Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Mystery to be Explored

 A problem you conquer and move on. A mystery, like the Trinity, you jump in and experience. 

Mill Iron C

One thing I love about ranching is that everybody's operation is tailored for their particular needs and situations. No two ranches look alike. Ernie and I were blessed to experience yet another well oiled machine on Don Kinstetter's place north of Moorcroft.

The night before, they gather the 300 pairs in preparation for the day break branding.

Once the calves are separated they are run down the alleyway...

through the tub...

into the hands of the Johnson brothers...

then Anthony pushes them onto the calf table...

where they are flipped, vaccinated, branded, and castrated if need be.

Even though we walked through 300 head in about 4 hrs, Ernie still felt the need to tell Greg how they used to do it in North Dakota. 

It's an honor when you get asked to put on another man's brand.

Ranchin ain't just for cowboys. Cowgirls are welcome too. 

And then the feast... Don Kinstetter does all things well. That is except for his meat - a cool 130 degrees. Not well done partner.

Another day of fun on the Wyoming prairies. One thing that kept this fire stoked was job rotation. Everybody milled around and no one got over worked. That being said, I still feel I earned my dinner as well as the siesta that followed. On to the next one...

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Ranch Hard. Be Happy.

Dad had been chomping at the bit to get up here and do some ranchin. Which, worked out well for me because I was ready to put a ride on Mollie. So to kill two birds with one stone we grabbed the horses and a few cows and headed for Hulett. 

Yee Haw! Green grass! 4 more cows on Raney's which caps us at a total of 8.

Paul and I had gotten on Mollie in the round pen. But this was her first day on the open range.

She did real well considering. We had a few episodes of Monte Walsh, but worked through them. In the end, I was pleased. She's still got some rough edges to polish, but that will come in time.

Alls well that ends well.

I love it. With the conclusion of the Easter season and Memorial Weekend upon us, I feel like summer is finally here. Dad and the caballos are ready to ride. Hang on to your hat, 2021's gonna be a fun one. Ranch Hard. Be Happy.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Mother of the Church

So providential that we celebrate Our Lady, Mother of the Church, the day after Pentecost. She is the way forward.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

LB Cattle Company Day

The day finally arrived, Cattle Company Day. When the dust settled we ended up with 12 Catholic Cows: 2 from Douglas, 2 from the 9 Iron in Worland, 1 from Kuhbachers, 2 from Tweedy's, and 5 from Geis Brothers. With them being brand inspected and transferred into Lungren Brothers, it was time to put on our brand, ear tag them, and haul a few to pasture.  

When you only run 12 cows, you have to squeeze all the fun you can out of them. So I called my trusty sidekick Kurt and went full on ranch with two horses.

We also brought out the varsity crew, Gerry on the chute, Gwen keeping them coming, and little man calling the shots.

White tags seem to be fitting. Picking up where we left off last year, this year's herd ended in 42.

Shoulder brands are not ideal in a chute, but Kurt navigated the irons well.

When it was all said and done, Mickey graded the day. Kurt got All Around Cowboy for wearing chinks and hat. Gerry got Top Hand for not missing a cow in the head catch. And Gwen got Best Smile.

The day wasn't over though. Kurt had some important business to tend to in the afternoon. So I grabbed Ernie and we headed for Hulett. 

Ernie got a head count as we turned them loose, 4. 

Joe Gantz's heifers were happy to see the new girls. Chief thinks they'll get along just fine.

So it begins. The grass is coming on strong, though we continue to pray for rain. I'm excited for the summer grazing. The plan is to haul four more up there next week and then three others to Beaver Creek the following week. This Black Hills grass will make for some tasty beef. Thanks be to God for Wyoming following the Food Freedom Act which allows a producer to get beef into the hands of good folks without state intervention.

Uncle Joe

The happiest day of my life may have been my high school graduation. But the greatest day of my life was the following Sunday when I choose to go to Mass. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Catholic Double Header

It is no coincidence that today is Ascension Thursday and Our Lady of Fatima. Be like the disciples who waited for the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room with Mary.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Gotta Love It

Dad and I joke that everyone is 21 in the branding pen. I think it holds water. Whether you're young or old, everyone puts forth like they were in the prime of youth. So fun. This Saturday kicked off my favorite time of year, branding season. Sally Craig invited me down to the family ranch in Shawnee WY, near Douglas. So Chief and I hit the trail. God bless the American cowboy.

Chris Rankin gets this party started.

My task was wrestling. Jake and I made a pretty good team.

But I also learned a lot from Bella Reed. Just stay calm and cool Fr. Bryce. 

Your future is beautiful Bella. Always sit tall in the saddle. 

Another well job done. Joe Rankin thanks God for a good start to the year as he counts his kids out the gate.

I may act 21, but after a day of branding 300 head, I feel my age. There's nothing funner than spending yourself for a good cause, like feeding America. The American cowboy keeps hope alive. It ain't easy. But you gotta love it. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Acts of the Apostles

 Want a good read? Read the Acts of the Apostles. 

Out and About

The first Wednesday of the month took Chief and I up to Hulett to check on the flock and celebrate Mass. We figured while we were up in those parts we'd ride fence on Joe's place.

It was good to get the racks out and Chief was happy to jump in and go.

However, we ran into this green eyed monster on the way and I didn't want to drag him through that. The drawbacks of stock racks...

So we ducked into Tom's place in Carlile and borrowed his trailer. Martha was happy to see us as we pulled up on location. 

I love fixing fence. ‘Specially when it ain’t broke. 

The herd is settled now, 12 heiferettes. The going plan is to put the three lightweights on Joe's place and run the other 8, minus one that we'll harvest before we leave town, on the Raney Ranch. Life is good. All thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Ongoing Formation

 Discipleship is an ongoing process.

Life is a Picnic. Enjoy It.

John Paul II Catholic School was having their annual Springfest fundraiser. So, with this being the year of St. Joseph, the boys and I decided to chip in by building a picnic table. 

Meet the crew: 6:00 Gunnar, Evan, Carter, Fr. Bryce, Hagen, Jackson, Edward, and Treyton

This wasn't our first rodeo, or mine at least. We built several of these tables for Catholic school fundraisers back in seminary. It first began when my good buddy Fr. Jason Wallace, front and center, commissioned me to build a couple for the house. This was probably the greatest turning point in my priestly formation. Suddenly I knew, that the priest God wanted me to be was the man he created me to be. Just be fully you, in other words. And the rest is history. 

The one word we focused on during this project was potential. I love potential. It's everywhere. We just have to activate it. This lumber has all kinds of potential. But without the work of human hands, in cooperation with God's grace, it might as well be firewood. 

It was all business in the shop.

Carter gave us a lesson on setting screws.

While Evan taught us the art of choosing boards that have character.

We spent about an 1 1/2 hr a week over the past couple months piecing her together. 

Once she was built, the boys dressed up in their Sunday bests to put on the final touch.

Friday, April 30th was the big auction. As it came down to the two highest bidders, we paused the auction to offer to build a second table. Jake and Jana Streitz, Gunnar's family, generously bought the table yet to be built.  

While Daryl & Judy Martinson, Evan's grandparents, bought the completed one and then gave it to his family. L-R: Owen, Dustin, Bella, Heather, and Ol' son.

So Good! Nothing makes a father feel more like a dad than kicking up sawdust with his sons. These kids taught me a lot. And if they learned anything, I hope it's that life has potential. It can be potentially good or potentially bad. We get to choose. God is here to help us reach our full potential in life, but we have to willfully cooperate with His grace. What a fun ride. Life is a picnic. Enjoy it boys!


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