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On to the Forest!

Leo trailing the sheep up the road

July 1st is the on-date for most of our sheep grazing permits on the National Forest. We have to stage them on since we have several bunches which graze on federal permits in the summer, and it is the on-date for our neighbors as well. They usually trail one day apart so we go up the line and move each camp to the next spot until everyone is settled

There is always a grateful sigh when we know we are through lambing, through docking and through trailing. The next challenge is withstanding the predators which view our ewes and lambs as tasty snacks, especially in a year when the deer population is low. My Dad’s cousin once said, “Well, you’re up there in the nice cool flies.”

Now we are up in the “nice cool bears.”

We have grass and we have water. The grazing greatly reduces the fuel load and the fire danger. We are worried about fire in this year’s drought conditions. So it begins.

 

Pulling the wagon and flagging the sheep up the road

crossing the South Fork bridge

Leo

closer than they appear

lambs hitching a ride

It was an early morning for Meghan!

Tiarnan helping Leo

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2021 in Animals, Dogs, Horses, Sheep

 

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Southering

Ewes ready to leave the Red Desert

We are heading south from the wintering grounds on the Red Desert. The first leg takes us to the Badwater Pasture. The shearing crew has assured us that they will be here in a couple of days, which means we can shear the pregnant ewes at Badwater. This is better for the ewes because they can trail the last 40 miles to the lambing grounds at Cottonwood without ten pounds of wool on their backs. It also means they are shorn well before they start lambing. Some years the shearers are late due to weather, equipment or misadventure, and we see lambs on the ground as we are trying to shear. With luck, all will go well. Stay tuned!

 

Seamus opening the gate

heading under I80

truck above, sheep below

passing through Creston Junction

between I80 and the railroad overpass

the orange flag alerts oncoming traffic

Joel bringing the ewes over the Union Pacific line (the trickiest part)

through the gate and into Rodewalds’ pasture

Pepe and John at Rodewalds’ gate

 

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Migration

Shadows

As the elk and the deer
head down from summer’s grass
calves and fawns by their side
we gather cows, their calves and
hope for good weather.
We hook up the sheep camps,
move our community of critters—
ewes, lambs, dogs, horses.

The shepherds shift from early mornings,
lazy afternoons, fights with bears
and coyotes—
trying to find a camp spot among
tourists, campers, refugees from Covid.
At home, we stage the sheep, bringing them
bunch by bunch to pastures,
to the corrals

For sorting, for judging who stays,
who goes, some to the desert
some to farmers with soft fields and warm barns.
Lambs climb onto trucks—
first the heavies, born early,
next the lights,
and finally the peewees
headed for corn and lower country.

Now we follow the migration.

ewes trailing down from the Routt Forest

past the Bull Pasture

KIm supervising

Meghan at the sorting gate

lambs

under the sun

Anthony working the chute

ewes after sorting

Meghan loading the truck, with help

lambs loading on truck

Pepe and Oscar bringing them up

Pepe. Edgar and Bubba

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leaving the Medicine Bow

    

 

     Autumn ritual–
     Alejandro’s yearling ewes
     leaving the Forest

 

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An existential question regarding Siobhan

Is Siobhan dressed for Coronavirus?

. . .or trailing yearling ewes up the highway on a cold April day?

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2020 in Animals, Family, Folks, Horses, Sheep

 

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Trailing Cows at the Chivington Place

Cows and calves

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Animals, Cattle

 

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From the Red Desert to Badwater

The sheep are making our annual trek from wintering ground on the Red Desert to the Badwater Pasture, where we will shear the sheep before heading on to the Cottonwood lambing grounds.

Seamus and Cora getting ready to cross under I80

heading for the gate

under I80

Fireworks, anyone?

map of the checkerboard

heading for the Union Pacific railroad overpass

the dogs trail too!

some can ride

!

 

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Over and under and on to the Red Desert

Here's Modesto's ewes, ready to head through Rodewald's gate

Here’s Modesto’s ewes, ready to head through Rodewald’s gate

 

 

Today,  the third band of sheep crossed over the UP line and under I80 at Creston Junction. They are trailing north to winter pastures on the Cyclone Rim and Chain Lakes allotments in the Red Desert. This is a long walk from the summer pastures on the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests.

Here's the sheep topping the railroad overpass south of Creston Junction.

Here’s the sheep topping the railroad overpass south of Creston Junction.

Modesto in the mirror

Modesto in the mirror

passing the Fireworks Stand

passing the Fireworks Stand

under-i-80

heading north, past I80

almost to the gate

almost to the gate

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2016 in Animals, Events, Folks, Horses, Peruvian sheepherders, Sheep

 

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The trailing of the sheep

Trailing off the Routt National Forest

Trailing off the Routt National Forest

October 1st is the off-date for our National Forest grazing permits–Medicine Bow and Routt; sheep and cattle. Since several herds are involved, we have to stage the trailing, in coordination with our Range Conservationists and neighbors, who are also trailing. Here is one band of ewes and lambs heading down from summer grazing on the Routt. We dodged a couple of fires, and had to change our rotation, but all in all, it was a good summer. Thanks to all our crew and the federal folks who work with us.

heading for lower country

heading for lower country

mobile home

mobile home

the happy sheepherder

the happy sheepherder

the switch horse

the switch horse

Hahns Peak in autumn

Hahns Peak in autumn

 

 

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The first sheep head south

The sheep are ready to leave winter pasture on the Red Desert

The sheep are ready to leave winter pasture on the Red Desert

We have to flag as the sheep enter the highway

We have to flag as the sheep enter the highway

Today, the first band of ewes headed south, under Interstate 80 at Creston Junction, and over the Union Pacific line on Wyoming Highway 789. After a hard winter on the Red Desert, they are going to greening pastures. The other two bands which wintered on the Red Desert will follow in a couple of weeks as they travel to Badwater for shearing and Cottonwood for lambing.

crossing under I80, in the rear view mirror

crossing under I80, in the rear view mirror

sheep heading down from the Union Pacific overpass

sheep heading down from the Union Pacific overpass

The traffic was backed up as it waited for the sheep to pass over the narrow bridge.

The traffic was backed up as it waited for the sheep to pass over the narrow bridge.

heading for the gate

Filomeno heading for the gate

through the gate into Rodewald's pasture

through the gate into Rodewald’s pasture

Most of the Livestock Guardian Dogs rode in the truck--after various escape attempts

Most of the Livestock Guardian Dogs rode in the truck–after various escape attempts

Meghan and Pepe with multiple dogs

Meghan and Pepe with multiple dogs

 

 

 

 

 

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