Shooting Star


Tucking their heads in shyness, leaving the sky behind them,

Their flames gentled in the atmosphere to billowing petals of brilliant pink,

With the barest remnant of hot fire burned black, glowing golden coals,

They arch, trying to reach the earth.  Held aloft by slender stalk, not of the sky, not of the earth,

a moment captured.

Is the sadness from not reaching their destination or from being suspended in air, never to fly again?

Or is it joy?  Frozen in the barest of flight, dancing in breezes, held by trim roots in a varied garden, bringing smiles and bright color in tiny prairie patches?

Ah, little shooting star, you stand too quietly to tell your story.

shooting star

The Bridge

When the world shakes beneath your feet, when something just isn’t right, when all your senses tell you to stop, hold, even turn around, or even more, RUN!  That’s what you do.  It’s self preservation. Fight or flight.  It may save your life.  On the other hand, it may make you look silly and turn panic and fear into simple nervous giggles.  But it exists and to ignore that would be silly as well.

That’s what I try to remember every time we take steers over a bridge.

Everything screams to them that *this isn’t right*.  That the hollow sound beneath their feet belongs to a monstrous troll.  That the sight of rushing water seen from this angle is new and untrustworthy.  That at any split second, the wood and steel smell that surrounds them is a toxic combination ready to flash into their lungs in a searing flame.

Steers don’t know.  They’re a year old.

cows crossing bridge

Cows know they’ll be safe, but cross in a determined *don’t-look-now-just-keep-trucking” mode.

They can both give you fits, refusing to cross.  It’s here that patience is tried.  Stockmanship needs to outweigh frustration.  All it takes is one feeling secure.  And maybe a little hay to entice the first step.

Surprise Me

A few days ago, when we moved some cows, I took Lucas along.  Always my “short go” dog, I hoped it wouldn’t be too much for him.  We did some work on foot, turning the cows through the open gate, encouraging the last few lost calves along, hoping for momma to come back and retrieve them.  Finally, Vernon sent me to the barn to grab a horse, but when I did, I locked Lucas in my car, knowing that extra two miles would wear him out far too much.

With all the windows unrolled, he leaned out and woofed mightily as we turned into the field yards from his prison.  Good boy that he is, he *did* stay put though!  I freed him as again we went through the process of letting the cows sit and bawl and look for their calves, though the majority were simply interested in the lush field, and not their babies!  It wasn’t long before a delivery truck came, and we lost Vernon, Daniel, and Brandon to a different job.  Johnny and I sat and visited, and I heard more tales from the past… always fascinating to me!

Six miscreants edged around the stack yard, knowing in their bovine way, that momma was back a mile, and could not be one of the cows grazing hungrily a few yards away.  Lucas and I were on the job!  In 2006, when Lucas was run over, he was supposed to do water therapy.  They did it at the vet clinic in Billings, but it was wintertime here and the creek was frozen!  I tried putting a stock tank in my kitchen with warm water to make him swim, but it wasn’t deep enough and he was NOT impressed.  He’s not a water dog except for laying in it, and pretty much the only time he’ll ever swim is if I’ve crossed a creek myself and he must follow.

I never thought when I tried to send him across the creek to chase the calves back that he actually would go!

swim creek

But, holy cow!  look at him!  He’s focused on the calf in the water, right at the edge of the creek in the shadows.  The calf knew he was there, and before Lucas made it to him, the calf was inspired enough to climb out on his own.  Lucas, though, couldn’t climb the steep bank, so back he came.  Then the calves tried to cross the creek again.

It was shallower here, but there he goes again!  Good dog!

second attempt

Not so steep nor slick with the long grass, he was ready to shove them back through the fence and return them to their mothers.  A little encouragement to slow him down, and with the pressure off, the calves squeezed back through the fence and returned to the herd.

think about it

Well… how about that?  Sometimes, after all these years, that dog can still surprise me!

Happy Birth Day

We’d like to welcome grandchild #7 to the fold!

Matthew Lawson Davis joins his twin brothers Waylon and Wyatt Davis.  He was born six hours before his scheduled C-section… an overachiever?  He was a healthy 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 21″ long.  Everyone is doing fine.

Like his brothers, the parents prefer his face not appear on the internet… but there may be a story or two about him along the way anyway!

Happy birth day, Matthew!