Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tribulations and Neighborliness

We came off the Zumwalt early this year. Back in June when we turned out, Mike noted that the summer pasture had not recovered from the fall drought and had produced a lot less feed.
Early start at the 400 Acres, Dawson, Gabe, Sara and Wes

Mike had been looking for fall grass for a while before he finally found the Southwick place. This beautiful old homestead is located on the toe slopes of the Wallowa Mountains, too far to trail, which meant we had to haul the cattle in from the summer range, asking for help from friends and neighbors.

Mike and Gabe almost to the corrals

We started our fall gather early in the morning after unloading the horses at McClaran's corrals in the 400 Acres.  At the bottom of the draw, Dawson got off his horse and joined Wes and I at Young's cabin. Wes crawled around the porch while Dawson made friends with some chipmunks.
Dawson and Cammie

Mike located the cows just above us on the ridge and pretty quickly the herd was streaming past the cabin. "There's Betsy!" Dawson yelled, pointing out his big black and white cow. "Hi Betsy!"  


We had the cows to McClaran's corrals in good time, arriving just as the first pick-up and trailer pulled in. Dawson and Wes were happy to see their friends waiting for them.
Cammie, Wes, Callie and Addie
It was great to see the Royes family and Dennis too, and we were thankful for the neighborliness. Buck and Chelsea had planned to help out, but something came up in Troy and they didn't make it to town. One less trailer, meant an extra trip to haul horses in at the end of the day. No big deal.

Gabe and Dennis 

We loaded Dennis' trailer up with cattle and he pulled onto the road. As we began loading the next trailer we noticed Dennis rolling backwards past the corral, his truck making a strange grinding noise. The transmission had locked up. He wasn't going anywhere.

Dawson and James with their "keys and locks"
Luckily, Jill and Tom happened by and offered to help out. Tom turned around and backed up to tow Dennis' broke down truck out of the way. That's when we noticed Tom's truck had a flat.
Dennis, Tom fixing the flat while Jill, Callie and Luke commiserate.

Soon we had Dennis' truck out of the road and Tom hooked up to the trailer. That's when we saw that Dennis' trailer had a cracked hitch. Carefully, carefully, Tom backed the loaded trailer over to the corral and we let the cattle out. Jill and Tom took Dennis and the empty trailer back to Wallowa.

Now we had two trailers less than we planned. Gabe made an extra trip out and back. Mike and I had two extra trips out and back, and we had another flat tire, this one on our trailer. We made our last trip in just as the sun was setting over the Wallowas. We finally rolled into the barnyard about nine and unloaded the horses in the dark. It had turned out to be a very long day.  

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef