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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Acts of the Apostles

 Want a good read? Read the Acts of the Apostles. 

Out and About

The first Wednesday of the month took Chief and I up to Hulett to check on the flock and celebrate Mass. We figured while we were up in those parts we'd ride fence on Joe's place.

It was good to get the racks out and Chief was happy to jump in and go.

However, we ran into this green eyed monster on the way and I didn't want to drag him through that. The drawbacks of stock racks...

So we ducked into Tom's place in Carlile and borrowed his trailer. Martha was happy to see us as we pulled up on location. 

I love fixing fence. ‘Specially when it ain’t broke. 

The herd is settled now, 12 heiferettes. The going plan is to put the three lightweights on Joe's place and run the other 8, minus one that we'll harvest before we leave town, on the Raney Ranch. Life is good. All thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Ongoing Formation

 Discipleship is an ongoing process.

Life is a Picnic. Enjoy It.

John Paul II Catholic School was having their annual Springfest fundraiser. So, with this being the year of St. Joseph, the boys and I decided to chip in by building a picnic table. 

Meet the crew: 6:00 Gunnar, Evan, Carter, Fr. Bryce, Hagen, Jackson, Edward, and Treyton

This wasn't our first rodeo, or mine at least. We built several of these tables for Catholic school fundraisers back in seminary. It first began when my good buddy Fr. Jason Wallace, front and center, commissioned me to build a couple for the house. This was probably the greatest turning point in my priestly formation. Suddenly I knew, that the priest God wanted me to be was the man he created me to be. Just be fully you, in other words. And the rest is history. 

The one word we focused on during this project was potential. I love potential. It's everywhere. We just have to activate it. This lumber has all kinds of potential. But without the work of human hands, in cooperation with God's grace, it might as well be firewood. 

It was all business in the shop.

Carter gave us a lesson on setting screws.

While Evan taught us the art of choosing boards with character.

We spent about an 1 1/2 hr a week over the past couple months piecing her together. 

Once she was built, the boys dressed up in their Sunday bests to put on the final touch.

Friday, April 30th was the big auction. As it came down to the two highest bidders, we paused the auction to offer to build a second table. Jake and Jana Streitz, Gunnar's family, generously bought the table yet to be built.  

While Daryl & Judy Martinson, Evan's grandparents, bought the completed one and then gave it to his family. L-R: Owen, Dustin, Bella, Heather, and Ol' son.

So Good! Nothing makes a father feel more like a dad than kicking up sawdust with his sons. These kids taught me a lot. And if they learned anything, I hope it's that life has potential. It can be potentially good or potentially bad. We get to choose. God is here to help us reach our full potential in life, but we have to willfully cooperate with His grace. What a fun ride. Life is a picnic. Enjoy it boys!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Little Square Dance

I love little squares. Some people call them idiot cubes, but I call them character builders. They separate the men from the boys. When I was a kid, my granddad used to pick us up, and out to stack hay we'd go. Those July days were exhausting. Especially for young boys who didn't have much muscle tone yet. But what I remember most was the unspoken competition that went on between us. If Mike could pick two rows at a time, I could do three. If I could stack four high, Nate would do five. Those were formative years. Every time I smell alfalfa or pick up a small bale, I think of Grandpa S and those hot summer days on the Gooseberry. God bless America.

Crossfit for Cowboys

God provides. Bill and Joanne Fields had been putting up the grass on their little ranch on the prairie for the past few years. But with having to put their horse down this fall they had no use for it anymore. So they turned to Fr. Bryce who will always accept free hay. 

We've been picking at the stack of grass all winter but with a herd of hungry cows now, she's going quick.

Joanne has been great to visit with as we load ole Patty. She gives me horse training tips and brings me cold water when the sweat starts to roll. But what I'm most thankful for, is that she closes the gates for me when I leave.

The girls are doing real well on this Crested Wheatgrass. To date, the herd stands at 11.

Hank Williams even made a guest appearance. 

I've been using these nets for round bales. Just stuff them full of squares and the let the girls have their way. It slows them down and they don't waste so much.

The Geis's also set me up this open feeder. It works well with grass hay because they don't root around as much. 

Isn't that a pretty site. The girls are eating about 6 bales a day on average. So this little stack will last us around 10 days. If we can make it through May, and the Lord provides rain, we should have fresh green grass ready to graze.

I was telling Gerry that I enjoy feeding little squares. He agreed, but made the distinction between feeding and stacking. Stacking is always hot and you have to throw them high. Feeding is usually cool and gravity's on your side. Of course, my experience of little square bales comes from a few summers as a kid and load here and there. My dad would write a whole different story. 

Infused Contemplation

 Eternal life is communion with I AM.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Day Thuggin

If a cowboy isn't given the good fortune of owning his own place, he can alway ranch vicariously through others. That's what I do most of the time. Today it was with the Kuhbacher's just north of the border. 

In French, belle means beautiful. This is sure some beautifully rugged Montana country.

Snow or shine. We ranch all the time. 

It'd been too long since I'd seen Jason and the girls. After we celebrated Mass we saddled up. 

Checking calving cows is a daily core no matter what the conditions. I can't imagine a more surefooted way of getting around these breaks then on horseback. 

They pasture calve the older girls. These mamas stand by their kids' side.

And if they have to leave for feed, they keep them well protected. 

Once they are up and bouncing around, the pairs get moved to another pasture. 

On the way back to the house we picked up an open heifer. 

Thanks partner. She fits right in. We'll send you a T-bone. 

Day riding is a good way to keep the leather limber. If a man's willing to work, he can always find a place to throw in with. It's not about the money. It's about feeding America. I'm convinced that beef is the answer to America's problems. Ranch hard. Be happy. 

Acts of the Apostles

 Want a good read? Read the Acts of the Apostles.