Friday, June 30, 2023

Oatmeal

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Though I like to mix it up on special occasions, oatmeal is my standard breakfast of choice. I learned this art in seminary. Bacon and eggs are great when you're out fixing fence. But for intellectual and spiritual endeavors, oatmeal will carry you until lunch. 


I'm not an instant oatmeal guy. Give me the 100% whole grain oats. It's also got to be Quaker. 


I start with a cup and half or so. I like these blue and white bowls because they remind me of Mother Teresa's habit. 


Fill it up with water 1/8" or so above the oats. Then stick it in the microwave for around 1:45 minutes. 


By this time your coffee has already been on. But this is a good opportunity to give a plug to my friends in Pennsylvania for sending me some local grounds. Good joe! 


I like to keep the oats cooking until they start to well up in the bowl. Then they're ready. 


Here's the kicker: a spoon full of peanut butter. Oatmeal by itself is hard to choke down. But adding a little pb gives it some texture and taste. It also makes for a complex protein, which sticks to your ribs. 


Breakfast for champions. 

I can see why horses like oats. They may not taste so good, but they sure do get you through the morning. Oatmeal is my standard issue breakfast. The only other way to top off this meal is with a phone conversation with Grandma, which happens once a week. If you want to have a good day, you better get started on the right foot. Breakfast is key. I've tried this and that over the years. But in the end, oatmeal is a surefire way to keep your belly burning until lunchtime.  

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Fixing Fence

With a little window of opportunity, Kelly and I grabbed the horses and headed for the Hills. The mission: fix some fence and push the cows into Joe's mountain pasture. 


This corner was the main problem. The wild game had a thoroughfare going through here. 


So we outfitted the horses with supplies and went to work


You can't get a lot of fencing done off a horse. But when the terrain is tough, they are the vehicle of choice. 


Kelly's old-hand at patching fence. 


Occasionally a guy will come across a wire that just needs tightened. If there's enough slack, a stretcher splice will do the trick. 


Just pull it tight, cut the wires, and loop them together. More often than not though, you come up short on wire. Best to choose your battles wisely. 


Clipping wire to T-posts is a common occurrence. They make it pretty handy anymore. Just grab the clip with your pliers.


And give it a twist. Boy, the sweet clover is thick this year. 


Stapling wires back up is standard issue as well. 


Looks good to me.


After the fencing fixing escapade, we set off to push the cows.


Our fly tags seem to be working. Anymore, the cows are grazing out in the open and not shaded up under the trees. 


Through the gate and up to water. Enjoy the mountain, girls. 


The horses deserved a drink.


And the cowboys as well. 

Life is good. Men of the cloth don't get many breaks. But when we do, we take advantage of them. Some guys golf. I like to cowboy. Can't beat it with a stick. Cows are happy and we're on to the next one!










Sunday, June 25, 2023

Out and About

You have to take advantage of the summers in Wyoming because they don't last long. Today the clouds parted and it was so beautiful that I had to get out and about. Soon the temps will be hot enough that we'll be looking for shade. So, with a break in between my morning and evening Masses, I grabbed the horses and headed for John's ranch north of Wright. 


There's a cool ridge line that parallels Hwy 59 that I wanted to check out.


Crazy little rock formations up there. 


My trusty steed Mollie took me everywhere I wanted to go. 


Down below there are some free flowing springs that never run dry. 


There's also plenty of sandy banks that the buffalo like to scratch their backs on. 


And of course, a Wyoming state forest. 

Tough to beat a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. The weather was ideal. One never knows what tomorrow might bring so you better take advantage of today. It's days like today that make up for the the long cold winters. On to the next one...


Omnipresent

God is reality. 




Friday, June 23, 2023

Mom's Garden

I've never known Mom not to have a garden. She loves it and we love the produce. But gardens take work. Mom works at the growing and Dad and I keep things maintained. 


We set this garden plot up 20 years ago when Mom and Dad moved out to Grandma and Grandpa's place. It's tough to grow things on the hill with the wind and the rocks, but Mom makes do. 


The winter was tough on it and the fence just needed rebuilt. 


So Dad and I took some panels from Grandpa's corrals and fit them for the fence.


Should be high enough to keep most critters out. It's kind of fun to see Grandpa's old paint still hanging on.


Mom starts a lot of produce in her greenhouse. That's another component of gardening that Dad and I get to maintain.


But it's all worth it. These raised beds were made from some old feed bunks out back. Beats working on your hands and knees.


Mom started these tomatoes from seed. 


I can't wait till these cucumbers are ready.


Happy days.

All are welcome in Mom's garden, as long as you're in a good mood. Gardening is a labor of love to the finest degree. If not, they don't exist. Dirt is good for the soul. Not only do seeds germinate in the soil, but so do ideas. The dirtier your hands get the clearer your mind becomes. Guess that's just the way God intended it. Keep on gardening in a free world, Mom. Your boys appreciate it. 


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Conscience

CCC 1776: His conscience is a man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose vice echoes in his depths. 




Sunday, June 18, 2023

Ranchin' Around

It's been a prolific spring on the Durham Ranch. Calves and grass abound. Having a buddy in town who has a love for buffalo, we set up a tour with my friend and ranch head honcho John Flocchini. 


There's pushing 800 calves on the ground on this 55k acre ranch north of Wright. 


Fr. Alan Bower is a priest for the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida and is currently working with Cross Catholic Outreach, an international charitable organization. He celebrated the morning Masses in Gillette and then ran down to Wright with me in the afternoon. 


John is always a gracious tour guide. 


The buffalo are neat, but John's always interested in the terrain. Their grazing program mirrors the days when the Bison ran free. They're only in this pasture for 3-4 days before moving on, and won't be back here for another 400 days or so. 


Part of this intensive grazing is the Buff's hooves stirring up the dirt, so when a bit of rain comes it soaks right in. 


The calves are a good month old by now and all the adults are shedding their winter coats. 


Their wool rolls around the prairie and gets picked up by mice and birds for nests. 


With a wet spring, the cactus is in good bloom.


The Lupine is looking good too.


To top it off, John sent us home with some homegrown top sirloin Bison steaks. Fr. Alan sure enjoyed it. I stuck to the beef. 

It's always fun to get to know brother priests. Fr. Alan has a good heart and a joyful disposition, two fine characteristics in a man of the cloth. Keep up the good work, Padre. The world needs more holy priests! 


Authority

True fatherly authority only comes from being in relationship with God the Father as His beloved sons. 




Friday, June 16, 2023

Cattlemen

The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reveals that God loves us with a human heart. With that in mind, Kelly and I set off to glorify the Lord with our lives. No better way to do that than by chasing cows. 


Kelly's my right hand man. Whether it's on the Altar or in the pasture, he's always one step ahead of me. 


Today was redemption day. The last horse Kelly was on broke four of his ribs. The only way to heal after something like that is to saddle back up. 


It was time to pull our critters out of John's place. He has some other cows coming in so we decided to get while the getting was good. Of course we found the girls hiding in the trees.


Getting them all going in the right direction was a bit of a chore. 


As well as finding a place to bring them down that's not rim-rocked.


Giddy up. 


Well done. 


A good fence is worth 10 cowboys. 



Good ride cowboy. 


Once in the corral we loaded them up in Paddy Wagon. I always wondered if you could fit five cows in the back half of her. Guess so. 


We weren't done though. I wanted to put some fly tags in their ears. John didn't have a squeeze chute so we borrowed the neighbor's. 


Got er' done. 


It was a trick loading them back up again. And to top it off, we had to chain up to get out of there. Any time I can put iron on my tires I'm a happy camper.


Then we unloaded them at Joe's place where they'll spend the rest of the summer. 


But before we kicked them loose we rode the fence. 


This was a cute little find. You can almost step right over these fawns without them moving. Pretty obedient to mom, I'd say. 


Good luck girls. Don't eat it all in one day.


Muy Bien. 

I love chasing cows. And when it's with a good buddy, all the better. I've been around a lot of cowboys, but not as many cattlemen. A good cattleman thinks like a cow. He makes going where he wants them to go their idea. Kelly and I are cattlemen in progress. But what fun is it to be a finished product? Life's about the journey as much as the destination. Jesus not only leads us home to Heaven, He also teaches us how to enjoy life in the process. Thanks Lord for a good day. We're on to the next one! 


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