Sunday, April 28, 2024

Scrambled Eggs

I'm an egg guy. Fried, soft, or scrambled, it's all good to me. Scrambling is probably the easiest, especially if you're camp cook at our annual ranch retreat. It's simple, clean, and you can feed an army.


Most people crack the eggs into a bowl and whip them up first. That works. But I like to just crack the egg right into the pan and slowly mingle the whites and yokes. 


Here's a new and nifty way to crack an egg. 


My buddy Josh sent it to me. 


Just wack the center of the egg on the pointed protruding edge. 


And bam! Perfectly cracked egg. I'm impressed. Cuts clean, right through the inner egg membrane, and leaves hardly any egg white on the cracker. Thanks Josh!


Then just unload them right into a heated, non stick pan. Oh yeah, for best results use farm fresh Flocchini eggs. 


Just let them slowly cook, without breaking the yokes yet. As the whites get white, just stir them around so they cook evenly.


In the meantime, chop up some of last night's buffalo burger.


As the whites get cooked, start to break the yokes and get them cooking. The idea is not to just mix the whites and yokes together, but let them cook separately. This makes for a more colorful batch of eggs, and better tasting too. 


Well before its fully cooked, add your buffalo burger so it can get warmed up. Good time to add some seasoning as well. 


Looks done to me. Don't over cook them. I'd rather them a little snotty than rubbery. 


Come and get it!


Now that's fine dining. 

Delicious. Can't beat home grown eggs and bison. Makes for a pretty tasty breakfast. There is more than one way to cook an egg. But when you need to feed the men, scrambling is the quickest way to go. Special thanks to John Flocchini for hosting our men's retreat and providing the food. Paved the way for a real encounter with our Providential Father. Keep up the Good work, pal. On to the next one!

Grafted

Through our baptism we have been grafted onto Jesus. Now His grace runs through our veins. 




Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bridle Repair

About the only memory I have a getting yelled at as a kid was for tying a horse up hard. To this day I know I shouldn't, but I still do. But if I don't they are just going to get loose and walk on their reins. Blasted! 


Well, I got bit again. I double wrapped up Chief recently, and he pulled back and broke my headstall. Fortunately, I tied him to something stout. I have the good sense never to tie a horse to a panel are something that could pull loose if they spook. That's a wreck waiting to happen.  


So I set out to fix my bridle. The original side strap was one piece that connected the bit and ran back around.


With enough leather to play with, I figured I'd just extend it a couple holes. 


And sandwich it in the middle of this loop. 


Needle nose pliers are a must when working with leather. Guess that's why they call them a Leatherman.


After I marked the placement of the holes, I punched them with a leather-punch. They are a must-have in any tack shed. Just rotate the cylinder until you find the right sized punch, and press it through. Once you have it through, twist your tool back and forth to finish the cut. Make sure and go big enough. Nothing worse then breaking the only leather strap you have trying to pull it through a hole that's too small. 


Then I just fed it through the three parts. 


And put a good square knot on it. To do so, make sure each end is on the right side of the other and heading back out the direction it initially came in. Should be square if so. 


Dropped a couple holes and we're back in business. 


Ready to ride!

Paul calls this my barrel racing bridle. I call it my roping reins. When I'm swinging a lariat, the last thing I need is a set of two-piece reins to hold onto. My hands are full enough. This fix is just one more thing to check off the list of being branding prepared. I don't know if I learned my lesson or not. I struggle knowing how best to tie a horse up with a bridle. If I don't have a halter, I'll usually just hobble him if he's going to be standing awhile. I suppose the right thing to do is teach your horse not to pull back. It's all good. Thanks be to God for leather. It's willing to give if the pressure gets too high. If not, we'd all have a lot more war stories. On to the next one. 


Together at Last

What's the saying, two's company, three's a crowd. The same goes with horses. Introducing a new horse into the herd needs to be done with caution. Especially when you are going from two to three. With two, it can be easy for them to gang up on one. Knowing my critters, I didn't want to rush the issue. 


We wanted to make sure Red was good and halter broke before we started the processes. Then if something went south, we at least had a chance to get ahold of him. Having them across the fence from each other for the past month really eased the process. 


Before we ever kicked a horse in with him, we walked Red around the permitter of the corral so he had his bearings. Then we kicked just Mollie in with him for a day. Being a mare she can really stir the pot with other horses. But she has been spayed, so she doesn't seem have as much effect on geldings as other mares do. They got along just fine. 


Then we kicked her out. 


And put Chief in. He is actually the chief of the herd. He pushes Mollie around and made known, right away, to Red who was boss. But with a corral this size, Red had plenty of room to run if need be. Most horses aren't out right mean to others, they just want to make sure everyone knows who's boss. 


Content. 

Red is definitely low man on the totem pole. But they are all going to get along just fine. I'm actually glad to have three horses around. Now if I take Chief out for brandings, Mollie can just hang tight with Red. All is good. We've been bending and sending him, and doing other forms of ground work. The saddle is really not too far away. We'll just have to see what time allows for. However, now that they are all together, there's no rush. 

Sandbox

Jesus is THE means to THE end, which is the Father. 



 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Spring Training

As a kid I can remember Dad starting to wear his cowboy hat about a week before our annual 4th of July branding. Fond memory for me, but I'm sure it helped get his mind heading in the right direction. These days, brandings happen sooner in the spring, but the same preparation is necessary. 


To help me get in the game, I picked up a new straw hat. 


People often ask me what my hat of choice is. Any more, I'm a palm leaf guy. Durable, light, and weather nicely over time. Atwood makes the best palm leafs that I've found. They also have a real classy look to them. I pretty much stick to the cattleman's crease. 


Along with mental prep, comes polishing up your roping skills. Fr. Zane shot me these pics of practicing his loops over in Winner SD. He's got a nice fold up practice dummy that allows him to throw head and heal loops. A loop like that will catch a calf all day long. 


He's also a bit of a trickster. Not sure what you call this bad boy, but by draping your loop over a calf's hip you keep the trap door open. Well done. Looks like he had some help from Hank. 


Me on the other hand, I practice on my pickup. White Horse's mirrors make a nice target as I'm preparing for my next homily. 


One of the more useful pieces of advice I gotten in roping world is, your loop does what your hand did. Meaning, if you want to throw a flat loop, be intentional that your follow-through is flat as well. 


If you want to land a vertical heel shot, force your hand to do the same. 


Game changer. 

I'm about 9/10 on my mirror and about 1/20 on my mudflap. The curb and exhaust pipe don't help my odds, but ain't no shot in the branding pen without its obstacles. (Sorry for the cowboy lingo Mom, but this is serious business). A cowboy has to be ready. You never know when you're going to get the call to grab your horse and rope and enter the ring. When that time comes, you don't want to disappoint. The future of your cowboy career lies in your performance in the pen. You don't have to be in there long. But in the time you get, make darn sure every loop counts. Let the brandings begin!

Just Sayin'

 We are all co-laborers in the vineyard. 




Saturday, April 20, 2024

Big Gun

Sooner or later it's gonna get hot and we're going to need to irrigate. For the past two years we have been watering our little 2 acre corner of alfalfa with hand-line that we just left in the field until it's time for cutting. Well, when that time came around, that pipe was so lodged to the ground with intertwined alfalfa, that it was next to impossible to pull up. Not being a guy who gives up easy, I started to look into big guns. 


This bad boy is a Komet Twin 202. With the right pressure, she can push water as far as 300'. All we had to do is build her a stand. 


Here, a Silver Bullet stands next to her to give you a size her magnitude. The crew at J&E Irrigation in Basin, said we could give it a try this summer and if by fall we don't like it, they'll take it back. If we do, we'll buy it. Sounded worth a go. 


So we dug out some parts and pieces from the North 40 to build us a tripod stand. We used to have risers running up the middle of our field for a wheel-line that Grandpa had. When we put the pivot in, we cut them off. This 90 was the last of the line, and looked to have potential as a transition from carrier line to sprinkler. 


For legs, we used some other old risers and nipped them off at a 45. 


Then cut some flanges out of this rusty 5/16" plate to mate the sprinkler and the main line. 


To give the sprinkler free-flow, we blew the valve part out of the riser. 


And ground it down so we could weld it good. Galvanized steel can be welded, but it's best to grind that coating off. It'll make a better weld and it will keep you from breathing in that bad smoke that welding over galvanized puts off. 


We first capped the 6" inlet and welded a 4" collar to it. Once you start welding pressured pipe fittings, start and stop as little as possible. 


Then welded the flange where the sprinkler will bolt to it. Just gotta watch getting a weld too close to your bolt holes. 


Then welded the three legs onto the pipe upright. Tripods are cool, they'll set flat on level and un-level ground. 


This gun is likely going to have some kickback to it with upwards of 50psi. So we welded these old drill stem collars onto it. I bet they push 100lbs a piece. Shouldn't go anywhere. 


To attach to our carrier line, we have a 4" hose that will allow us to move the stand around a bit. On one end we welded on a bell that will plug into the pipe. If that doesn't work in the long run, I think we can cut it off and still save the threads on this 4" fitting that wasn't cheap. 


The other end of the hose we attached to the tripod. Pipe dope is a must. 


Then wrenched her down with a 36".


Once the welding was done, we threw her in the back of White Horse and headed for the field. 


We basically have a triangle plot that we are working with. We figured in the middle of the arch would be our best chance of coverage. Once in position, we ran a 4" carrier line to it from our main line. 


Then bolted the sprinkler down with a gasket under it. 


Outfitted it with a gage and plugged it in. 


Let 'er buck! Operates very smoothly as it oscillates side to side. 30psi is not far from what we expected. However, Dad has a new pump he plans to install this spring to give more pressure to the whole place. He expects a 20psi increase. 


Until then, not bad. She shoots a solid 120'. If nothing else, it'll be a good sprinkler to run through on a hot July day. 

I'm encouraged. If you don't grow something good on barren ground, you'll grow weeds. Around the Big Horn Basin, irrigation in not optional. However, how you choose to irrigate is. This big gun is this year's sprinkler of choice. I bet with more pressure we'll reach out to 200'. If so, it'll all be worth it. 

Mother of the Church

 Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!            https://youtu.be/uY7s9p3zifk