Friday, April 29, 2022

Sr. Monica

Sister Monica Suhayda, CSJ and I go way back. As a young deacon I found myself at St. Stephens Mission on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Not sure she knew what to think about this cowboy in clerics, but over time we have become good friends.

Sr. Monica joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden PA in 1946. As an adventurous nun, she came out to St. Stephens in 1974 and has been working among the Native Americans ever since. 

In my three years on the Mission, Sister's most common comment to me was, "What are you doing!!??"

We sure had some fun in the sun. 

Taking strolls around the park with Chief. 

Sr. Monica has always been up for anything. 

Her favorite place to visit in this area is Sinks Canyon. Which makes sense beings she styles herself as having a creation centered spirituality. 

Today was her birthday, so I bought her lunch.

There's some people who's friendship is for life. Sr. Monica is one of those for me. How we get along, I'm not sure. Probably because neither one of us take life too seriously. She has the attitude of Christ. Which allows her to serve people unreservedly, while still remaining a child of God. You continue to be an inspiration Sister. Keep up the Good work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

God is Good

Today we picked up two nice black heifers from Peg and Lee Isenberger. Just so happen Blessed Sacrament in Wright was a good swapping point. Might as well celebrate Mass while we’re at it. 

Lee and Peg generously donated one of the cows to our cause, and the biggest of the two on top of that. That cow weighed in at 1140lbs. What makes this significant is that last month I sold the old John Deere. Trying to be a good steward, I like to tithe. The check I received for the tractor was $11,400. The check I cut to some charities just this morning, prior to our meeting up, at 10% of that was $1140. And on average, I buy cows at a buck a pound. Coincidence? I don’t think so. God can’t be out done in generosity. 


 Let the light of truth dispel the darkness of error.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Spring Storm

Every snow storm I've seen come into this country comes in sideways. It was no different on Saturday. We've been praying for moisture, so we can't complain in which form it comes. This spring storm pretty much shut the town down for the weekend.

Fortunately we're prepared for any weather condition.

The drifts just kept piling up. That was really the biggest obstacle to normal operations. 

Sunday morning had all roads out of Gillette closed. Which grounded me from my normal mission circuit. 

I was, however, able to get out and check on things in the afternoon. Neighbors banded together in digging each other out.

The horses managed pretty well.

Got a little western getting down to the cows though. 

Thier only beef was that they wanted hay. Thanks be to God for windbreaks. They are essential in this country.

Back in business. 

Spring storms can be wild in Campbell County. Ones like this are not uncommon. Anyone who was around remembers the spring storm of 1984. We are all super grateful for the moisture. I'm guessing about 10-12" of snow on the flats and around 1.25" of moisture overall. Hopefully, any calf and lamb casualties we're minimal. Think from here on out will be more specific in our prayer. Lord, please send RAIN. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Mixed Herd

This year’s herd is coming together quite nicely. Not like your typical all black herd though. More like an old school mixed herd. Heck, maybe we should breed them.

I had a buddy bid on some from the sales ring. There we gained another little Hereford, two reds, and two blacks. Then we picked up two more blacks from my brother. 

Luke’s hand Ernesto helped me load. 7 cows was a pretty good haul for White Horse. 1st up, 1st down. 

One big happy family. 

It’ll be fun to see how these girls fill out. They’re all light, so there’s weight to be gained. Thank God it’s raining! On to the next one…

Thursday, April 21, 2022


Springtime in the Big Horn Basin is heavy farming season. And it is no different on the Gooseberry. After moving our pivot sprinkler, one corner that it already missed turned in to about two acres. So decided to plant it with some horse hay.

Many farmers would like to keep the plow out of the ground because of the work it takes to follow them up. But they still do have their place. 

Before we got going this spring, Dad put new shares on the 4 bottom. 

Luke also hauled over some finely fluffed fertilizer. 

Pretty sandy on our place, but our little corner tilled up real nice. 

We even drug a leveler around to make for a nice seed bed. 

Grass/alfalfa is the combination of choice. We mixed it 50/50. Beings everything is under irrigation, the right kind of grass that will regrow for three cuttings is necessary. Orchard grass should fit the bill. 

Uncle Chris let us borrow his drill. 

You know your really a rancher playing farmer when you sow your seed with a farmhand. 

After we drizzled the seed on the ground, we ran around and covered it lightly with a roller harrow. 

Bring it.

We pushed through to get the crop in in time for a storm that's coming through. Hopefully that'll get it started. Next up is getting water to the corner. Where there's a will there's a way. Irrigating is essential in this area, and thank God for it. Man was created to till the soil. And oh how good it feels to do so. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Fr. Javier

One beauty of Catholicism is discovering members of the family I never knew I had. Fr. Javier joined us in Gillette for Holy Week. He was here to help out with the Spanish speaking community so I thought I'd show him a bit of the Catholic Cowboy Way while we were at it.

Originally from Colombia, Fr. Javier Muñoz is a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta Georgia. Not too different from Campbell County. 

In the middle of our spring winter storm I took him up to meet Mollie and Chief. It was love at first sight.  

Throughout the week I taught him the joys of feeding the herd...

Introduced him to the goodness of Maverik Bonfire burritos...

And got him in the middle of Chief. 

After all our fun adventures, we settled down for a Buffalo Burger at Pokey's restaurant. 

In return, he treated me to the movie Father Stu. 

Happy Easter brother.

God puts amazing people in my life, and Fr. Javier is no exception. A cowboy can smell inauthenticity a mile away, and I'm here to tell you that in Fr. Javier there is no duplicity. He is a Catholic priest. And now I also consider him a friend. Keep up the Good work, partner. I know our paths with cross again, though only God knows when. Peace. 

Burial Cloths

The message of Easter is that through death comes life.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Fr. Stu

    In December of 2007 I went to my first ever priestly ordination at the Cathedral of St. Helena in Helena Montana. The two men getting ordained were Eric Gilbaugh and Stuart Long. I had never seen anything like this before. It was like a wedding, the most beautiful wedding I had ever seen. 
    Afterwards I hung around down stairs visiting with folks and wanting to get a priestly blessing. Fr. Stu's line was long and I was probably the last one in it. I told him that a month prior I heard God call me to the priesthood. He encouraged me and blessed me, and that fall I entered the seminary.
    In the years that followed, I like many folks would stop by Blue Sky Nursing Home and visit him. He always encouraged me to keep going. Though he suffered greatly, he remained joyful and super charitable to those who took care of him. I'll be honest, I don't remember a single piece of advice he gave me, but his example spoke volumes to my heart.
    In 2014, I was at the last Easter Vigil Mass he attended. There, I watched Fr. Stu, from his wheelchair, stand behind his Dad as he was received into the Catholic Church. Something inside me said that it was for this moment he had become a priest. At that Mass were workers from the nursing home who also joined the Church. That spring Stu died. 
    His funeral was beautiful and packed. Nothing too remarkable as I recall. Except on the ride to the cemetery, I remember his ordination comrade Fr. Eric saying, I'm not sure where he's at now, but wherever it is, that place is a lot more interesting.
    In 2018 I was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of St. Mary's in Cheyenne Wyoming. Attending that Mass were members of the Helena 4th degree Knights of Columbus council 844 who supported me while in seminary. There, they presented me with a chalice and paten in memory of Fr. Stuart Long.
    Fr. Stu's role in my life didn't seem too influential until I watched the movie Father Stu today. His faith had dirt on it. It was dyed in the blood of suffering. No doubt, his prayers and example helped me to the Altar. My hat goes off to Bishop George Leo Thomas, who took a chance and ordained him to the priesthood.
    I am forever grateful for Fr. Stu's continual encouragement in my priestly vocation. The way he lived his priesthood continues to be inspiring. It was raw and real, to say the least. With little doubt, the Church could use a few more faithful with the perseverance of Fr. Stuart Long. 


Saturday, April 9, 2022


Moving the pivot was easy compared to plumbing it back in. Plan your work and work your plan, though. The wind has been crazy all week, but the Lord gave us one perfect day to get all the work we had to do done. Heck, it was even fun. 

Dad's place is like a mine field. You don't dare plant a potato without calling for a line locate. There was a 2" natural gas line in our way so they wanted to be on site when we crossed it. We ain't scared. 

I think the guy that buried the main line the first time thought we were going to be irrigating in the winter. 3' deep in a field is plenty partner. Once we found it then we could stick with it and find a good place for our new splice. 

I feel like I did most of the shoveling.  

John came over for the important work. We cut the old line and 45'd it to lead to the new pivot point. 

Looks good to me.

Dad brought out his cute dozer for the back filling. 

Alls well that ends well.

Once the power is hooked up and the field is plowed, we'll be ready to plant corn. This was a pretty big project for a few farm boys to tackle. We moved it in our minds first. Then the actual carrying out of the task was no problem. With God, all things are possible. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

So it Begins

With Ernie back in town we can finally get to some serious ranching. My old buddy went south for the winter and things got a bit boring. No better way to catchup than a trip to the sale barn in Buffalo. 

It's not often that a muleskinner and a cowboy get along, but we seem to manage.

The dinner alone was worth the trip.

Herefords! Oh man, I was nervous about bidding on the right thing, but when these two girls crossed the scale I knew it was meant to be. They came off the Sheeley Ranch outside of Ranchester WY. Weighing in at 950lbs they went for $20cwt cheaper than their black counterparts. I love them. Think I'll name them Marg and Jan after Mom and her sister. 

Welcome home girls.

Thanks grandpa for tagging along and manning the gate. It's no fun to ranch solo. How great to start off the year's herd with a couple of Hereford beauties. I smell a good summer on the horizon. 


Whoever listens to my word is my disciple. The word is God's voice.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Girl Power

With summer on it's way, the girls and I decided to build a picnic table to raffle off at this year's school fundraiser. Not sure who learned more, them or I. But we sure did have fun and we definitely got the job done.

This year's crew: Aryanah Miller, Fr. Bryce, Jada Cisneros, Elyse Neph, Alexa Miller, Avery McReynolds.

You have to start somewhere, and if you start square you'll end square. 

Progress is not hard to obtain when you get after it. 

Being an octagon, accurate angles are important. Avery kept us on target. 

We pointed to Jada with all our math questions. 

The first step of building the table top was a breeze.

The undercarriage, which is the most important part, took a bit more time and effort. 

Eventually a table began to emerge. Alexa and Aryanah put on some final touches. 

Elyse made sure we always cleaned up after ourselves. 

This year we chose boiled linseed oil for the top coat. Gives a nice finish and easy to reapply. 

No problem. 

Congratulations to Jada's parents Stacey & Richard Cisneros who were the top bidders. I hope it brings you as much joy as it did us. 

Begin with the end in mind is a good life lesson. Everyday before we began our work we prayed for the family who would receive this table. Such purpose and vision gives drive to our efforts. It also takes the labor out work. This project was a win-win on many levels. I learned a lot about teenage girls and hopefully they learned a bit about carpentry. We had fun and the school raised some money. But most importantly, a nice family got a nice table. 

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...