We went to the hills to let the herd into another field. They could hear us coming on the 4-wheeler and jogged to meet us. They know the deal.
We were surprised to see an antelope in their midst. Actually, he was out in front getting the heck out of the way! We think of antelope as flatlanders; what was he doing up here in snow country?
The next job after letting the cows through the gate was hauling the bulls home from an adjacent pasture. We had left two horses, Doc and Jane, at the mountain ranch to do this very job, but when we went looking for them, we found Jane by herself. Any horseman knows this as a heartsick affair. Horses are eternally lonesome for their own kind and to go from two horses to one horse usually means disaster. My mind had him dead from a hunter’s bullet or from getting tangled up in fencing wire. We searched nearby and found nothing. Knowing that Mark’s folks were waiting at the corrals, we proceeded moving the bulls with a sick feeling.
When we got the bulls loaded and the trailers headed for home, me driving one outfit, Mark searched for Doc one more time to no avail. He had a thought, though, when he remembered a lone sheepherder’s horse next to a sheep camp due west of there. It’s on the route home. Could Doc have somehow gotten out of our pasture, traveled cross country over a ridge and attached to this horse? Turns out that’s exactly what he did. Mark spied him with the binoculars, rode Jane out in the field, slipped the halter on the visiting buckskin, and left the sheepherder’s bay to himself again.
I was already home and had delivered my load of bulls when Mark called. He was on top of a mountain where he could get cell service. I was in the garden. They were calling for a heavy frost so I was pulling the hold-out onions and beets, and cutting the last two purple cabbages. It was almost dark. What a relief to hear his good news!
I washed my produce in the light from the dining room window and laid down on the lawn. I could hear the bulls bellowing from their fall pasture just a quarter mile away, and in the background the rustle of leaves falling off the cottonwoods. I said my “thank you” to the universe and felt the solidness of the earth beneath me. My only care was that I was a day late to enjoy the hunter full moon.
|they do love fresh feed|