OCTOBER 28 – Last week we had exceptionally warm weather, up into the 60’s during the daytime even though it was freezing hard at night. It was great for the cattle, and for riding up to the 320-acre pasture to check on them. Andrea and I made a fast ride up there last Saturday to make sure they are doing ok (and that the gates were still closed, with all the hunting activity). We’d dressed fairly warm to start out, but by the time we were going up the ridge in the 320 we were too hot. Andrea took off her sweatshirt, but left it on her head, ready to slip it back on when we went down into the shaded cold area in Baker Creek. I took photos of her sweatshirt on her head.
Andrea took off sweatshirt - onto her head
|cows lounging on ridge|
|pig & her short ears|
|checking gate in Baker Creek|
Andrea had the kids that weekend, and Sam decided she’d like to sing in the choir at church. So Andrea, Sam, Dani and I went in a bit early (the choir practices for about 45 minutes just ahead of the church service) and Sam enjoyed singing in the choir. Both girls have lovely voices, but Dani was too shy to participate in the choir this time.
That afternoon Andrea took the kids hunting. They saw a few does, but no bucks. She took a photo of the kids while they were out hiking around.
|Andrea, Dani & Charlie hunting|
|Joseph climbing into the combine|
On Tuesday Andrea went to Mud Lake with Jim; he took a trailer load of antlers to sell to a guy who buys a lot of elk and deer antlers. Lynn went to town for his checkup with the bone and joint specialist who comes to Salmon periodically from Missoula, Montana. Lynn’s shoulder is doing a little better than it was earlier, but still painful, so the doctor put a couple cortisone shots into the joints and prescribed a few weeks of physical therapy.
That was the evening that Sam was singing in the Salmon Idol program, and her song was scheduled for about 5:30 p.m. Andrea and Jim got back from the antler-selling trip by mid-afternoon and Andrea went to town right after they got home. Lynn stayed in town after his doctor appointment, and Jim and I drove in right after I fed the horses (a bit early). We got there just in time to hear Sam sing. She was the only kid who did her song without music, and it was awesome. That kid has a great voice, a lot of range, and good control.
Speaking of Sam, here are a couple photos Andrea took of her lounging around at home, and goofing off wearing a wig.
|Sam lounging around|
|Sam wearing a wig|
|climbing up the Preacher's Spring side of the ridge|
|Andrea & Shiloh heading for the top|
|almost to the top|
|going down along the timber looking for cows|
|Andrea keeping Shiloh from rushing home|
|coming down from the top|
|Shiloh spooking at a bird|
That afternoon Lynn decided to move the little tractor that’s been sitting across the creek all summer. He wanted to bring it closer to the house so we can plug it in if we need to use it after the weather gets cold, but it wouldn’t start. Jim helped him carry the battery-charger over there, and he was able to get it started.
Thursday was really windy in the morning, but warm. Michael stopped by to borrow our longest extension ladder; he and his fence crew were putting up some huge entry-way gates for a rancher, and needed a ladder to get the crosspieces on.
That evening Lynn went to Dani’s home game. Her team is getting better with practice, and Dani has become one of their most ambitious players.
Yesterday and today we’ve had rain, but it let up yesterday afternoon which was nice, since Michael and Carolyn came by with their flatbed trailer to get a couple of big round bales for their horses.
This afternoon Andrea and I rode to check the cows, in spite of a little rain. We saw all the cows and they were still spread out and doing well. I took photos of some of the cows licking salt down in Baker Creek, another photo of “Pig” and her short ears, and a photo of Andrea checking her phone.
|cows in Baker Creek licking salt|
|Andrea checking her phone|
|Joseph helping drive the combine|
|Joseph Oct 28|
NOVEMBER 7 – We’ve had a fair bit of rain this past week, and some snow in the mountains. Lynn went to his physical therapy sessions a couple times, and his shoulder is doing a little better.
Joints seem to be a big problem with us old folks; my brother had knee surgery (basically got a new knee) this past Wednesday, and spent a couple days in the hospital. Recovery seems to be going well, and he’s doing better each day.
We ran out of what was left of the old big round bales we were feeding the bulls, so Jim and Andrea used the feed truck to get a load of little bales to haul around to the bull pen. The feed truck’s battery was low, after not being used all summer, and we had to use jumper cables to start it, and then let it run awhile to recharge the battery. That old truck is 45 years old, but it’s still a great old truck for hauling and feeding hay.
Mornings have been cold and it feels like winter. Andrea took this photo of Charlie and Sam bundled up and ready to head off to school.
|Charlie & Sam|
|Andrea riding up the ridge|
Darrel Bagley started out on a ranch in Colorado, and raised many good cattle and horses. When he was in his mid-thirties, when his kids were in high school, he had a serious accident while blasting ice out of the river channel (the ice buildup that winter was flooding their cattle pens and barnyard where they were calving), nearly losing his life. The blast took off both arms nearly to the elbow, and seriously damaged his eyes. Thanks to good doctors, he survived, and didn’t lose all of his vision. He refused to stay in the hospital very long, and went back to the ranch to finish calving the cows, with most of his face bandaged, and bandaged stumps for arms. He rode his horse to sort out the calving cows, looping the reins over his bandaged stumps.
Later he was fitted for hooks that opened and closed, in place of hands, and he used those so adeptly that he never went back for prosthetic arms/hands. For the rest of his life he did everything with those hooks, bridling, saddling and riding horses, sorting cattle, driving machinery, and didn’t let his handicaps slow him down. He bought more ranches—in Idaho, Nebraska, and Oregon, and was very successful—continuing to breed and raise good horses and good cattle.
|Darrel & one of his stallions|
|Traudy on Bitterroot Ride|
|Darrel & Traudy|
Lynn went to town to take the box of photo albums back to Traudy, and get my package (page proofs from Storey) from the post office. It was supposed to arrive on Thursday, but didn’t come till Saturday. These are the final proofs to check over, for the 3rd edition of my Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. This new edition has photos instead of illustrations, and it’s been an interesting project trying to get all the photos right—but the editors have been doing a good job. It took them several sessions of photo shoots at a couple of horse farms, but things are coming together. The editor sent me a cute photo of a little girl and her horse “reading” one of the earlier editions of the book.
Sunday it rained a lot through the morning. I checked page proofs all day. Then after evening chores I made two big pizzas and a fruit salad and jello. We had a dinner at Andrea’s house after she got the kids home from Mark, since it was Dani’s birthday. Emily came out, and she and her friend Greg picked up the hot pizzas to take up to Andrea’s house. It was a fun get-together and Andrea took a few photos. Here’s a candid shot after dinner when some of us were still sitting around the table laughing at some interesting conversations.
|birthday dinner conversations|
|Dani at Choral workshop|
|Dani's group at workshop|
|Sam's group at Choral workshop|
Granddaughter Heather sent a few more photos—of Joseph and his dog Dude,..
|Joseph & Dude|
|Joseph riding Dude|
|Gregory & his dad - cement work|
|smoothing the cement|
The snow here just kept coming down all day and even though most of it settled at this elevation, it got deeper on the upper place. By today we figured we’d better check on the cows, but it was too slippery to try to ride up there with our horses’ no-traction worn out shoes. The snow was just the right consistency to pack in the horses’ feet and they would be walking on balls of ice. So Andrea drove to the upper place and hiked up over the mountain to the 320 to check on the cows. She took these photos after she got up onto the ridge across from Preacher’s Spring, where a few cows were still grazing on that far side next to the range.
|snow on 320 Nov 7 - Andrea's hike|
|Andrea checking cows on 320|
|cows on lower end of 320|
|horses on 160|
NOVEMBER 15 – Last Thursday morning Andrea made a fast trip to town to take Dani a lunch at school before the basketball team left on the bus to go to another out-of-town game. Their little team is starting to do better, and beginning to hold their own against the bigger teams and girls that have been playing basketball longer.
Andrea got copies of the kids’ school pictures. Here are Sam and Dani’s photos.
|Dani's school photo|
|Sam's school photo|
It was really cold for several days, down to 13 degrees at night and sometimes only 30 degrees during the day. Sunday we moved the young cows from the lower back pasture; they were running out of grass after using most of the rough feed around the edges of the field and on the hillside. We were pleased that they still looked really good and weren’t “empty” but it was time to move them. Andrea took this photo as we went out into that field to call them.
|calling the cows on lower field to move them|
Then Andrea and Dani drove to the upper place on her 4-wheeler and hiked up through the 160 and 320 to check cows. Andrea took photos as they started their hike—of her and Dani, and the trail they went up toward Preacher’s Spring—to show how much the snow had settled in 4 days.
|Andrea & Dani ready to hike|
|Hiking up the trail to Preachers Spring|
|Dani shutting gate in 320|
|Dani playing in the snow by Preachers Spring|
|Andrea & Dani on 320 ridge|
|Dani checking cows on 320|
|Dani hiking back down through 160|
Andrea drove to the upper place again (in her pickup this time) and hiked over to the 320 to check the cows and the water. The cows were spread out grazing and she was able to check the lower water trough—which had thick ice on it. We used to have a shovel stashed in the brush for clearing ice off the old trough, but in the process of clearing a spot for the new trough last year, the shovel disappeared. So she didn’t have a took to break and clear off the ice, which had gotten so thick it was about building up almost to the in-spout and by that night might have frozen the in-pipe. So she used a tree branch to break the thick ice and scoop enough of it out that the ice might not freeze that thick again in the night. While she was there she took a few photos, showing how the snow had settled a bit more, and some of the cows were headed back up to the higher grass again.
|snow settling on 320|
|cows grazing Nov 12|
|snow settled - cows grazing|
Andrea was able to make it home for a quick shower and dashed back to town to go to Dani’s basketball game. Lynn was in town to do all the town errands and stayed in for the game, too. Partway through the game Dani got pushed down and hit the floor hard, with her leg bent backward. It hurt so much she had to be carried off the court. Andrea took her to the emergency room at the hospital to have it checked, and the x-rays showed it was not broken, just badly sprained. So she’s out of the games for a while, and using ice and anti-inflammatory meds (including DMSO on the ankle) to keep the swelling down.
Beyond the Flames – A Family Touched by Fire. ($19 for paperback copy, or $25 for hardback, plus $4 postage).
For anyone interested in some of the adventures we’ve had over the years with our cattle and horses, and stories about life on the ranch with our critters, here are some of my other books:
Horse Tales; True Stories from an Idaho Ranch, Cow Tales; More Stories from an Idaho Ranch, & Ranch Tales: Stories of Dogs, Cats and Other Crazy Critters.
Signed copies of these books can be purchased for $24.95 each (or $70 for all three books) plus postage ($3 per book, or $7 for all three books)
Book orders can be made by phone (208-756-2841) or mail (Heather Thomas, P.O. Box 215, Salmon, Idaho 83467)
I also have some of my father’s books left. They are now out of print and hard to find. These are collections of some of his best meditations and bits of spiritual wisdom, and include By the River of No Return, Wild Rivers and Mountain Trails, Sagebrush Seed, The Open Gate, and Short People Need a Tree to Climb. These books by Don Ian Smith can be purchased for $12 each (plus $2 postage for one book, $3 postage for 2 to 4 books) or $50 for the whole set (and $4 postage).