Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bagpipes and Ice on the Imnaha

Half moon in January
Ice flowing in the Imnaha
I drove out to the old timey dance last Saturday night. It seemed kind of ridiculous, travelling 45 miles to play music for the dance, only to drive back to the ranch the next morning.

I couldn't talk Mike into making the trek, but he reminded me that people used to ride six hours to the grange, dance most of the night, ride back home and go to straight to work. I guess that was his way of saying, 'buck-up and enjoy it'.

Playing for dances makes me learn new tunes on the concertina.  Mike helped me practice two new waltzes. Dark Island and Caledonia. We both like Dark Island a lot. Maybe it reminds us of growing up on Puget Sound.

Roasted veggies on a cold day, Sara and Pete
Mike and I weren't the only musicians at the ranch. Long time friend, Pete, came to help out for a few days and brought his bagpipes.

I was remembering when Pete first started playing bagpipes, about eight years ago. It was pretty awful sounding, but we kept telling him it's great, keep practicing. Now it is an honor to have him play for weddings, funerals and soon we hope, dances. He has a nice small set of pipes that he can play in the living room. He also has big pipes that he played outside in the frosty morning. From the kitchen window, I watched him slowly marching back and forth in the driveway, wearing his red balmoral, the sound of the highland pipes filling the canyon.

Pete and Bird

We're in the middle of weaning, so Mike has been spending all his time on the river. It was nice to have Pete's help trailing the cow herd up to the bench.Calves are doing good. Waiting for Dawson to come down and visit them in the corrals.

Trailing to the bench
With nighttime temperatures in the single digits, the river has been pretty iced over in places. One morning Kodee, Gabe's Labrador retriever, and I were surprised by gunshots from some chukar hunters up in the rims across the river. At the sound of the shotguns, Kodee snapped to attention, sighted the hunters far up on the slope and bolted for the river.

Newt and Crazy Kodee
In spite of me yelling at him, he leaped out onto the ice, broke through into the open channel and was swept down stream as he swam across and then struggled to climb out, breaking ice until his feet touched bottom. He would have high-tailed it up toward the bench if Mike hadn't gotten him stopped with a whistle. He almost swam back across when he realized Mike was calling him. Crazy lab.He finally came across the bridge. Enough swimming for one winter's day.

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef