Sunday, October 23

For the first time in four months:

For the first time since the beginning of July, yesterday I mounted up on a horse and went out to help gather a pasture, and it sure was nice to be out again!

Bob, Scott and I loaded up the horses and headed out to a pasture on the association to gather up the assortment of cattle that included heifers, bulls and rebreeds. Scott and Bob went one way, and I went another with the two sidekicks - Foxy, above, and Lucy, pictured below.

They would gather cows all day every day if given half the chance. The thing with Lucy is, if everything is going too smoothly, she creates excitement by choosing a cow to pick on, driving it into the rest of the bunch and usually sending them all running.

The cattle were spread to the four corners of the 8,000-acre pasture, so I first headed to gather up a couple groups that were off by themselves. There are Iowa heifers in this group!

And then I added another group, which had taken off heading due west since we'd last seen them, and required a detour at a trot by Deets, the girls and myself. Since my mares foaled last spring, Scott's gelding Deets and I have been a pair when I ride, and we get along fine, except he's very tall so I avoid getting off him at all costs, only dismounting when we get back to the barn or trailer.

I left those heifers with another group hanging out by the road, and went to help Scott gather a larger group and bring them the same direction. Scott was riding his colt Medicine Hat yesterday, who we got broke earlier this summer.

Then I went to make sure Bob didn't need any help - we couldn't see him as he was behind a little hill, and the above photo is looking back at Scott trailing behind the heifers and bulls.

Then the two groups combined at the gate in the corner.

And we held them up to sort off four cows that needed to head to the corral.

After finishing those tasks we went to the house where Bob and Scott switched horses and we ate lunch. The night before I'd packed a cooler with a pork roast I'd shredded. Half of it had regular bbq sauce and the other half had a jalapeno bbq sauce that's really pretty good. I'd also put together a corn casserole that Shirley put in the oven to bake there at the ranch house. She stayed with Levi in the house all day, and she's much appreciated! We also had lettuce salad and the pumpkin chip cookies with frosting that are a fall Hemken tradition.

Then we headed to the lower end of the ranch to help load another small bunch of cattle.

And then we were done for the day. We sure picked a good one to be outside all day! Shirley, Levi and I headed back into town shortly, where Levi and I took an early bedtime. In a couple years Levi will be riding along with us on his own horse instead of staying at the ranch house. :-)

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