Last Friday we had a man come out bringing a new to us pellet stove… he had worked on ours a couple times and the place he worked for always encouraged us to just buy a new stove as they were so much better.. in conversation, with the man who installs and works on them, he had told me they had a good used one.. so when he came out to work on ours, he brought it along.. figured out what was not working right on the older one and we decided, seeing as he had went to the trouble of bringing this other, more up to date stove out, we would just have him install it and move the older one to the basement… he got it all installed and it was burning.. we had to leave to go to the Cowboy Christmas Concert to practice and told him we would be gone all weekend, no problem, it was all hooked up to a thermostat, just leave it on medium heat and go, it would be fine.. we left and were planning on coming home on Sunday morning but things worked different so we just same home Saturday night.. we got home about midnight, opened the door and the house was so full of smoke you couldn’t see across the room! Cindy went to opening doors and windows while I put the vaccine cleaner on the sot on the stove where the smile was boiling out, after I had unplugged it… what a mess, we threw water on it and eventually got it to stop smoking.. it was about 36 degrees out, but we slept with a door open and fresh air blowing from a fan on us, and it was still hard to sleep, didn’t do much sleeping, matter of fact… next morning I called the owner of the store where it came from.. we made arrangement for the installer to come out on Monday and reinstall our old stove.. he hauled the burnt up one away.. much to my insurance adjusters dismay when she showed up yesterday.. I had taken video pictures of it on Sunday morning….. we have machines to run when we are not here to clean up the smoke smell and there will be a crew coming to clean the smoke from all over the house…we do not know for sure what happened to the stove to cause the problem but Cindy is ready to give up on wood stoves… I want a gas furnace/fire[place to replace it, but can’t find any I can afford… different neighbors have offered us places to stay during the clean up, but I think we can just work around the crew, but it’s nice to know you have good neighbors who will put you up if needed… so if you see us, be prepared to smell smoke as we are not to clean anything  but to let the crew do it.. all at once.. I am not sure what I am supposed to wear for a good coat while the others are being cleaned, or who will clean my hats.. and what to wear while they are being cleaned.. maybe the insurance will buy me a new hat and coat?  Hahahahahahaha

Just a touch of fall I the air, out there today, snow and a slight breeze up to and over 50 mph, they claim… I got the cattle fed behind protection last night.. all but the bulls.. they are usually behind the windbreak at night anyway.. of course, most weren’t this morning.. found some off east aways…Tate and I went down with two pickups and they had come back to the shelter belt north of Tate’s so we fed them a bug square bale I had loaded on my pickup.. there are a few at the corral.. and the horses knocked down a gate and are standing south of the new house in that shelter belt.. I did give the cows another couple bales and will go out and give them some more before dark.. I guess winter is here.. with a bang!

Here it is December and the weather is hard to beat… wars up into the 40 ‘s and 50’s during the day, we have had some pretty stiff winds, but that is SD…people who don’t like cold and hot and dry and windy, probably shouldn’t live around here… just kind of been ding horse..putting about..Tate had a beef butchered yesterday morning so we had friend heart for breakfast.. Cindy has been working off and on.. we have a bunch of grandkids here this morning.. Gabe has Wrest;ling, that Kass took him to and Tate has VSI.. been feeding a little hay.. got a branding of fall calves to go to tomorrow.. head and heel deal..we need to get these calves in and put the blabs in them…and prep.. our prep guy has been busy and people going hither and yon so it hasn’t been handy to get everyone to gather… the Cowboy Christmas Ball at Homestake Opera House in Lead is coming up in a week.. then I am off to Vegas for a benefit they are putting on out there to help framers and ranchers, who don’t have the means when a disaster strikes them..looking forward to it and also, not, if you understand…been working on the annual Christmas poem, not sure if it is what I want or not…hard to get new inspiration…

Another year has rolled around.. time to stop and reflect on the past and plan for the future.. we got some calves sold.. did well, all things considered.. we have had an extremely dry year.. drier than anything on record since 1960 where we live…but we managed to get all the cattle thru’ the dry and now it is time to feed some hay anyway.. wish there was still some grass left, but when you run as many as we did on this small of ranch, your grass isn’t going to last…and we have feed laid in, bought some more online at an auction last night.. we will get by..

We have a healthy family.. too healthy, seems like, with some of these kids running around here! Man are they healthy! Wow!!! And another one on the way arriving in March, we are told.

We have work to keep our hands and minds busy that provides us food and shelter.

We have family and friends that keep us happy and engaged. As I write this there are three little “helpers” engaging me…

We live in an area that abounds with good neighbors who will help at the drop of a hat…any time…any place … anything.. what a blessing.

We live in a country that is the envy of most of the rest of the world, where we have freedoms we take for granted that others would actually die trying to get here, so they could have the same.

Happy Thanksgiving… give thanks for ALL you have..Thank You Lord.

Not much to write about… I went back east and got another trailer load of hay a few days ago.. I don’t think I will be going for any more, tho’ am trying to find some cheap trucking to bring some more in.. supposed to ship some calves this next week.. I have been feeding just a little hay to to keep some protein in front of these cattle.. hate to do it, but there sure ain’t much left for them to chew on except some grass they really don’t care for, tho’ I noticed these Corry cows were eating it earlier this summer… Prairie Sandreed, I believe is it’s name… pretty tough stuff and hard for them to chew evidently.. I have read they will eat it the following spring after it has been softened by nature.. cattle all look really good considering what little they had to graze this summer.. got 30 hundreds of rain yesterday.. kids had their last basketball game.. Cindy had to work, so it was just me watching.. sure wish I had their energy!

Hay, that is.. got up at 3 a.m. this morning and headed east.. got back there in 5 hours, got loaded and headed home.. took me almost 12 hours total time over, load and get back.. was 12 hours by the time I got it all unloaded…only stopped to fuel up or go to the restroom.. weather and roads were good.. sure glad I ain’t a trucker.. stupid people out there driving who don’t realize outfits with heavy loads can’t stop on a dime.. been cold, getting a few flurries once in awhile but they always melt off quick. If you got to have a drought, now is a pretty good time to have one!

Got a skift of snow yesterday morning.. didn’t amount to much..feeding the cattle a little hay once in awhile to try and stretch the short grass we have, ..Gabe went wrestling yesterday afternoon and pinned 3 opponents… the other kids all had B Ball.. they played good.. didn’t really pay attention to who won or lost.. doesn’t really matter, as long as they are trying.. it always amazes me how they come along and get better, year to year.. kind of like watching young colts get more confidence and better as they get older and more experience.. been trying to get some leather work done, but seems like there is always something else comes up.. I did make it east river to get another trailer load of hay..sure like the way this dually handles those loads..had a deer run into me one evening when I was coming home after dark a few weeks ago.. I was going slow but the deer didn’t care, bam, right into the side on a dually fender… didn’t even kill the deer..took it to a body shop and got an estimate to fix that and a couple other dings and dents.. looks like I will be getting a flatbed for it.. cheaper and really more handy.. Mick Harrison came out yesterday wanting a leather project done for him.. we are going to trade some leather work for some art work.. good trade!

Of the flu bug, it seems.. wasn’t feeing the best on Thursday and by Thursday night  I realized I had the scours… dang.. and no bolus pills the right size! Cindy babied me as best she could with 6 grandkids here…. I stayed away from them as best I could.. I hate passing on sickness.. what is it with people who get a cold or the flu and go out and seem to be around people more than when they are not sick? Anyway, it is much better this morning.. matter of fact, it was better by last night, but I am not much of a gambler, so was carful…

Had a feller die, who in his mind, probably didn’t know he made much of an impact in my life.. he probably wasn’t aware of the impact he made in most peoples lives… great guy, fun to be around, told funny stories and was pretty sharp to boot.. I will be going to his funeral today and am sure that the building they hold it in will be maxxed out to over flowing.

I hope I make as much of an impact on others lives around me… Dad told of a guy who passed away and said that there sure were a lot of people at the funeral, about half were there to make for sure he was dead! That is not the kind of crowd I want… remember, you are making an impact on peoples lives you are around..try and make it a good one. It costs nothing to smile and say Hello and be pleasant.. or to give some time to those around you. We have lots of time, don’t we? Lets share it with those who need it. A kindness is never wasted.

Yesterday. Delbert came over and helped.. we had 5 grandkids saddled up and they all helped..Tate and Chance and Hope and I all rode also, so we took the field with a large and wild contingent and the wild bovine never stood a chance! Went good.

Chance and the adults plus Gabe sorted at the gate we normally sort at while I had my minions at the other corral and we sorted some cows off and then set them up and pushed the rest into the other corral so they could get sorted off.. calves looked bigger and better than I thought they would.. they got two shots and poured.. had a couple or three who had some small horns so we bobbed them off.. well, on the char cross calves anyway, we never did anything to the Corry calves but have them go thru’ the chute…was going to cut the bulls calves but left them to get a better base on their horns..then Cindy and I took off for Philip for a birthday part that a buddies sister was having and he asked us to come down, eat a steak with them and then play music, so we did, had a great time! Finger are sore this morning… but it’s a good kind of sore!

Up before daylight, got Mijo saddled and loaded and drove north about 45 miles, we gathered the pairs and yearlings and got the calves stripped off and then I shoved al the calve thru’ the chute while they gave 3 shots and pour on… 1:30 before we were done and the vet showed up to preg… we ate a quick bit and then back to the cattle, got them all pegged and sorted as they wanted them and then kicked the yearlings and dries out  and let the pairs go back to the pasture they were in.. dark by the time we were done, nice day, almost too warm.. cattle were so gentle you couldn’t hardly get them to move and dang sure no respect for a man on horseback or a foot.. I like gentle cattle but I want them to move off when I tell them and not run back over the top of me… oh well, it paid good… and it is done…