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Author Archives: Ladder Ranch

About Ladder Ranch

I am a rancher and writer who lives in Wyoming

Bubba and Chandler, first snow

 
 

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Trailing the cows off the Routt Forest

Bubba and Eamon conferring with Leo

 

Trailing down, audibly OR The Silence of the Calf

Crunching as the calf dives into dry willows
“Quakey” aspens rustle up autumn, leaves flutter to the ground
“Hup, hup!” I holler, trying to spook the calf out of the willows
A thump on the ground as I dismount, followed by
more crunching as I thrash through the willows
A sigh as I realize the calf has somehow escaped me
“Hey there, pretty baby” as I push the filly aside
“Stand still, I said” to my mare as I mount
We sit very still, listening
to low bird song and the chuckle of aspen
but not the bawl of a calf
“Hey, you guys OK?”—our cowgirl come back to see what’s taking so long
“Holy cow, look at that!”
A smoke plume silently rises, signaling the faraway
crack and crash as molten trees succumb
as animals dash madly from the deadly flames of the Mullen Fire
Another sigh—of relief—that the blaze is far away
“That calf caught up”
“Oh good”
The quick clop of hooves as we trot up to the herd

“Come by! That’ll do!” Reluctantly the Border collie drops back
Mooing—meaning “get over here and stay by me”
Whinnying as the filly realizes her mom and I have moved to the lead
Clip-clopping as she races past the cows to catch up
They watch, knowingly
The distant rumble of cars, trucks, RV’s
The flash of my gloved hand
“Just go slowly. The cows will move. Watch the calves”
“Thank you”
Finally, the clank of chain and squeak of gate
as the cows and calves slip through
to green grass
The dark settles, birds silent

through the gate and off the Forest

headed down from the mountains

 

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Leaving the Medicine Bow

 

September 30 is the off-date for most of our Forest permits. Bridger Peak above Battle Pass is one of our highest grazing areas for the sheep in the summer. Alejandro takes the yearling ewes to the top of the Continental Divide. He had a flat tire on his wagon, so German changed the tire before we pulled the camp down the really rocky road to the highway. Alejandro shepherds the yearlings with the help of his border collies, his livestock guardian dogs, and his pet lamb, Solano. We saw snow on the Divide, and glorious fall colors on the trail down.

through the mist on the Continental Divide Trail

Alejandro and Sharon on WY 70

Alejandro with his sidekick, Solano

yearling ewes on the Savery Stock Driveway

 

 
 

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Eruption

golden leaves
an eruption
molten lava
burns the eyes

orange searing,
so full, fulsome
can’t imagine more,
senses overflowing

perfect days
as ephemeral as
flowing rock
destined to cool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2021 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Fog over Sheep Mountain; First frost

cold tickles, first frost—
a fine sheen reflects stacked coins–
fog shrouds Sheep Mountain.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2021 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Tending camp on the North Elk River

Border collie supervising Bubba and Pepe

 

 

The ewes and lambs graze on the National Forests in the summer months. They move through a rotation so that they are not in any area for long. Part of the journey for Pepe’s sheep includes several weeks in high mountain pastures near the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. He stays in a tent and we pack in his groceries and dog food. When he drops into the north fork of the Elk River, we bring his camp to him. This involves a drive down a death-defying curvy road to a wonderful mountain meadow. Bubba came along, both to learn the way and to provide the muscle.

 

Pepe’s horse, pine-beetle killed tree

Pepe and Bubba: twins separated at birth?

 

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Summer’s Almost Gone

horses crossing the road

 

It’s not quite time for winter to be coming on, but we’re starting to see yellow leaves and cool mornings. Here’s some photos from the last of our summer days.

bringing up the heifers

buck lambs

Eamon opening the gate

McCoy ready to ride

lambs and ewes near Little Red Park

 

Siobhan’s elk. She had a “depredation” tag for elk eating our alfalfa. That’s alfalfa all around!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2021 in Animals, Cattle, Family, Folks, Folks who help us out, Horses

 

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Summer vacation

Herefords in the Johnson meadow

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2021 in Animals, Cattle

 

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Make hay while the sun shines

 

Stacked like golden coins,
summer’s promise, winter’s hope,
waiting to be spent.

bales on the Lemmons Meadow

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2021 in Farming, Poetry

 

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Stylin’ and movin’ the buck lambs

Wilber showing off the latest fashion for sheepherders

 

We needed to move the buck lambs to a different pasture. Wilber was dressed for the occasion.

Dante and Wilber moving the buck lambs

 
 

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