In the USA in fourth grade they study state history and we have a fourth grade grandchild. Of course that equates to tons of field trips since we live in a richly historic area. Tuesday the field trip was a visit to two log cabin era ranches over a hundred years old of which one was the site of a famous three day shoot out between, The Invaders as they came to be known included some of the most powerful cattlemen in Wyoming, their top employees, and 23 hired guns. This was the accumulation of years of disputes between cattle barons that ruled the open range with their herds of thousands of cattle and small operators who ran just enough to support their families. The event came to be called the Johnson County War. Longtime Wyoming historian T.A. Larson ranked it “the most notorious event in the history of Wyoming.” to read more go to. The Johnson County War ended at the TA ranch though hard feelings still exist today. Don’t confuse my cousin T.A. Larson with TA ranch. The cattle barons, their employees, and hired gunman, poked rifles out clover shaped holes they’d carved in the barn taking aim at the local small ranchers and town officials. In whole the war included over four hundred angry men. The barn has changed little from the 1892 war and still bears the bullet holes. Which makes the saying “Can’t hit the broad side of the barn come to mind.” There really aren’t many holes considering their were over 400 men in this fight and most of them were in the surrounding hills shooting at the barn. Today the TA ranch is a working dude ranch own by some friends of ours so if you are looking to experience a bit of history check it out at this link. Amazingly, no one was killed in the fight and the United States army came in to end the conflict.
The next ranch is the Klondike ranch which is also a dude ranch. We climbed a cactus riddled hill where tepees once sat their sides held down by heavy rocks which remain in a ring after watching the cattle being fed “cake” a large pelleted feed nicknamed so because the cattle like it so well. An elderly women, one of the owners, explained the typical work load throughout the year in raising cattle which included the present breeding season. Yes, the bulls were jumping on the cows right in front of the kids. I had to laugh inside as the parents didn’t bat an eye and continued explaining to their children the facts of animal life. The kids nodded their heads in understanding. I love where we live. The local paper features such things as local ranchers who captured a fugitive fleeing in a backhoe and a photograph of a bull getting a bath at the local car wash.
After the tour was a trip to the out house, yes, we still have out houses we use on occasion. It was a one-seater so it took a while for all the girls to parade through. The boys went behind the barn. Sack lunches were eaten under towering cottonwood trees and then we headed off to a sheep ranch of 2,700 head of woolly Rambouillets. We have a woolen mill in town.
They had by now lost their coats because this is lambing season. Town kid’s eyes got huge as they were paraded by a ewe with feet sticking out the back end of her. She had been trying to give birth. The large hooves an indication why she was having trouble. After taking the kids to the corral outside the lambing shed, the owners brought the troubled mama out. One held the ewe while the other reached inside to ease the lambs out. Yes, there were twins. Aghast at the same time as fascinated, the kids peered over shoulders of their classmates. For many this was their first experience of the miracle of birth. I’ve worked lambing camp but the miracle never grows old, well, except when it is four in the morning and you’ve been doing this night after night.
They then brought lambs out for the kids to hold and pet followed by a demonstration of how sheep dogs make life much easier for the sheep herder. The ewes were a small group yet too young to lamb.
That was just one day’s adventure with one grandchild. The others of course have their own events and I’ve picked and chosen which ones to attend. You just can’t get to them all. In the mix of chaos, we had an addition, a cute baby boy born a couple weeks ago. That makes eight grandkids for us.
Then there was free dump days at the land fill. My kids tease me that its my favorite holiday since I get so excited as I load the truck heaping high. This year twice. One load was carpet as the four granddaugters and us removed the last of it from the house. Next winter we begin laying hard wood tongue and groove.
Then I planted blackberries, trees, and gooseberries. Of course shoveled into a big wheel barrow loads of manure for the south garden from our new dump trailer. But that was after I’d spent two hours on the tractor with the seven year old dumping more manure. This grandchild thought it was the greatest day ever as she had a captured audience. Grandpa affectionately calls her “Yack A Lot” as she can talk your head off.
Then the neighbor called and said,”Come on over” and he’d help me load rocks for my front flower bed from the pile in his yard. Between the deer who eat most everything and the chickens who tear up the ground, I’ve decided I want a rock garden with just a few plants. The ones that say, “Deer hate me!”. There aren’t many. The rocks to keep the chickens from scratching out all the plants. I got side tracked so I’ve still many a load of rocks to go but it is started. Then the blackberries, oak trees, and gooseberries showed up. Yup, had to get those planted.
Crazy me couldn’t say no and so with heavy black clouds looming overhead and the sun going down, we bumped our way along an old dirt road to bring home a ewe with a mastitis destroyed udder. (She will be put in the freezer in thirty days to see what Dorper sheep taste like) and her two young lambs in tow might become a small herd of sheep. They are Caroline and Georgia. We decided all our sheep will be called by state names. After all it gives us fifty to choose from. Yup, two more to bottle feed making the total six with the four kid goats. The two kid wethers will leave for a new home soon and that will once again give me enough milk for our household needs. Note Caroline’s heart on her knee, she is one sweetheart of a lamb and has stolen my heart. Georgia on the other hand does not have the conformation I’m looking for and not the personality either so we’ll see.
I had to promise my hubby I wouldn’t start any more projects until I finish most of the ones sitting around half done. Why… my house is a disaster, the laundry is piled high, meals are poor at best, and the yard looks looks like a construction site. The livestock need hooves trimmed and wormed and … and … and. So yes, I’m reigning in the A.D.D. but that doesn’t mean I can’t plan. I’ve already priced sheep fence. The north side of the pasture needs it. What would I do without such a sweet patient husband? So if it gets a bit quiet now and then, note I’m running after grandkids and making good on the finishing projects to keep my mate happy. He’s a keeper!