Monday, November 17, 2014

Looking Towards Home

There’s been a sea-change in the weather. Last weekend we were moving cattle through lovely stockpiled grass and enjoying mild temps. By Friday we were fighting a foot and a half of snow in the high country and getting cattle collected to fall back to lower elevation pastures.

We knew they needed to come down part way, and it’s not much fun to drag a horse trailer in deep snow, so we determined we could get the herd started with a 4-wheeler and a couple of dogs. Especially since Callie was home and she’s a force to be reckoned with on foot.

We loaded up and went in to town for gas and sandwich makings at the local Stop’ n Shop. We saw a friend there who inquired about our day’s task. I assured him we had the provisions we’d need to tackle snow country - chains, a shovel, walkie-talkies, hot coffee. He smiled and said, “remember my cell number?  . . . . forget it!”

Things went okay, but it always takes longer than you think it should. It snowed all day, a wet sticky snow that eventually worked through our layers of clothing. Our dogs were troopers, bounding through the snow, taking bites for drinks. 

At one point Callie and I had to wallow up a mountain to retrieve a third of the herd that had decided to follow a side hill full of bitterbrush. They kept climbing and climbing, enjoying their nibbling, and what could we do but follow? And then when Callie and Kate finally got around the highest individuals they were so content they just turned and headed back at the same elevation. After much hollering on our part they finally made it back to the road. We got them into the overnight pasture at dusk.

We have a new catch phrase for days like this. We heard it this summer from a rancher who takes interns on his ranch. On those particularly challenging days when the interns are wondering what they got themselves into, he says to them, “not everyone gets to do this!”

Kate at work 

by day two we had sunshine