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Author Archives: Ladder Ranch

About Ladder Ranch

I am a rancher and writer who lives in Wyoming

Solstice rays

Solstice sunrise gleams,
first rays of dawn portending
shorter days ahead.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2022 in Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Branding Time

McCoy bringing in a calf

 

 

It’s that time of year again. We have lots of baby calves who need vaccines, brands and earmarks before they head up to the Forest with their mothers. We have a great crew this year. Everyone knows how to work together to minimize stress on both cattle and people.

 

calves gathered in the Elephant Corral

Bubba, Tiarnan and McCoy bringing in the calves

Siobhan at the ready

Rhen on the water tank

Bubba and McCoy

branding crew

McCoy and Eamon

 

 

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Pollination

I stand with the bees!
Dandelions’ sweet bounty,
Spring’s ready nectar

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2022 in Animals, Dogs, Musings, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Shearing at Badwater

wooly ewes waiting for the shearers

It’s that time of year again. The shearers have shown up and shearing is underway. Each year it takes a lot of moving parts for fleeces to roll off the sheep and into the big bales. Our shearing crew are contractors who come out of California. We are their last client of the season. This is good because they are not under pressure to move on to the next producer, but nerve-wracking because we want to have the ewes shorn in time to trail to the lambing grounds north of Dixon. Lambing starts around May 10th.

We were fortunate with the weather this year. We had a snowstorm right before we were ready to start. The weather cleared and was warmish and nice for most of the week, allowing us to get through the “main line,” as the wool buyers call the running age ewes. The yearlings were next, followed by a brief, but not killer storm–always a worry for freshly shorn sheep.

Our crew packed up their portable shed–the shearing equivalant of a food truck–and moved to Powder Flat. The early lambers and the rams were there, and soon they too had given up their winter coats. Beulan and Maria the llamas were also shorn, much to their spitting disgust, but they are ready for summer.

wooly ewes with wagons

waiting in the corral

shorn ewes, ready to lamb

Frank and Gramps, son and father, on the job

Modesto and Eamon counting sheep

shorn ewes with birds

Edgar with unshorn llamas at Powder Flat

 

shearer at work

Meghan and Maria

Megan with Beulah

Beulah, freshly shorn

the wool packer baling the fleeces

bales of wool

fleeces in line

 

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Bald Eagle over Ladder Ranch

 

Bald Eagle soaring

harbinger of this springtime,

portending seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

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Leaving the Red Desert, on to shearing

sheep trailing under Interstate 80

It’s time for us to leave the Red Desert, as we do every year in mid-April. One bunch a day crosses a day apart for three days. This year road construction started on the third day, which meant to sheep had to be escorted by the pilot car. Since the railroad overpass can be dangerous and difficult, we were glad for the assistance. The ewes only have to travel about a mile and a half on WY Hwy 789 before they enter Rodewald’s pasture. Our neighbors, the Rodewalds, let us cross their private land to get to the Badwater Pasture, Shearing starts soon! (Photo credits to Meghan Lally and Linda Fleming

 

off the highway and on to the right-of-way

 

trailing south

Pilot car escorting the sheep

crossing over the railroad bridge

through Rodewald’s gate

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2022 in Animals, Sheep

 

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Spring Scenes

Heifer with six calves at Powder Wash

 

Spring is finally springing. It’s been coldish with intermittent snows. Just when we think it’s going to warm up and grow some grass, another snow storm comes through. Luckily for us, we did not get the calf killing Holy Week blizzards that buried North Dakota and eastern Montana. We got an inch of rain  at the Home Ranch the other night, which took off our covering of snow. Finally, it’s warming up into the 60’s, which is good because we are expecting the shearers in the next few days.

Heifers at Powder Wash reservoir

Heifer babysitting baldie calves

Hamp lambs at Powder Flat

last days on the Red Desert

ewes ready to trail to the shearing pens

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2022 in Animals, Cattle, Sheep

 

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Flags

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2022 in Musings

 

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A murder of crows

 

 

A murder of crows
Seeking garbage, guarding trash,
St. Francis keeps watch.

 
 

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North to Cyclone Rim

moonset at Powder Wash

 

The yearling ewes have wintered in the Powder Wash country. We decided to move them some 100 miles or so north, where the running age ewes have spent the winter. We need to have everyone (almost) together for next month’s shearing. We had to start early in the morning to get the trucks loaded and one their way.

loading the trucks at Powder Wash

ewe and lamb near the Bob Terrill corrals

yearling ewes waiting to load

rider keeping an eye on the yearlings

guard dog and yearlings, Powder Mountain

a girl and her dogs

horses and guard dogs, moving too

unloading at Cyclone Rim

yearling exiting the truck

making themselves at home at the Cyclone Rim base camp

the guard dogs are happy!

 
 

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