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North to better pastures

ready to leave LaClede

Our decision to move most of the ewes north was not an easy one. We have never not kept them (relatively) close to home on desert sagebrush steppe grazing permits. Last February, our sheep were trapped by bad weather and roads. When this winter started early and hard, we bought extra feed and hauled it to them daily, hoping for a thaw. We did not have back-to-back blizzards like last February, but it has just kept snowing and getting colder. Eamon found sugar beets which had frozen in the ground in the Big Horn Basin. After lots of phone calls and planning, we started loading ewes, and rams, on trucks and moving them to beet fields and crop aftermath in the north part of the state. Most of them had never seen a truck.

morning wagons

Meghan bringing them up

loading

Guillermo

northward bound

Pat and Pepe at Cyclone Rim

unloading the trucks in the dark

the next day

where’s the beets?

the first day of the rest of the winter

 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2020 in Animals, Dogs, Family, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders, Sheep

 

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Jumping for joy

ram heading for work

The rams hang around for ten and a half months, waiting for the day when they are called to go to work, fathering lambs for the next season. We put the bucks in over a period of days and weeks. We figure that the first bucks to go in with the ewes are getting tired, so we send reinforcements. They sometimes resent being worked through the chutes, but are happy to jump out of the trailers to join the ladies. When we were loading them, I said, “Hop in boys–all the corn you can eat.” Meghan said, “All the ladies you can breed!” I added, “…and all the wind you can tolerate.” Such is the life of a buck in the winter.

through the chute

Siobhan and Sadie facing a reluctant ram

Avencio

guard dog on the job

guard dog watching his ewes

Avencio, Pat and Oscar

Guillermo and Pat

Leo

Oscar with the dogs jumping for joy

on his way!

Oscar too!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2017 in Dogs, Family, Folks, Horses, Peruvian sheepherders, Sheep

 

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North to the Red Desert

ewes heading for the Rodewald gate

The ewes have made their annual trek north to the Red Desert, where we have wintering ground on the Cyclone Rim and Chain Lakes grazing allotments. These allotments are part of the vast Great Basin, home to Greater Sage Grouse, desert elk,  riparian plants and amphibians, feral horses, many many antelope and, part of the year, cattle and sheep. The Great Basin is named because it is a closed basin. To the north, the Continental Divide splits and runs in separate ranges until it meets again about 15 miles south of Wamsutter near the Haystack Mountains. The country south of there–Church Butte, Adobe Town, Powder Rim–is likewise amazing landscape, but it is not part of the Great Basin, the Red Desert. It is always a relief when we safely cross the overpass over the Union Pacific line and the underpass beneath I80 and head out across the open country for winter pasture. We are a week later than usual on the trail north. We had to wait for snow, since there’s not much water on the trail. Like Goldilocks, we want it to be not too hot and not too cold!

 

the sheep topping the UP overpass

between the tracks and I80

Almost to the underpass

under the interstate

passing the Department of Transportation shed

Pat and Oscar consulting

new drilling on Chain Lakes

on the Red Desert, at last

 

 

 
 

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Ides of August

Cows and calves in the Smylie Meadow

Alfalfa windrows

All is green and warm. It’s hard to believe that we are not far away, in time, in temperature, from fall. Soon we will see frosty mornings, golden leaves, and critters headed for lower climes. For now, we hang onto these long sunny days. Each sunrise the sun sneaks south, while we breathe warm breezes, a little longer.


Cora and Sadie, looking ahead

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Animals, Cattle, Dogs, Events, Farming

 

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Along the spring sheep trails

looking east from Powder Rim

We have started trailing from our wintering grounds to spring country where we have shearing and lambing in our future, and theirs.

The ewe lambs have spent the winter in the Powder Wash country. Yemerson has started them along the Powder Rim trail. In a few days, they will arrive at the Badwater Pasture, where they will hang out until early July.

In the meantime, the ewes who wintered on the Chain Lakes allotment on the Red Desert have started south. Their destination is the Cottonwood lambing grounds. In a few weeks, we’ll have wool in the bags, and lambs on the ground, God willing.

ewe lambs watering on the Powder Rim trail

nooning at the reservoir

leaving the Red Desert

between I80 and the railroad overpass

Pepe giving an early lamb a lift

catching a ride

over the Union Pacific bridge

almost to the Rodewald gate

Timmy–ready for green grass

 

 

 

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Critters on the Move

Winter sheep on the trail

Winter sheep on the trail

 

The bitter cold and deep snowfall during the past week has seen critters, wild and domestic, on the move. We decided to trail our yearling ewes and old ewes from the Chivington Place to Powder Flat , where they are closer to the haystack. Likewise, the deer, elk and antelope are all on the move. Here’s some of the migrations we saw today.

Yemy heading up the county road

Yemy heading up the county road

Yearling ewes and old ewes heading to Powder Flat

Yearling ewes and old ewes en route to Powder Flat

The guard dogs have their back

The guard dogs have their back

Yemy is keeping his adopted wild horse warm!

Yemy is keeping his adopted wild horse warm!

McCoy, Sadie and Cora moving the sheep

McCoy, Sadie and Cora moving the sheep

almost there

almost there

Feral (unadopted) wild horses on the feed line with our cows

Feral (unadopted) wild horses on the feed line with our cows

Wild horses with the cows

Wild horses with the cows

Elk near Sandman Mountain

Elk near Sandman Mountain

Buck deer west of Baggs

Buck deer west of Baggs

Does IN Baggs

Does IN Baggs

Some of several thousand antelope on the move

Some of several thousand antelope on the move

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Events

 

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Headed for the Promised Land

Destination: the sagebrush sea

Destination: the sagebrush sea

Every year at this time, we are almost there with the final leg of our 150 mile trek as the sheep trail from their summer country in the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests to winter pasture in Wyoming’s Red Desert. Each way, spring and fall, we must cross the overpass across the Union Pacific line, and the underpass below Interstate 80–both coast to coast trails of a different sort. We make this part of the trail on WY Highway 789. For several miles, we share the highway with cars, pickup trucks and trailers, motor homes, and semi trucks hauling everything from livestock to oilfield supplies. We flag the road, ‘fore and aft, to warn traffic that the sheep are on the highway. We’ve only had a few near wrecks over the years, due mostly to inattentive or inexperienced drivers, and sometimes bad weather. Mostly we see our neighbors, who wait and wave, fellow travelers, and folks who stop and take photos and ask questions. I always send up a prayer of thanks when sheep, dogs, horses and humans have safely threaded the needle, and are on their way to the Red Desert. Then I pray for a good winter, good feed and a good living for all.

at Rodewald's gate

at Rodewald’s gate

Jean Carlos on the run

Jean Carlos on the run

 

Filo on the railroad bridge

Filo on the railroad bridge

 

headed East

headed East

FedEx

 

passing the Fireworks Stand

passing the Fireworks Stand

sharing the road

sharing the road

Prima Express

Prima Express–dos direciones

 

Under I80

Under I80

Ovcharka livestock guardian dog sees them through the gate

Ovcharka livestock guardian dog sees them through the gate

trailing crew--Rhen, Pepe, McCoy and Pat

trailing crew–Rhen, Pepe, McCoy and Pat

more crew--Pepe, Tiarnan and Pat

more crew–Pepe, Tiarnan and Meghan

Tiarnan and Modesto headed north on adopted wild horse

Tiarnan and Modesto headed north on adopted wild horse

 

 

 
 

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