Dogs of the Day

Today was the first day in a few, that I’ve been able to settle in, do some chores, play an extended amount of time with the puppies, and have a nice visit with my daughter and her boyfriend.  

 
We’ve been moving cows, you see… 
 
Elsa and Dally were Dogs of The Day when we moved our yearling steers with 10 pairs thrown in for good measure.  They were exemplary canines… and I was proud… then we hit Bruner Draw.  It is a mucky boggy draw (north-south) where the road cuts across it (east-west).  
 
This crossroad usually loses some livestock… they think it’s a great place to squirt out sideways and eat some green grass that grows in the mucky boggy bottom.  
 
Sure enough, 20 steers squirted south.
 
As we trailed the end of the main bunch down into the draw, I could finally see what was happening, Vernon and Johnny, starting after them, ready to head them up the 75 degree incline.  
 
Elsa and Dally to the rescue!
 
Circling to the front, we positioned ourselves and I sicced my dogs on ’em!  
 
Wahoo!
 
Ten immediately scaled the steep hill.  Ten ran back down the mucky boggy bottom.  We chose to follow the bottom ones until Vernon, waiting on the road, turned them up the dirt road and they were back on course.  Returning to the ten that had started uphill, I sicced Dally on them and she moved them 75% of the way up the hill, dropped them, they continued traveling on and Dally returned to me.  It was perfect!  If Dally had continued chasing them clear up the hill they would have topped the hill and gone over, but they had to make a sharp left into the gate.  I was more than proud, I WAS ECSTATIC! 
 
Vernon said something along the lines of the dogs doing a good job.  
 
I smiled.
 
NEXT DAY
 
Lucas and Dally are Dogs of The Day.
 
This time it is only pairs that we move.  It is a slow day.  We have fence to repair before we can sort.  Then we sort.  Then we move the one mile to the barn, where we corral a few calves with frozen ears… they’ve healed and are ready to ear tag.  We then move out to the badlands.  
 
I keep checking the time… my Korean classes start at 5:00 pm, I need a shower since my hair is plastered under my Northern Livestock cap.
 
I’m ready to abandon ship and return home in good time, when Vernon ASKS if me and my dogs can at least help them across Bruner Draw.  
 
He ASKS me if me and my dogs can help.
 
Did you get that?
 
We do so in good order… dogs listen, place themselves well, and the cows are across!  I smiled the whole way home to my shower.
 
NEXT DAY
 
Elsa and Dally are Dogs of The Day.
 
Things are going well until a half mile into the trip when one calf runs back… 
 
We’ve just come through the gate that separates our fields from the badlands.  
 
I start watching Vernon and dang! a calf gets back on me!  My dogs are at my horse’s heels and we’re off!  
 
Within 30 seconds both calves are through the fence and we head for the gate. 
 
I am amazed to hear Vernon encouraging Dally to “Get ‘im!”  I’ve always been for encouraging the dogs to circle the calves back themselves, but Vernon has always called my dogs off (unless I’m right there interfering!).  I join in, “shhhhing” Dally along.
 
Dally turned that calf and ran it back through the fence (not *really* a good thing, but better than losing the calf) and put it back with the herd.
 
Now we have the other calf a hundred yards out and heading for home.  
 
Vernon tells Dally to bring it back and she’s off like a streak.
 
The calf turns a wide circle, temporarily crossing the plowed section of the field… impossible for a horse to do!  This is a large field and Dally takes the calf almost clear across it, falters, and I yell a “sshhh!” her way.  She refocuses and keeps pursuing the calf.  The calf now is atop our dry farm wheat field, exhausted and confused.  It turns to fight the dogs, becomes disoriented and heads back downhill.  About that time, me and Tart are on scene, and the calf heads for us.  Vernon yells for me to let it follow, and in its confusion, it thinks I’m a cow (no comments here, please!) and is ready to follow us to safety from those darn dogs!!!  We head uphill, through another gate and suddenly it spies the herd and returns to it gratefully!
 
The entire time, Elsa has been a couple lengths behind Dally.  I have never seen Elsa run flat out… she’s never used that extra gear… but Dally!  wow!  that girl can run!
 
We continue on through Bruner Draw with a minimum of hassle, dogs being ready and very willing to eat anything heading in the wrong direction.
 
We mother the pairs up and kick them on out.
 
We return home.
 
If you think I wasn’t smiling, you’re wrong.
 
Vernon has even told *other people* how well my dogs did. 
 
No OOPE pictures, unfortunately… these few days will have to live on in my memory! 
 

Gotta Share Photos

I have to share some puppy photos…
It is something I HAVE to do…
I HAVE to share the cuteness!
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Elsa supervises feeding time, just to make sure everyone uses their manners.
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The colors (colours??) of English Shepherds… at least in this litter!
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You ever felt like LAYING in your food – it tastes so good?
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Remi believes that is *the* thing to do!
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Investigating new toys…
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Dally lays down to nurse the four pups she can, but is mobbed by all eleven!
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She is still under there…you can see Dally’s feet… when I said MOBBED, I meant it!
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Raider leaves us with the “AAHHHHHH” moment of the day!

Open

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As the sun sets, I often switch to sepia or black and white to use the contrast.  This little reservoir in the badlands gave me the perfect opportunity to play. This one turned out to be my favorite… and “Open” seemed like an appropriate title.
The badlands aren’t that “bad”… as you can see in this photo.  There’s plenty of old growth grass out there, with new growing beneath it.  Many sections of the badlands, those where bentonite is prevalent or erosion has washed away nutrients, are bare of growth… but not here.
This pond was the only one we saw not filled this spring with runoff from snow or thunderstorms.  The vagaries of weather are hit and miss in Wyoming… one hill can be drenched in a storm that leaves the ground dry on the other side.  Often there are years where this reservoir would be a dry hard patch of caked ground.
But for now, peepers croak their little songs, meadowlarks trill in delight, and pronghorn antelope delicately step to the edge and drink their fill of precious water.
*This moment brought to you by the BLM and an American Rancher.*

Spring Turnout

Thought I’d share my first OOPE video… shot out of my pocket on Saturday.

The annoying sound is the camera… but just listen to the bawling of the mommas and babies!
Enjoy!

Spring Turnout from Carol Greet on Vimeo.

Fix Fencin’

Somehow, whenever I want to talk of fixing fence, it comes out wrong.  My mouth can’t ever seem to coordinate with my brain, and “fix fencin’ ” usually blurts out and makes me appear *really* stupid.  Most people around me accept my fault(s) and pretend they understand what I mean.  I’m grateful for that.  Occasionally they make fun of me and wound me to the core, but, whatever, I’ll get them back someday.
On our trip around the allotment the other day we came across a section that needed repair.
Vernon to the rescue.
Actually, I *like* “fix fencin’ ” and would have done it, but Vernon doesn’t know how to work my camera…
FIX FENCIN’ 101
Find a stretched out, broken, loose area of barbed wire.  This usually isn’t too tough… take into consideration, elk herds, deer, stupid bulls, irritated cows, snowdrifts, old and rusty wire, and you pretty much have a fence to fix!
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Easy enough… see the loose wires to the left of the photo?  That’s where we work.
You must, however, gather your supplies which includes an old can (coffee or paint can) which holds rusty staples, rusty nails, and those little loopy things that hold the wire on metal posts like these… uh, I don’t know what they’re called.  I’ll delve into that later.  This is also a great place to carry your hammer or fencin’ tool.
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The most important tool is your wire/fence stretcher.  This is an amazing tool… believe me that wire is gonna be TIGHT!
Place the fence stretcher on the wire… and give the handle a crank or two or six.  The wire pops and sings and becomes tight, like the virgin fence it once was.
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Now take your Leatherman (or fencing pliers if you have ’em) and cut the wire.  Your fence stretchers will hold the wire in place so you can make the repair.
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Make little loopies on each end of the wire.  Loopies, of course, being the correct old cowboy term…
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Insert a new section of wire to connect the loopies… get it hand tight, so you don’t lose your tightness.
Release your fence stretchers and you’ll have a refurbished, nice, tight fenceline.
Back in the day, cowboys knew that this barbed wire would be the end of their lifestyles.  That open country would be chopped up and the life of the cowboy would be over.  Yes, the land has been chopped up into smaller sections than the open grazing of long ago.  Yes, a cowboy spends more time than he wants “fix fencin’ “.  The old time practice of day herding is long gone because of this wire.  But the rancher couldn’t make it without barbed wire these days.  A cow learns to respect a good fence.  And it is *so true* that good fences make good neighbors!  Someone with poor fences will have livestock that doesn’t respect a fence, and will cause lots of trouble for himself and his neighbors.  And really, on a day like today, with meadowlarks singing and elk and antelope surrounding you, “fix fencin’ ” doesn’t seem like a horrible job!
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