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Author Archives: Ladder Ranch

About Ladder Ranch

I am a rancher and writer who lives in Wyoming

Winter

Tres amigas

guard dog puppies in waiting

peewee lambs with guard dog

elk wintering near Battle Mountain

Pat and Eamon in the Routt Forest

Hampshire ewes at Powder Flat

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2021 in Cattle, Dogs, Family, Nature and Wildlife, Sheep

 

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Happy New Year!

The New Year comes through fortune’s gate.
It gives us hope, and prayers of grace,
with power of time, we await

the future, blank–this unknown fate,
unknown journey to unknown place—
the New Year comes, through one-way gate.

Our dreads, our sins, night fears abate—
the past, the future, run apace
with power of time, next year awaits.

We cast our lot, the dice gyrate,
spin and clatter, hit chance’s space—
write next year’s tome on fortune’s slate.

Earth’s axis tips, while stars rotate.
The waxing moon unveils her face,
marks pass of time, while we await

Through time, through space, sped arrow-straight,
light races on its ceaseless chase.
Now New Year comes, through future’s gate—
through power of time, we await.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2020 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

The holidays are here,
The year is almost gone.
Sunset’s coming sooner,
long nights–they linger on.

Christmas on the Ladder Ranch
brings us gifts galore.
Family gathers ‘round us
while Yuletide fires roar.

Deep within the meadows—
summer’s rush to green has passed–
round bales stacked like coins,
winter’s wealth, its shadows cast.

Fair weather birds have fled,
but winter sounds abound,
brave trills of chirping chorus
echo bird-song all around.

Coyotes add their yips and howls
and wail their eerie cries
which echo through the hills
making hackles rise

On man and beast alike.
On Battle Creek, an icy sheen
glows while cracks and groans—
add to winter’s subtle keen.

But here beside the fire,
with its crackle and its roar,
we’re warm and well and happy,
with all we need and more.

There’s children’s cheery laughter—
they cry and yell and shout,
like to scare the coyotes
as they run and tear about.

There’s cows and sheep and horses,
there’s canines large and small—
dreaming Border collie dreams
and guard dogs watching all.

The cows must fill their bellies
with grass hay long since cut,
and raked and baled and scattered
‘long the tractor’s snowy rut.

They’ve calves to grow within them—
throughout the winter’s cold
and await the season’s turning—
winter solstice comes and goes.

And ewes upon the desert
munching daily corn,
awaiting warmth in springtime
when their babies will be born.

In Battle Mountain’s folds,
deer and elk have bedded down.
In hollows under oak brush,
there’s shelter that they’ve found.

We thank the Lord for blessings
for His creatures great and small—
for all of those we care for,
Please Lord, bless us all!

We are grateful for our friends
and kin, found both far and near,
from Ladder Ranch to you and yours,
Merry Christmas! Yuletide Cheer!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2020 in Animals, Cattle, Dogs, Poetry, Sheep

 

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Solstice

Solstice sunrise

Solstice Sonnet

Season’s end draws, dims, slides down to the rest
of the year, where we await winter sleep,
Day’s end presents sundown, darkened nest
where quiet lures, lulls, to somnolent deep

and tempting dreams, where twilight dusk holds sway.
Dawn comes late, with sparking, shimmering freeze.
Solstice rays shoot beams, arrows into day–
Ancients rose, chanted, begged gods to be pleased

and halt sun’s chariot southering drift,
to change its course, to close its dogged lap.
Prayers intoned, begged for light’s return—strong, swift,
No more creeping darkness, to suck and sap

its sunlit balm. Now incline to summer–
swing past the solstice, past darkness’ slumber.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2020 in Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Conversation Between Buck and Rambo

Looking for the ladies

Conversation between Buck and Rambo
or
Breeding season on the Ladder Ranch

There’s a rumor goin’ ‘round, ‘bout some ladies to be found–
the boss is hookin’ up the trailer, gassin’ up the truck
(The trailer lights aren’t working, again, but oh well.)

I’m hopin’ that you’re right, and it seems that time of year—
they’ve been pourin’ out the grain, dashed red powder on our backs,
lots of hay, and we all look fat and ready—well, you know.

 

Last year all the ladies loved my tuxedo vibe.
My black face is debonair, my moves make me look fine.
I jumped out of the trailer, and I think they liked my leap.

Ha—that woolless blackface face can’t compare with wooly charms,
and HOW ABOUT these curly Rambouillet horns. They love those!
I’ll rub them on this hay bale and that will make them shine.

We have to wait all year, just hangin’ with the guys—
they keep us in buck prison, and we KNOW how that can be.
It’s the ladies that we want, with their pretty ewey charms

YES! The boss says time to get to work, but it’s not work at all,
we can whisper those sweet nothings, but you know they’re loved and left.
raisin’ lambs on grassy meadows, while we move back to bachelor digs.

BOTH: Time to get to work!

Which one of these is not like the others?

 

 

Red bucks in the middle

It’s time to get to work!

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2020 in Animals, Events, Poetry, Sheep

 

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Middle Smylie haiku

Cows in Middle Smylie

December cows graze

on summer’s hay, fall’s stubble

awaiting winter

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2020 in Animals, Cattle, Poetry

 

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Saturday Afternoon at the Ladder Ranch

Megan and Eamon discussing her future run at the NFR

 

We know how to have a good time on a Saturday afternoon. Eamon borrowed Ed Buchanan’s roping dummy on wheels. He pulled it with the four-wheeler, giving McCoy, Tiarnan, Rhen and several adults the chance to practice their roping. A good time was had by all!

The dogs thought this was a grand idea

McCoy roping the dummy–Megan supervising

 

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November Cavvy

November Cavvy

 

 

November cavvy,
trotting into headquarters—
sporting winter coats

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2020 in Animals, Dogs, Folks, Folks who help us out, Horses, Poetry

 

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Pregnant or Open?–That is the question

Tate and Tim, bringing more cows

After the cows come down from summering on the Forest, it’s time to learn if they are pregnant. It’s hard to get them to pee on a stick, so our neighbor, Dr. Ben Noland comes with his ultrasound and checks for pregnancy. One after another, he calls out “Pregnant,” “Open,” or “Late.” “Late” means pregnant but calving outside the window of time when we want to be calving. We also vaccinate, check and sometimes replace eartags, and look at the cow’s general health. Most of the cows go into the pregnant pen. Some of the lates will be sold to other producers who calve later. Pregnancy testing is a key management practice since we don’t want to feed cows all winter only to learn that they won’t be raising a calf next summer. Thanks to Dr. Ben and our entire hard-working crew!

I TOLD you that I’m pregnant!

Eamon and McCoy at the chute

Dr. Ben with his ultrasound

Kyla checking eartags

Tate and Tim at the ready

McCoy with pregnant cows

 
 

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Sunrise blessing

 

Sunrise bleeds into
morning, day, season’s turning,
this blessing, a gift.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2020 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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