Monday, May 29, 2023

A Branding to Remember

The day we had all been waiting for finally arrived, Kuhbacher's branding. Memorial Day seems to be the standard date these days. It was perfect weather. We dodged storms left and right, but the Good Lord provided us with a just right day for branding. 

Chief and I went up the night before and camped out. Super beautiful.

We actually both got rested up pretty good.

The posse of cowboys arrived around 7am and circled the wagons to get our marching orders.

Jason sent different groups to different areas of the pasture to gather the some 300 head.

This is definitely horse country. Sometimes these draws get so deep you can't even cross them horseback.

Branding is always a family affair. Terese, Travis, Jason, and Boni lead the way.

Matt and Mark help their bother Jason spot his herd.

You can't trail the way the crow flies around here. You have to follow the cow trails, which may be the long way around. 

Jason has been running a Black Angus and Hereford cross. The result are baldy calves. I like these little buckskin buggers. 

Once gathered, we headed for the trailers.

The final push in the the pen is intense. All hands on deck.

Got em.

Chief was feeling good and was now ready to switch gears to roping. 

But first a breakfast break.

Chief and I were in the first heat of ropers. 

Let's ranch!

Looking good. When its upright, his brand is a lazy U 7. 

Once that bunch was done, we headed on to the next one. 

A good hundred first calves heifers awaited us. 

This location was back at their home place.

Once gathered, they cut out the cows. You always keep two ropers on the outside of the pen in case a calf sneaks by. 

They saved the best ropers for last. 

Wrestlers as well. Sam earned his keep today.

So did Grandpa Jack.

The calves got it all, even pour-on. 

Once we knocked that last bunch out, we headed for home. Sam took Chief. 

Time to feast.

Everybody's favorite part. 

Giddy up!

Can't beat it. I love branding. Nothing smells like freedom more than branding smoke. We can take for granted the opportunities we have around here. But cowboying on Memorial Day brings it all home. Thank God for those who have, and continue to, sacrifice themselves to ensure our freedom. America is proud. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Beaches on the Big Horn.

Part of remodeling Grandpa's old corrals was making good use of the north pen. He ran sheep and draft horses and this 3/4 acre lot was mainly used for them. Well, it didn't fit into to any of our future plans so we decided to turn it into a riding arena. 

One thing about the home place is that it's hilly. The only flat ground around has come from leveling it.

About a year ago we started in. Gerry got in on the dirty work of taking down the old fences and fighting the weeds.

Then we went to moving dirt. 

We took off one of the big hills and used that dirt to fill in the low spots. Some dirt had to be hauled in as well.

Eventually we had it all heading the same direction. From last summer until this spring we picked away at building the fence.

Then it was time for sand. For a task such as this, we turned to Jack Kuhbacher who lent us ol' Glory.

My brother Luke had a pile of refined sand from a gravel pit on his place. So we borrowed his feed loader and got to work. It's amazing how using the right equipment for the job makes it go smooth. Usually we move dirt with a farmhand and grain truck, which are hard on both equipment and driver. 

It took awhile, but eventually I got decent at spreading the sand. 

Then Dad came along and leveled it.

For a final pass we drug around an old tractor tire.

Giddy up.

Mission accomplished. 

The amount of work that went into this project has been extraordinary. But it's paid off. Boys love playing in the dirt and now we have a football field sized sandbox to run around in. I'm looking forward to getting Chief out here and teaching him some new tricks. Special thanks to Dad, Gerry, Jack, Luke, and of course Mom, for all your help in bringing this project to completion. Now let's ride!

Saturday, May 20, 2023


This year's spring blossoms around Campbell County rival that of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I spent four years in college seminary out there and the trees around here reminded me of those days. Beautiful.

I think this is a Flowering Pear tree.

I'm calling this one a Dogwood.

Pretty sure this is a Chokecherry tree. 

People around here are saying this is a once in a 40-50 year event. Arborists in the area even predicted it would be a good tree budding year. The long cold winter and good spring moisture made for a burst of beauty. I bet the late spring helped too, with the trees not having to contend with freezing mornings. Whatever the case, the blooming trees around Campbell County are off the charts beautiful! Thanks Lord.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Dave, Bob, and I

Dave's father-in-law Bob has been wanting to get a tour of the country where our cattle graze. With his time around Gillette winding down, today looked to be the day.

This South Dakota native likes to see new land. Dave's taken him all around Campbell County. Now Bob can say he's been deep into the Black Hills of Wyoming.  

While the boys traveled in style, I got some miles on the brumbies.

Bob held Mollie while I went in search of the critters. 

Sitting in the shade. They seem to be loving life.

Whitey seems to be filling out too. We then took a loop around the rest of the pasture before loading up and heading out.

After a burger and a beer at Devil's tower we headed for home. As always, Chief was glad to get the saddle off his back.

Thanks partner. You're always welcome around this ranch.


Sheep Wagon

Sheep wagons are probably more popular now than they were a hundred years ago. Yesterday they were part and parcel of the western frontier. ...