The bunkhouse

The bunkhouse sits just under a south facing hill.  On the left side is the living quarters with bed, table, and at one time an old stove.  Many a hired hand has slept here… many a visitor…
On the right side is the remnants of the blacksmith shop with various tools and mysterious pieces in the shadow of a huge bellows.  Old horseshoes hang everywhere. A workbench holds old boxes and ancient dust.  Newer pieces of things wait patiently in 5 gallon plastic buckets.  Newer plastic dams are stacked there.  Plumbing supplies are ready for the badlands pipeline.
Over all is the sod roof.
The only real sod roof I’ve ever seen.
Covered in prickly pear and bunch grasses, it has protected the bunkhouse forever.

Ten Days and Counting

Ten days and counting…
Butcher’s Foothills Elsa, (United Kennel Club Registry, English Shepherd Club Registry, Canine Good Citizen, MDR1 mutant/normal, OFA Good, light shaded sable female, born 5/10/2004) is gravid, fecund, replete.
Gravid is a great term for her.  Heavy, burdened.  Slowed by the extra weight, she rocks to achieve a standing position.
Fecund.  Prolific.  Fruitful.  Oh, my.  She had 10 pups last time, who knows what number awaits inside?  I tried to listen to their heartbeats the other day… I need more practice…
Replete.  Full.  Satiated.  Gorged.  Oh, yes.  With more to go.
I feel her pain.
I remember those days.
We count.
And wait.
And *I* can’t contain myself…
I sing to her and stroke her back and feed her an extra tasty treat and commiserate.
For they are my friends and my confidantes, my saviors, my protectors.  A shield to conquer unruly livestock… a warm body to snuggle… a foot warmer… a persistent shadow… an unbidden head reminding my hand of its presence… a happy recipient of my attention.  They are my English Shepherds.

Those old Tales

kid on horse2
I’ve been going through old papers, finding papers 100 years old to the day…
This is a warranty deed, this a homestead filing, that a mortgage.
No stories.
Just names we’ve heard for years.
Signatures in ink… real ink… dipped, bold to fading…
Surprised that the man I pictured as rough and tumble had great handwriting… the ones that had scribbled signatures reflected age and a shaky hand… tiny printing that is still a trait of the Greet males…
It is fun
and enlightening
and historically significant for us, at least.
And then the pictures.
Not one hundred years old, but old.
I look at boots,
and saddles,
and hats,
and horses,
and dogs.
But more, the background.  I can walk over and stand in this place in a couple of minutes.  I think more than anything… it is *that* the connects us to those people and their stories from before.  That any essence that was theirs might linger in that spot… and I can walk to it… and breathe in… and share those old tales.

Spring Returns

I imagine I could use that title “Spring Returns” multiple times… and I might!  But after a couple of nights with below zero temps and 5 inches of snow, today’s temp of 20+ degrees and sunshine feels mighty fine!
I admit though… I like this photo.  I took it the same time I took the one of Lucas imitating SnugasaBuginaRug.
First of all this cottonwood tree has CHARACTER.  I’ve photographed it multiple times.
Second, the heifers and babies are included, and since I’ve been running the “heifer” theme lately, it seemed appropriate.
Third, with the glowering cloud, it is unusual.  Skies here are clean and blue and you can see the mountain.  (PS, what is it with the weather reports when they list visibility as 10 miles – I can see across the Big Horn Basin and that’s a couple hundred miles at least!)
So, I’m sharing this photo even though it doesn’t reflect today’s weather!