A Lifestyle of Infinite Variety

by Amy on July 2, 2009

Our lifestyle is one of infinite variety. Our daily summertime routine involves making a big morning loop to check on salt, Alberson Valley and the tanks at a location called Callon Spring. All of which takes about an hour to drive. Seeing that the floats haven’t stuck is vital in making sure the stock tanks fill up with water especially on hot days. Since our cows use Callon Spring’s tanks the most, we check them first. Eighteen Mile is another one. My husband and I take turns doing this and half the time the kids or a kid rides along.
Another important checkpoint is driving up Alberson Valley. Whenever it rains, this spot can be a headache with our cows. The valley is Forest Service and the fence is old and brittle. A road parallels the whole fence on the east side and every dip becomes a mud/watering hole. If our cows drift east of Callon Spring far enough, they end up in Alberson Valley to graze and will break or jump the fence in order to drink from the mud holes instead of making the long trek back to Callon Spring. They can end up really far away once they’re out so we check it daily to make sure cows aren’t out and drive them back towards Callon if they are. Add up to an extra hour if cows are out. It’s my least favorite morning routine check especially if it rained the night before and cows weren’t far from the Alberson Valley fence the day before.
Once everything looks kosher on summer range, we head south to the Reed Place to check on the water tanks where our heifers and their bullfriend (get it? boyfriend) are.
We gave up on putting any faith in the old well there after it quit us a few years back, so we haul water there whenever we use the Reed Place. If water needs hauled, it’s another hour to get that chore done.
Besides cow checking we’ve covered extra curricular’s such as a 4-H rodeo and roping practices, maintaining the garden, mouse hunting/trapping in my kitchen, an all-family inclusive trip for a parts run, hauling off wire and posts after tearing down an old fence and of course the driving lessons I mentioned in my last blog.
I also took a solo trip to central South Dakota to take in a relative’s auction while my daughter hung out with Grandma and my guys got haying equipment greased and ready to go. They started baling the ditches in square bales north of Pringle by our barn before I got back. (Yes, I know it may be hard to believe that we even bother haying if we’re just starting to hay now. Lest I remind you of the short growing season in the Black Hills, which I’m sure this area holds the record for. Amazingly, we do get some hay put up.)
On Monday the family and a couple of extra teenage boys all helped get the square bales out of the ditches and unloaded into the big barn before an expected rain showed up. My daughter and I brought up our 30 foot flatbed at 4:30 p.m. and we were done about 9 p.m. Afterwards we bought everybody a burger in Pringle at the Hitchrail.
A lot of our summertime work is done when it’s hot out and makes a person sweaty. It can be tiresome, grueling and grimy. I love it.

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