Thursday, August 11, 2022

Dog days, indeed!

And now it's August 11. I didn't expect to get run over with ranch work the way I did, but it seemed like little projects just snowballed on me. It's the way these things sometimes happen. "If I'm gonna do x, I might as well spend the time and effort to do it really well. Especially since it's the season of easy living." Anyway, I didn't intend to go sinker, but I kinda did, didn't I?

A complicating factor is that the last week has been leading up to the terrible date. Hard, busy work has helped keep me out of the land of morbid self reflection, but the combination of physical tiredness and heart/soul healing hasn't left a lot in the tank when it comes to writing.

And of course the Dog Days have arrived with a vengeance. Hot with blazing sunshine and not much breeze; a blanket of heat that begins early in the day and lingers for hours after the sun goes down.


Friday was a seemingly endless round of preparations for working and moving cattle. I know I mentioned plans to conduct this evolution a couple of weeks ago, but as is often the case in this business, plans change. As ape-lizards we continue to plan and try to shoehorn our chores into the human calendar, but nature's reality always gets the final say. The cattle owners have other cattle and farming to do as well, and with lots of variables in play plans change on an almost moment-by-moment basis. 

So on Friday changing plans and future-drifting deadlines gave me the opportunity to apply some longer-lived solutions to a couple of fence repairs. I've been trying to fix a couple of gates most of the summer and I finally got the opportunity to collect, then install, some serious fenceline anchor posts, which I commonly call corner posts. Such posts have to be deep and solid if they're going to stand up to the weight and tension of stretched barbed wire as well as nature's constant environmental pressure. You can do them half-assed, which I do more than I like to admit, but they begin leaning over relatively quickly -- within a year or two at best.

I spent the bulk of the day in preparations. Getting supplies lined out mostly, along with the usual daily cow checking and grass/nature scouting.

I noticed the butcher birds had been active.

And I shut down the windmills for the season.

Saturday was a busy day both on the ranch and in town. I failed to get any images or moving pictures, but I did get panels in place for working and moving cattle, a few newly required fence repairs done, and I got my yard in town mowed.

Sunday dawned relatively cool and breezy.

First I helped bring cattle in from pasture.

And showed off my broken windshield.

After getting the cattle in it was time for the crew to sort. It's the kind of job where an extra helper can be a real pain in the ass, so I had an hour or so to do something productive. I decided to harvest some timbers and railroad ties from "storage." I also made a video wherein I attempted to mansplain why it seems important that I accept challenges and often choose physically hard methods over the easy ones.

Then it was back to working cattle.

Sights and sounds.

Red got to work cows too, and that made it a great day for her. The chuckle we shared was when a calf got a shot and lunged ahead as one fellow was walking in front of the chute.

Since the owners pulled 21 calves off to feed out and prepare for a video sale, it was effectively weaning time for those calves and their mamas. It's usually best to give the suddenly calfless cows a day or two to adjust before moving them to a new pasture, so we decided to hold off on the move until Tuesday. Which we did.

I pushed myself pretty hard Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. In addition to working on fence I hand-mowed weeds up in the ranch yard. Tuesday I logged 24 miles, which was a good effort and left me pleasantly tired but not exhausted. The getting/staying in shape thing pays off. Over the three days I logged 57 miles. It was a good run of 116,000 steps. It's good to know that, at least for the moment, there's still plenty of gas in the tank.

I thought this was cool.


Some time ago I coined the phrase (at least in this space) "the season of easy living." It was springtime and I was trying (not very successfully) to 'splain how much easier everything is in the not-winter. No bundling up, no snow to trudge through, no biting winds, etc. It's a concept.


And now it's time to take kids up to the county fair.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. Did you need to move the cows very far? A Wyoming rancher decided to stop using ATVs to move cows and returned to horses. He said the horses got tired about the same rate as the cows and using horses was less stressful on the cattle.

    1. Location matters for sure. We only moved them about 4 miles, and these cattle see people and vehicles every day so not much stress.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Frank!

  2. Welcome back, and thanks for sharing what to you might be boring routine stuff, but is interesting to us city slickers, wondering where our hamburgers are.

    Ah, yes, two years from the day which will live in infamy. You have done wonders with the kids and that is a legacy that all involved can be proud of. Looks like they are on a good path, and that is a great accomplishment that any parent deserves praise for. Hopefully the future will continue to improve for all.

    Watching Red and the black dog really brought home how smart those dogs are, and really useful working cattle. I assume the black one belongs to the cattle owners.

    Hope we get a chance to see what a fair is like out in real America, and that the kids have a GREAT time!
    John Blackshoe

  3. It really does help to stay busy. Saturday is one of those morbid anniversaries. It's eight years, so the edge is off, and my life is bunches of different today. I'd have never expected it to be what it is now. I almost feel guilty for being as I am.
    There are those moments when things get a little dusty, or I can't finish a sentence without my voice changing, and I never know when that's gonna happen. But it doesn't bother me because it reminds me that I still feel.
    It is what it is. I just keep on keepin' on.
    You will, too.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you..

  4. Hmm, it's been over a week. Hope Sean is okay.

    But, maybe he ran away with the carnival crew from the fair, or maybe with the threshing crews as they follow the ripening grain crops north. Or, someone left a gate open and he is roaming in the neighbor's pasture. Cooler and wetter weather is starting to move in, school's probably about to start, and there gotta be plenty more stories to tell. Best to all.
    John Blackshoe

    1. And now a month of silence. Hope it has simply been a busy month...