Pre-Winter Items

It’s our most successful fundraiser for the library, but I’m glad the Harvest Dinner is over, it seems to really keep us hopping!  Now we have to do our regular work, clear the book sale, get ready for judging our Dia de Los Muertos skulls and enjoy the Halloween parade from the school kids.  Whoever thinks library work is boring, hasn’t been to a library lately!  Sometime soon we’ll be preparing our wreath for Festival of Trees, then the first week of December is our Silent Auction, our other big fundraiser.  The library rocks this time of year!

Around here, preparations for winter continue with beautiful weather… Daniel’s been power washing his discbine, getting a season’s worth of dust and chaff and grease off his machine.  I helped for a little bit… it takes an entire day to wash it up!

The guys pulled the dam log.  Read that again.  I said dam log not dam* log.

The log holds the upright sticks and straw that forms our irrigation dam.  It’s long and heavy and water sogged, so a tractor is the hero of the day.

dam log 1

All the sticks and straw have been pulled.  A chain is tied from the tractor bucket around the log…  Shove it in reverse!

dam log 2

Vernon stops the reverse.  There’s a large crack in the log, so Brandon and Daniel wrap the log with wire to ease some of the stress.

dam log 3

They’re working.  I’m walking around enjoying the brilliant green of the moss… and the bazillion little squiggly critters all over the log!

dam log 4

dam log 5

That’s done… and off it goes to be stored out of the water for the winter!  Glad I gave them enough room to go around my Durango!  One more pre-winter item checked off the list.

dam log 6


Questions and Answers October 2014 Edition Addendum

More Q&A because they’re bigger questions…


Irmgard:  For Q&A: I am interested in knowing “all” ;-) about your gorgeous dogs! Would like to know how Lucas, Dally, Puppy-Puppy(?), Tuff, Scout are getting along with each other; whether Scout has “nipped” anyone of your family and whether there is The Right new owner in sight (I’d take him if I didn’t live in a city on another continent!); whether the near-chronic wound on Lucas’ left paw remains closed/healed (I send good paw vibes every single day!!). Also, what do you have to do to keep your dogs in shape for their occasional cowdog work, in terms of training, exercise, diet, “wellness”? Thanks very much! Irmgard

Wow.  Alrighty.  OK.  I think you’re talking about Colt, not Scout.  Scout doesn’t exist here.  Colt will get his own entry another day, so let’s move on to the rest of the pack.  Lucas’ paw was healed.  It looked great… I was thrilled.  Then he escaped from my yard and went and helped the neighbors trail some cattle down the highway.  Oh, really, I don’t know if that was it or playing with the puppy or what, but his paw is back to worn off.  I’ve started doctoring him AGAIN, dadgummit!  Dally is just going out of heat, so she’s happy to be on a looser leash, so to speak… She and Lucas don’t even look at each other, but I’ll still keep them separate for a while longer.  She plays with the puppy, but simply warns Tuff away.  She’s cranky, she has a bubble, and we just live with it.  Puppy still doesn’t have a name, but maybe I’ll just take the one I fell in love with in the first place.  She’s ornery, nippy, with no manners.  She walks on the leash fine, sits for meals and other requests, but seems to forget other things I’m trying to teach her.  Hard-headedness is a great attribute for a cowdog, but getting through puppy stage is a challenge!  Tuff and her played and played and played this morning… of course, she had to boss him around a bit first, but then it was ZOOOOOM!  “Training, exercise, diet, wellness”  Shoot, I can’t even keep myself in shape…  Dally tends towards chunkiness like her momma did.  Lucas could eat twice as much and still not gain weight.  Puppy is just always hungry.  We walk, or I take the Rhino, and they run… They go along in the pickup and work or run or lay in the sun, whatever the day calls for.  There is no program.  There is no training.  There is no diet.  Are we sore and out of breath when we work?  Yup.  Me right there with my dogs.  We match.


Pam:  I just don’t know why you comment that the future of Red Dirt in my Soul is questionable. Could you please clarify this for me? I understand about the loss of pictures from moving the site, etc, but why does that affect the future? many of us still want to follow your ranch life, your family, the dogs, etc…see how all those grandkids grow…so why stop now?

I wrote that when I found out all my photos from 5 years of blogging were gone.  I started this as a photographic journal and in my eyes, it was no longer that.  Sure, the future’s out there, but I felt so much of what I write about and link to in past posts is what makes this blog different.  For instance, you can see 5 years of preg testing in posts, see my kids grow, look at it from a “spa getaway” tongue in cheek entry, watch a video.  That was no longer available.  In the end, I’m not writing this for you.  You’ll get bored with me and wander away, but this was a gift to the people I love.  I printed all my posts off in the beginning, and now I’ve fallen behind and those pics were gone.  When you get hit with a sledgehammer like that, you do question the future.  I thought seriously about quitting.  It still crosses my mind because what I felt I had spent years creating was up in smoke.  POOF.  There have been multiple times I would have written something if I had a picture from an old post to link back to.  It has changed some of my writing.  My writing is nothing without those photos.  It was a Big Damn Disappointment.  Then… Wonder of Wonders, M.C. came into my life.  I will never be able to repay her because she is rebuilding my blog.  Photo by photo.  She loves computer work, she loves my blog, and it has become her mission to help repair Red Dirt.  She has been nothing but supportive and encouraging and I even asked her to be my new best friend!  I cannot imagine doing the work she is doing for me.  Her desire to renew this blog makes my heart sing.  Go ahead, look back at old posts… she’s getting some photos re-uploaded… and when winter hits, she’ll work even more.  What a wonderful woman she is!!!!  Yes, I’ll go change up my bio on the front page…


Irmgard: THE most important question: WHAT can we, your fans, DO?  I just read your note on the right margin:  This is a shock and so sad! You have worked so hard to carry this wonderful Blog here from the other place, and you have put so much heart and soul and talent and time into Red Dirt – we cannot allow you to give up! Wasn’t there someone who said they could retrieve the photos? Are the photos really lost? What if you called in a professional to make Red Dirt whole and healthy again?  What if we, your FFF (friends, followers, fans), got all together – virtually – to try and save Red Dirt? How can we help? Would you consider putting up a Donate button so that we could effectively support this Blog?  I, for one, do want to help if I can, to say Thank You for all these years of “Red Dirt” – your blog has given me so much, dear Carol Greet, it is high time I gave something in return!

Wow.  Sincerely, Irmgard, your note left me stunned!  What an amazing, generous soul you have!  You are sweet to offer so much!  As you can see in the answer above, M.C., for now, has my back and is hard at work in repairing Red Dirt.  I don’t think there’s anything M.C. needs, (if there is, please let me know!), but an enthusiastic thank you from you probably wouldn’t hurt!  ;-)  I did work hard thinking I was doing things correctly in switching my photos over, then to have it not work… it was soooooo devastating.  I was a mess, tearing up just thinking about blogging.  But you know what keeps me going past 11 pm every night???  Nice people like you that comment, and say I made you laugh, or I taught you something, or I encouraged you to try something new…  so really, if you want to do something… shoot me a comment every now and then.  Ask a question about something that has you confused.  Share a post with someone who might enjoy some Red Dirt.  Spread the word that Red Dirt exists.  Irmgard, thanks for being here all these years!  You are special!


And just in case you’ve been wondering…

I like it!

blue door

Questions and Answers October 2014 Edition

Pam: I know you probably think I’m waaaay too sentimental over the cows/calves , but as a city girl, I’m asking,, that one cow that wouldn’t leave the pasture, she eventually gets to be with her calf again at the new place?

No.  When calves are weaned, they are weaned.  Many ranchers sell their calves soon after weaning.  We, however, run them to yearlings, meaning we keep them until they are over a year old.  They may run into their mothers again in a different pasture, but, 99% of calves act like they do not know who their mother is past the point of weaning.  Momma cows usually forget their calves as well when their milk is dried up.  Animals expect to wean themselves or their offspring.  That’s nature.  If older calves stayed around suckling, they reduce the chances of their younger sibling.  Energy needed to produce milk is not directed to the fetus the mommas are growing.  They’ll have smaller babies and they won’t be in as good a condition either.  We get sentimental.  Honestly, they don’t.


Shauna:  How is your pigeon?

One day, good ol’ Utah disappeared.  It was our first cold storm, so I don’t know if that encouraged him to head on home to Utah or what.  There was no feathers, no dead bird, and he didn’t leave a trail… I prefer to think he’s back home!


Judy:  What do you do to keep your chickens warm in the winter and do they like to be out in the pen in the cold during the day?

I have a heat lamp in the coop in the winter.  I also have windows, so there’s solar heat coming in throughout the day, and it’s pretty nice in there.  I do need to replace a window… and that’s on one of my lists of things to do!  My chickens free range, and cold and rain doesn’t bother them in the least!  Deep snow does, they won’t wade through it!  They’ll use ruts or tracks and then by scratching and pecking create a wider area to range in.  We leave plenty of ruts in the snow, so they go just about as many places in winter as they do summer!


Karen:  My dog, love of my life, passed away last November..broke my heart for sure. Will eventually get another pup soon, someday! Can’t live without the love and devotion they give me. What a pretty baby you have, causing trouble, for sure :)

Karen, my condolences.  How do they rip our hearts apart but make them fuller at the same time?


Sandy (and others!):  Q: What have you decided to name Puppy?

She’s still going around with no name.  Don’t worry, I’ll share when I finally decide.


Carole:  Tell us a little about the weather and when you expect the first real snow. Would love some storm pictures if and when you have storms.

Well, we’ve already had our first snow… and the mountain has had quite a few storms.  I’m hoping for a new toy of some kind… maybe a GoPro so I can get time lapse photos of storms.  We do get some doozies!  Traditionally our first good snow is on Halloween, making costumes unnecessary because kids are wearing snowpants…


Kay:  How is the amount of water taken out of the creeks for irrigation controlled ? Or is controlled ?

Water for irrigation is controlled.  The job is called “ditch rider” and they drive around checking everyone’s headgates, which are gates that can be lowered or raised to regulate the amount of flow into your ditch.  They also look at a weir, which is a measuring device to show how many cubic feet is flowing through a ditch.  The other major impact is water rights.  If someone has water rights from 1905, they get preference over someone who has water rights from 1965.


Pam:  What happened to Colt?

Colt’s story deserves his own post…  I won’t give him just a sentence or two.


Joanne:  When you go out on a trail do you ride from the ranch or take the horses in a truck to get near the cows, and then ride ‘em down?

In the 33 years I’ve lived here… things have changed.  We’d get up at 3 am, eat a hearty breakfast, and sometimes ride out to certain close pastures to gather cattle.  On occasion, if the pasture was far away, we would load our horses in the Big Red Truck, 6 or 7 horses standing sideways in the red truck we use for hauling grain now, and drive 30 mph to get there.  Now, with big Dodge trucks and horse trailers, we load our 6 horses easily (no looking for high banks to back up to use as a loading ramp) and we cruise up the mountain like we’re not pulling anything!  It’s Very Nice!  Plus we all fit in the cab, instead of riding on TOP of the cab…  Depending on the pasture, we can drive to the “back side” and gather in the direction we are going to head the cows.  That’s why my dogs don’t know how to gather… because we drive the cattle in the right direction and a dog would run miles to get to the back side in our pastures!  Sometimes we have to ride horses to the back side.  Someone will have to return or ride along to bring the trucks and trailers back down.


Tony:  Why did Daniel choose an Aussie? I have Aussies but wondered why he choose Tuff of (over) your prefered breed?

You know, the strange thing about kids is they have their own minds.  It amazes me sometimes.  Daniel doesn’t like to read books or do home improvement like me either.  I just don’t get it.  Daniel loved Boomer.  The only other dog I’ve seen him rave over was a Kelpie pup.  He wanted a pup and I didn’t have one.  Besides those comments, I don’t know.  Kids are weird.  (and I know this Aussie breeder and she has great dogs!)


Gina:  My husband just got back from hunting in Colorado and the rancher told him that he as a lead cow trained to come when he whistles which brings all the others along so that moving them from place to place is pretty easy. He is now training a second leader because the other one is getting older. Was he giving the city kid a line or can that really be done?

Oh, it definitely can be done.  Cows are like people… some have the temperament to be in the lead, others simply like not to think too much and would rather just follow.  If you can get the lead cow “trained”, which usually isn’t too hard, cows remember going certain ways… then other cows follow.  Movement creates movement.  Get some cows going, others start watching and soon follow.  Long trail drives from Texas to Kansas often had lead steers (don’t have to worry about calves that way), some made the trip multiple times according to legend.  If you move your cattle often, they learn to expect to watch for that cow to lead them to the next pasture.  It’s like calling cattle.  They learn they’re getting fed or going to better pasture… watch out, here they come!


Okay, there’s a couple more questions, but they deserve bigger answers.  I’ll cover them in the next day or two.  or three.  maybe four.  We’re getting ready for the Harvest Dinner fundraiser for the library, and I’ll be busy the next few days!  Sorry to split things up… but it’s the best way to do it for me!

Thanks for the thoughtful questions!  I love you guys…