-Bugsy

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Daily Fruit

Last Day on the Ranch


Monday, Oct 16, 2006 from Hammond, Montana

Tomorrow it’s time to move on once again. And once again it’s kind of hard to leave. This land here is impressive to wake up to every morning.

My nights here have been the best sleep I’ve had on this trip. And most of them include a nap either on the way back in the truck from the ranch, or before or after dinner. Today, for example, was spent exploring some new land, even to Lester. We met up with a couple other ranchers about 30 miles from here at one of their other properties. The goal was to find a path to tracking the cattle almost 30 miles to this section of land. We spent about 20 miles on the fourwheelers looking at the easiest places for the cattle to cross. There’s a lot of thought that goes into. One part of the land is pretty rough, with pines, ridges, canyons, and a lot of stuff that a fourwheeler can’t get through. You obviously want the path to be as straight as possible, but you have to consider the gates that you’ll go through, and then find a pasture for the cattle to rest for a night, since it can’t all be done in one day. And by the way, those 20 miles on a fourwheeler may sound easy. But it’s rough land, cutting around canyons, trying not to flip the ATV when you’re going up steep banks at an angle. And part of it was spent zigzagging behind a cow and her calf to bring them back to the right pasture, where they wandered away from. All in all those 20 miles took a full day.

Technology has done a lot for life on the ranch. Lester was making phone calls from the middle of nowhere (and people say “the middle of nowhere” all the time in the generic sense, but believe me, this was the middle of nowhere), to get information on where his cow and calf was spotted. Lester and Carsten didn’t bring it out today, but they have a GPS unit where they can plot gates to bring the cattle, find landmarks, track distances and routes, and of course what used to be done on horseback is now done on fourwheeler. A lot more ground can be covered than before.

While tracking down the cow and calf this morning Lester and I tracked along some ridges. At one point I got off and stood on the ground and asked myself, “I wonder if anyone has ever stood in this very spot in the existence of human life?” I’m not sure how likely it is, but maybe. There were once lots of homesteaders in the area and of course lots of Native Americans.

My time here has been amazing. I was sad not to be starting classes and school this fall for the first time of my life. Well, the time I’ve spent here has been one big cram session of information about ranching and everything that goes along with it. Looking at education alone in the last few days this has been amazing. And the freedom of living off the land. I had beef, vegetables, milk, and eggs that have all come straight from their property.

My gears are turning fast in my head, but my eyes are shutting down and want sleep. There will surely be more to say on these few days here. Maybe one day I’ll find myself back here, just wanting to work for a while and enjoy the land. As for now I just have to extend how grateful I am to Lester, Reneta, and Carsten for having me and showing me the ropes.

Blog Date Posted: Oct 16, 2006 | 614 words | comments 4 Comments
Comment by dad
From baraga, MI

I can relate Bugsy. ON my antelope hunt last fall we helped a little on the ranch where we hunted. They too were seperating calves from cows for inoculation, but they still use horses. It was really great to see and experience. I've always been a cowboy at heart.

Comment by Mark
From White Bear Lake, MN

Bugsy: I cracked-up when I read your most recent blog. I can just visualize you nodding-off in that ranch truck - you used to do it to me all of the time. It was fun to watch your head "bob" like the bobble-heads in the Jeep Compass ads. Very fitting! Glad you are having such a great time. Keep in touch! Mark

Comment by Kristi Sauer
From Hugo, MN

GPS is pretty darn cool...I bet it is a huge help on a ranch that size!!!

Comment by John Ellenich
From Phoenix, AZ

AHAHAHAH- Brings back memories of drive back from Stone Hinge with you and taking videos of you falling asleep on the bus! Too funny!