Monday, August 2

bits of my saturday

saturday morning i awoke at 4:30 a.m. and started the day. the first thing was to drop sister melissa off at the casper airport. she had come into town late friday night, after i went to dinner with scott and trav and went to a movie with heather and her current, dylan.

from the airport lucy and i headed up to the association, arriving shortly after 6. early-morning summer sunrises are beautiful, quiet and so peaceful, esp when driving an empty dirt road, passing nothing but the occasional cows and calves.

the sun broke the horizon as i topped ryan hill, almost to headquarters.

this photo was taken as i headed past the corrals, on my way down to the ranch house, where scott was waiting for me. the others had already loaded the horses and headed over to pathfinder's sand creek ranch location.

this is ferris mountain, from sand creek. i was horseless, so waited around for the others to gather the cows when we first got there and scott took off on his horse to join the others.

the pedros, which lie close to pathfinder reservoir. you can almost see the reservoir from the sand creek corrals.

after some time of waiting, here came the cows and calves. late-july is out of typical branding season, but these were pathfinder's late calves, or those that were born out of season from the rest of the calves branded earlier in the spring.

the flies were awful, and really harassing the cows, so the crew sorted the cows from the calves, so the cows could be poured with insect repellant before being turned back out to pasture.

pushing the last of the calves into the branding pen.

i wrestled calves the whole time, so didn't get any pictures while we were branding. the higher the sun rose, the hotter it got, and there was barely a breath of a breeze, so it was a little smoky and dusty. here the calves are waiting for the cows to get poured.

poor girls!!

the woman on the ground is the dumbbell ranch's new ranch hand, and the ranch owner/manager/i don't remember exactly what on the horse.  the dumbbell ranch headquarters lie just across from independence rock, and east of devil's gate.

the pathfinder ranch brand.

where's my baby? what did you do with him?

the cows were so relieved and so much happier to have the flies gone, and both cows and calves were let back together and moved back out through the gate to their pasture, to be left in peace until shipping time in a few months.

then the crew all ate lunch together and we headed out, back to the association headquarters. before heading back scott and i went to see the buzzard ranch headquarters, which are remote but very pretty, overlooking the area's mountains and a big empty hay meadow. he used to live up there when he worked for pathfinder.

on the way back into town i took some pictures of happy ducks on a small livestock pond - just one example of how ranchers help wildlife. if not for the cows, this pond wouldn't exist and there wouldn't be any happy duck habitat.

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