RSS

Author Archives: Ladder Ranch

About Ladder Ranch

I am a rancher and writer who lives in Wyoming

Autumn in the Routt National Forest

Dog Days of September

 

October 1st is drawing near. In our world, that is the off-date for most of our National Forest permits. We are now staging both the cows and the sheep to trail down to the Home Ranch in a few days. Here’s Pepe and Modesto, our excellent long-time herders, with their ewes and lambs, ready to come off the Forest. We have had a record year for predator losses, in spite of their efforts and the efforts of our valiant Livestock Guardian Dogs. Since we know how many ewes and their lambs went up in July, and Pepe and Modesto (and the other herders) keep track of other deaths, we will soon have an idea of how terrible these losses have been.

Pat and Pepe in Big Red Park

Pat and Modesto near Independence Creek

Modesto’s ewes and lambs

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Battle Creek Reflections

Fall’s first reflection
of Julie in Battle Creek,
Seasons in motion.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 12, 2020 in Animals, Horses, Nature and Wildlife

 

Tags: , , ,

Not the storm of the century

First snow (?) on Squaw Mountain

 

As we suffered through was we consider brutally hot weather (95 degrees), we were told that a huge early snowstorm was on the way. Our new cook, from Alabama, said she was terrified of winter and abruptly left. Sure enough, all over the state, roads were closed, power was off, tree branches were broken. Here’s what the storm looked like for us. Things have cooled off nicely though.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 9, 2020 in Musings

 

Tags: , ,

Sangre de Cristo–Summer of Fire

Red sunrise over Sheep Mountain

Sangre de Cristo,
blood red against the sky,
smoky crimson sunrise
illuminates the dry

and murky landscape,
grey haze that turns to pink,
and throws a rosy glow
to make night’s shadows sink.

Mountains rise ephemeral,
magic light against their rock,
a brief illumination
shows their beauty with a shock.

of this pink and hazy glow
wrought by fires in the south,
fire in the sky,
and fires bred by drought.

Flames that rise and roar
and eat all before their path,
nature and man’s doings
give way before their wrath.

We watch from distant fastness
as smoky fingers curl,
long tendrils reach with greed
to menace with their swirl,

and spread a grim grey threat
to make us tear and choke.
We wear a gauzy veil
of ash and haze and smoke.

It filters through our valleys
where grass stands stiff and dry,
where leaves hang low and thirsty
beneath this pall of sky.

Tales now come to haunt us
of flames that leave a stark
and ancient calling card,
borne aloft by wind and spark.

We watch and wait and fret
that such could be our fate,
while distant matches flare,
in a tinderbox, we wait.

Such thoughts all disappear
with wonder and with awe,
as sunrise works its alchemy,
paints the country with a raw

and glowing pinkwash,
with a brief and fleeting dye.
Sangre de Cristo,
blood red against the sky.

Red sunset over Battle Mountain

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2020 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

Tags: , , , , ,

World class sheep exhibit at the Little Snake River Museum

This weekend marked the Grand Opening of the William MacPherson Sheep Center at the Little Snake River Museum in Savery, Wyoming. John and Catherine MacPherson donated restored sheep wagons from Carbon County’s early sheep production days, in honor of Bill’s father, an early sheepman. The Museum District and the MacPhersons saw to the construction of an exhibit building to house the wagons and other historic sheep production paraphenalia. A coming attraction will be an original wagon built by James Candlish and donated by the Vern and Della Vivion family. James Candlish was a blacksmith who is credited for building the first sheepwagon in Rawlins, Wyoming in 1884. It will be on loan from the Wyoming Wool Growers Association.

Here’s some photos of the event, which featured speakers, music, a spinning demonstration, children’s activites, a barbeque and a tour of the Savery Stock Driveway. Wyoming author and musician David Romtvedt presented Basque music, poetry and history (although most of Carbon County’s early sheep producers were of Scots, Irish and English descent). A great time was had by all!

MacPherson Sheep Center

Cat Urbigkit tells the crowd about predator challenges

Sharon reading poetry at the Government corrals

David Romtvedt playing Basque tunes at the Niland  cabin in the Medicine Bow National Forest

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 16, 2020 in Events, Folks, Sheep

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

County Fair in the Time of Coronavirus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siobhan, Tiarnan and Maeve with their wool sewing projects

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 7, 2020 in Events, Family, Folks

 

Tags: , , , ,

Irrigating the Mesa

 

 

Truly, our life’s blood
water, from stream to pivot,
brings life in winter.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 22, 2020 in Farming, Nature and Wildlife

 

Tags: , , ,

Rainbow over windrows

The gold at the end
of the rainbow, gilded hay,
summer’s rich bounty.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 17, 2020 in Farming, Nature and Wildlife

 

Tags: , ,

Peanut and her new filly

Peanut and baby

 

Peanut had her new baby–a beautiful sorrel filly. We are asking for votes for her name.

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 6, 2020 in Events

 

Later that same day: bucks crossing the river

Pat and Siobhan

 

After we rescued the misguided GPS traveler on the morning of July 4th, we moved on to rotating the bucks to a new pasture across the Little Snake River. Even though the grass is greener on the other side of the Little Snake, the bucks were not enthusiastic about crossing. It did not involve any swimming (although shorn sheep can swim). This was not, so to speak, our first rodeo, and we knew that eventually they would see it our way. It took a lot of whistling, throwing of sticks, calling back the dog, roping and pulling a couple of bucks across to serve as a “draw”, but we eventually prevailed. Our crew included Pat, Meghan, Bridget (on loan from Arizona), Siobhan, Bubba and me, plus Belle the Border Collie.

Bubba pulling the buck across the river

Siobahn and Pat

Siobhan, Meghan, Bridget and Bubba trying to convince the bucks

Bubba across the river

more persuasion

Meghan supervising the crossing

crossing

Success!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,