparently the vandal hadn’t been able to loosen those clips to take the pipe apart, so he used a knife or something sharp to hack a big hole in the plastic elbow where the pipe comes up out of the ground—and all the water was leaking out. Fortunately I always carry baling twines in the coat pockets of the jacket tied to my saddle (for emergency fence and gate repairs). I tied twine tightly around the bend of the elbow where the hole was, making many wraps around it to cover the hole. It still leaked, but blocked the hole and enabled much of the water to come up the pipe and into the trough.
We also found two gates open into the neighboring range, and shut them. From the cattle tracks going through, it looks like some of Michael and Carolyn’s cows had gone missing. They would have to search the neighbor’s range to find them.
[[Em riding Veggie 002]]

Lynn and I moved our cows in the swamp pasture to another pasture, taking the bull out on the way through the corrals. We moved the cows on the upper place from the wild meadow to the fields across the creek, to eat the regrowth on those pastures. We’d planned to sort out the bull from that group (one of Michael’s bulls), and haul him home. We got the trailer backed up to the corner of the corral, sorted out the bull, and tried to load him, but re ran back past us twice. On the third try he went under a gate and broke it, so we decided he could just stay with the cows till we could bring them home to vaccinate later in the fall.

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