The wind rustles my hair as I step out the door. I close my eyes and breathe in deeply. The smell of sagebrush and rain greets my nostrils. It's lovely. I smile, thinking what a contrast this is to last year.

Last year, the acrid smell of smoke greeted me when I stepped outside. I knew that fires were rampant, and the smoke irritated eyes and nose. And there was the ever-present fear of one starting close, and the fear that other fires would destroy friends' homes.

God has been good to us this year. Rain has come all summer long. It's still green outside. We were able to make hay, so our cows will have food through the winter.

And I am content.



A Trail Adventure--Runaway Calf!

I shift in the saddle on my horse, Duke. We've been gathering cows to move them to a different pasture, and it's getting hot. It hasn't been an easy trail, but not terribly hard. Many calves have been separated from their mothers, and they are trying to run back, because they think that their moms have been left behind. I know that the cows are all up in front, not left behind, but the calves don't know that.

So I am moving Duke back and forth, keeping the calves in the herd.

Suddenly a calf breaks from the herd and begins to dash straight uphill, exactly opposite from the way we are going. I groan inwardly, seeing that I am closest to it. Then I nudge Duke onward and he gallops toward the calf.

I bump and jolt in the saddle--the calf chose some rough ground to run back over, and we are navigating it at a hard gallop. After a short dash, we get around the calf and stop short, but the calf dodges, and Duke and I are chasing it again.

Hooves pound, kicking up a cloud of dust. My breath comes hard, and I know adrenaline is flooding me. Duke stops with a jerk; we have brought the calf to a standstill. Then the calf twists and is off again--running directly away from the herd.

Duke gallops hard; we make it around the calf yet again, but it dodges 'round us, and now we are on the wrong side of the calf.

I angle Duke slightly away from the calf; maybe we can head it off. After a hard gallop, we come around the calf. I hold my breath; will it dodge us yet again or turn around?

It must have given up, for it turns around and begins running just as hard back toward the herd as it had away from it. I urge Duke forward to keep up with it in case it turns back suddenly. But we reach the heard and I heave a deep sigh of relief.

I brought the calf back.


The Gift

So I thought you might like to hear one of the songs I was listening to yesterday.. so this is The Gift, sung by the Sons of the San Joaquin. =D


Cowboy Songs

Cooowboooy! Great American Cowbooy!
With a hoss and a rope and a gun he tamed the West!

Yeah, i'm listening to cowboy songs. I just love 'em! NOT country songs. COWBOY songs. The Sons of the San Joaquin are an awesome group with awesome songs!

God made Montanaaaa for the wildlaand
for the pagaaan, and the Sioux and croow
But he saved his greateeest gift for Charlieee
Sayin' "Get 'er all doown before she goooes"



Branding Time is Here Again

Cows and calves bawl.
Mud gets on our boots.
Smoke rises into the sky.
Friends laugh and chatter.
It's hot work, pushing the calves in to the chute to the branding table.
But it's fun.
And it's every year.
And we have haystacks to eat after it every year.
That's just it.



cheep cheep
the sounds
of a flock
of baby chicks
are all around me.
have you ever
a baby chick?
they are
and cute
and yellow
cute birds.
it sounds
like I
have a flock
of chicks
in my
(well I do)
cheep cheep


The 10:00 pm check

I slipped on my coat. Looking over, I smiled at Jen* and we stepped out into the night together.

She held the flashlight, and I walked behind her. The air was crisp and cool--it felt like my breath might be cloudy if I could see it.

We glanced at the cows as we walked through them on the way to the corral. Some calves startled and pranced around. They were so cute! But we walked past quickly and entered the corral.

I opened the gate with a muffled "clang" and then closed it after Jen stepped through.

Now began the harder part of our task. We were to make sure that all of the young cows were fine--not having any trouble calving or anything. We walked through the cows quietly. They were mostly lying down or eating at the hay feeder. Jen pointed the flashlight and swung it around the rest of the pen. There was one cow that looked uncertain as to whether it was beginning to calve or not, but we decided it was not.

We climbed up one of the corral fences and jumped down the other side, surprising the milk cow calf. He jumped up and ran to the other side of the pen.

We walked through into the OB barn.

Inside the OB room, we flicked on the light. Warmth surrounded us. Jen handed me the chalk and I reached up and wrote on the chalkboard.

10:00 check. All quiet. SS JS

The check had gone well indeed. And now we turned our faces back to the house. We were ready for  bed.

* name changed to protect identity
**based on a real life happening