A slow morning ended with Brandon’s departure back to Laramie and school.
After he left, Vernon decided to finish rototilling my garden… a job Brandon had initiated by pulling out the wicked machine and changing its oil. One outside round had been accomplished and 99.9% of the garden remained. Vernon pulled and pulled and started and restarted it. Then he left to get tools and gas. Then he pulled and started and it squealed and bucked like an old mustang with a new rope around its neck. It refused to run for more than a few feet. This old rototiller has been the devil incarnate its entire life… growing crankier and more temperamental as it aged.
I remained where I was, raking brown dead leaves out of the flowerbed.
Vernon tried again. And again. True to form, the rototiller remained useless.
I bent over again, stacking old hollyhock stems in my green wagon.
Vernon never got upset… but soon from the corner of my eye I watched him gather his tools and gas can. He closed the gate through which I had been hauling my leaves and snatched his coat from the ground. “Want to take a tour through the badlands and check the gates?”
“Sure.” A scenic drive beats hauling leaves any day!
Camera, snacks, and dogs were gathered and off we went.
We couldn’t have done this a week ago, but the mud has settled and could see by our tracks we were the first ones out there. Although it is a relaxing Sunday drive, there is a purpose. We will be moving our cows out there soon and since we open all the gates during the winter after the cows are all home, we needed to insure the gates were now all closed. Leaving the gates open makes it easier for wildlife to pass through during the months where low lying areas usually used to cross fences might be covered by snow.
Riding shotgun does have one drawback. The shotgun position has to open and shut all the gates. Of course, that’s why ranchers marry in the first place… having someone to open and shut gates is an amazing timesaving convenience! If you can relate to that statement, you need to investigate Kari Dell’s blog and her hysterical entry entitled “No Parking“. It gave me the giggles for days.
Anyway, off we went… Vernon stopping every couple of miles to dump me out near a gatepost that I’d haul around and close and then I’d clamber back up into the Dodge. It’s the best way to burn calories while going for a Sunday drive.
Silent antelope were everywhere, their white flared rumps like beacons across the brown prairie. Meadowlarks sang their songs tumbled one on top of another for a concert in surround sound. Green grass was trying to grow… south slopes had visible differences from the north slopes of the same hills. As we returned to the Mills pasture, peepers were busy croaking their little froggy tunes.
That’s where we stopped to repair a gatepost. Vernon mentioned that he’d found three gates in another pasture where someone has just driven through the barbed wire gates. Someone getting their kicks (and hopefully, scratching up their pickups) ruined the gates and made more work for him. That mentality astonishes me… something that I just can’t seem to understand.
I could rant and rave… but it wouldn’t ruin anyone’s day but mine…
So I took a few steps down from the gate and captured this scene.
Nothing like some red dirt to put some peace back in my soul…