My eye focus is about the same (still seeing double if I look up or down, but perfectly normal directly in front and to the side). The doctor in Missoula said the pressure on the eye and tissues around it—pushing back against the socket when my face slammed down on the ground/into the mud, with the horse rolling over me—is what broke the back of the eye socket. Since my vision is mostly normal, he did not think it would be wise to try for surgical repair, since that would be risky (back behind my eye) and might damage the optic nerve, so we’ll just let it heal as best it can. When we got back home late that afternoon, we picked up Dani from school.
Granddaughter Heather in Canada sent us some photos taken when she and little Joseph were helping Gregory, and photos of Joseph riding in the tractor with his daddy to move some bales.
|Heather Eppich & Joseph|
|Joseph helping his daddy move hay|
I’m glad our calves are gentle and trust us, and glad that I’d fed them a little hay on one of the really cold, snowy days the week before. They all came to me and followed me through the gate into the hold pen, which was much easier for us and less stressful for them than trying to round them up and chase them in. We were able to get them into the smaller second-day pens without much trouble, and sorted out the 5 heifers we’ll be keeping—putting them back down in the field, and the sale calves into the orchard across the driveway. Those calves would go to a special calf sale on Friday.
Then we brought the cull cows in from the field above the corral, to put in the corral, and the brand inspector came to look at them and the calves we were going to sell. At chore time that evening Lynn and I fed the calves some hay, so they wouldn’t be so empty the next morning to go to the sale. The rancher we buy hay from, Phil Moulton, offered to haul them to Montana for us, since Michael and Carolyn’s trailer is still down river on their fencing project. They finished down there, late that evening, but hadn’t had time to bring their equipment and trailer home, or clean it out—since that’s what they were camping in.
It rained that night, and the weather was windy and cold, but it didn’t snow until after we got the cattle loaded and on their way the next day. We had a bit of a problem getting them on their way, however. Lynn was still really dizzy. He’d planned to go with Phil to take the cattle to the auction near Butte, Montana, but decided not to risk traveling in that condition.
We weren’t sure we could get the cattle loaded very easily (with my bum leg—still swollen and painful from my horse wreck) and him being dizzy. Even though Andrea and Dani would be helping us, we asked Michael and Carolyn if they could help, too, since they’d gotten home from down river late the night before.
Before daylight, I got the calves in from the orchard, into the calving pen, and when Andrea and Dani arrived we took them across the creek to the lane where we load trailers. Phil arrived early, and we put 3 of the cows in with the 15 calves, and Michael and Carolyn got her in time to help load them. The old cows went into the trailer ok and eventually we got all the calves in, too.
It was a tight fit, however, and after Phil went up our steep driveway (with the cattle jamming back against the door) the pin at the bottom of the back doors popped up. When Phil stopped at Baker to check on things before heading onto the highway, he saw that the doors were bulging open at the bottom and one critter had a leg down through between the doors and the trailer floor. So he called us on his cell phone to say he was coming back up the creek and needed to unload and take off one of the cows.
We dreaded having to reload those animals, since it had been a difficult push to load them the first time. We couldn’t have done it without the extra help from Michael and Carolyn, and they’d gone back home. When Phil arrived and backed up to the loading lane again, luckily one of our good old calm cows was standing at the back door, ready to come out, and all we had to do was open it a little bit and let her step out of the trailer, and quickly shut the door again, without having to unload all those calves.
Then we had to make sure the pin at the bottom of the door didn’t pop up again, and used a battery-powered drill to make holes to put a wire through and secure the pin. By that time, we’d lost an hour of travel time for Phil, and he didn’t get there until after the sale started. The calves didn’t sell until nearly the end of the sale, so they were in the corral most of the day without feed or water and were pretty “shrunk” by the time they did sell. They brought average price (which was a lot lower than average prices last year), but weighed more than we thought they would, which was one consolation. The two cows would be held there a few more days, to be sold at the regular sale the next Tuesday. Phil got back at 7 p.m. and brought us the calf check, and I paid him for the hay we purchased from him this fall. We still owe a small balance, but will pay that after we sell the other cull cows later.
It snowed that afternoon, and again the next day; with 5 inches of new snow. Lynn was still dizzy for several more days, and went to the doctor that next Monday. His blood pressure was a bit low so the doctor had him quit taking one of his medications, and the dizziness resolved.
Then the weather moderated (up to 50 degrees this last Tuesday and our low snow melted. That afternoon Andrea and I went to the 320 on her 4-wheeler and parked it on the ridge by the cross fence gate.
|Andrea left the 4-wheeler on the ridge|
|Andrea hiking into Baker Creek|
|Andrea checking the hillside across Baker Creek looking for the cows|
There weren’t any cattle in Baker Creek however and we hiked clear to the top and out to the ridge, then partway around toward Preacher’s Spring before we found them. They seemed to be doing ok and there was still plenty of grass that wasn’t snowed under.
|hiking up the trail out of Baker Creek and out to the ridge|
|Andrea checking the upper end of the 320, looking for cows|
On Friday Lynn and I took care of baby Christopher while Em was at work—while Andrea and Dani went up to the 320 and checked on the cows again. It took a while to find them because the snow had melted on the shady side of the mountain and the cows were able to graze in the timber. Andrea took a photo of Dani having lunch at the lower water trough.
|Dani having lunch at trough|
I took care of Christopher for awhile, since Emily was at work, and I took photos of him in his stroller.
|Christopher in his stroller checking out our messy house|
Today was even colder—10 degrees this morning, with a high of 20 degrees this afternoon. I plugged the tractor in early this morning so it would start late this afternoon to take a new big bale of hay to the bulls. Our pickup is leaking antifreeze—and needs a new water pump. Andrea brought her old Explorer down here for us to drive to town to my doctor’s appointment. The doctor wants to schedule an Echo exam to check my heart. While we were in town we both got our flu shots.
NOVEMBER 13 – We had a week of cold weather, down toward zero several nights (and one night 5 below zero) and a little more snow. Winter came early! Andrea checked the cow’s water several times on the 320 and broke ice on the lower water trough, but the cows have been staying fairly high and drinking at the top end in Baker Creek where a spring comes out of the hill and doesn’t freeze up until it gets toward the creek.
We had to abandon the water trough in the field above the house for the 4 cows that we were going to sell; the ice built up in it too much. I hauled 4 plastic tubs up there with the wheelbarrow and we watered the cows in those; it’s much easier to dump the ice out of them.
We had our pickup towed to town to a mechanic who put in a new water pump and checked the thermostat and changed the oil. It’s great to have it back again, since we gave our other car to Emily to drive to work.
Charlie, Sam and Dani all participated this year in the Salmon Idol singing contest. Charlie and Sam both sang, and all three performed in the Legacy Choir.
|Sam at Salmon Idol|
|all 3 kids singing in Legacy Choir|
The weather started moderating a little and was up to 30 degrees the next afternoon when Andrea and Dani went to the 320 to check on the cows and break ice. Last Sunday it got up to 38 degrees, but I still had to plug in the tractor so it would start that afternoon. Lynn used it to load on old mowing machine that a fellow wanted to buy from us. Emily bought a load of firewood and had it delivered here that afternoon. We’ll have to split it, and can divide it up between our house and Andrea’s. We’ll need to get quite a bit more wood, however, to have enough for winter.
That evening we had a birthday dinner at Andrea’s house for Dani, who is now 15 years old. It was a simple potluck with pizza and snacks; Lynn and I made a big potato salad and jello salad to take up there.
Last Monday Lynn went back to the doctor for a checkup. His blood pressure is staying normal without the blood pressure medication, and he hasn’t had any more dizziness, so the doctor told him to just continue on without the medication.
Tuesday afternoon got up to 50 degrees and Lynn chopped the ice out of the water tank above the house. For this past week the nighttime temperatures have been down around 20 degrees but it’s been thawing every afternoon—much more pleasant, and easier on the cattle than the zero weather we had earlier.
Wednesday night after Emily got home from work she and Andrea and Christopher headed for Salt Lake City, to be there on time Thursday for Christopher’s appointment at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. Andrea took a photo while they were there at the hospital.
|Em & Christopher|
A cougar has been hanging around, killing deer. It was perched on the jackfence in our swamp pasture the next night when Emily came home from work at midnight. We hope it will leave our cattle and horses alone!
Emily and baby Christopher, and Charlie and his girlfriend ate supper with us, and I took photos of Andrea feeding him. At 7 month’s old, he’s very eager to eat real food like the big people.
|Christopher eating dinner with us|
|Andrea feeding Christopher|
|Christopher wants to eat it all at once|
They weaned their calves and will take them to the sale in about a week. Monday morning they loaded their cull cows—the open ones and a few really old ones—to haul to the auction yard near Butte, Montana, to sell on Tuesday. The roads were really bad going over the mountains, with snow on top of ice, which made their trip slower and more risky, pulling a trailer. Our 4 cull cows (that we’d hoped to sell earlier when the market was still better—but didn’t have a ride for them to the sale) we got in from the field Sunday evening, waiting to go on a second trip with Michael and Carolyn.