Today saw the return of winter with freezing temperatures and snow.  The wind chill added to the briskness.
The other day was a different story.  Gorgeous sunshine and warm temperatures begged me to go for a walk to the mailbox.  My months of inactivity showed themselves as it took me longer than normal to make the 2 mile trek.  But I had company and enjoyed the walk and the weather immensely.
The view from the highway and my mailbox looks like this.
This area is called the Double Crossing as the old stagecoach road that ran through here had to cross the Nowood River twice in a short span.  We call this entry road the Beaver Slide… if you know anything about beavers they will create ramps like this to slide their wood into creeks.
A closer look reveals my walking partners.  In the distance is the sheep bridge I have talked about.
My partners are in a down stay at the cattle guard.  If they come with me to the actual mailbox, more often than not, a tempting cottontail bunny will dash in front of them and lead them onto the highway and across.  Now, my highway isn’t a busy one… but I decided that those mad dashes across pavement were going to give me a heart attack if ever it happened with traffic.  This is my remedy.
Could they get any closer to the cattle guard??  They’d lay on it if they could… just to be those few inches closer to where I am.
One is patient, the other reflects the horrible abuse I put her through when I don’t allow her to be at my side.
“Do you like me??? Do you really really like me?  Please say you do!”
“Yeah… Here I am.  Can we go now?”
We can’t wait to go to the mailbox again… but we only get mail three times a week.  So we have to wait until Monday whether we want to or not!

One More Time

Well, sure ’nuff… The pump wasn’t working this morning.  My first order of business… a quick shower and a not-so-quick “run” to Worland.  The snow was falling and the 18 miles to Ten Sleep were slick.  The increased traffic on the stretch between Ten Sleep and Worland had worn off the skiff of snow and I could drive 65 again.
I made my purchases and returned home as soon as I could.
New electrical wire, new pump, new box.  By golly, it otta work this time!  We have fought with this well repeatedly.  Vernon decided to get SERIOUS!

The culprit.  Vernon works on the well disconnecting wires and pipe, preparing to pull this well ONE MORE TIME.  See him down there??

Our extra muscle.  We’ve hooked a chain on the well head to help pull all the pipe and wire out.  Don’t forget, the pipe is full of water, so anything to help Vernon’s back is very welcome.  Vernon will pull the pipe… I’ll drive the 4 wheeler out and stretch out the pipe as it comes out of the ground.

Here’s the new submersible pump.  It’ll never look so nice and shiny again!  Expensive little thing.
Vernon went to school to be an electrical engineer.  That comes in handy sometimes!
The pipe lays out clear to the 4 wheeler.  Johnny and Vernon work on a splice.  Notice the snow… yesterday this was muck on top of frozen muck.  I prefer the snow on frozen muck.
An extra hand helps out in the cold.  The temperature was in the teens.  Glad I wore my coveralls!
Our thirsty calves wait by the water trough to see if we’re successful.
The tank needs an adjustment.  It’s float valve was sticking due to all the rust and gunk we’d loosened up in the pipe.
Coming in for a gulp is our “special” steer.  He’s never been “quite right”.  Droopy ears and flattened head… he walks with his head over-extended.  We think his sight is damaged.  I think the sac stayed over his nose too long when he was born and he is brain damaged from lack of oxygen.  We’ll never know.
As long as we stood there, the new pump worked fine.  Success!  Well, at least until we wake up tomorrow and check it again!


While Lucas and Elsa seem to be going through a “romantic” period, today wasn’t very full of the ranch romance that people believe happens.

You know… “Oh, you live on a ranch – how romantic.”
“You get to ride horses like cowboys??? How romantic!”
It should be more like…
“Oh, you get to pull the pump out of a 180′ well TWICE in one day… through the thawed 1/2″ of poop in a corral with an undercoating of dangerous ice… and get it all over you…  How romantic!”
Yup.  That’s it.  The romance of ranch life.  And if it doesn’t continue to work overnight, I’ll get to do it tomorrow too!  And it is supposed to be colder tomorrow with a chance of snow.  Well, maybe the top layer in the corral will stay frozen that way.  Gotta look on the good side.
No pictures today.  My hands were full of rust muck and poop.  My back, I’m sure, isn’t as sore as Vernon’s!
Then the heifer calves rubbed the gate open and mixed with the steer calves.
Then Dally pooped in my house TWICE because I’m trying to leave Elsa and Lucas together and so she goes from kennel to house with obviously not enough time (like 2 hours) in between to poop outside.  Shees.  Yecch.  She gets the “stupid dog” award today.  Or was that Boomer, who tries to sneak in a little good time with Elsa on the side and when Lucas appears, Boomer doesn’t have enough sense to Move Away from her… and when Lucas tries to kill Boomer, I have to go in and break it up.  Stupid Dog!
So… sigh…
Today wasn’t romantic in any way.
But I do know this about ranching and ranchers… they have to be positive and look on the bright side… otherwise they’d throw up their hands in disgust and move to the BIG CITY where they’d work 8-5 with weekends and holidays off and better pay and insurance and paid vacation and take-out and a teeny tiny little yard and only have to pay for a house and car instead of multiple tractors and expensive fertilizer and vehicles and fuel and land and vet calls.
So… I’ll go to bed now and wake up to a gorgeous sunrise and sweet husband and awesome dogs and think of my amazing children and send a special prayer up in thanks for good friends and a great mom and family and good health and start my romantic ranch life all over again!


Last week we traveled over the Big Horn Mountains to deliver my daughter’s new Ford Escape to her in Buffalo, Wyoming.  90% of my trips over this mountain are enjoyable, 10% are the kind where your knuckles hurt after driving it!

Ten Sleep Canyon is an impressive stretch of highway with switchbacks and a runaway truck turnoff.  In other words, it is quite the grade!  Many people unused to mountain driving often overheat their brakes on their vehicles coming down this road.  Lots of unfortunate accidents have happened here.  But if you can get past the driving experience, the scenery is breathtaking.
Ten Sleep Canyon is becoming more well known amongst the rock climbing crowd.  Ice climbers sneak up to the waterfall on many winter days.  People cross country ski and snowmobile.  There used to be a successful ski area and restaurants.  There are lots of scenic turnouts for people to stop and take pictures.  And I’m still one of them after living here for 27 years!
See if you agree…


I took Elsa to my vet today to get her OFA done…  Finally, I accomplished that goal!
I was late starting out because Elsa is standing as of this morning… and I hoped she and Lucas would uh… consummate their relationship.  But I had an appointment to keep and couldn’t afford to give them the amount of uh… foreplay time they needed!  So, she’s still uh… not knocked up!  Gees… maybe I should have looked up some technical terms to help me out here.
The morning was gorgeous.  I eventually had to pull over and take a snapshot of the diamond snow.
This quickie doesn’t do it justice.   Oops.  Quickie.  Where is my mind?
It was bea-u-ti-ful.  But it looks rather plain here.
We made it to the vet’s… Where I took this …

Somedays, Elsa, the world is your oyster and a hot guy thinks you hung the moon.  Then someone steps in and smears that perfect picture into pooey.  Sorry to have ruined your day and your mood.   But it is for the best… and for the breed knowledge database… and gees.  I really hate it when you look like that.  Life isn’t always full of sparkles.