Snowy Photos

The girls and I took a walk today.

I bundled up.  The thermometer said 5.  I don’t know if I believed that!
I picked on Dally making her my model for the photo shoot… Elsa is too much of a shadow dog on walks.  It may just be because I’m breaking trail through the snow, but part of it is she’s an English Shadow!  I need one of those camera holders that sticks out about 5 feet… like Survivorman carries!  Then I could take photos of Elsa at my heels!
But Dally is a pretty fair subject.  She’s getting used to me stopping and focusing and shifting position.  Before this first shot, she was standing sideways to me…  I told her to stay and got down on my knees to take the photo straight across… She sighed and did this.
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I think her eyes are rolled back in her head!  What does that mean when your dog rolls her eyes at you??  Is it that a teenage phase?  And, don’t get me wrong… if she wants to interpret “stay” as “down-stay”… is that so bad?  Or is it a doggy drama queen in action?
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And look… if she’d been back a foot… she’d have been in the sun and made a perfect portrait.  But no, she had to stop in the shade.  Very uncooperative.
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Move your little tush over and let the sun shine on your coat, Dally.
Dally.
Move.
Listen to me.
Ugh.
She just ignored my instructions.  Well.  We’ll work on this personality quirk.
Maybe another year of posing… and she’ll be a trooper!

Centennial

I plan on calling the State Historical Preservation Office tomorrow.  The paperwork to get us recognized as a Centennial Ranch will be a fairly straightforward.
Read any Wyoming history book and it will tell you about the Spring Creek Raid that happened in 1909.  Cattlemen had drawn a Dead Line in the badlands.  Any sheep brought into this side of the Dead Line meant you were fair game.  But sheepmen had their own pride and rangelands, and a huge band of sheep was brought through and camped overnight on Spring Creek.  Greets had settled on Spring Creek 20 years before, but the twin boys, Fred and Frank, now in their 20’s, were loading their wagon with the last of their belongings as they were moving to our present ranch the next day.  They invited the sheepmen to supper… and even said they could spend the night in the cabin.  The sheepmen declined, knowing they’d be more comfortable in their own sheepwagons.  That night a band of cowboys attacked their camp, killing men and sheep.  The Greets stepped out of their cabin and were met with gunfire over their heads.  They stayed put.  The next morning they investigated and then reported the incident to the authorities.  They eventually testified at the trial.  This entire countryside was inflamed for a while…
That story has set the date of our moving to this ranch firmly in mind.  April, 1909.
We’re celebrating July 26th, though!  April in Wyoming is usually not conducive to an outdoor party.  That day (hopefully) will not interfere with school, or haying, or cow work, or anything else but irrigating!
We invite friends, family, and neighbors to attend.
I’m very excited
and proud.
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Mailbox

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.
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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.
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A closer look reveals my walking partners.  In the distance is the sheep bridge I have talked about.
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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.
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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.
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One is patient, the other reflects the horrible abuse I put her through when I don’t allow her to be at my side.
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“Do you like me??? Do you really really like me?  Please say you do!”
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“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.
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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!
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Our thirsty calves wait by the water trough to see if we’re successful.
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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.
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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.
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As long as we stood there, the new pump worked fine.  Success!  Well, at least until we wake up tomorrow and check it again!

Unromantic

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!”
Choke.
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!