Wednesday, October 15, 2014

JUNE 2014

JUNE 4 – Rocket, the calf that was so sick, was much better the 2nd day after Michael gave her the IV fluid and a few days later we put her and her mama back with the herd.  The last evening we went to the barn to check on the calf, Lynn’s cats followed us, and one of them climbed up on top of the tractor cab to take a nap.

Andrea and I have been riding Sprout and Dottie nearly every day.  Last Thursday when we were riding up the road we stopped to talk with young Heather while she was working with some horses she’s training.  Then Carolyn hollered out the door to tell us she’d had a phone call from Lynn to say that the neighbors were bringing a herd of cows up the road to their upper pasture, and would be traveling right through Michael and Carolyn’s cows.  So we trotted up around the hill and gathered all those cows and calves into the corral until the herd went by.  The neighbors put their cows on the 160-acre pasture next to ours, and didn’t fix their torn-down fence onto the road.  If their cattle (and bull) get out on the road they could come down and mix with Michael’s cows, and Michael doesn’t want his cows bred this early (to calve in late February) so Lynn took 2 old pole panels up there with the tractor and put them across the hole in the fence.
That evening we did chores early and went to the kids’ music concert at school.  Sam had a trumpet solo in her band performance, and Charlie’s group did very well.  He’s the only trombone in his group.

Last Saturday we moved the cows and calves from the field above the house and put the heifers with them (from the field below the barn) and put them all up in the lower end of the swamp pasture—finally off hay!  They are glad for the grass.

The next day Andrea’s friend Robbie helped Lynn set a railroad tie on the fence line where the neighbors need to rebuild their fence, to mark the survey corner at the old falling-down corral.  Andrea, Emily and I rode—Emily’s first ride since she broke her leg in February.

On Monday the neighbors came up to rebuild the fence braces and Lynn helped them for awhile. Andrea and I rode to check the fence between our 320 and the middle range, and patched a few bad places and shut a couple gates between the middle range and high range.
On Thursday we made a short, fast ride, then Andrea took Emily to town to meet up with the people who drove her to Hamilton, Montana, to fly into a remote dude ranch/hunting lodge (Running Creek Ranch) in the Selway Wilderness where her dad is working.  Em has a summer job there helping take care of the place, mow grass on the airstrip, etc.  Emily sent us some photos she took there.


This Sunday Michael, Carolyn, Nick, Robbie and Andrea helped us vaccinate and deworm the cows and brand, vaccinate, castrate and deworm the calves.  The dewormer will also kill any flies on them for a few weeks.  It was a really easy branding for Lynn and me; the rest of the crew did most of the work!
We left the pairs in the hold pen for an hour afterward to mother up and recuperate (a few of the little bulls were still bleeding a little from their castration) while we put up a 2-strand electric fence across the lower field to divide off the swampy part that we can’t hay.  We then moved the cattle down into that part; the grass has grown rapidly and should last more than a week.  Then Andrea and Robbie went up to the 320 and helped Michael, Carolyn and Nick set 5 posts and make 2 new braces where the fence is starting to fall down.  I hiked through the cows and calves that evening at chore time to check on them, and the little steers all seemed to be doing ok after their castration.  Some were lying in the tall grass and a little hard to find!  I’ve continued to check on them morning and evening and by this evening they are all feeling much better.
We took a few minutes that afternoon to work with Willow and tie her for awhile, and Dani brushed her.

On Monday Andrea helped Michael, Carolyn and kids gather their cows and calves and brand and vaccinate them—and take them up to the 320-acre pasture.  Andrea rode with them around the fence and checked the ridge gates after they moved the cows.
Young Heather is renting a little house downtown and Andrea and Carolyn helped her move some of her things down there.  Andrea mowed her lawn for her, and found a few extra household items for her that she’s been storing and doesn’t need.
This morning Michael reset Dottie’s shoes and reshod Sprout’s front feet.  Andrea went up to their house to get instructions on how to do all their chores (feeding dogs, horse, bull, etc.) while they are gone for a few days to a wedding in North Dakota.

JUNE 17 – Last week Andrea and I rode nearly every day, putting more miles on Dottie and Sprout, checking fences, etc.  Dottie is coming along in her training but needs a lot more riding before she’s dependable enough for Sam to start riding her.
Now that school is out, Sam and Dani have been riding with us—Dani riding Ed and Sam on Breezy.  This has been the first time Sam has ridden Breezy since she had surgery last December to remove her eye.  That mare is doing fine with one eye and she and Sam are getting along fine.

A week ago Alfonzo and Millers moved their cattle from the low range to the middle range pasture but they missed some.  Last Monday Michael put new hind shoes on Sprout and then Andrea, the girls and I made a brief ride, found a couple pairs that got missed (one cow had a fairly young calf, born in the last few days) and moved them to the middle range.  Michael spent that afternoon with the backhoe fixing the boggy place in Andrea’s road, making a ditch to drain off the water and hauling more rock onto that soft spot in the road.
On Tuesday he reset Ed’s shoes, then Andrea and girls and I rode again.  This time we rode up toward the 320 and found a dozen pairs that got missed, and took them around the hill and into the middle range gate by Baker Creek.  Andrea went on ahead to open the gate and head the cows, while the girls and I brought the cows down the steep hill along the fence.  They are good little cowgirls and enjoyed being able to help us move the cows.

The next day Andrea helped Lynn take the water troughs up to our little hill pasture above the house, and pump water from the ditch across the road (using a plastic pipe through the culvert under the road).  Then Andrea and the girls and I got the cows in from the field below the lane and took them up the road to the hill pasture.

Michael went back to North Dakota to his truck driving job.  The girls and Andrea and I rode through the cows to check them, and on out onto the range to check the middle range gate on the jeep road.  The girls are both able to get their horses ready to ride, and Dani has been practicing cleaning Ed’s feet.

Saturday Andrea drove Carolyn and Nick to Indianola where Nick was competing in a 6 mile run.  The race was a fundraiser for the families of fallen firefighters.  Nick placed first, but gave his prize money to the second place finisher.  That morning Lynn and I pumped for the cows, to refill their water tanks, but had a little trouble at first because the pump wouldn’t start.  We finally got it working and filled the tanks.
Yesterday it rained a little.  It was the first rain we’ve had in awhile.  It was cold and we started a fire in the stove, first time since spring.  It rained again last night.

Today Sam had surgery to repair a hernia at her navel area that she’s had since she was a baby.  It was a tiny hole, but over the years some fat has come through it and made a painful bulge.  The surgeon removed the fat and stitched up the hole.  She has to take it easy for a few weeks and not lift anything, and won’t be able to ride for awhile.  

The power was off for several hours this morning—all the people in this area on this side of town.  We ate breakfast by candlelight!  This afternoon we drove up on the hill pasture with the 4-wheeler to check on the cows and see how long that grass will last, and heard wolves howling on the high range.
JULY 1 – Dani rode with Andrea and me a few days ago, just before a storm and it was very windy.

Rubbie and Veggie (age 27 and 28) are fully retired this year and we are no longer riding them.  We put them on pasture together a couple weeks ago.  Neither one of them can eat hay as readily as they used to.  Veggie has been on grass all summer, in pens near Rubbie (they are very unhappy if they are apart from one another so he has to be where he can see her), but now they are together and can hopefully spend their last days together.  Andrea and I trimmed their feet, and put fly repellent on them.
Andrea and I have been making some longer rides on the range, checking water troughs, etc.  We told John Miller about one trough that wasn’t working, and he rode out a few days later and fixed it.  These longer rides have been good for Dottie; she’s settling in a bit more and not so grumpy and headstrong on the way home (if she has to follow other horses).  We made a really long ride last Monday with Dani, up into the high range, and shut some gates—and saw two cow elk. 

The next day Carolyn and Heather rode down here and led an extra horse, and Charlie rode with us on a short ride.  Charlie really enjoys riding their old gelding, Gus.  Andrea killed a big rattlesnake on that ride, and Charlie wanted the rattles.

Dani took hunter safety class (3 full days of study, tests and then some shooting practice on the 3rd day) and passed it with high scores.  All of Andrea’s kids have now gone through hunter safety and are looking forward to being able to hunt this fall.
I’ve been working on my next book, called “Horse Tales”, which will be published in October.  These are stories of some of our horses—and all their unique personalities and our various experiences and adventures with them—from the time I got my first horse when I was 9 years old.  I had some of the stories written already but have been busy writing the rest of them.  It’s been a fun project, bringing back lots of interesting memories!
Lynn and Andrea planted their tomato sets, cabbages and squash in his trough gardens again, in the back yard.  We had to cover them one night; the temperature dropped below freezing.
Dani rode with us and helped move the cows and calves back down from the hill
pasture.  We put them in the little “post pile pasture” where the grass was so tall that it lasted from nearly a week.  Then we moved them up through the corral, put fly tags in the cows’ ears, sorted off the yearling heifers, and put the heifers and ThunderBull (Freddy’s yearling bull) in the horse pasture and orchard.  We put the big bull (Zorro Lightning Face) with the cows—in the upper swamp pasture.
Range cows have been coming through the fence on the upper place.  On Thursday Nick and Carolyn rode and chased them out, and again the next day.  It rained hard that afternoon. 

On Saturday Andrea, Lynn and Emily’s friend Justin drove to Connor, Montana and then 65 miles to the trail head to hike about 8 miles into the Selway wilderness area, on a trail along the Selway River.  They took backpacks and packed groceries into the Running Creek Ranch (a privately owned dude ranch, hunting camp and airstrip) where Emily and her dad are working this summer caretaking the place, mowing the airstrip, etc.  It took them until 11 p.m. to get there and Lynn was really tired. 

While they were gone, Andrea’s friend Robbie came to work on the old pickup that Michael and Carolyn are giving him (trading for some fence-building help) and got it running. While he was here he noticed that our bull and some cows had gotten out of the swamp pasture, and helped me get them back in. The old wire gate at the top of that pasture had been left open! On Sunday he helped Carolyn and Nick take steel posts up the mountain on the upper place and fix the bad spot where the range cows have been getting in up there.

Andrea, Lynn, Emily and Justin hiked out of the back country on Sunday and it took all day to get home. They had an exciting episode when Lynn fell in one of the creeks while crossing it on a narrow log. His walking stick slipped off the log and he tumbled backward into the water. They helped him get out, and poured the water out of his shoes, and fortunately he had a change of clothes—in Andrea’s backpack! It’s a good thing he didn’t fall in that creek the day before, on his way in, since he was carrying a backpack filled with paper towels and toilet paper.

The main reason they hiked into that remote area was to help pack in supplies and groceries, and so that Em wouldn’t be hiking out by herself (she has a week off from her job). It’s a dangerous trail, and there are wolves in that area, so we didn’t want her hiking alone, without a gun. Andrea will hike back in with her this coming weekend when she goes back again.

Yesterday Em went to the dentist. She’s had a bad tooth (one of her back molars), giving her a lot of pain. The dentist pulled it and put her on antibiotics because there was infection in it. He didn’t want to risk having the infection spread to the rest of her body, where it might gravitate to the repaired bone (the plate and pins in her leg) and cause a serious problem.

This morning Andrea and I will ride to the upper place and help Carolyn and Nick bring their cow herd down off the 320 to the upper corral so they can put their bull with them, and take them back up. The bull is a young one and doesn’t know the way and it will be a lot easier to get him up there to that pasture if we take him with some cows.

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