Monday, August 23

early summer mornings

sorry, it's been a while again since i've had time to post anything. the last few days have been full, with many different activities last weekend. friday night included a trip to the beacon with friends jake, heather and dylan. (i don't know if that's the right variation of spelling on his name.) from the beacon dylan thought it would be great to go to casper's karaoke joint, and that was an experience. the consensus was it was like walking into a circus... i knew there was a reason i'd never gone in there!

saturday morning i had to head to douglas for the last time of the 2010 wyoming state fair, to cover the centennial farms and ranches recognition ceremony. if i'd remembered to bring that memory card to the office i'd show you some of the families, but, it's at the house.

saturday afternoon i had to take a little nap after cleaning the office, as i'm getting too old to close the bars down, i guess. then i headed to jake's to pick up scott's trailer, which i needed to swap out for my own up at the association, and april, who i used on sunday to gather and trail cows.

that leads to the photo posted above, in the wee hours of sunday morning, when jamie knocked on my door and woke me up about 4 a.m. when it was still completely dark. you know its bad when you get to sleep later on weekdays before going to work than on the weekends!

although it was very early, i'd slept well and was ready to get up, and it is kind of pretty watching the whole sunrise, and it was warm out, which was nice then, but bad later because the day quickly heated up. becky made us all breakfast - i counted 13 horses in the barn later that day that'd been ridden - which was bacon, pancakes, eggs and plenty of black coffee, and we headed out to saddle and load horses, arriving at the pasture to gather just before 6.

once at the pasture, we all unload, bridle, tighten girths, and do all that good last-minute stuff before heading out our separate directions to find all the pairs and gather the cattle. we start riding in one bunch, and are gradually split off with different orders by bob, who runs the whole operation.

i ended up heading around a corner and up this meadow with a small bunch, who moved very easily. jamie was with me, before heading off to the north to gather up some more out of a big, boggy draw.

there's jamie off to my right, headed up on her circle.

while the country was pretty green most of the summer, it's really starting to burn up, and it's dusty, and we could use a few good rain clouds. it's been a while.

i took lucy to work with me for the first time, and up to this point she'd dutifully trailed behind my horse, as i'd taught her the weekend before on our pack trip. when we got up close to these pairs she decided to try her hand at herding them, and she thought it was great fun. in this photo she'd just got after that one pair running away - the cow with her tail up and the calf kicking. she was smart about it, and didn't mess anything up the whole day, and would get after calves, chasing them back into the bunch, but coming right back out and not stirring things up. and she already knows to dodge kicking hooves, esp from the cows.

"look, i've got them on the run!" you can see the lead trailing over the hill across the meadow, headed over to the gate. they were ready to move on to a new pasture.

this photo was taken when the whole bunch was gathered and headed to the gate, trailed by the riders. this was also after april and i found a 'soaphole,' or an isolated, bottomless bog only about five feet across. it looked no different than all the dry, dusty tan dirt around it, and we walked right in. i think april pulled something getting out. it sure woke us up. just over the next hill after clambering out we came upon another soaphole with a dead cow in it. thankfully we didn't have to just give up and die in ours!

the morning quickly warmed up, and there was a water spot in a marshy area about halfway to the new pasture, which i was glad of for lucy's sake. this is her in the reservoir we took the cows to. it's low, and late in the season, so pretty dirty, but lucy was grateful it was wet.

the other dogs were swimming, but lucy's still uneasy when her feet can't touch the bottom, and she turned around and kept close to shore.

she slept the whole rest of the afternoon, and in the truck ride back to town, and that evening. she's a workin' dog now. :-)

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