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!

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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
Make little loopies on each end of the wire.  Loopies, of course, being the correct old cowboy term…
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!

Everyday OOPE

OOPE photos from Saturday… when everyday should be like this!
Johnny consults his book… making sure #452 had calved… and how old the calf was… whether we wanted to take her along or leave them behind for now.
We kick the pairs across the highway… you can tell we get tons of traffic here as Lucas decided this was as good a place as any to take a break… Don’t worry… he was safe.  We can see for a mile and a half in either direction… and don’t forget, I had to be on horseback in the middle of the road to take this photo anyway!
They are mothered up and moving along, not too much for an ambitious cowdog to do, but pant in the “heat”.  We are so NOT USED to 65 degree weather!
See, I told you this was a picture perfect day…
The little babies did start getting tired at the end and they wanted to lay down and rest… no sirree!  Not allowed!
We made good time, had a good sort, had NO WIND… it doesn’t get much better than that!

Strut Your Stuff

Well, I have OOPE photos from yesterday.
I have fence fixin’ photos from today.
I have wildlife photos from today.
I have scenery photos from today.
Rarely do I have so much to talk about and so little time and space…
The morning began with Lucas and I helping Johnny kick heifer calves out into the pen side of the corral in order to feed the MGA that will synchronize their cycles for AI’ing.  On the walk back home, I heard Vernon yelling… and saw some of his heifer calves out in the cows by the calving shed where they didn’t belong.  Lucas and I headed over and sorted off what we could and ran them back where they do belong.  Vernon showed up later and chased the last wild two back into the lot as well.  The next assignment was fixing the electric fence that they had torn down.  I smashed my thumb hammering an insulator back on the post… not a good way to start your day!
Feeding puppies, cleaning house and showering up for a trip to town for a bridal shower for a neighbor girl finished my morning.  The afternoon was spent with puppy lookers and a leaf rake.
Finally this evening, Vernon suggested we drive out through the badlands, checking that gates are closed and the pipeline is working since we turn out critters this week.  It was unbelievably dry… I thought there’d be at least mud holes everywhere, but for the most part, the mud holes were dry.
We saw wildlife…
Like this antelope doe…
and lots of her compadres…
Birds, like this Western Meadowlark…
but best of all… this…
Sage chickens strutting!  One of my favorite sights and sounds of Wyoming…  Too bad I didn’t take my video camera to catch the sounds of their mating display… very unique and distinctive.  Listen to it on this page… halfway down on the left side is a link…
The area they use is called a lek… and they return to these leks, year after year.  The most intense strutting takes place at sunrise, though a lesser “dance” occurs at sunset.  The males strut their stuff, wooing females into their harem.  This was one of the things my dad first showed me when we moved to Wyoming when I was a kid.  NOT THRILLED with getting up at the crack of dawn, my attitude changed when we watched and listened.  The males would puff up their air sacks and the plunger-like sound surrounded us.  I am so grateful my dad drug me out of bed when I was 12.  I think of him everytime I see this… and whisper a thank-you he cannot hear – but he knows…