Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Praying for Rain

I don't think the 30's has much over the current drought in Campbell County. It's dry, and been dry for two years. Beings it's so early in the spring, there is still ample opportunity for enough moisture to get us out of this slump. But we decided not to wait until May to storm Heaven to storm us. So we started with a nine day novena of praying for moisture. Then on Wednesday evening we celebrated Mass on the Durham Ranch. I suppose that's about as close to a Catholic rain dance as you can get. 

It is starting to green up around the countryside. And timely moisture can really keep it going. As always, our Mass was a thanksgiving offering to God for answered prayers. In the end, we know that He'll provide for us in one way or another, and that He'll bring good out this natural evil called drought. 

Please join us in continuing to pray that the Lord bless us with moisture. 

The Great Depression led to the Greatest Generation. I have no doubt that there is method to the Lord's madness. He is permitting this evil to happen and we know that it is not purposeless. Nevertheless Lord, may this drought pass from us. Yet, not our will, but Your will be done.

4 Last Things

 Death, Judgement, Heaven, or Hell

Saturday, March 26, 2022

JD 450

I love yellow iron. Guess that's why one Sunday morning in 2004 as I was riding my bike to Church this John Deere 450-C dozer caught my eye. I turned around to check it out and immediately the wheels in my head started to turn. It went up for auction a couple days later and I bought it. She sure has brought a lot of joy to my life over the years.

It was originally used by Mountain Bell as telephone cable installer in Montana. 

The ditcher unit we would use to install poly pipe for developing springs. I eventually took it off and fabbed a backhoe attachment on to it. With hydraulics, the sky’s the limit. 

We also have a drawbar where we can pull all sorts of other tools. 

She was handy to have around the farm, but once I entered seminary, I thought the Carmelite Monastery might have a better use for it. In 2013, some of the family and I made a pilgrimage up to Meeteetse with her. They got some good use out of her, but for her last years there she had been sitting still, and not in running order. So we went back up and got her. 

The main problem was oil getting into the water. Eventually this turned into water getting into the oil as well. This both/and had us stumped. We tried a head gasket and later had the head rebuilt. None of which solved both of the problems, though ever since we rebuilt the head, oil no longer was getting into the water. So we decided we better tackle the inevitable, o-rings at the bottom of the cylinders. 

Taking the head off was no problem. Pulling the jugs was another story. 

This time we had to pull the skid plate, which then exposed the oil pan, and eventually the crankcase. We took a chance and left the pistons in the cylinders as we pulled them. 

Dad was lead mechanic on this job. The top o-rings did look bad. But we still weren't too sure that was the problem. 

Reinstallation really went about as smooth as one could expect. 


So we fired her up and put her to some spring work. Problem solved, thanks be to God!

Bring it.

Sometimes I think golfing might be a simpler hobby to have, but I just don't think it'd be as fun. I've always loved moving dirt. Dad and I have been working on or with dozers since I was a kid. It's good father/son bonding time. We are certainly glad our little 450 is back on the ranch. I'm feeling like she's gonna get a bit of use this spring and summer. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Be Aware

 Don't under estimate the packages the Lord answers our prayers in.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Spring Cleaning

Coming out of winter, spring is actually a dirty time of year. Hence the need to get things cleaned up. The horses' winter coats are almost gone. They wintered well. But their hooves definitely needed tending to.

Mollie, on the left, turns 4 this year. While Chief will be 10.

Horses are no easy keepers and their feet are a prime examples of that. Their hooves are basically our finger nails. They need cleaned, trimmed, and filed down often.

The first order of business is to clean the sole with a pic. 

Then take your hooked knife and scrape the sole clean from all the built up junk. This also exposes the white line against the hoof wall, which guides your trimming. 

This year I'm going to try going shoeless. For as much riding as we do, the horses really shouldn't need shoes. But to do so I want to leave the hoof longer than usual. So I trimmed it down about 3/8" up from the white line. 

Rasping is the finest science. It's better to leave the hoof high and bring it down to the proper level with the rasp. This also levels it all out. 

I find it super crucial to bevel the edge of the hoof up after trimming so it doesn't splinter. 

Much better.

Two horses with four legs makes for eight hooves to trim. Me and my back need a break. With Covid being over now, I went ahead wormed the kids with my leftover Ivermectin horse dewormer. Hope they like the taste better than I did. Spring is in the air. Let's ride.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Ranch Ready

It's better to be waiting on spring, than spring waiting on you. So in anticipation of warm weather, rain, and new cows, I headed down to the Bell corrals to get the feed situation straightened out. 

You ain't no rancher unless you have the family brand burned into your side boards. 

Dad and I had some hay stashed away back home from last summer. Just as pretty as the day we baled it. 

Hank even showed up to pitch in. 

A little different placement this year. I'm pretty confident, or at least hopefully, that the herd outside the corral won't mess with our stack. This'll sure be a convenient spot to get to it. And yes, I did put steel posts on the outside corners. 

Now all we need are some cows.

Hopefully that'll be soon. Gerry has a couple with our name on them already. Might as well make a game plan right now. How bout 12 heiferettes this spring and we'll start to run them up to the Raney Ranch as soon as we start to see some green. Sounds good to me. 


If you want to get, give.


Friday, March 11, 2022

Little White Horse

I've always been a white pickup guy. My first truck in high school was a 89 white GMC 2500. She lasted me until I bought this beauty in 2005. Like the rest, company truck, as I used to call her, had 135K on it when I bought her. I ran her until 2008 when I went to seminary. Wanting to hold nothing back in my pursuit of the priesthood, I gave her to the Carmelite Monastery. 

1998 GMC 3500 cab and chassis with a 454 and a 5 speed. Not the the most trouble free truck. We rebuilt the transmission, the transfer case, new set of lifters, the fuel pump went out and stranded me. Someone broke out the passage window and stole my girlfriend at the time’s purse in the Church parking lot. But the truck served me well and I was thankful for our time together. 

Of course I had to outfit her with stock racks. I had acquired these oak racks in Montana and built the flatbed around them. It definitely looked cool, which was the main purpose. But they were super unhandy to load and unload two horses. The last time I used them I about burned them. 

We pulled some heavy loads together. Sometimes too heavy. Our JD 450 blew a hydraulic line on the mountain while I was fixing roads. Little White Horse came to the rescue. Coming to Worland from Tensleep was like a rollercoaster ride with 20K lbs behind me. 

The Monastery got some good use out of her, but I knew she had been parked for several years. Needing a flat bed for my pickup, I asked if they wanted to give her back. And with no hesitation, they did. 

Flat tires and stoved up, we got her on the trailer and brought her home.

It's a pretty handy truck. We had put a hoist under the bed when we built it. After remembering how custom made the bed was for this truck I decided not to take it off.

So Dad and I thought we might as well see what's wrong with her. The rats and rabbits had a hay-day under the hood. Ole reliable got the wires patched up though. She was last licensed in 2013. We knew three plug wires were gone, but thought we'd see if she'd crank anyway. It made a revolution or two and then stoped hard. We actually thought we had fluid on the cylinders. After letting it sit, Dad gave her another try and she popped. Sounded pretty good. So we put some plug wires on, changed the flat, and ran up the creek. A good wobble in the front end was about all we could tell was wrong.  She'll definitely take some cleaning up, but we'll find a use for her.

Me and Mini Me

It's good to have the company truck back home. With gas prices at an all time high, a 454 is just what we need. Maybe if Gerry comes back to town it can be his ranch rig. Whoever leaves mother or father, or brothers or sisters, or lands, or pickups, for My sake will receive a hundred fold in this life, with persecutions, and eternal life to come. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

So Long Shane

It's been real partner. I wish you the best on your new adventure in SD. Stick close to Mary and always wear your hat. Peace.


I don't claim to be much of a cook, but turns out I can make jerky. Having a steady supply of beef, I thought I'd try my hand at drying meat. A few tweaks here and there, but over the last year I think we have making jerky dialed in. 

Paul Casey and I plan to start an open forum discussion group called Chewing the Fat, with coffee and jerky. 

Not having made jerky before, I called my brother for his recipe. I'd like to share it, but it's a family secret. 

5/16" seems to be a good thickness for raw beef. It'll dry down to about an 1/8". I like sirloin and round strips the best.

Then off to our trusty American Harvest dehydrators. During the 12hrs of drying, they put off a nice aroma around the house that I think Fr. Cliff really enjoys.

I'll check them and the ones that are a bit tender we'll keep drying. Generally speaking, 12hrs of marinating and 12hrs of drying will do the trick. 

Ready to serve. The meat is pretty dry when it first comes out. But after sitting in a bag for several days, it softens right up. 

It seems like I have made more friends since I've been jerkying beef. Not sure why. Guess people are just more friendly when you've got dried meat in your pocket. Our Lord said that man cannot live on bread alone. But I think he could live on jerky alone, or a least he'd try. Paul and I are pretty convinced that dried beef and hot coffee can solve the world's problems. Why don't you pull up a chair and let's find out. 


If we are sinning, stop. If we are not loving God with all our heart, start.


Monday, March 7, 2022

Sunday, March 6, 2022


 God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.