Thursday, November 19, 2015

Temporary Measures

We spent another day in the mountains moving cattle. It was cold and windy. I dressed warm but not warm enough. Riding a 4-wheeler is even colder than riding a horse, except for the heated handles. Mark and I traded off driving to warm up our fingers.

The cattle moved easily except for one head. Everyone else came to meet us. T44 blue was reluctant to cross a far-off creek. Mark saw her outline from a distance and tried to impress me by correctly identifying her. I’m not easily impressed. Tell me why he knows her from a speck on the horizon and he didn't notice my new jeans?

T44 blue is 8 years old now and Mark remembers her as having her first calf as a 2-yr-old in January. She was one of three that year that were accidently bred early and calved in January instead of March and April. She’s the only one of the three still in the herd. We drove around the long way to fetch her. As soon as Mark knew who she was, he knew that her docile temperament would allow me to walk her on foot to a better creek crossing. How does he know her emotional traits and keep her straight from all the other hundreds of cows? His answer: “I’ve been around her for eight years!”  

She indeed was a nice, calm cow and Kate and I got her back with the others after a pleasant walk-about. We followed her by a spring that rises out of a bowl in the sagebrush and quickly turns into a substantial creek. Were those baby trout I saw darting from bank to bank?

super conditions for winter grazing

how Kate gets a drink

There’s always odds and ends to attend to besides the cattle and today was no exception. The lovely arch we inherited at the mountain ranch is falling over. Thank goodness Mark had delivered a stout post this summer to do the repair work. He never got to the repair, but the post was handy for what we call a “greasy sacker fix” to prop up the arch ‘til spring.

a better fix will have to wait until next year

Then on the way home we spied another gate in disrepair. We’ll need this later on when we walk the cattle home. It’s on the county road adjacent to a cattleguard. We stopped so Mark could reset a post that had been knocked over. The gate needs extended, but for now a macramé of plastic baling twine will work to connect it to the brace post at the end of the cattleguard. Like the arch, Mark called his fix a “temporary measure.” He referenced one of his favorite humorists, Patrick McManus, who says that a temporary measure is in danger of becoming a permanent measure if it lasts long enough!

using the window to hold up the wing of the cattleguard 

"our best is none too good"

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