Each fall we test the buck herd. Geri Parsons, Optimal Livestock Services, comes to check our rams for fertility and health. At the same time, we look at their teeth, their feet and their general condition to make sure they are ready to romance the ewes in a couple of months.
We’ve been trailing and back-riding for a week, as the cattle come off the summer grazing grounds. The cows and calves have been on the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests since June and July. They graze in large rotations and we ride through them almost daily. They don’t want to leave since the weather is still warm. They see no reason to leave perfectly good feed and water. We’ve been watching the Middle Fork Fire, to the south of our allotments. It’s been burning in ungrazed areas, although there are plenty of beetle-killed pines everywhere. We’re glad to be out of the Forest with this season of fire.
On the road
home to the meadows
Pat D. and Tiarnan
cows trailing near the Midnight Ranch
riding crew at lunch (photo credit, Pat Danscen)
through the horse’s legs (photo credit, Pat Danscen)
Tiarnan and Battle Mountain
Tate, Sharon and Liberty the filly (photo credit, Pat Danscen)
Sharon and Seamus the horse (photo credit, Pat Danscen)
We decided to try a new breed of cattle to crossbreed with our Angus and black baldie heifers. These Japanese-origin Akaushi bulls were located in Muleshoe, Texas (northwest). Pat, Sharon, Tiarnan and Rhen made a run to Texas to pick up them up. We stopped in Denver and Mosquero, New Mexico on the trip down. Our friends Jack and Tuda Crews have a wonderful bed and breakfast, The Rectory, in Mosquero. We were able to visit with them before heading on to Muleshoe. After loading the bulls, we made a 14-hour run home. The boys were troopers all the way! We unloaded in the dark.
My Dad, George Salisbury, and his cousin Bob Terrill, used to run cattle together in the Powder Wash country. The corrals, north of Powder Wash Camp, are still known as the Terrill Corrals. While the corrals don’t see as much activity as they used to, our family and the Terrills still brand calves in the corrals, with Bob’s son Tim and granddaughter Tate.
We brought the heifers, recently gathered at Powder Wash, to the Home Ranch. The unloading crew was Eamon, Rhen, Sharon and Siobhan. Our equipment included a mop in lieu of a “poking stick.” This exercise fulfilled home schooling requirements for animal science, mathematics and physical education.
Today, we gathered, trailed and sorted cattle in the Powder Wash. It was a great home-schooling experience for Siobhan, Tiarnan, Rhen and Seamus (helping but camera-shy!). We were joined for a time by three young mustang stallions, evidently kicked out of their herd and looking for friends.
This morning when we checked the horses, we found that Sarah has a brand new colt! Sarah is a great kids’ horse, so Tiarnan and Rhen were very excited to visit Sarah and her baby. She has a filly, born on my grandmother Emma Terrill Salisbury’s birthday, so of course she is named Emma.
Sorry for the long hiatus. . .I’ve continued to have computer issues, but I hope they are resolved and I can now return to offering glimpse into the life and times of the Ladder Ranch and its crew. I will do some backtracking because of course, I’ve been taking pictures!
When we trailed out of the Red Desert last April, a couple of ewes snuck off and have been hanging out near the Continental Divide Rim energy production facilities. We’ve seen them, and received some phone calls from folks working in the area. In the meantime, they each had a fine lamb, and avoided shearing. We knew that capturing them would be difficult, since they were clearly independent. A few days ago, Pat took Tiarnan, 8, and Rhen, 6, and a couple of horses with the mission of capturing the errant ewes and lambs and bringing them home. It was an adventure, but they returned home with two ewes, two lambs, two horses, two boys and Pat.
Patrick and Sharon O'Toole are ranchers in the Little Snake River Valley on the Wyoming-Colorado border. They represent the fourth generation on the six-generation family ranch. The O'Tooles raise cattle, sheep, horses, dogs and children on their high country ranching operation. The transhumance operation stretches from north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Wyoming's Red Desert.
Pat has served in the Wyoming House of Representatives, the Western Water Policy Commission, and is currently President of the Family Farm Alliance, representing irrigators and water users in the western United States.
Sharon is a writer and poet. She writes extensively on western issues, and the relationship between landscape, animals and people. She is widely published as an author, essayist and editorial commentator.
Sharon's father George, 89, passed away December 25, 2010. He lived much of his life in the house where he was born, and remained active in the day-to-day life of the ranch. Mr. Salisbury was a decorated World War II veteran, a former member of Wyoming's House of Representatives, and former President of Wyoming's Board of Agriculture.
Pat and Sharon have three children. Their daughter, Meghan and her husband Brian Lally, live on the ranch with their children, Siobhán, Seamus, Maeve and Tiarnán. Meghan also served on the Wyoming Board of Agriculture, and she and Brian are active in community service. Daughter Bridget lives in Denver with her husband, Chris Abel, where she works in public relations and he serves agriculture in the food business. Son Eamon and his wife Megan live on the ranch with their sons, McCoy and Rhen. Eamon is a horseman and natural resource manager, and Megan is a nurse.
The blog traces the activities and life on the ranch, from the mundane to the fabulous.