Saturday, March 1, 2014

Remembering, the Yukon and wolves.

Bird and Gabe trailing to P Creek
Winter is hanging on. Snow and thaw, snow and thaw, right through February and into March. Mike and Gabe took advantage of a few colder and dryer days to finally gather and trail cattle up to Pumpkin Creek.  Most of the herd will stay at Pumpkin Creek for about a month, but Mike is keeping the yearlings closer to the river for now.

Crossing onto Rye Bench - Mid February

It seems the storms are just rolling in one after another. One night when our water line froze (again), I found myself alone in the dark, up the draw. It had snowed all afternoon and evening and snow was still falling steadily. In the still night air, I could hear the flakes whispering past and rustling where they brushed against my hat and coat. Heavy clouds blotted out the full moon and filled the canyon with thick grey light.  As I waited for Mike to bring the tools, I thought of the wolves now ranging the canyon, what it might be like to look up and see one threading the slope across from me. It made me think of the Yukon and the wolves that lingered nearby in the night, their fluid shapes in the trees, their eyes watching us watching them from inside our cabin.

Another snow storm.  
Yay, we can finally see the ridge top! 
Love the new Valentine's Day Stove! 
Valentine's Day brought the long-awaited arrival of our new wood stove. The four 'Valentinos', Zeke, Tommy, Gabe and Mike worked their magic on the stove delivery, (450 pounds of cast iron). Dawson and Weston provided the entertainment. Dawson by reporting on diagrams from the very large,  Encyclopedia of the World of Animals,  "Guys! Guys! See first it was like this, and then like this, and then like this! Guys! Guys, look..."  And Weston, by finding paper and sticks, trying to lay a fire in the new stove before we even had it off the pallet.

When warm days melt the snow between storms, we welcome the signs of spring, green annuals, swelling tree buds, birds returning. Mike and I drove up Horse Creek to check on the cows and I admired the remains of the Honeymoon Cabin, where Sam and Laura Loftus once lived. 

Honeymoon cabin up Horse Creek

Laura said she cried every day for a week after arriving on horseback as a newlywed. A Texas belle, she shared meals with the cowboys whose cabin stood a few feet from hers, linked by a dog trot. Not a lot of privacy. Today, the wide hewn logs of one cabin are still mostly standing, while the other collapses gently into the soil. In another decade, I wonder who will look for the Honeymoon cabin, or remember the people who once lived there.

Two cabins, dog trot in the middle

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef