Friday, October 20, 2023

Fall Break

Holy Mother Church gives priests vacation days for a reason. Their purpose is to refresh us in our natural relationship with God so that we can serve in a supernatural capacity as a priest. Some guys golf, other guys pilgrimage to Europe. I ranch.

On my bucket list was to get our catch pen complete before winter sets in. Mission accomplished. 

Two years ago, Gerry and I took down Grandpa's old stud run. He also had some lambing sheds set up in there. Most recently it hadn't been used for much more then catching weeds. 

Couldn't have picked a better week to be home. The fall weather was beautiful. 

If you want to have a good day of ranching you have to get started on the right foot. Thanks Mom.

Dad and I had set these posts back in the spring. 

Because this is going to be a working pen we put a top rail all around it. 2 7/8" pipe. 

One of my main missions in life is to help people avoid the near occasion of sins, including cows. We built this corral to be 5.5' tall. The idea is to not even give a cow a chance to think she can jump. Cattle just work smoother when they can't get their chin over the top or their nose under the bottom of the fence. After we had the top rail tacked on we welded the panels in the middle. The bottom rail is 6" off the ground. 

Next came the gates. I had been wondering how to go about this for a while. Uncle Chris to the rescue. We traded some 2 3/8" tubing for this 2" pipe. 2" is sweet, but its hard to find. Perfect size for gates. Thanks man,

Anytime you are framing up a rectangle, it's always good to pull a diagonal. Helps insure everything stays square. 

Didn't know for sure what to put in the middle. Was thinking sucker rod, but we don't have enough around the farm. God provides. This old 1" pipe came off of Grandpa's round pen. He had cable running through it. These gates are a great place to use this pipe. 

That pipe was pretty bent up. But we just put the bend running side to side and you'd never know. Gives it a bit of character too. 

The hinges were the biggest uncertainty. Because our mounting posts were 4 1/2" o.d., we couldn't find any pipe to fit over it. So we just got some 4" i.d. black pipe, halved it, and pounded it over the 4 1/2". Then took a smaller sledge and pinged it all round making sure the stretch would stay. 

Worked slick. I was concerned about what 14' of leverage would do to a free standing mounting post. But we used drill stem and set it in concrete. Didn't budge. 

Once she was all closed in, we hauled out our stash of 2 7/8" and back drug the pen. 

Looking good. Now the ranch is back to being able to hold a critter. 

Life is good. 

I never feel more at home then when I am home. I love the priesthood and my ministry at the parish. But it stems from the fact that I'm first a son. To be a good father you have to be a good son, which means spending time with God the Father on a natural level. By staying renewed in this relationship, we are able to serve well in our vocations. Sonship is the secret of life. Live out of it and you'll never have a bad day. On to the next one.


  1. Is that a vintage International Scout I see in there?

    1. Yep. 1975 IH Scout. Dad got that about 8 years ago and he fixed it up and painted it. Runs good, but a lumber wagon to drive.


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