Sure has been a great spring so far! With little to no old grass, the green is really bright where there has been some rain and/or snowfall. We were lucky enough to get moisture last fall and it has helped get this grass started and the rain we have gotten so far has pushed it along. Seems like it is awful slow coming but I think that every spring. But the wind keeps blowing, stretching that grass out by whipping it back and forth so it is getting longer, at least!

We have an infestation of prairie rats. Seeing as there was little to no feed last year, they must’ve really moved on to new country as we have three small towns and we are doing our best to thin them out. They are cute, but then so are mice and no one wants them around either! I was out checking this late afternoon and found some dumb young ones and evidently the older one had told the younger ones what a poor shot I am as I went thru’ lots of rounds with no hits for sure.They just scurried around and ignored me! If ammo wasn’t so high I wouldn’t think twice about my poor marksmanship. So, in the event of a zombie apocalypse you better not head my way as the way I shoot I am pretty sure they will over run us!

I have one more, possibly two more, branding to go to. Looking forward to it. Years ago, a neighbor who had an old uncle who lived next to him asked me, “What are we supposed to do with these old men at a branding? You can’t give them the vaccinating job as they may stumble and poke someone.  Same with cutting. They are too slow to brand and too old to wrestle.” I didn’t have a good answer.

Then a few years ago I had a guy almost my age who was putting up some hay. He stopped at the house one evening and we visited.. I told him we were getting older and what were his plans when he got old? I mentioned the conversation about the older uncle and what to do with old guys at a branding? He told me, “When I get a little older, I am going to have two real good horses. And I am going to go to every branding in the country and watch the gate while setting on my horse. And every once in a while I am going to let a calf out and holler, Hey, you dang kids, go get that calf! And every once in a while I am going to rope and drag one out just to show them I still can!” 

You know what/? I think he has it figured out! I think I may start this year doing the same!

Heres hoping we get enough moisture people start cussing the mud!

I was watching a video on Tis Tok the other day (yeah, I got hooked.. way to much fun things to see!) and it was a young person, probably 18 to 20. She was telling how we have lost so much knowledge, such as how to plant a garden and things the old timers knew. So the government caused it washer thinking  so she decided that because of that, the government had to take care of all of us…….. because it was THEIR fault.

Yeah, let that sink in… THEIR fault.

Quite a few thoughts went through my mind. Such as… where does it say that the government has to take care of everyone. I don’t remember reading that in the Declaration or Bill of Rights. Maybe they changed it since last I read it. Lord knows my memory is getting bad.

Another was that she evidently know that it says, “we the people”.. in essence, tho’ maybe not so practically as it once was, they work for us. WE . ARE. The government. And evidently WE are not doing a very good job! As evidence of all the stupidity coming out of the Capitols around the country.

So when did we start raising children who were taught this kind of thing? Or did they learn if from TV and movies? I was taught that you wanted something, you needed to figure out away to get it and usually the best hand out you were going to get was at the end of your arm. And I guess she HAD figured out how together it.. whine to the government!

She reminded me of a baby bird with her mouth open waiting for the food to be placed in it. Only problem is, she doesn’t realize when a baby bird gets so big, if it doesn’t jump out of the nest, some bird, a sibling or parent, is going to push it out. I kind of think she needs pushed out. Yeah, I am cruel that way.

I will say that in all of there young people I have been around all my life, I have never seen many like this, some of the grownups, yeah, but most kids around these parts still seem to be taught that if you want something, you need to work for it.

I sure hope she is in the minority. I am sure she is around here. We seem to be blessed with good kids. They are theist things raise. I hope they don’t start thinking like this one does.

Now, go out and get that worm! And don’t wait for someone to hand it to you!

I seem to be going back to my youth in my older age. 

When I was young, when I got home from school, I would usually grab my 22 single shot rifle and he’d out, afoot. Usually up northwest where we have a wooded creek. I very seldom shot anything, but you never know. Might be a bear or a wolf you had to protect yourself from!!

Now I am told I need more exercise and I am assured that walking is a good way to get it. So this late afternoon when the wind died down I grabbed a rifle and headed out. We have a small area with prairie dogs and we work hard at keeping them controlled or run off. So far they have been winning!

As I walked up northwest of the house, I got on a hill where I could use my rifle scope and scout out things. I wasn’t sure if I saw any furry little grass ruining prairie rats but headed that way, kind of sneaking up on them. Never did see one.

Sure were a lot of noisy geese flying around. Filthy birds! My Dad claimed every time a goose put his left foot down he pooped. From the looks of where they hang out, I think he was right!

The creeks got a trickle of water running in it and green grass has started. That is always encouraging. As I made my way back I walked thru a tree patch I had planted some years back. Lots of cedar trees and some olive and elms. They all looked pretty good. I had watered them the first couple years I planted them.

So I guess spring has sprung. From what I see on the internet and from talking to neighbors, people are getting calving going well. We are selling all ours, because of the drought and high feed prices, but the ones still here should be starting one of these days. Hopefully they will get sold before they get started. Chance has a done a good job of advertising and marketing them, so far.

If I don’t see you before, have a Wonderful Easter celebration!

We have had some interesting weather. Some seem to think Mother Nature has been off her meds! Seems normal to me, looking back at past things I have written down and saved. 

Many are calving and fighting the cold and enjoying the warmer temps. As I write this we have a cold south east wind blowing. It doesn’t matter which way the wind comes from, it is always cold out of the south east!

Lent is here. It is supposedly 40 days of fasting almsgiving, and prayer to better reunite Christians with the Lord. I always give up some bad habits. One of them is cussing. It is a terrible habit and usually by Easter I have got it under control. Tho’ I seem to slowly go back to it as the year passes.  Seems like I could get over it and just quit, but I am a weak willed person evidently. Sure makes it harder for me when things don’t go as planned! And I am one of those people who likes to burn my bridges before I get to them!

Also in the world news is all the fuss over east, or perhaps west, depending on which way your looking, with the Ukraine and Russia. I have been watching lots of first person videos on the computer with arguments on both sides as to what is going on. I do know I will never ever trust the main stream media again, after all the propaganda they have been putting out for years. It gets worse every year!

I find it interesting all the speculation as to the why’s and what is really going on. Like many things, we probably will never get the 100% real story. I do think we need to keep our nose out of it. And I think the present leaders of this country have a lot of nerve for suggesting that we get involved. Heck, we had tyranny just across the border to the north and nobody suggested we go in and help those who were being mistreated. You got to admit, it would be cheaper. Why we could just cross the northern border. Heck, we could take care of it in a couple days and be back for supper!

And now you know why I am not in politics! Watch the weather and be prepared. Enjoy the good with the bad and I will see you next week.

Slim can get kind of cranky

‘specially when things don’t go just right

Like when a first calf heifer prolapses

And it’s in a blizzard, in the night

Or when cattle fall thru the ice

Into freezing cold icy water

If you don’t get them out and warmed up

They bloat like a new married daughter!

Or maybe he finds his best horse

Cut up by that dang barbed wire

Or lightning strikes some real nice hay

You lose it all to the fire

Calving seems to bring the beast out

His wife can hardly stand him

She and the preachers been working 

“Just look on the bright side, Slim”

So Slim has been really trying

And I seen it’s working, you bet

I asked him how his calving was going

 Said, “Well, they ain’t all died yet!”

RDennis 4/2020

Ain’t been writing in here for a spell.

I do have a good excuse. See, I was on this bronc, trying to gather cattle on hard icy ground. This ol’ jughead I was ridings was pretty bad about stumbling and would break in two with me pretty often. I was trying to gather a bunch of silly snakes who had been ungathered for several years as they was just too crafty at getting away. The pasture they were in was about 2000 acres, rough, nasty, full of cedar breaks and most of it steeper than a cows face!

Several of us were hired to clear and ship them out as after this drought all the feed was gone. Water was about all gone and the nasty ol rips were about to starve to death, When we got to the pasture, turns out a few didn’t show up. The other 3 of us were all old time fellers, when we give our word to do a job, we are gong to do it, come hell or high water!

We all knew the lay of the land, made our battle plan and proceeded to gather the “wild bovine”. The shipping pens were on the south end, in the bottom of a draw where it started to flatten out. So we go to the north and luckily had a strong cold wind from the north help us drift them ol’ hussies to the pens. There weren’t but about 150 head of them. Somehow they had managed to get most of the calves off them last fall, so we had just pretty much cows to gather. What few calves were with them, were bound to flow along good, was our thinking.

We get around them, start whooping and hollering down in the draws and canyons and you would have swore there was 30 of us instead of just three. The cows are tearing thru’ the brush, looking to get away, but one of us was on each side and one in the back and we kept them headed straight down the canyon we wanted. When we got to flat where the pens were, there was a couple of wings on either side that narrowed down to the pens that would funnel them in…it wast just like clock work!

When you get almost to the bottom, there was a side canyon/draw where one side of the wings didn’t quite go to and I am not sure why. That was the spot everybody else who’d tried to gather them would lose them. We all know that and as luck would have it, that was on the side I was winging them on. I am hustling along, not getting to far back to lose any behind me and yet trying to stay as far forward as I can so as to be there and block that exit for them. 

Things is looking great, everything going well and we are almost to the wings when the leaders see what is happening and make a break for that gap between the wing and the end of the canyon. I was having to stay kind of on the side hill and when I see them looking to go that way, I squalled and turned ol’ Puddinfoot loose. Man, we was flying!

Next thing you know the dang horse stumbles, don’t catch himself and down we go, end over end! Last thing I remember was seeing a big rock headed straight for my head!

When I woke up… I realized it was all just a bad dream from similar experiences in my youth! I was so scared I couldn’t talk and darn sure couldn’t write nothing until know!

Those you who know me know that not being able to talk is plumb unnatural!!!

Anyway, now you know why I missed last weeks assignment. Baring any future dreams, I will sure try and stay ahead of this deal!

Until next time, don’t let your horse get you down with your head under you!!!

While at the Stockshow the other day I ran onto a feller I know (seems like there are a lot of them!)  and we got to telling Kenny stories. Kenny was a feller who always had a good story to tell and his wife has made a lot of real good cowboy poems out of many of his adventures. It reminded me of this one, Kenny told me one time.

Kenny worked at the local sale barn and when asked, he could usually get a cheaper critter for someone, say, who wanted something to butcher for chislic or what not. A neighbor had asked him to get a  goat or a sheep, so Kenny had complied, took the goat home he had bought and let the neighbor know he had one for him. Well it was calving season, everyone got busy, and it turns out maybe nobody really had time to butcher a goat. So he got left at Kenny’s house. And Kenny hated him!

The goat was a pain in the keester!  Always bunting Kenny’s weaned calves and in their feed bunk, stealing grain and pooping. One day Kenny had enough! He roped the goat and tied him to the loader tractor so he couldn’t get away as he was going to the sale later on and was going to haul the goat back to the sale. He tied him to the bucket of the loader and decided he better keep him on a tight rope so he couldn’t Houdini out of his loop. So he snugged up said rope. 

Kenny said when he walked away from the tractor to finish chores, the goats hind feet were a couple feet off the ground!

Did I mention Kenny hated the goat?

Kenny finished chores and went to get the now dead goat to dispose of him. Said when he dropped the loader bucket and walked up to take his rope off he heard a very loud breath of air, going into the goats throat! The goat from Hell was still alive!!

So Kenny and his son loaded the goat in the trailer and headed for the sale. Before they got there, they drove by a friends house who also worked at the sale. We will call him Bill Smith. Kenny was a prankster and chuckled to himself and he and his son unloaded the goat and kicked him into one of Bill Smiths pastures.

The next week at the sale a feller approached Kenny and told him he was looking for a goat to butcher for chislic. Kenny told him, “When I drove by Bill Smiths place the other day I noticed he had a goat in his pasture, I bet he’d sell it! He’s working right over in the other alley, lets go ask him!”

  Kenny and the other gentleman walk over to the next alley and find Mr Smith and Kenny introduces the two and tells Mr Smith that this feller wants to buy a goat and “didn’t I see one in your pasture the other day?”

  Mr Smith explodes! “Yeah! Some rotten SOB put one in my pasture and he spooked my calves and they tore down all my fence and he has just been raising hell!  I sure would like to get my hands on the dirty booger who did it! I think it was Mr Jones!” 

Kenny looked him square in the eye and said, “You know, your probably right. Mr Jones is just the dirty rotten sneaky rascal who would do something like that!”

1/1/22

We have a New Year! 365 days to either mess up or improve! Any guess on what I will end up doing? Hahahahaha!

It seems there is a touch of fall in the air. Nippy nippy nippy! Since I been laid up from surgery and then bronchitis, Chance has been doing all the chores. Been fighting a diesel tractor to keep it running. Changed filter and blew out lines.. he is now maybe understanding why I always liked using my team to feed with. They started every morning and just headed on out. And once you dress forehand get used to it, it just isn’t that bad. Probably helps if you are about 20 or 30 years younger than I am now! But once my feet are healed zi have plans of doing part of the feeding with my team. Anxious to get them hooked up. No mater the cold.

Cindy and I play a lot of cribbage during the winter. We started off this early winter by her skunking me and beating me on a regular basis. Then slowly but surely the master came back! Got to where she seldom won a game. So today we had our first game of the new year and she double skunked me! One person said she had bee letting me win so she’d get a nice Christmas present! I sure fooled her! I swear I ordered her some nice jewelry but when I opened the package here was a pretty shiny bit. And heck, she don’t even ride much anymore!!!

As we move into this new year I hope you all do great and and have the best year ever. May we all have plenty of feed and a great cattle market!

Wow! Christmas is almost here! Amazing how time flies. Out here on the prairie we had a little early snow that melted off and other than the date on the calendar you would be hard pressed to prove it is late December. We have short green grass, something we lacked all summer and much of last spring. Tho’ we have had some cooler weather, all in all it has been real nice. Sure is a great time for a drought and a heat wave. And I just saw one prediction today saying it should stay like this until the end of the month. I will take it.

We have been to one Christmas concert with a grandchild with a couple more coming up. I get real tired of the commercialization of this season so am usually pretty bah humbug until Christmas Eve at least. But seeing all those cute little kids all dressed up and playing their instruments and singing Christmas songs got my Christmas spirit fired up.

Most years I write a Christmas poem and after about so many years it is hard to come up with anything original. A buddy who does similar sent his the other day and after reading it, I got inspired. So here is this years.

                                                      It’s that time again

When I write my Christmas poem

Usually I write about a guy 

Who lives not far from Nome

I had started this dang thing

At least a couple of times

But I always seemed to quit

When I couldn’t make good rhymes

Or the subject matter ran away

Got twisted and perverse

I just couldn’t share such balderdash

In a simple rhyme and verse

And just how many different ways 

Are there to send the seasons greeting

And as busy as most people are

My greeting seems kind of fleeting

And so this year I’ve devised a plan

That should really raise a cheer

I ain’t writing a Christmas poem at all

But one about Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

I imagine readers of this blog get tired of my reporting on weather. I apologies, but it has such a huge impact on me and what we do on the ranch.

I am loving this mild fall and beginning or winter weather. Hard to believe Thanksgiving is past and December is here. Or knocking on the door anyway! I remember so many years at this time where we had lots of cold and snow. After a drought like we had we sure need lots of moisture. And I know the Black Hills and the mountains west of us need a big snow pack to keep the water flowing. But I have seen our water flow from spring rains. Granted, not as often as from winter snow fall, but we have lots of time for it to snow. 

The old timers used to talk about the winter of 49 and how tuff it was. What some of us fail to remember was that it started in January. And they didn’t have front wheel assist tractors and loaders and all the equipment we have at our resources now.

I remember back in the 80’s we had a long hard winter. Lots of snow. I read that by the records it was worse than 49. I mentioned that to several old timers and they had a fit! Why, there was no way that could be true. And they were kind of right because in the 80’s , tho’ front wheel assist tractors were not the norm, we did have much better equipment than they had in 49. All a matter of perspective.

For many of those years I fed with a team.  I had access to a tractor with cab and loader, but I preferred to feed with the team. And when we started using round bales, I could actually feed faster, in rougher ground with a team than I could with a tractor with no bale unroller on the back. I remember one day when we had an appointment in town pretty early, so I fed with the tractor.. I was pretty startled to see it took longer than it had with the team.

When I got my first team, Dad had a fit. He always accused me that he had switched all of his fathers equipment over from horses to tractors and I was switching them all back! And I got quite a few of the older guys chewing me out and telling me that if I HAD to feed with a team, like that had, growing up, I wouldn’t enjoy it. They were wrong. It got to be a bet with myself to see how many days I could go without starting a tractor. And the cool thing was, the more I used my team, the better they got. 

We used a team last spring some to feed grain to the calves and cows with our wheel feeder  we made. Hook it on the back of my horse drawn round bale feeder and it worked slick. We buy all of our hay so we take what we can get and afford and most of these bales are 1300 to 1500 hundred plus. My horse drawn equipment is not built to handle that kind of weight. But not to worry, I have plans to build one that will. And as soon as I get healed up from my next surgery on my foot, I plan on at least feeding grain with them every day. I notice when I use a team all winter my clothes seem to stretch and are real loose fitting on me in the spring. That hasn’t happened for quite awhile and I think it is time to make it happen again.

And at the price of fuel and oil (Go Brandon!) that these tractors and pickups use, that looks like a win to me. We never know how long it will last!