JULY 24 – Lynn was weak and wobbly for a few days after he came back from the hospital in Missoula, so Michael drove the stack-wagon and put some of our hay into my hay shed. Last week Andrea, Dani and I rode to check the 320 fences and make sure no range cows have gotten in. Dani was wearing her new cowboy hat and I took a photo of her as we went up through the timber, and we also saw a young doe resting in the shade.
The range cows are short on feed in that corner of the range next to our 320-acre pasture, and have been pressing our fence pretty hard, so we try to keep checking our fences.
That evening Andrea, Robbie and Dani hauled several pickup loads of loose hay off the field above the house—the windrows that were too big and damp to bale the evening that the baler broke. They put it in the “sick barn” shed and we can use it later for hay or as bedding for the calving barn. Here’s a photo of Dani riding on top of one of the loads of hay, coming in from the field.
Last Tuesday young Heather started working with Willow again (the 3-year-old Morgan filly that will eventually be Dani’s horse). She did a little ground work with her then got on and rode her briefly around in her pen. The next day she rode her around in the field above the house—the first time she’s ever been ridden outside her pen. Last year when she did some initial rides it was all in her big pen. Dani is eager to have Willow trained so that someday she can ride that filly. She likes to lead and brush her.
Last Thursday Robbie helped Andrea irrigate (she’s doing it all now, since it’s hard for Lynn to do it). Then they baled the hay on Heifer Hill, and Lynn stacked it that evening. On Sunday Lynn cut our last field, and we were able to get it baled on Tuesday. Lynn stacked it that evening, so now we are done haying! We put tarps on the portion that sticks out from under my hay shed, and plan to tarp the other hay (for the cows) in our stackyard across the creek. Here’s a photo of my winter hay supply, tucked in my hay shed, with tarps over the portion sticking out.
Yesterday evening the kids got back home from their week with Mark and were very glad to be home. We all had supper here and then Sam and Dani helped me lead Rubbie and Veggie to a new pasture to graze.
This morning Heather and I made a short ride on Willow and Dottie (Willow’s 9th ride out in the hills).
AUGUST 14 – Two and a half weeks ago we actually had a good rain—rather than a quick lightning storm. It rained off and on all day, and we got about an inch of moisture to help our irrigation and dry spots in our fields and pastures. Between showers Andrea and Dani helped us move the cows to a new pasture but it started raining again as we finished, and we all got drenched.
One cow was quite lame, possible straining a hip while walking through a deep bog in the pasture they came out of. We held her and her calf back when we went through the corrals, and put her in the back pen where she won’t have to walk very much. We gave her an injection of dexamethasone to decrease the inflammation and pain and she started walking better. A few days ago we put her back out with the herd.
Dani rode with Andrea and me on a long ride to check fences and gates, and make sure the range cows hadn’t gotten in. They’ve eaten all the grass in lower Baker Creek and next to our fence. Since most of the troughs on the middle range didn’t get repaired this year (Alfonzo and the Amish family didn’t maintain them like we used to do when we ran cattle out there), the cattle congregated in the few area with water, and overgrazed those areas. I took a photo of the contrast showing the grass on our side of the fence, and the grass on the range where the cattle overused it.
Two weeks ago Andrea and Carolyn went to Idaho Falls for Andrea’s doctor appointments; her pain doctor put multiple cortisone shots into her back and neck. Sam and Dani rode with me for nearly 5 hours. We checked the 320-acre pasture (no cows had gotten in yet) and we let the horses drink at the one trough that was actually working. Then we made a loop up through the high range and ate our lunch near the Basco trough, coming home through the middle range.
The next day Andrea rode Willow for the first time and we made a big loop around the low range. She’s now ridden Willow 8 times (20 rides total for Willow during the past few weeks) and the filly is coming along very well.
Lynn’ favorite cat likes to lounge around on the back porch waiting for him to come outside, and this morning she was napping on the new Bar-BQ that Lynn won as a door prize at the auto parts store. Maybe she was waiting for us to cook her dinner!
Andrea and Robbie had to leave early that the morning to drive to Bozeman, Montana, to pick up a new trumpet for Sam that a college student was selling at a reasonable price, so Lynn took Sam to the doctor. The ankle was x-rayed and the doctor thought there was a hairline fracture in one of the growth plates, and said she should not have been walking on it at all—and was appalled that Mark had not brought Sam in to have it checked soon after the accident. She put the ankle in a brace and Sam is on crutches until another checkup. It continues to be swollen and painful.
We moved the cows to a new pasture and took the bull out. He can live in the corral with a couple heifers to keep him company (so he won’t try to jump out) until Michael and Carolyn no longer need our other bull—and then both of those bulls can spend the rest of the fall and winter together in the corral.
Alfonzo and the Amish moved their cows to the high range, but neglected to fix some of the water troughs (just like they didn’t fix all the troughs on the middle range pasture) and their cows are short on water. Some will have to go over the mountain into Withington Creek to get water. We took photos of some non-working troughs, and some of the thirsty cows trying to drink from a couple of troughs where the springboxes are plugged up and the pipes are just trickling—with not enough water for the cattle.