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. 

Spiritual Day

Once a month us priests get to take a day set aside for prayer. A day to reconnect with the Father. The fourth Thursday of the month is my day. So, like Jesus, off to the Hills we went.

The Bear Lodge Mountains have to be some of the friendliest mountains in all of Wyoming.

We heading back into the Belle Fourche to John and Sue Raney's place where we plan to run a few cows this summer. 

Mollie's been doing good. Not ready to ride but to pony for sure. So we let Chief teach her the ropes.

Along our trek we found this wall with ancient hieroglyphics dating back to 1975. You have to look close in the shadows. 

Beer is poof that God wants us to be happy. - Ben Franklin

That'd be a heck of a way to go out. Looks like Absalom. 

John and Sue always do things right. So at the end of the day we had a crawfish boil with fresh mud bugs straight form Louisiana. 

John knows how to stir the pot. Thanks partner.

Our rector at seminary used to say, give as a gift what you have received as a gift. John and Sue do that well. The Lord has blessed them and they in turn use it to bless others. What a gift it was for me to ride their ranch and reconnect with God as my Father and me as His son. It's only from that disposition that I can then be a father as well. It's gonna be a good summer. Our cows will enjoy this Black Hills grass. And me and the boys will enjoy riding herd on them. On to the next one...

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Real Faith

 Faith is not a feeling but a decision to believe.

Just Ranchin

Well, it was time to get out of Dodge. The big Triduum liturgy was past and the octave of Easter is always a time to celebrate. So back home we went. Of course a cowboy never wants to be caught without his trailer just incase he finds a backhaul.

It's best never to ranch alone. Here's my nephew and niece Carter and Elizabeth after working a few cows in Worland. 

Before we blew out of Gillette, we set us up a little tack room in the nose of Patty. Took a little engineering, but works slick so far.

The first morning home I ran with Dad to check on the ditch. Dad sits on the board for the Bluff canal system south of town. Springtime is busy getting the water flowing freely so he's generously lent his service and expertise to the cause. 

Here a flume takes water back across the river to higher ground. The canal systems make the Big Horn Basin. Engineers around the turn of the 20th century mapped out elaborate water ways that get irrigation to land that would otherwise be barren. Because of the hard work of these early settlers, as well as the men and women of today, the Worland area continues to raise the most bountiful crops in all of Wyoming. 

Sometimes you gotta stop and smell the sagebrush. 

We live at the intersection of WY 431 and US Hwy 20. I love this sign because it reminds me of the Council of Ephesus in 431 where the hypostatic union of Jesus was further defined, Him being one person with two natures, human and divine. Therefore, in this council Mary was rightly declared the Mother of God.

Mom and I jumped on our steel horses and cruised up Tie Down Lane. Sit tall in the saddle Ma.

The best reason for coming home was to celebrate Grandma Ruth's 90th birthday. L-R Uncle Vance, Dad, Grandma, Aunt Vic, and Uncle Lloyd. The legacy lives on.

Thanks Grandma for teaching me how to love and how to laugh.

Before we headed out we picked up these two heifers form Luke.

They fit right in. The herd is now sitting at seven. We'll see if it gets much bigger. If you want beef let me know.  All are welcome.

I love home. It's ranch headquarters. But the spread I ride for encompasses all 60 million acres of Wyoming. That's a lot of territory to cover, but I have a lifetime to do it. Better get busy though. There's Mass to celebrate and cattle to fatten. Just Ranchin. It's a way of life.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Spiritual Body

St. Thomas Aquinas speculated that we would all be 33 in Heaven because that is the age when Jesus rose from the dead.


Rest a While

We need to be healthy in order to be holy.