Almost there!

The winter solstice… the day with the least amount of daylight. That would be tomorrow. Then the days start getting longer again… and I am all about that. I like sunshine. Especially this time of year.

We have been practicing for Christmas on Red Owl Creek, our musical Christmas show at our local little country hall. It is tonight at 7 and should be lots of fun. Some of the community got it all decorated up. Weather is supposed to be pretty nice. Ought to be great. Hope to see lots of neighbors tonight.

The local schools have been doing their Christmas programs and last night was the one some of our grandkids go to. They all did a bang up job and I could almost hear every word… probably the best program they’ve ever had. They did a skit with the little ones and another with the big ones. It was fun to watch some of those kids really getting into it…

We went to Wall on two different occasions in the past week or so, to watch the other grandkids programs. They all did a great job also. This country has lots of good looking kids and it is fun to watch the really little ones. They are so cute and try so hard.

Warm, not a lot of snow… yeah, this is my kind of Christmas time!

Cowboy Christmas

Well, we just got home for another great Cowboy Christmas Concert at Lead at the Homestake Opera house. Great line up of entertainers and the crowds all said they loved it. We had a couple of sold out shows and one almost sold out. The weather might have kept a few away. Saturday was kind of wintery! I am thankful for our sons and Kass who stayed home and did the chores and sounds like the boys even worked on a well that isn’t working. Someone let the dogs out and fed them and the cats. It is nice to be able to leave for a couple days and not have to worry about stuff at home. Thanks Chance and Tate and Kass and grandkids!

Shilow Huett performed and we did a duet together, she also did some songs on her own and played the piano before the show while folks were taking their seats. Man, sh is handy! She and Sarah Moreland and Chance and I will be doing a Christmas Concert at the Red Owl Hall on the 20th. Sounds like people better get there early if they want a seat up towards the front. This will be our third year of doing it and the first year Chance has helped. Ought to be great fun.

New Christmas poem and cartoon

Santa got in a tight spot,  so he needed help real bad

He called me up ‘cuz I’m like a son, with him my adopted Dad

Said the EPA and Fish and Game had shut down his operation

‘Least in the U S of A, he was looking for inspiration 

They was afraid he’d bringing in deer disease, that would lay U S  Cervus  low

Oh, by the way, Cervus is Latin for Deer….. here you thought I was kind of slow!

Anyhoo, Santa needs some kind of deer that grow natural ‘round these parts

So naturally he thought of me ‘cuz he’s needin’ someone who’s got smarts!

And we’ve done some tradin’ in the past , mutually beneficial, so to speak

He was hopin’ I’d help him out real fast ‘cuz we only had ‘bout a week!

I knew Santa had that magic dust he sprinkles on them deer

And it works on just ‘bout anything so they can fly one night a year

So I suggested some Muley’s, they are fairly easy to find right now

Or perhaps some Whitetail would do the trick, got some eatin’ hay with my cow

Said he’d tried both species before, but both had qualities lacking

So now I got my brow furrowed and I get my mind to tracking

“Antelope!”, I hollers into the phone, “No, I need deer”, was his reply

“Well heck, they purt neer are”, I say, ‘tho’ I aint never seen one fly”

“Fast as they run, it wouldn’t surprise me, but trainin’ might be a trick”

Santa’s quiet for a bit then ‘sez, “We’ll do it! Just leave it to St Nick!”

So I go to trying’ to gather speed goats, good thing I got them tranquilizer darts

Puts them to sleep real easy, sure glad there’s no wardens in these parts

I get ‘em gathered and Santa sneaks down, wears a disguise to cross the border

Loads them up and off he goes, I sure filled ol’ Santa’s order

Sure enough come Christmas Eve he makes a stop at my place

And them Goats is working great, real purty, sailin’ down from space

Said they are working just perfect, driving them is sure a blast

Only complaint he’s really got Is they run so dog gone fast!

I’m sure glad I could help ol’ Santa and the thing that is plumb sublime

They run so much faster than reindeer, he claims he’s done in half the time!

R Dennis 12/19

Cartoon by LE Stevens


Been a little chilly the past couple days, but its is the 11th of December.

Got some more loads of hay in, in the past couple weeks. Looks like we will have enough to get us thru’ for quite awhile, maybe to spring. We got some snow and it somewhat covered up the grazing, but melted down some and that helped. But now it has made a pretty hard crust, so I have been feeding the cattle, tho’ they still go out and pick. If it gets real cold I will have to feed them a full feed. We still have all the calves, so we got some extruded soybean and have been feeding a little of it every other day. Chance and I made a way to feed it out of a wide tire off some implement. Cut a small hole in the center of the tread and put metal sides on with a pipe thru’ the middle, like an axel. You put the bean in and grab it with the bale unroller on the back of the tractor. When you get to the cattle, you just lower it and roll it like a wheel and every time the hole comes down, it spills a small pile of feed on the ground for the cattle to eat. Works slick!

Had a weird thing happen today. Neighbor called and said it looked like we had a cow stuck in the fence. I drove over and sure enough, there she stood with her head stuck thru’ the wire, pushing. I got out and started to walk towards her to try and get her back into the pasture. She tried eat me! Man, she wasn’t bluffing…she finally got out and walleyed thru’ the snow in the ditch, up on to the edge of the road… I tried to stop her with the fender of my Nitro, that is my ranch vehicle and she’d just hook at me.. I got turned around and she was heading across the road, so I tried to stop her.. again, she just hooked at the car, made it into the ditch and started heading towards deeper snow.. I sent Bitty, my dog to get her and the cow just tried to eat my dog and ended up with her head thru’ that fence… then just stood there, pushing against the wire…I noticed she traveled a little odd.. I wondered what to do and then it struck me that she had rabies or some other neurological disorder. I tried calling vets but after about 6 calls to vets all over the area and none there, decided it didn’t matter, she wasn’t going to be able to be fixed. So I went home and got my 30 30 and put her out of her misery. I went home and got the tractor and a bunch of ropes and some rubber gloves. Went back and put on the gloves, hooked a rope to her hind legs and drug her onto the shoulder of the road with the loader. Then turned around and hooked her to the back of the tractor and drug her home, leaving her off a ways, where we could watch to make sure no dog tried to eat on her. Tomorrow I will see if I can burn her up, as my vet suggested when she called back later. She told me it might have been rabies or a tumor in her brain, but agreed that there really was nothing we could have safely done for her.


Made me think she ate some loco weed, and she might have eaten something, but not sure what it would have been. We really don’t have much for loco weed around these parts, but anything is possible.



We had friends and family come out.. cold and windy… some of the kids hadn’t been on a ranch before so they went along to feed the bum calves. They seemed to enjoy it. Some of the horses were in getting a drink so, they got to see some and pet a horse.

Supposed to have some weather moving in.. up to 16 inches of snow and wind up to 50 mph.. regular ol’ blizzard, looks like. We will bring the cows in closer tomorrow and give them a good feed.

My sister and her youngest daughter came out the other day so at some point, weather permitting, we need to get them back to town. Cindy is supposed to work on Sunday afternoon, so hopefully the roads will be good enough she can take them in or I will have to drive and then kill time until Cindy gets off duty.

As usual, when this family gathers, they are playing the spoons card game.. it is wild fast and furious and very loud! Fun to watch and listen to. We jammed this afternoon and last night.

I am thankful for all the Good Lord has sent my way this year. Hope others feel as fortunate.

Getting feed

Chance and I left at O dark thirty this morning and drove back to Hoven, pulling Tates smaller trailer and got some bags of extruded soybean to feed the cows and calves.. it is very high protein and fat and the only grain that doesn’t chance the CLA in beef, which is the good stuff you want. Same as what is in grass/forage fed beef. We really just want the calves to eat it, but until we wean will have to feed the cows also or come up with a way to feed it in creep feeders.. the problem with doing that is you have to put something in it to limit how much they will eat free choice. Doing that could make them sick.

Nice drive back there.. got back home about 2 pm. Unloaded the feed and then too some out and fed them on the ground.. they love it! But I knew they would. I used to feed it some years back.

We picked up a hitch hiker who needed a ride into Eagle Butte.. nice guy but spoke so low it was hard to understand him. Sure a lot of grain standing that hasn’t been harvested yet and bales that haven’t been hauled in or ricked up..

Colder this afternoon with a strong wind.. supposed to stay like that a day or so and then back up into the 50’s by Sunday.

Nice weather

Been warm and not much of even a breeze, the last couple days. Supposed to stay this way into next week, tho’ looks like we do have some wind coming. But it is SD and we almost always have wind. Unless your relying on a windmill for water for the cows!

Cindy and I have made the decision to start a B&B and also allow people to come for longer stays. We have had people come and visit from all over the world and they always seem to enjoy their stay. We need to do some finish work on the bedrooms in the lower level and some spit and polish in places. So if you or any friends are looking for a place to spend the night or want to come visit and see what we do on a ranch or even take part in it with us, let us know. We will be open for guests after the first of the year.

This is something we have thought about doing for a long time. It is exciting and scary at the same time. Hopefully it will be a chance to show those who don’t know, what kind of life we ranchers live and let them see that yes, they do need us living on this land, taking care of the land and creatures who roam around on it. And providing some of the best beef in the world!

Wish us luck. And those of a mind, we sure will take all and any prayers you want to send our way.


Bundled up and saddled up and went north this morning to gather cows to preg. Cold and biting wind. we got them gathered and went to stuffing them down the chute for the vet to preg. Got done about 2:30 and went and ate lunch. Pretty good day, we kind of got a little out of the wind and it warmed up to about 18.. so it wasn’t all that bad. Sure was glad I wore my wooly chaps and ear flaps on my hat!

Cooler weather

Cooled off the past couple days and got some snow off and on, but so far it has melted during the day… had a half inch of moisture ninth rain gauge the other day for rain and melted snow… still awfully wet and muddy. This year is one for the record books.

Supposed to stay cold the next couple days then warm up a bit on Thursday. That is good as Chance and I are supposed to go help a neighbor to the north work some calves that day. Supposed to help a couple neighbor the first of next week ship their calves. Doesn’t sound like the market is too great for calves.. same price or lower than last year. I have been reading of bankruptcies and financial problems for ag people.. pretty bleak looking.

On the up side, there is lots of hay available.. cheaper than last year.. we need to get some in.. but it is so wet it is hard to get it out of the fields. Guess we just need to trust the Good Lord that we will get what we need by the time we need it.. heck, He ain’t never let us down so far..

Cow work

I went over and helped a neighbor pair off his heifer calves and bring them in and wean them.. there were 4 of us horseback.. worked good and was fun.

I took Gabe and Gus and we went North pretty early Saturday morning to help trail some cattle home for neighbors. I need to go back on Tuesday and help them wean or something…

We rebuilt two sides the little lot/pasture to the eat here.. we call it the Hog pasture.. evidently at some point Grampa or Dad ran hogs in it.. I tore the old fence down 40 years ago and got ride of the woven wire fence and reused the barbed wire and added new post and wire where needed. I guess it’s time to do it again. We used to keep our weaned calves in it and just use it for about anything, any more.. looks better and should hold cattle in better now, too. Still need to do some work on 2 sides, replace wire on one and just remove and reset existing posts on the other.. that wire is in pretty good shape.. can’t afford to plumb rebuild all this stuff, tho’ it would be good if we could.

Supposed to have some snow and wind coming in this afternoon.. kind of drizzly this morning.. I have a neighbor shipping on Monday I need to help, so hope it is done by then..