Andrea and Emily had an inspiring time at the World Burn Congress in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They made many new friends and got very little sleep, spending most of their time visiting with other burn survivors and their families. Emily quickly got over being shy, realizing that most of the young people she met were much more insecure than she was, and she enjoyed helping a few of them feel more at ease.
While they were gone Lynn and I took care of the other kids. The little girls had coughs and a fever and we took them to the doctor to treat their respiratory infections.
Michael spent a day cleaning all the old manure (many years’ accumulation!) from our horse pens, so they can go into the winter without being a boggy mess.
We re-bandaged Sprout’s foot several times, using a poultice and keeping the foot in a boot to keep the bandage dry. Then we kept it in the boot awhile longer after the abscess cleared up, to protect the hole in her sole until it fills in more.
Sammy and Dani were feeling better by the weekend, and helped us move cattle from the field below the lane up to Heifer Hill. We didn’t want the girls to be outside very long, however, because the air is still smoky from the fires. We’ve had two months of thick smoke.
The next week we brought the cattle down, sorted heifer calves into the grassy pen below the barn to wean (with their mothers through the fence in the adjacent field) and left the steers with their mothers overnight in the orchard. Michael came with his trailer at daylight and we sorted off the steers to haul to the sale at Butte, Montana. They were bigger than we’d expected, considering they were only five months old. The larger steers averaged 525 pounds and brought $1.59 per pound. The smaller ones weighed 440 and brought $1.69 per pound.
Lynn and Michael took our tractor and post-pounder out to Michael Phillips’ place north of town and spent a week setting posts and building jack fence across the part by the river, finishing the division fence on that property. Michael will take yearlings down there for fall pasture, trading fence work for pasture rent.
OCTOBER 8 — We actually had rain last week that cleared the air for a couple of days, and then the smoke drifted back in — the fire north of town is still burning.
Last Saturday Jason Beyeler brought the two Morgan fillies we looked at a few weeks ago at his place. We’re buying a dark chestnut weanling that will be Dani’s horse, and a palomino two-year-old for Sammy and me. The weanling hasn’t been handled and was very shy.
Emily spent an hour in the pen with the two fillies, feeding them grass. Eventually she was able to pet them both. The next morning Dani and Sammy came down to see their “surprise” and were delighted with their new horses. They named the young one Willow and the palomino Spotty Dottie because of her dapples.
Andrea and I have been handling both fillies every day, leading them, picking up feet, etc. Willow was reluctant to lead at first, so we used a rump rope “come along” and she is now leading nicely. The older filly is trained to tie up but we’ll gradually train the weanling to tie.
OCTOBER 25 — Michael and Carolyn have been taking protein to their cows and calves on the 320 and 160 acre mountain pasture to encourage them to graze the dry feed, but they ran out of grass last week. They took some to the rented pasture north of town and brought 13 pairs down here to graze our little field across the creek.
We met our new neighbours, the three Amish families that bought the Maurer place around the hill from us. We’re looking forward to getting better acquainted with them.
Michael used the backhoe to tear out the falling-down side of our main corral and clean up a pile of old boards and junk behind it. He and Lynn set new posts along that side and for a new hold pen in the area we cleaned out. We also had to dig a trench through the corral and put in a drain pipe, so the spring on the back side of the corrals won’t keep flooding the corrals. We repaired the old fence in the bull corral, and Michael brought back the three bulls he and Carolyn borrowed this summer.
One day a couple weeks ago it wasn’t very smoky and we took Sam and Dani for a ride. The dust was still bad, however, and we came home covered with dust. The smoke finally cleared up for good after a little rain (and snow on the mountains). The big fire north of town is finally under control after burning more than 350,000 acres. †