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Machinery Headaches At Haying

JULY 15

Andrea took Sammy to the doctor a couple weeks ago to have her knee checked (it’s been bothering her quite awhile, but they’re still not sure what’s causing all the heat and pain.) The doctor put her on some daily anti-inflammatory medication. Andrea brought the kids out to the ranch for lunch and then they took turns riding Veggie. They love that old horse!

Michael and Carolyn vaccinated their yearlings for pinkeye and put them on our 160-acre pasture. Andrea and I rode Breezy and Ed in the middle and high range pastures to check gates and fences. The next day, I re-set Ed’s front shoes; her feet were getting too long and I don’t want her stumbling if we need to chase cows.

On July 4, Andrea and Emily rode with me (Em riding Ed, and I rode Veggie) to check cattle and gates. It was wonderful to be able to ride with my daughter and granddaughter. I was grateful that we were able to do this — remembering that it was 11 years ago that very day that Andrea and I made our last major ride together (rounding up cows with bull calves, to bring the calves home to wean), before her burn injuries. The day after that ride, she had the accident that nearly took her life. So this ride with her and Em was very special to me.

Last week the carpenters poured concrete for Andrea’s new house (on the hill above our field). Michael worked on his swather that was parked all winter in the wide spot in the road above our house — where he left it the night the belt broke when he was driving it home from the Maurer place. He got the new belt on, and cut three fields of our hay before he took it to another ranch to cut hay. Andrea’s kids were staying here with us (while she made the trip to Nevada) and Charlie enjoyed riding in the swather with Michael cutting hay. That kid loves machinery.

Saturday, Lynn took our tractor and post-pounder to the upper place. He and Nick set a dozen posts in the falling-down fence around gopher meadow. The next day, Andrea and Rick helped Lynn rebuild the old bridge across the creek, in the lane to her house. The old timbers rotted, so we put new ones in.

Monday Andrea turned some of the hay and Lynn baled — until the old baler sheared a bolt. He fixed it and was baling on the next field, and a bearing went out. Rather than try to fix it, he borrowed Michael’s old baler to try to finish that field. He made one round when a thunderstorm hit, and soaked the hay. It dried out enough by evening to finish baling. We had a bigger storm the next day, and had to wait a few days for the bales to dry out enough to haul.

AUGUST 1

We moved what was left of the old hay out of my hay shed (and tarped it) so we could stack new hay in the shed. Andrea and Charlie rowed up some of the bales in the field to make them easier to pick up with the stackwagon. The two little girls helped me do chores, looked at the calves, and rode Veggie — and Sam tried riding bareback for the first time.

A couple weeks ago we heard bulls bellowing just before dark and went out to see what was going on. Alfonzo’s bull was in his hayfield just above our fields, bellowing at our bulls. Realizing that all his gates were probably open, we shut our driveway gate in case his bull got out on the road. Just after midnight I heard crashing and bellowing and looked out the window to see an extra bull in the orchard with ours. Alfonzo’s bull had come down the road and crashed through the fence to fight our bull. We ran out and shut the gate into the pasture where the cows were. Fortunately the cows were all in there sleeping, and just our bull was in the orchard challenging the strange bull. We knew Alfonzo hadn’t trich-tested any of his bulls and we didn’t want his bull in with our cows! We called Alfonzo the next morning and he came and got his bull.

It took Lynn a couple days to get our old swather working, to cut the rest of our hay. In the process he blew a hydraulic hose on one tractor, and the other tractor’s hoses (that rub together underneath) broke, so BOTH tractors were useless. We had to get one fixed before we could finish cutting our hay. This time we didn’t have rain on the hay before we got it all baled and stacked. Andrea helped bale the last two fields while Lynn was stacking.

AUGUST 17

The owner of the Gooch place and southeast 160-acre pasture hired surveyors to establish the boundary between his parcel and our 160 acres. When we bought that 320 acres and split it (1968), we built the division fence hurriedly (so we could each start using our own pieces), knowing it wasn’t exactly on the property line. We built it on the easiest path up the mountain — where it wasn’t too steep to drive our little tractor and post-pounder. Our neighbour thought he owned part of our piece, but the survey proved otherwise. The fence needs to be moved farther south, which will give us quite a bit more acreage than what we originally had on our side of the fence.

Last Sunday a week ago I reset Ed’s hind shoes before we went to church. I was in a hurry and started one of the nails a little too straight. Her feet are very small and I have to be careful to not have nails come out too high, so I was pulling that nail back out to reset it correctly, and hit myself in the face with the hammer when the nail finally popped back out. Luckily it hit between my nose and mouth — so it didn’t break my nose or knock out any teeth. But I immediately had a huge blood-filled swelling in my upper lip. I finished the shoeing job, then put an ice pack on my fat lip until we went to church. It looked funny because my lip was huge and turning purple. The golf-ball size swelling went down after a few days but there’s still a knot under my lip and my upper lip is black. The grandkids think grandma looks funny with a black mustache!

On Tuesday evening Andrea brought the three kids to stay with us for a few days while she and Rick drove to Nevada to pick up Emily. Then they drove north to Seattle, Washington to attend the funeral for my cousin Ned’s wife Amy — who was being buried in the family plot where Ned’s parents and our grandparents are buried. Ned and Amy were the ones who graciously offered their home 11 years ago to Andrea and Lynn to stay for three weeks after Andrea was able to leave the ICU at the burn center in Salt Lake but had to stay as an outpatient for daily wound care and physical therapy.

On Wednesday Michael and Carolyn left on a six-day trip to drive Nick to Iowa to start college at William Penn University where he has a track scholarship. During those six days I helped Heather with the horses she’s training. Carolyn had been riding with her every day, and I filled in — riding Ed to the upper place and going with Heather on short rides in the mountains with two of the horses and then tagging along as she took a young mare on a longer, faster loop, preparing for an endurance ride. She’s training that mare for one of her college professors, who wants the mare ready for a 25 mile race in September. After six days of that, Ed and I were both in better physical shape! Lynn took care of Andrea’s kids (they helped him irrigate, and pick up nails, etc. at the building site) and cooked lunch for them while I was riding. Heather leaves for Helena (to start her 3rd year at Carroll College) day after tomorrow, and she will be taking several horses back with her.

HeatherSmithThomasrancheswithher husbandLynnnearSalmon,Idaho.Contact herat208-756-2841

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