Thursday, August 31, 2023

Dog Days

With the dog days of summer upon us it’s been hard to find anything exciting to do. Fixing this old gate for Colleen Caulk is about as fun as it gets anymore.

Her son Jim is in town doing some home repairs. Colleen houses my horses for the winter so I wanted to pitch in where I could. 

The gate was just sagging, so I set out to rehang it. 

Lag bolts were my fastener of choice. 

A few bolts in the other side of the hinge and we were set. 

They plan to paint the fence too, so fixing the broken board was also in order. 

Back in action. 

I’m always happy to help reset a gate. Sagging gates are my pet peeve. I was also thankful to find something constructive to do during these hot, end of summer days. On to the next one. 

Live Like you were Dying

See death as the goal of life.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Cow Heart

I don't get too exotic on eating the innards of a cow, but I do enjoy a good cow heart. It's actually not too wild.  A heart is just another muscle. The main difference between it and any other muscle is that a heart never gets to stop.

No messing around here. The heart of a cow is close to 10" in length.

I'll usually clean it up at the sink and then split it. It's cool to see the different chambers. 

For cooking purposes I usually cut them into 3/8" slices. The fat is also not that great so I'll trim most of it off.

You can cook it a bunch of different ways. Breading is very common and very good. I find just seasoning the heck out of it to be real good as well. 

Then just throw them on the grill. 

Muy Bien! 

Back when I was ranching we ate heart quite a bit. I enjoyed it then and still do today. If I were to describe the texture, I would call it dense. A heart never gets to rest. Always is it pumping blood to the rest of the body. Therefore, it is pure muscle. If you ever get the chance, give cow heart a whirl. Not only does it make a good meal, it also makes you appreciate the beauty of bovine anatomy. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Radiator Ranch

After 11 years of service, ole White Horse decided to spring a radiator leak. I nursed her along until I final had a minute to tackle this project. 

One thing I’ve always liked about this truck is her simplicity. She’s right on the cusp of all the crazy car gadgets. With that in mind, I feel confident to take on most any repair. 

So I borrowed Dave’s shop and pulled out my trusty tool set that I put together in high school, and got to work. 

All the plastic on these rigs can be intimidating, but the more you remove you realize that they still have the basic components of a truck. 

Certain things are new and challenging, like these oil cooler lines. 

But after a little investigation, they just have an e-clip that holds them in. 

Eventually we got to the point of unbolting the radiator and pulling it out. 

Here’s the problem. Where the aluminum core attaches to the plastic reservoir is a common place to start leaking.  

Looking good. If I don’t go with OEM parts then I choose Napa. 

While we’re this deep I decided to change the thermostat as well. 

And the hoses too. 

Going back together usually takes a bit more effort. 

Here’s a trick Mr. Reachard taught me in shop class: don’t start adding 50/50 coolant right away. Because I’ve been adding water to the truck for the past couple weeks, the block was all water. Knowing that this is around a four gallon system, I first added two gallons of straight concentrate. Then topped it off with 50/50 so we retained a strong coolant ratio. 

Back in black. 

I enjoy mechanicing. Some guys’ minds just work that way and I guess mine’s one of them. But I’d also rather do things myself if I’m able too. Saves a bit of cash and gives me a chance to sharpen some old skills. This radiator project came just in time as things are heating up. Now we can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. On to the next one!

Friday, August 11, 2023

Buffalo Boys

My buddy Kelly signed on to the Durham Ranch not long ago. Buffalo aren't the same as cattle, but they still require the same cowboy skills. Wanting to see this country on horse back, I met him down in Wright to go check on the critters and ride the fence. 

Our mutual friend John Flocchini and family are the owner/operators of this premier bison ranch. 

With them being down a hand they called in Kelly for reinforcements. 

The 55k acre ranch is divided into 85 pastures. They practice holistic grazing, so they are only in a given lot for about a week. The red pasture is where they are now, and the outlined lot is where they will be moving to next. 

Before we could ride we had to go check on the herd and throw them a bit of cake, which gives them a boost durning breeding season. 

Every lot they go to they drag this mineral feeder around. It houses about 16 different minerals. Bison self-regulate. Somehow they know what mineral they need and go right to it, not taking more than they need.

The herd looks good. Counting calves, yearlings, moms, and bulls, the bunch is about 3k head. 

Don't pet the buffalo!

Then it was time to ride. No horsing around, this was a full gear day: spurs, chaps and gloves. 

I put together a new bridle and bit for Mollie. 

I like these solid bits with a little back piece that puts pressure on the roof of their mouth when you pull straight back. It helps them collect and stop well. 

It took a little introduction, but Mollie responded great.

Kelly and Chief led the way.

So beautiful back here. You can see the Pumpkin Buttes in the background.

These interior fences are mainly electric. This pasture hasn't been grazed in about a year, so there were some basic tending to be done like closing the gates. 

It's been a great year for grass. The ranch averages about 10" of moisture a year. With their grazing program they are able to maximize the grass. Looks pretty good for August in Wyoming. 

Just another day at the office. 

Cheeseburger in paradise. 

Living the dream. There is something nostalgic about a buffalo ranch. It takes you back to a time when there were no fences and the animals roamed freely. Progress is what it is, but ranches like the Durham Ranch do their best to imitate the natural ways of grazing. The proof is not only in the grass, but also in the bison. Both look quite healthy. But they wouldn't without the hard work of the hands. Kelly may be low man on the totem pole, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone more loyal and dedicated to the brand. He's a cowboy at heart, even if he works on a buffalo ranch. Keep up the Good work, pard. 


Sunday, August 6, 2023

Spool Time

What does a lineman tell a girl after their first date? Okonite. Joe's as corny as he is cool. Being in need of some deck furniture, Joe Orban was the first guy I called. 

Working for the city of Gillette on their power division, Joe had access to the spool of our choice. 

We both felt this was the one. Standing 3' tall on end, she is almost 5' in diameter. 

We thought the leftover cedar planks from the siding would make a nice table top. 

I tightened up the bolts that hold it together, then trimmed down the bottom side. 

Then got to cleaning up planks. 

Nothing an air-nailer and saws-all can't handle.


Then got some tall chairs that were on sale. They fit it well. Special thanks to my other friend Joe Madonia in Texas for his support of this project. These chairs are for you!

Our Blessed Mother approves. 

I'm all about re-purposing. No sense in letting a good spool go to waste. It fits great in our outdoor cabin. Just in time to enjoy the rest of the summer. Thanks Joe. 

Brace Post

If you want to build a good fence, you have to start with a good brace post. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the effort you put in y...