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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Twenty-four hours of an October day

 Two weeks ago, my husband and I made a trip to Bismarck, ND and returned in the late afternoon. We are missing a few pairs from our Twin Buttes Pasture and decided to see if we could locate them with the pickup  on our way home. We thought if we could get an idea where they might be we could ride out the next morning to bring them in. We did locate a bunch of cattle but doing so required some hard four-wheeling in with the truck. While we were making our way out to where we hoped to find them the moon started to rise over the badlands. When we got as close a possible to the cattle, they were still across a very deep draw and then up on a plateau. Taking out the rifle and scoping with it my husband was able to see several of the cows and calves were tagged with our color of tags. Regardless of how much we honked and called them, even our cows were slow to move and due to darkness we finally had to give up. The sunset was just as beautiful as the moon rise. It was dark or as dark as it would get with the full moon, when we finally got home.

 The next morning, I was up early and went to see if the cows and calves that we had seen might have decided to come in. The sun was barely awake, coloring the sky behind the cupola of our barn as I left for Twin Buttes
By the time I reached the farthest northern reach of the pasture, the sun was up but the sky was clouding up and it looked as if the day might bring us some rain. I didn't see any cattle at all in the Twin Buttes pasture but that is not to say they weren't there though! They could have been deep down in the draws. 

The morning remained cloudy and cool. I spent the rest of  it hauling bales from one of our hayfields about ten miles north our house. My father in-law was also helping with the job.When he was on the field at the same time I was, he loaded my trailer for me. When our trips didn't coincide, I loaded my own trailer. We decided 18 bales was enough for each load on my trailer.

At one point during the morning, we had a flat tire on the tractor we were using to load with. This required us to make a 20 mile round trip home to get another tire and put it on. I am sure glad it was a nice cool fall day instead of a hot summer day like we had when we baled the hay we were hauling! It took my father-in-law and I both, to get the darn flat off and then get the new tire on. Thank goodness for a good battery powered impact wrench! We got the job done without any poetry being quoted by either of us (quoting poetry is my father-in-law's term for swearing.)

My father-in-law, Jim, is 87 years old. He is amazing! He still works as hard as he can. He fences, runs the rake and swather if we need him too. He is also the one in charge of prairie dog control for us and he is good at that! I feel so fortunate to have Jim as my father-in-law. If you want to meet a truly good man, let me introduce you to Jim Johnson!

The haul home begins at the top of a very steep hill. Looking east from this hill you can see the opposite side of the clay knobs in the fifth photo above.
Looking south from the top of the hill, the road looks pretty long doesn't it? And that is only the part you can see! There are two more big dips and hills that you can't see at the end. Word of advice, don't ride the brakes coming down this hill! In the distance the butte on the left is Camels Hump and way to the right is Sentinel Butte.

Later that afternoon we finally got a chance to go horseback out to Twin Buttes. My husband, Doug brought two of our younger horses to ride. He started out riding Kalin and leading Badger.

We rode several hours and found a couple of our cows and calves. We also found lots of the neighbor's cattle and pushed them back to where they belonged. We got our cattle headed in the right direction and began the trip to the gate and trailer.
This year the dug-outs in the Twin Buttes pasture have had water in them all summer, thanks to heavy snows last winter and lots of rain thru the spring and early summer.
Once again as we headed home almost exactly twenty-four hours after we had the night before when we were out there with the pickup. The heavy clouds from earlier in the day had thinned out and the moon rose almost has beautiful as it had the night before.By the time we got back to where we had parked our stock trailer it was dark. The clouds had returned and as Doug said, "it was as dark as the inside of a cow"!


Michaele said...

Now this is true ranch life! I was completely engrossed in your post and the amazing scenery. You must be one tough, lucky lady.

Sarah said...

what a beautiful and productive day! I love your FIl's "quoting poetry." Might have to use that one. And Malcolm laughed at Doug's "dark as the inside of a cow." You have beautiful land! Now, Camel's Hump and Sentinel Butte. Where is the interstate from that picture? I see the exit sign and I'm always curious which direction your place is. You always say honk as we go by, so does that mean I can see you from the interstate?

Jake said...

Great pictures! Your Father-in-law sounds like a character.

5 Starr's Farm said...

Hi Judy, How have you been, enjoyed your post and photos.

LaVerne said...

I miss your blog!Please write again soon.Hope you are well.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Hi Judy..just stopped by to see what you have been up to.. I hope you are OK..and just too busy to blog. Your photos are lovely..I really enjoyed the photo of the long road..great perspective:)

gowestferalwoman said...

Missing you? I know things get busy...Hope you have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas with family and friends!