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Not All Is Quiet On The Western Front

SEPTEMBER 28

This past week we ve had freezing temperatures and I had to start draining the water hose (for watering the horses). Andrea and Rick helped Lynn take down the old power pole for the yard lights next to our horse pens. The pole has been leaning for several years and we d propped it with poles, but a strong wind could blow it over and smash the fences, so we took it down along with the old fence along that side of Fozzy s old pen. We need to rebuild the fence and use that pen for Veggie this winter. We ll eventually hook the yard lights onto the hay shed.

Snickers has been living in the ditch bank pasture (Brownie s old pen) this summer and fall, but when we got short on irrigation water Lynn had to haul water to her with the four-wheeler every day.

The carpenters are coming along on Andrea s new house; this week they taped the inside walls in preparation for painting. It will probably be a couple of months before the house is finished, but Andrea keeps packing things and hauling them up there to store in her old trailer house so it will be easier to move when the time comes.

Our new neighbours gathered most of their cattle off the range this week. They brought some down the road and pushed one cow through the fence into Binnings place and left her there. She came down through Binnings fence into our upper place and Michael had to get her out.

Later, when they took Lowell s cows to the Maurer place they cut a hole in the fence on the lower place and trailed them across the Haynes Creek range. They ran into Jack Jacovak and Bruce Mulkey bringing cows off their range and nearly had a mix up with all the cattle.

There are also some issues with water usage between ranches. We re hoping we don t have an Old West shootout among the neighbours!

Today Michael helped Lynn put weirs in two of our ditches, so we can measure the water and know exactly if we are shortchanged and know when we have a legal right to call for water. We didn t need any measuring devices for the 40 years we (and then Michael) leased the Gooch place (between our upper and lower place) and the piece below us, because we used the water judiciously on all these places and always made sure Jack Jacovak had his allotted water right. But times have changed.

Our cows below heifer hill were running out of grass; Sunday we moved them to the field below our lane. Michael and Carolyn put all their horses in our Cheney Creek pasture except for the few they are riding regularly. They ve been helping some of their friends gather and work cattle this fall.

OCTOBER 20

We put a new (metal) gate in our chute corral, to replace the old board gate (that Lynn made 45 years ago) that a cow jumped over this spring and smashed. We also took out the old pole gate into Snickers old pen that Lynn built in 1970 and replaced it with a metal gate. The gates and fences we built in earlier years are getting old and tired, like us! We moved Snickers down from the ditch pasture and put her in her old pen for winter. Andrea and Rick helped Lynn set new posts in the fence above the house and make new braces and put a metal gate in place of the old pole panel that s falling apart.

A week ago we preg-checked and vaccinated the cows (all of them were pregnant, to calve in April) and vaccinated and weaned the calves. We put the calves in the grassy pens by the calving barn, with their mothers in the field right through the fence. That s an easy way to wean on green grass, with their mamas nose-to-nose through the fence for security. After three days, we put the calves in the horse pasture where there s lush green grass. Sammy and Dani walked out to see the calves and were pleased that their favorite calves remembered them.

We had two more days of rain, and no longer have to worry about the irrigation water being short. This will help the dry spots in the fields, and our hill pastures. Michael and Carolyn s yearlings are doing very well on the 320, scattered out over the mountains grazing. They took horses and dogs to Preston, Idaho for three days to help Carolyn s brother help a friend round up cattle. The friend had a serious horse accident earlier this year and needed help with the roundup.

Yesterday Andrea and Rick sawed up and hauled off the old crabapple tree that blew down a few years ago in Fozzy s old pen. We ll rebuild the old fence. There are many projects to do before winter, but we re started on several of them.

HeatherSmithThomasrancheswithherhusbandLynnnearSalmon,Idaho.Contactherat208-756-2841

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