Late Summer 2010 (July-August)
JULY 23, 2010 – Earlier this month the owner of the ranch our family leased for 40 years finally lowered the rent enough to get a new renter. Carolyn and kids helped their new neighbor, Alfonzo Martinez, take his cattle to the middle range. That same day we moved our small herd into the upper swamp pasture, and Lynn turned off the ditch to dry up the field above our corrals for haying.
Andrea and I rode through the middle range that week to check water troughs. The next day Andrea brought Dani and Sammy and we took them for a ride on the low range. Dani rode double on Breezy with Andrea, and Sammy rode Veggie, led from my horse. Halfway through the ride, we stopped and changed kids—putting Sammy on Breezy with Andrea, and letting Dani ride Veggie. Thus both girls got to ride “solo” as well as with their mom.
In mid July it froze again. The hose I water horses with was full of ice. Nick and young Heather brought their flatbed pickup and loaded 28 bales from my hay shed, to take to our upper place where Heather has 3 young horses in the corral for the summer. She’s training several horses this year for other ranchers, and working with a 2-year-old filly of her own.
Emily rode range with me, and rode Ed again (the old mare we’re boarding for Michael and Carolyn). We checked water troughs and fixed one that wasn’t working. I cleaned mud and sticks out of the springbox. It was a hot day and Emily cooled herself at the next trough by dipping her hat in the water and pouring cold water over her head and shoulders.
Lynn baled part of our hay and stacked it in my hay shed. The next day Nick helped Lynn set 8 steel posts in the post-pile pasture fence so we could put 30 heifers in there for a few days. Andrea drove to Salt Lake for another appointment with the lung specialist, and Em went with her. The younger kids stayed here, and went with us in the jeep that evening to pick up the last of the bales that Lynn didn’t get with the stackwagon. The kids enjoyed riding Veggie the next day, and helped me do chores.
We’re pasturing 2 more old horses (Molly and Chance) for Michael and Carolyn, grazing around the calving barn. Chance is the old Arabian that granddaughter Heather rode for many years, but now he’s retired and very thin. Yesterday we dewormed all 3 old horses, and put Chance by himself in the little pasture next to the house, and started feeding him grain. We hope he’ll gain weight before winter.
Yesterday Lynn was about to start cutting the hayfield above our corrals and discovered the new neighbor had turned water into the ditch again, and our field was too wet to cut. So we decided to pasture it instead. We’ll be short of hay for our cows this winter, but right now we won’t worry about that. Michael is short on pasture and we’ll let him use this field with his cows.
AUGUST 6 – Last Sunday afternoon I rode Rubbie to gather our cows from the upper swamp pasture, and Lynn rode his 4-wheeler. The bull didn’t want to come, and challenged Lynn. For a moment it was a standoff, then Lynn roared toward the bull with the 4-wheeler, and the bull gave ground and followed the cows. We locked him in the back corral.
That evening Michael, Carolyn and kids rounded up their cows from our upper place and brought them down, sorted off the bulls, and put their cows with ours in the fields above the corrals. It’s good we saved those fields for grazing instead of haying. The cattle on the upper place had run out of pasture.
Last Friday Michael, Carolyn and kids rode and chopped larkspur on the high range in Baker Creek (so the cows wouldn’t eat it and be poisoned), then moved some cows into the high range. It was dark before they got home.
I put new front shoes on Rubbie; her feet were too long to be safe chasing cows, then I rode with Michael and Carolyn and granddaughter Heather the next day to move more cattle. It was late in the day when we headed out to the Middle Range.
We didn’t find very many cattle on that ride; Alfonso had moved some of them already. He’d left one of his bulls behind, however, and when Carolyn approached the bull he charged her horse. The only thing that saved her from being knocked down was that the horse spun away and took off, just as the bull hit the horse’s hindquarters. Otherwise the bull would have hit the horse broadside. We didn’t try to bring that bull.
It got dark as we put the cattle through the gate into the high range. We rode home 4 miles in the dark. There was no moon, and we couldn’t see, and had to trust our horses to see the trails, rocks, brush and gullies. Michael took the lead and let his dogs and horse seek out the proper direction and trails. We had to feel our way through the brush in the gully crossings, and be careful to find the gate between middle range and low range, and not hit the fences. With no depth perception, and unable to see our surroundings, riding that far in the dark was an interesting experience. We had to concentrate hard to keep from getting dizzy, and Michael said he nearly fell over when we finally got off our horses. It was like being carsick or seasick, so Carolyn called it “horsesick”.
AUGUST 18 – Last Tuesday we rounded up cows from the fields above the corrals and helped Michael, Carolyn and kids sort them. They took 18 pair up the creek to our 320 acre mountain pasture and left 23 pairs (young cows and some old cows) with ours. A storm hit after they started up the road, and they got drenched. Lightning was popping, so they didn’t come home the short way down the ridge. We learned later that the storm killed the son of one of my school classmates; he was working on a ranch the other side of town, and lightning struck and killed him and his horse as he was helping move cattle.
On Wednesday I rode with Michael and Carolyn and their kids, to take their cows to the high range from the 320 pasture. Again, it was late evening when we left the ranch, and we rode home in the dark, but this time it wasn’t as far, and it didn’t get completely dark until we were nearly home.
The old car we gave Nick to drive (after his pickup went in the pond) quit a few days ago when he was driving to track practice; it ran out of transmission fluid and ruined the transmission. Lynn and Andrea helped pull it off the highway. This has been a bad year for vehicles!
On Saturday Andrea and Em rode Breezy and Veggie to help me move the other group of Michael’s cows to our upper fields. Em was happy to ride old Veggie again; he’s her favorite horse, ever since she learned to ride on him 5 years ago.