Monday, May 30, 2022

Band of Brothers

Kurt is getting married this weekend so we thought we better throw him a Wyoming Catholic Cowboy bachelor party. The plan was originally to go up to a branding together in Montana, but the rain put the kibosh to that. We didn't give up though, just shifted gears.

So we turned to the faithful ranchers on the Belle Fourche, John and Sue Raney. They welcomed us with open arms and showed us hospitality as if we were Christ himself.

The boys' sleeping quarters was a camping castle. Chief and Joe seemed to approve. 

Of course we had to jam out. Shane and Joe kept us entertained throughout the night.

Talk about summer time... The bbq ribs and corn on the cob were outstanding. 

And as promised, the skies did open up this morning. From the nose of my trailer where I holed up for the night, it sounded like a monsoon.

After Mass, John cooked us up a ranch breakfast that rivaled Lula Belle's. 

With a little break in the rain, we went in search of the cows. Chief and Shane were ready to run. Cows are all accounted for. 

Band of brothers.

Here's to you Kurt. Lord knows the world needs more Catholic Cowboy husbands. We've done all we can to form you for this moment. Now go on and make your father proud. 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Sunrise Branding

The Kinstetter branding is one of my favorites. Always good company and a smooth operation. This year was no exception.

Wanting to share the wealth, I picked up my buddy Nick Curley in Moorcroft on my way out to the ranch. Don showed him the ropes. 

Let the fun begin. The crew alternates in and out and from one job to another so no one gets too tired. Here Don and Chris lay the Milliron C on the first volunteer. 

Greg makes sure all the heifers get ear tagged.

Nick drew the tough card. He handled it well though. I, on the other hand, mostly held up a fence post. 

The feast afterwards isn't the only reason we come out, but it is one.

No better way to spend a Saturday morning in May than at a branding. The country side looks like Ireland around here. Thanks be to God for blessing us with rain. Even though it is a Memorial Day weekend, we will gladly have our picnics rained out this year. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Road Trip

Dave and I had been getting a bit stir crazy with all this nice spring weather, so we decided to hit the road. Because of last year's drought, Doug Carr had the bulk of his cow herd in Atkinson NE and they were in need of branding. So we waited till school got out and grabbed Paul and headed east.

The scenery was beautiful everywhere we turned. I handled the wheel. At one point Dave was worried that we were gonna run out of gas. I told him Paul could walk if need be. 

We drove through Winner SD, which is my buddy Chad's old stomping grounds. The boys sure like to farm around these parts. 

After we met the rest of the crew for a short night's rest in Atkinson, we headed out to the ranch bright and early. The first order of business was to pour the cows. 

Then came the branding. Doug got onto a guy who custom brands for people. He brought out two portable hydraulic tables with a tub to mill the calves around. The greatest asset he brought, though, were the 4 high school boys. They kept the chutes full.

Paul chose the cush job of running the table. Not sure he got any cow manure on him the whole day. 

Dave was entrusted with giving shots.

While I was stuck holding the back legs, watching Doug castrate and drinking smoke all day. 

Mike got the top hand award. If we weren't there to slow him down, he'd have a calf turned, branded, and out the gate in 30 seconds. 

Without the boys, though, we'd still be there. 

Eventually Paul did get dirty as he gave us all a lesson in wrestling the ornery ones. 

Next stop was Kimball NE. After driving through the Sandhills and crashing in North Plate for the night, Dave and I continued on to visit my aunt and uncle. This was the highlight of Dave's trip. Being a wood turner himself, he thoroughly enjoyed seeing Uncle George's shop and picking his brain. 

Uncle George does some amazing and super creative work.

My highlight was seeing Aunt Jan. It's like visiting with my Grandma once again. 

To top off the trip we attended my buddy Seth Hostetler's priestly ordination in Cheyenne. To commemorate the occasion I got me a new straw hat. Well done ol' son, I'm proud of you.

1000 miles later and we're back home. It's good to see the country side and breath the fresh air. Changes your perspective on life. People are down on the world, and I get it. But choose to look at life through your good eye. It's a lot greener. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


God has sure been blessing us with rain. Everybody loves it even the horses. They've been on dry feed for the last 6 months. Today they got to go to pasture. 

Mike and Nancy Fulton have generously offered us their 3 acres for the last 3 years. The kids love it. We'll keep them here for the next month or two. It works great because it is close to home and they have a corral I can trap them in when they don't want to be caught and go to work.


Faith is openness. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


I've never been much of a spur guy. I know they look cool, but they've usually gotten me in more trouble than they've done me good. Now, having a fuller knowledge of how they are to be used, it was time to introduces them to the horses.

These aren't your average spurs. Fr. Carl Beavers gave them to me just before he died. They are Kelly Bros spurs and are probably about 100 years old. They fit perfect on my boots, and boy do they sound good when I walk down the hall of the office. 

The purpose of the spur is not to stab the horse, but to make your intentions known. The main need I have for them is to steer the horse with my legs. We'll call this point 3, behind the back cinch. When pressure is applied here, the horse unhitches his hind quarters and moves away from the pressure. 

The center of the horse is point 2. Here's where you get your side pass. Pressure on one side and they'll shift all fours in the opposite direction. Pressure on point 2 from both sides and we're going forward. 

Point one is in the front just behind his legs. Here tells the horse to cross over his front legs, making a quick side step. If you put pressure on R1 and L3 you'll get a super quick counter-clockwise turn. 

Steering your horse with your legs is handy especially in the branding pen when your hands are pretty full.  It's fun to teach the horses new things, but I'm probably the one who learns the most. The more I learn about the horsemanship the more I realize how much I don't know. It's all attainable, though, with a little patience and perseverance. Giddy up. 



We know we are in communion with Christ when we are in communion with His Church.


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ranchin in the Rain

Beings I had a wedding in Hulett today, I thought I'd drop off the last few cows while I was at it. A win win in my book.

The Lord has been blessing us with abundant rain. I'm so thankful. It's incredibly beautiful and it's fun to play in the mud.

The girls will be happy. We'll call Joe's place the Hereford Ranch this year.

Just Ranchin 

It's hard to describe all the goodness of my day. Witnessing a wedding, baptizing a couple kids, celebrating two Masses, visiting good old ranch folks, attending the Catholic school concert and going to dinner with my buddy Paul's family, as well as delivering the cows... that's just fun. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


It’s hard to grow a weed around Worland without irrigation. Three weeks ago we had put hay seed in the ground and it was time to get water to it. What made it a challenge is we hadn't irrigated this corner since we put the pivot in almost 20 years ago. Let's just say this was one giant leap for man, even though it was a small step on the ranch. 

Getting water to the corner was the biggest obstacle. Everything on our little place is pumped, so the challenge lied more in finding the most economical way to pipe it there. Rob in Buffalo came through with 1200' of 6" aluminum pipe as well all the fittings necessary. Super helpful. Thanks man.

We had all the 4" sprinkle pipe. But in order to get the runs we needed we had to cut the ends off of 5 joints.

The 6" hydrants also needed a little doctoring so our openers would fit on them. 

Laying the 6" pipe out was definitely a two man job.

But the 4" was a three man job. Mom drove the ranch truck. 

Simple as that.

Actually words and pictures don't do this project much justice. For years we've been wanting to plant this corner. Watering it was always the challenge. Well, challenge met and challenge conquered. I'm sure there'll be some bugs here and there to work out. But the good news is that the grass and alfalfa seed has already germinated and begun to grow. Hopefully we can nurse it along till it gets established and then start to hay. it. Good irrigation can make a farmer out of anybody. 

Prayer and Fasting

Fasting is necessary throughout the whole year.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Cowboy Ride

Saturday was the kickoff to the branding season. I hate setting the bar so high right out the gate, but that's life. Paul and Seamus Casey invited me up to the Marchant Ranch outside of Aladdin to ride and wrestle. Super fun. Could have done without getting up at 3am though.

Seamus stole the show with his calf whispering skills.

Here must be why they call this area Oak Creek. Scrub oaks are hard to ride through. Pretty common in NE WY. 

Pretty typical round up. Nothing too exciting except for loosing my phone on the prairie. Thanks St. Anthony. 

Hitching post. 

Cody was ready to rope. He put on a good clinic. 

Wrestling calves is more about finesse than brute strength. 

Paul in an acrobatic brander. He can get right down on a calf's level if need be. 

There's just no pretty way to castrate a calf. 

Three amigos

Just Ranchin  

Seamus leaves for the Air Force Academy in a month or so. We'll miss him, but a man's got to follow his heart. Just don't forget where you came from ol' son. Sit tall in the saddle and hold your head up high. God speed. 


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