JULY 15 – Andrea and I (riding Sprout and Dottie) helped Carolyn and kids bring their cows down from the 320 a couple weeks ago to put the bull with them and then take them all back up there. Dottie hasn’t had much experience yet working cattle and she got a little excited when the cows ran down the hill and Nick galloped ahead to open the gate. Dottie tried to run and buck and got very angry and frustrated when I wouldn’t let her buck. She still has a lot to learn before she’s ready for young Sam to start riding her.
Granddaughter Heather has been ponying the 2 Arabian horses she’s training for a lady who wants them broke to ride so she can sell them. Andrea rode with her a few times while she ponied them, and also when she started riding them out on our low range. The black mare is nicknamed Vinny; she is still very flighty but starting to settle down a little. Andrea took photos of young Heather’s first rides out in the hills on Vinny.
The bay gelding is smart and learns things quickly. Andrea really likes him; he reminds her a lot of Snickers (her old Arab-Thoroughbred mare) and Fozzy (her old 7/8 Arab gelding) and Fozzy’s sire (the stallion we kept here on the ranch for 2 years and used for range riding). This gelding is 7 years old and was a stallion the first 4 years of his life, and wasn’t handled much before he was brought here for training.
Michael got home from North Dakota last week. He took the backhoe up to his house to use on the upper place, and took a scoop of manure from our bull corral for Carolyn’s flower and berry garden. He and Carolyn and kids helped the range neighbors move their cows to the next pasture.
Last Sunday Andrea, her friend Robbie, Nick and Em drove to Montana (then back into northern Idaho to the trailhead at Paradise. They hiked back in to Running Creek Ranch (where Em is working for the summer), and took groceries in backpacks.
Andrea, Robbie and Nick hiked back out (7.5 miles) that same afternoon, crossing the pack bridge and hiking along the river. It was really hot in the river canyon.
Michael reset Breezy’s shoes and helped Lynn hook up our swather so we could start cutting hay. The next day Sam rode Breezy with Andrea, Dani and me—Sam’s first ride since her hernia surgery a month ago. She and Breezy did very well.
Nick helped Andrea and me move the few remaining bales out of my hay shed so we can put the new hay in. We stacked the old hay next to the horse pens and put a tarp over them.
The heifers and yearling bull tore down the hot wire along their fence by the driveway so Andrea and I spent one morning putting in a few steel posts and making a better fence, and put a new electric fence along the horse pasture on the other side where the young bull has been trying to rub down the netting. We set more steel posts and put a double wire electric fence out from the main fence.
Michael helped Lynn work on our baler and got it running properly and Lynn started baling the fields about our house. Next, we discovered that the stackwagon wouldn’t work, and Michael helped Lynn fix it, too.
It was evening by the time they got it running, with only enough daylight left to haul one load. While Michael hauled it, Andrea, Lynn and Sam picked up 22 wet bales on the feed truck. These were from a wet part of the field and we didn’t dare stack them because they were already starting to heat. We spread them out by my horse pens, cut them open and scattered the flakes around so they wouldn’t heat excessively or mold. One of our neighbor’s haystacks burned up this week, after he stacked some wet hay that heated too much, so we didn’t want to take that risk. Then Andrea and kids went up to Michael and Carolyn’s house to barbecue hamburgers.
On Thursday Andrea, Sam, Dani and I rode up to the upper place to ride with Michael and Carolyn to check their cows and check the grass on the 320.
There were several trees down across the jeep road into Baker Creek, since the last windstorm. We had to move a couple and break some branches so we could get the horses under one big fallen tree. Breezy was a little nervous in the timber; this is the first time we’ve ridden her in thick brush and timber since her eye was removed. Sam was able to manage ok with her, and kept her fairly calm and controlled and was careful to not bump the branches on her blind side.
As we came on down Baker Creek we discovered about a dozen range cows in our place. Andrea helped Michael and Carolyn chase them out (and discovered a tree had blown down, smashing the fence) while I took Dani and Sam home down the ridge. Even though the girls wanted to help chase the cows, we didn’t want Breezy to have a problem running through the trees. They took the cattle over the next ridge on the range.
Then Michael, Carolyn and Nick went back that evening and fixed the hole in the fence.
Nick and Lynn tried to put the turner rake on our little tractor but yellow jackets were nested in the tractor and they were at risk of being stung. Lynn doused them with bee-killer spray and went back later to put the rake on. He wasn’t able to start turning hay until late afternoon. Andrea finished baling the hay the next day.
The stackwagon still wasn’t running right, so Lynn drove to Mud Lake (100 miles away) to get parts and new belts for it, and then Michael helped fix it. It’s running a lot better now, and Michael stacked more hay in my shed.
I’ve been busy proofreading the chapters for my new horse book, and finding old photos of the horses I wrote about. I sent it all off to the publisher and he’s hoping to have it in print by October.
JULY 31 - A couple weeks ago when Andrea and I rode Sprout and Dottie up through the 320 we saw about 80 range cows and 6 bulls crowded down in Baker Creek along our fence. Some of the ones that we put out earlier were trying to get back in. So we took them over the mountain and scattered them out in small groups over the middle range where there’s a lot more grass. It was Dottie’s first major cow moving where she had to be widely separated from the other horse, to herd cows on the far side of the creek until we could get them to the trail over the mountain. She actually did pretty well.
Andrea talked to the lady who owns the bay Arabian gelding that young Heather is training, and made arrangements to start buying him. Andrea led him down the road 2 miles to our place. Even though he’s 7 years old and had never been ridden until this summer (and had some bad experiences along the way, and was a stallion the first 4 years of his life), he seems to trust Andrea and she wants to finish his training herself.
He has a phobia right now about being bridled and having the bridle taken off, so we are working on that. He’s had his teeth clanked, so he raises his head up to try to get away from expected pain, which makes it even harder to take the bridle off without hitting his teeth (he has long canine teeth that catch the bit). So we are teaching him to put his head down—and patiently letting him take time to relax so he can spit out the bit without it catching his teeth. Young Heather had only ridden him 5 or 6 times and Andrea started riding him after bringing him down to our place. We started out with a short ride (2 hours), with me riding Ed as a baby-sitter horse.
The second ride the next day, we went farther and rode through some of the cattle on the middle range. He did really well.
Michael finished hauling my horse hay and Lynn got our last field of hay cut. Michael and Nick have been doing a couple of fencing projects—contract fencing for other people.
Last Tuesday Dani and Sam rode with us after our short ride with the bay gelding. We rode up through the 320 and saw that there were too many cows in Baker Creek again on the range side. The girls helped us move them out of there and over the hill. Sam rode with me and we took Breezy and Dottie down the side of the creek with a good trail through the brush so Breezy wouldn’t get into problems on her blind side. The next day we took the girls on a short ride out through the hills behind Andrea’s house, on the neighbor’s range. They’d never ridden out there before.
Michael and Carolyn helped those range neighbors move cows again, into a new pasture, and then had to go back 2 days later and move them out. The larkspur is really bad this year, and even though the grass was really good in that pasture the cows were eating the larkspur and several cows had already died.
Our Amish neighbors brought their draft horses and horse equipment up to cut, rake and bale Alfonzo’s hay this year. When we were riding up the ridge above the ranches we took photos of the youngest son raking hay in the field below us.
They pastured the horses in the little field below our place, which worked fine until they ran out of grass and started reaching over the fence; those horses are HUGE.
Andrea and I helped Carolyn bring their cows down from the 320 and put them in the wild meadow on our upper place. They’re hoping they have enough irrigated pasture to last until the calves are sold this fall.
A few days ago Andrea was riding with Carolyn and Heather, on one of their horses. As they came down the road toward our upper pasture they heard goats bleating. Two goats were in our mountain pasture, on a steep rocky hillside. The gals rode over there and found that one of the goats had a collar and was dragging a long rope, and the rope was tangled and caught in the rocks. They rescued her and then the goats followed their horses down the road to their horse corrals. We have no idea where they came from, but they are very tame. Over the past few days they’ve stayed at the hay corral and don’t want to leave. Nick named the big one Ralph and the small female Doe Ray Mee. Andrea’s kids are enjoying the new pets.
Michael hauled the last of our hay on Saturday. Andrea and I rode the new gelding (which she nicknamed Rishiam) and Dottie for 4 hours, up through the 320 and into the high range—his longest ride so far.
On Monday Andy Wagoner and his son Heath brought 3 truck-loads of hay (53 tons of alfalfa-grass big square bales) and stacked it here for us. This hay looks just as good as what we bought from them last year; it was excellent hay for the cows.
Day before yesterday when I did morning chores I hiked up in the field above the house to try to see what the bull was bellowing at. I never did figure out what was upsetting the bull, but I noticed that one of the calves had a long piece of old wire caught around her neck in a loop, dragging about 50 feet of wire. So Lynn and I got her in (with a few cows and calves to keep her company) and took them to the pen in front of the barn where we could confine her in the squeeze chute and cut the wire off. Fortunately it hadn’t tightened up enough to strangle her.
Later that day we made another long ride with Rishiam and Dottie; we went up the road, met up with Carolyn at the upper corral, and the 3 of us rode up through the 320. We fixed the top gate where someone had cut the wires to go through it earlier this year. Alfonzo and Millers’ cows were in the high range and a large group was hanging down on our 320 fence, with no water. So we moved them 3/4 mile up the creek to some water troughs. It was the first time Andrea has tried to move cows with Rishiam. He did pretty well (and Dottie did very well), but he got a little nervous on the way home coming down out of the timber. The weather was really windy by then and he blew up, but Andrea was able to keep him from bucking, and got him settled down. He did pretty well the rest of the way home in spite of the wind.
Yesterday morning Michael put new shoes on Dottie for me, then Andrea and I rode with Carolyn again, out through the middle range.
Lynn helped Michael and Nick survey the line where they will be building a new fence for my brother on his little acreage up the creek where he plans to build a house.
Today Michael reshod Sprout and Nick helped Lynn move our electric fence out of the tall grass in the field below the lane. Then Andrea helped Lynn and me move our cows down there. After that, we rode with Carolyn again—up through the 320.
There were too many range cows down low again, so we moved them up, taking them farther this time. Rishiam did really well until we had to cross a large bog. He got through part of it, then panicked and buck-leaped through the rest of it and panicked—exploding up into the air on the other side. Andrea stayed on, and got him stopped fairly quickly. He’s still pretty green, and scared of going through water and bogs. He’s also a little nervous in tall brush and timber; he’s probably never been in anything but a flat pasture with no trees.
He calmed down after we finally got out of the timber and was fairly relaxed on the way home until we got down to the corral where we parted with Carolyn. The two goats they rescued earlier had wandered away from the corral and were up in the cliffy rocks above the road, bleating. Rishiam and Dottie freaked out and didn’t want to go down the road past the bleating cliffs. We finally had to make them trot to get down the road. Later that day Nick had to climb up in the rocks to bring the goats down.