Heat

During noontime breaks, when you’ve been working since 4:30 AM, you find the closest shade and take advantage of it!  And around here, sometimes trees are scarce.  Pickups aren’t!  It has been HOT and DRY!  We cringe when thunderstorms approach, dreading lightning and the wildfires they bring.  The wet spring brought tons of grass, but we haven’t had much rain lately and everyday hits the high 90’s.  Our handheld radios constantly scan for fire and ambulance calls… and we constantly hope we don’t hear a thing!

Lucas found early in his life the benefits of juniper shade…

Dally and Elsa choose bigger trees to shade up under!

But best of all is the fact that we live between a creek and an irrigation ditch, so at any time of day, the dogs are welcome to visit either… here, even our visitor “D” learned of the joys of the ditch.  Notice Elsa with her face completely underwater!  We will continue to try to avoid the heat…  

Just In Case…

Heading to the bog….

Lucas at the end of the day… tired boy!

Just in case you’re under the impression that there is only one working dog on this place… Lucas was along for the trip to the mountain too!  Unfortunately, he’s badly worn his paw again, twice losing his boot on earlier small gathers.  He was left at home the day before because of that, and such a pitiful howl, you’ve never heard.  He is just shocked and in deep disbelief that I would forget to take him and he couldn’t get to me, so the howling continued for quite a while according to my guests that were lodged outside in tent and tipi “spare rooms”.  He lost his boot early into the day, and though I had packed extra materials to rebuild one, it was in the pickup, and he worked at least an hour before the pickup and herd crossed paths.  He then was relegated to “spoiled pickup dog” status, until I rewrapped his paw and he was needed for a big push up a steep hillside.  After that, and after a break at lunchtime, he again rode the Ford.  Finally, the trail ends, but the last half mile is alongside a boggy little creek, very scary to ride your horse by!  I’ve seen horses bog down in it with rider soon plastered with black mud as they are unseated!  I prefer to send my dogs!  It is hard muddy work, but Elsa and Lucas and Boomer were thrilled to cool off in the creek and bite cows along the way.  Just in the last half mile, the three earned their food for the month!  It was much easier to shush them up then get off with sticks and slingshots to push the cattle from the bogs on foot!  I’ve done that, too.  Besides, I hate getting my cowboy boots muddy!  Just in case you were wondering…

Tired and Muddy

It has been a year since Butcher’s Foothills Elsa has come to live with me on
the ranch. At first glance, she was small but quick, slightly nervous, definitely prone to
barking in situations that make her nervous, lost, looking for love, and willing to please
someone since she had left her Oklahoma home. Within this year we have gone head to
head on a few things…I won the big fight about corrals and calves, Elsa won the fact she
will STILL chase the horses away if they get within 30 feet of the house but now she at
least acts guilty when caught! She loves me and *hugs* me with a lean in and nose and body
touching me as much as possible. She isn’t as nervous finally getting used to
Wyoming, my loud teenagers, and a busy lifestyle. She still barks when pressured by
stock, but it has been cut by 80%, and she will hush on command – well, OK, just for a
bit…but we’re working on that still!  We have raised a fine litter of puppies together…
me in awe that her little body could feed 10 puppies handily. I can send her in the direction
I want… not necessarily verbally… but by waiting for her to be aimed in the right
direction and then with verbal commands… we’re working on that too! She is a jealous dog who
needs to be reminded I’m in charge and I can pet whoever I want! She loves the time I spend
grooming her free of grass seed and extra hair and the bits of mud that cling like
cement. She will down and stay with ease, but if I move *too* far away in her book, she will
slink to within range and settle, and I never hear her. She can be in the house and suddenly
appear behind me without notice…Lucas and Dally are too noisy to get away with that!
But I never trip over Lucas and Dally! She waits all day for a “Let’s Go!” and is thrilled
to go do whatever, whenever.

Good girl, Elsa Dear!

July

The month of July is a busy one here.  Everyone is haying and irrigating and moving cows and then company comes and you do all that plus cook and eat and visit and …. sigh.  Then suddenly it is the Fourth of July, and iin Ten Sleep that is a BIG DEAL!  That means a parade…and heaven forbid if it is an election year and the prospective public servant doesn’t throw candy!  EVERYONE throws candy at the parade … it is like Halloween for Ten Sleep kids – you better take a plastic sack to put the goodies in!  Sometimes you get cans of pop or ice cream sandwiches or rulers or cheap watches!  It is great.  Then the rodeo begins.  Literally.  Ten Sleep has two days of rodeo… and traditionally it is the hottest day of the year.  On the Fourth it was 99 degrees.  Hardcore locals refuse the covered bleachers, preferring a tarp over their pickup bed or flatbed trailer.  Coolers are required.  The rodeo is a good one, giving me many opportunities to photograph some action.  The crowd favorite is the wild horse race held as the last event.  The participants are teams of three young men, crazy enough to halter an unbroke horse, mug it down, saddle it, and try to ride it to the other end of the arena.  Usually friends of my sons take part, so it is personal… and I thank God that my boys know their dad would definitely frown on their participation!!!  The rodeo ends in time to go home, shower, eat, and return to the street dance.  I have taught my boys through the years how to dance…and after a year or two at college, they are coming home, teaching me new dance moves, and dancing their boots off with all the young ladies!  Yes, they still dance with me… at 20 and 18 they have never shown embarrassment at dancing with me… yay!  But before you know it… it is 2 am… and the dance is over and you go home to rise the next day and do it over again.  Then you have to recover and clean house and get ready for the next round of visitors!!!   

He’s *Famous*

It is with great pride I announce that Rimrock Lone Firelight… aka Lucas… is now pictured in a national magazine.  RFDTV – The Magazine has done an article on “Ol’ Shep” and of course, it is about English Shepherds!  Lucas’ mom, Honey, is featured, but good ol’ Lucas has a couple of pictures and a few paragraphs as well!  They wanted “working photos” and I had a few, so that’s how he got to be famous… thanks to Mary Peaslee, Lucas’ breeder and owner of Honey.  I haven’t actually layed hands on a copy, but I have seen the layout.  It looks AWESOME!  I will try to find the link and insert it here as well as my website.  There are a few mistakes that I’ll straighten out for the record.  I quit Ten Sleep Library over a year ago, so describing me as rancher and librarian, is stretching it!  Lucas is a registered Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs, Inc. of Cheyenne, Wyoming… and the two articles written about him so far BOTH got it wrong!!!  Ah well, the point is how these dogs are making a comeback and that’s the important part.  I’ve been keeping track…and since the article came out last Friday, I have had about 50 hits on my website…and seeing as how they cut my website address from the article, I think people are doing pretty good research to find me!  Anyway, Mr. Famous, is busy sleeping nearby…he’s constantly in search of cool places to sleep since it has hit 90 degrees + these past few days.  He’s blowing his coat too, so he looks thin *and * hot!  Fame has not changed him, though I seem to need a larger hat on occasion…

Here’s the link to Mary’s website and the RFDTV article…http://www.englishshepherds.net/RFD.htm