Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
It snowed, snowed, and then snowed some more.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cows, cows, and more cows

This is a weekly post. Roger and I started on Monday moving cows on Willow Creek and this is a play by play of how it went....

Monday we ride up the creek to get the cows that had decided that they were not going to come home for the winter, but what they must have not planned on was that if they crossed the creek, it might just freeze. So we find them almost to Meadow Creek across the creek and they were happy to see us, if they had hands, they would have been waving them. Up and down the creek we ride looking for a spot to cross them, while Roger risks his horses life to ride across I stay on the safe side to put dirt on the ice so they will think it is a trail. After several minutes of yelling Roger yells to me to come over and help him, so I risk my life and walk across. We got the cows pushed up to the end of the bank, built a tree fence and stood our ground, and they looked at my newly made trail and cross. This was an easy day.

Tuesday our solar power quits, no idea why and it won't start working again. The washer broke, and our brand new 2 week old generator blows the piston through the top of it. Back to the dark ages we go.

Wednesday we are sorting the 1st calf heifers out of the herd so we can bring them up to Main Canyon and start the 24-7 calving project. So Roger and I gather up all of the cows in the Bull Canyon pastures and sort them, take the cows back to the pastures. Now I know that cows can't talk but they must have some strange form of communication that they can hear for miles, because we took these cows by surprise and this job was just to easy. In all we got out 15 heifers and 2 steers and 1 bull calf.

Honey Moon Cabin
Thursday came along and we were gathering the cows from Jay's cabin and all the rest that were across the creek by the Honey Moon Cabin and taking them down to Bull Canyon to sort the heifers out, or so we thought. I was on the good side of the creek and Roger was on the slick, steep and very icy side. My cows took off and left without any problem, and Rogers cows were trailing along pretty well, up the steep icy slope of the canyon wall and down to the Honey Moon Cabin. I really think this is when his herd asked the cows at Bull Canyon what was up, because they became completely difficult. We took them down to where they have no choice but to cross the creek, in a spot that never gets deep or freezes over, I had already thrown dirt on the bank so it would look safe to them. About 1/2 of his herd crosses without a problem, and then they stopped and not a single cow would cross the creek. So being the nice person that I am, even after being yelled at like it was my fault that the cows were no longer cooperating, I once again walk out on thin ice to cross over and help him. We stood there yelling and throwing sticks and snowballs at them for over 2 hours, and not a single cow crossed the creek, I was to the point of exhaustion so I said, let's take them back to the Honey Moon Cabin and cross them there. Yep that's right, back track for a mile to cross the creek at a crossing that he had just came by, since my horse was on the other side of the creek  I told Roger that I would just ride up and cross over and turn them for him, but no, he stomps through the creek and gets my horse for me. Now we are taking the cows back through the willows that are so thick that you can barely make it though them all the while they are whipping you in the face, just to cross the sissy cows. When we get back to the Honey Moon Cabin, it only took another hour to get them to cross and the ones that are crossing are running down the creek the wrong way and all we could do was watch them and hope that the rest of the sissy cows would hurry up. The cows had made it all the way back to where I had started in the morning by the time all of them had decided to cross the water which was 2 feet deeper than it was at the first crossing.

After we get the cows turned back around and headed back up the creek, we could hear a roar of a diesel coming. I thought, this must be a hunter that tore off his exhaust because there is no way anyone would ever drive a semi across the bridges down here, I know I sure wouldn't. As we are sitting there wondering what was coming, an oil field truck comes around the corner with some big thing on the bed. Roger and I look at each other and start to laugh, he said that I had better go see where he thinks he is going, so I did. This guy said that he was going to Flat Rock to a work over rig, I really started laughing and told him that he better turn around because if he went around the next corner that he would not be going anywhere. I did mention the fact that it does get pretty cold and lonely on the creek at night. This guys tells me that he doesn't really want to go back the way he had come because he had barely fit, oh yeah, laughing like a fool now!!! So I said, 'the next bridge you come to will not hold you up and your about 3 feet to wide to fit on it, the road turns to a wagon trail just around the corner, but you can do what you want'. Then I pointed up the cliff wall and told him that Flat Rock is up there, he then asks me were the Indian 7-11 is at because he must have missed it. Once again I am laughing, so I asked him, 'who gave you these directions?' Shaking my head as I  rode off to catch up with Roger who I figured must be up to the corral by now. He wasn't, the cows had decided that they had walked far enough for one day. We finally made it to the corral and Clay, who had been up there waiting for us all day, comes around the corner and almost runs into the cows. He had thought we had quit and went home, whatever we still had to take the heifers back down to Jay's cabin. One long day.

Friday we are going to hurry and get the rest of the heifers out of the cows that are in the Leech Place. The first 25 are a breeze, we gathered them right up and they marched right through the gate. We go back and get the rest of the cows and bring them up to the fence - there are no corrals to use. Roger had let some of them run past him up the back side of the creek, so I sent him into another willow patch to fetch them. I push my cows up the hill by the gate and get ready to start the 'super skill sorting'. I had gotten about 10 cows out and pushed them down the meadow, still no Roger, so I go back and get a few more out and push them down the meadow, still no Roger, so I am now thinking this is going to be another long day. Pretty soon I can hear Roger cussing up a storm, and around the bend he comes with 2 heifers, but he turns and goes back. More cussing, and here he comes with another heifer.

Since Roger is the rookie, he had never been involved in the art of hill sorting before, so I tell him how it works, more cussing from Roger. I do get so very tired of hearing this form of communication.  I get some cows out and he pushes them down the hill. This went on for a long time, then it was time to get some of the heifers out of the way. Now heifers are just STUPID, but we are going to take a shot at the gate. Oh no, they won't go through the gate, so I tell Roger not to let them past him to keep them pushed up the hill. Little did I know that he had decided that it was time to water the snow!!  I ever so politely inform him that he needed to keep his butt on that horse and keep the heifers up the hill, after I had gone back to re-gather the ones that had run past him while he was watering. About the time it was getting cold, Roger says, 'let's cut the fence',  I said, 'then you will really have to be on your toes to keep the cows from going through it, ok'? He cuts the fence, and I should have let him cut the fence a long time ago because if it is his idea he will a great job  and he did keep the cows out of the hole. It did take him a while to understand that there is a difference between cows and heifers, but only a few cows got through. We started at 7 am and finished at 5 pm, the horses were so tired of trying to stay upright on the icy snow, but we got the heifers out!! Another long day.

People often say that it is a dream to live this way, well I can tell you that after a week like this one, it feels like a nightmare!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I really hate rodents!

One thing that there is not a shortage of out here are the mice, chipmunks, squirrels and PACK RATS!!

It takes every nerve I have to take a dead mouse out of the trap. I shoot any chipmunk that comes near my house, the squirrels stay away - which for their sake is a very good thing, but then there are the stupid RATS. I have spent several hours patching every tiny hole that I could to keep rodents out of my house, but somehow I can not keep the RATS from coming in. They have to be coming in from the bottom, under the bathroom and I am not about to crawl under the house to find the hole!

Our first summer we had our first RAT behind the washer and dryer. I made the executive decision to go to Vernal and buy rat bait, and it killed him. In the heat of the summer he passed away of undetermined causes between the walls, talk about stink. I begged Roger to get him out, but he said that I had made the decision to put the poison between the wall, so I could fetch him myself. I took it for 2 days and then I decided that I would show him, and I tied 2 towels around my face,  put on my rubber gloves, gathered up my pooper scooper and started the operation. I am not ashamed to admit that I did not succeed, and I had to get the hired man to finish the job. When Roger came home, I told him that I was never going to try that again.

Last fall when we came home from the mountain after gathering the cows, there was the fresh sent of dead RAT coming from the wall. I am sure that it had something to do with the remaining poison that was still there but since it was cooler we just waited that one out, and I was unable to find exactly where it was at. Then came Monster Rat, he was so destructive and noisy. He would come out about midnight and it sounded like thunder, he would chew and gnaw on everything, but I was not going to poison him. I set traps and he wouldn't throw himself into them, I bought glue strips and he did walk across one of them, but he chewed off his foot and tail. He even chewed off about an inch of the glue strip, I was hoping that would kill him but it didn't.

One night I woke up to hearing the hot water heater bubbling and I couldn't figure out why, so I got out of bed and walked into the bathroom and the floor by the washer wash covered with hot water. All of the chewing that the RAT had been doing was to the hoses to the washer. Now these were the expensive hoses with metal in them and he had chewed right through them. At that moment I declared war on him! I set out the poison and he wouldn't eat it, so once again I poured it out between the wall. Nothing changed except for now he was working on the hose that goes to the toilet, until this past Tuesday. I came home and I could smell something, was it a gas leak, Rogers dirty socks, I couldn't quite figure it out. Since I had decided that this was SUPER RAT and he was never going to die, it didn't even cross my mind that it was the RAT......until last night.....then I knew.

So this morning I asked Roger to fetch it out of there, he went to the creek, cleaned out porch, cleaned his pickup, and started on the shed. I had to use some of my womanly skills of persuasion, but I somehow convinced him to come to my rescue and get the RAT. Oh my heck, did it stink, but it is gone after 4 months of trying to kill him!!  
Monster Rat, minus one foot and tail!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here we go again!

If there is one thing you can be certain of out here, is that whatever can happen will happen. I guess when you work with men and animals you never know how the day will go or end.

Clay's stud that has gone wild
Saturday Roger and I were planning on pushing the cows down Main Canyon, from the end of the public road to Willow Creek. On Friday night we went to catch our horses, and they were no where to be found, so now we have to go to the creek to get the horses from there and ride all the way back up the canyon to get the cows. This only takes a couple of hours on an average day, but the horses on the creek had met up with the wild horses and were missing in action. It only took about an hour to find them and then I had to persuade Boss that he really wanted the grain instead of running off with the wild horses. He kept looking back and forth like it was a pretty tough decision, but he finally came to the bucket and Jason followed so now we at least had our rides for the day.

The cows that we were going after had already been pushed through the last fence so I was hoping that they would have come some of the way on their own, but of course not. They were still right were we had left them the day before when we moved them on the 4 wheeler, and why wouldn't they be, there is so much feed and the snow had been melting so there was water for them to drink. We start gathering them up and off we go, Roger always wants to be the guide and in charge of the turning and directing of the herd, and this alone makes me have extreme high blood pressure. You see, most of the new hires have to take up the rear and eat the dust because they have no clue where in the heck the cows need to be going, but Roger must suffer from a high level of ADHD and will not pay attention to the cows wandering off from the rear, so for me it is easier to keep an eye on the cows from the rear and yell like and idiot when I need him to help. Herding cows is very stressful on me for some strange reason.....

....and here is the reason. I tell my assistant to go up and turn the cows so they can stay on the road - it is easier to push cows on a road instead of in 6 to 7 feet high grease wood and sagebrush - but once again I hear 'why there is a trail on this side', and this is not a question. I respond, 'Roger, they can not get off the cliff on this side of the wash, you need to turn them'. This request was in a normal tone, but by the time I get up to the road and see all the cows on the cliff and he is doing his best to make them move, my tone might have changed a bit. I tell him, 'Where are you trying to make them go, can't you see that they are about to fall off up there!' I take off, with my not so obedient cow dog Rusty, and ride up to the head of the herd, slide off of a 20 ft ice cliff and land on a huge rock in the bottom of the wash and Rusty lands on top of me, so I could turn the cows back. By this time my blood pressure is rising very quickly. I scream back to Roger 'BACK OFF AND LET THEM COME BACK AND THEN GET YOUR BEHIND BACK THERE AND TURN THEM WHERE YOU WERE SUPPOSE TO TURN THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!' I somehow manage to claw my way up the other side of the wash and start pushing the cows back, only about a mile, on foot in about a foot of hard snow. By the time I finally see my assistant standing on the side of the bank waiting for me, I was pretty much steaming. Being the nice person that I am and since he is my husband I try to be nice and asked him what he was doing there, then I inform him that he better get back to the road and stop the cows from going back up the canyon - ok, I probably wasn't very sweet with this request!! Oh yeah, the cows had went all the way back because that's just what cows do when they are left to decide on their own.

In the mean time Clay and Becky are waiting for us on the creek to help us get the cows across the creek. They arrived at the creek at 11 am and there were 3 cows coming out of the canyon, so they think that we will just be a little longer. Around 3 pm Clay climbs up the cliff to see if he can see us, if he only knew!! By about 4 pm I had finally made it back to my horse and decided that I will take off with the cows that are on the road and get them down to the creek before it is completely dark, while Roger was back at the fence trying to get the cows to start back down the canyon again. By 5 pm I had made it with around 120 cows, Clay and Becky were right there to help me get them started across the creek, so I then turn around and go back to see how far Roger has gotten his bunch, I round the bend and there he is in the dark with about 15 cows. It was dark and very cold, I was only wearing my hoodie, no hat or gloves...that's how heated I was from having my blood pressure raised to the boiling point all day!!

I now realize that we are going to have to do this again on a Sunday, but that's ok I must need the practice. On Sunday when we got to the creek, there were only about 25 cows there, they had all went back over night. I told Roger that he was going to be looking at the tails all day and I would be doing the steering. We made it to the creek with all the cows by noon and had them marching down to the Leech place by 1 pm, just as Clay and Becky were coming back to help us again. Roger said to me 'that went pretty good today, don't you think?' I had no comment!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

What a day!

Today we were going to push the cows down to Willow Creek, we get up early and since our horses have been push up a canyon that we have no way of getting to them, we were going to use the 4 wheeler. It took over an hour to get it to start and about another 30 minutes to get to warm enough to move. Off to Trail Canyon we go, we get all bundled up and ready to go, we even had Rusty behaving. The 4 wheeler wouldn't start again!

After about another 30 minutes, we are on our way again. There were only 5 cows at Crows Roost and when they saw us coming they ran up the canyon past us, we go back to get them and they run up one side of the canyon so Rusty and I go over after them, Rusty actually went up the hill and got them to come down. Down they came, right past us again full speed a head up the canyon, so we go back and get around them again and they turned around and 'acted like they were going to go towards Willow Creek....but no......we can't have that. Up the side of the canyon, up the wrong canyon, back past us 4 more times until finally they wore themselves out. Two hours into the chase they are off to Willow Creek. Rusty was even tired but he was a good cow dog today!!! Progress, but still not Button!!!!
We shut the gate behind the cows and go back to load the 4 wheeler and head to the creek. Thinking that the day was now going to go as planned. We are going down Wood Canyon and in the middle of nowhere, there is one pickup parked in the back of another. Yep a rear ender, they were looking at a buck, looking at a buck with whiplash. We pull the back pickup out of the bed of the front pickup, they seemed to be amused over the situation, so we left them to figure out how to get back to Vernal.

As we were cutting the ice, that was extremely thick today it was getting dark. We come around a corner and there was so much dust in the air that you couldn't even see the road, we were wondering what the heck!!
When the dust settled there was a huge rock slide that would have caused serious injury if anyone would have been in the way.

So the point of my rambling is....thank God we were late and nothing had gone right this morning because we would have been pancakes for sure!!! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Power is optional on the ranch at our house!

My cousin, Jim Wilson, and his wife came out for a visit. We were playing cards and the generator quit. So we go on the solar power and that lasted about an hour before the batteries lost all of their power, so we were left to play in the dark. Roger and I had new hats with the lights in the brim and Jim had a head lamp. We gave Lisa a flashlight and broke out the candles. The fun people that we are, we just  kept right on playing.

Now blowing up the air mattress was a different story, but somehow Jim managed to get the job done, only because it was the mattress or the floor!! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Button's pups!!!

There are 3 males and 1 female and they are all beautifully marked with the Border Collie markings. Was a little worried at first that she wasn't going to like them, but once she calmed down she settled right in to the momma dog routine. She won't let Rusty in the room with her, but she has let Buddy look at them before she tore into him!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

There comes a time when you just don't fit anymore!!!

This morning Button was howling in the back yard. I open the door and couldn't see her, so Roger goes out to look for her. He couldn't see her, but you could hear her crying (very muffled). So both of us go out to look and it sounded like it was coming from the doghouse, but she wasn't in it. Somehow she had managed to crawl under it and was stuck, all you could see was her nose!!

Roger lifts up the doghouse and she runs in the house in a panic. A few hours later she has her puppies