Hard work. Big Rewards. Bigger blessings. Life on a South Dakota ranch.
Smells of moonlight and green grass filled our bedroom and soothed our slumber. Then, shockingly, our noses were filled with the stench of skunk. This is what woke me up at 2 a.m. last Monday morning. I ran around the house closing windows, and one look out my front door revealed the likely cause of the skunk’s distress. Huck– the WC’s dog. He was on the front step looking guilty as heck, and not as angelic as he does below.
That was pretty much the end of my night’s sleep. We had to be at the barn by 6 a.m. to saddle up for the day . Even though I tried to get some more sleep, the peaceful slumber eluded me. We had already hauled all the 2-year-old heifers and their calves to summer pasture the week before. Now it was time to get all the cow/calf pairs hauled to summer pasture. Our ranch is split into several places around the county, and we actually don’t summer any cows at our home place. It takes two days to haul all the pairs from our home place to summer grass.
We were in the pasture and starting to gather pairs by 7 a.m. It was going to be a long day as we had to first sort off all the steer calf pairs, trail those to the corrals, sort the pairs into truck loads, and finally load the trucks so Pine and his brother could haul them to summer pasture. Our kids are troopers. It was a LONG day. Although we were back to the corral with all the steer pairs by a little after 11 a.m., our day was really just getting started at that point.
We got the first two loads sorted and up to the front corral to load on to the trucks. The Wild Child, by this point, had a growling stomach. Off her horse she crawled, ran to the house, and came back with a couple of pieces of string cheese to tie her over. After loading the trucks and getting them on the road, we jumped back on our horses to head to the arena to sort the next two loads for the trucks. We had the Wild Child, our 8th grade niece, our 12th grade daughter, myself, and Fred and Karen– the couple who work and live at our south ranch. It was a pretty dang good crew.
It was about 6:15 p.m. by the time we loaded the last of the pairs on the trucks, cleaned a vaccine gun after doctoring a cow, and got to the house for a meal. Our kids were pretty much on a horse for about 11 hours straight– including the Wild Child. The next day, while a little shorter as we didn’t have to sex the pairs first, was still long and meant a lot of hours on the back of a horse. I give our kids and niece and nephew lots of accolades. They are tough nuts and great help. We loved every minute of it. Life is grand.