Fencing, fencing, and more fencing. 150 miles of it is a lot of fence. Some of it sheep wire (someone I know is apparently allergic to sheep and not fond of the fence either, him and the antelope). Some is page wire, some bottom strands are two-stand smooth wire to facilitate the antelope ducking under it, lots of it was elk-broken.
While we were at the south end fencing Blue snuck into Montana but didn’t draw any attention from those black helicopters I’ve been hearing about. I was a little apprehensive even sticking my hand and hammer through the wire to staple on the other side of the border.
One day I saw a fire that worried me enough I drove down to the border crossing and talked to one of the guards on the Canadian side. Nice guy with his hand on his gun the whole time. But I could tell it was on the American side and then heard they still burn their stubble there, a real no-no! where we live.
Pretty sure I ran over the tail of a small to medium size snake but I didn’t go back to look. Thought it was a big gartner snake but thinking about it later I think it was one of those racers. He wasn’t moving very fast but it was getting chilly on the way back to cow amp at 7:00 pm that day. Snakes move a lot slower in the cold. Besides, he was probably as surprised to see me as I was him.
I learned that snake dens are called hibernaculum and apparently we have a yellow bellied racer and a rattlesnake one not too far from cow camp where we are living right now.
Been studying up on wild life.
Thought I could use the lines on my hand to tell the difference in track sizes between wolves, cougars, and coyotes; and moose, muley and white-tail deer, and antelope. Tracks are an important and interesting part of a cowboy’s life and I’ve been seeing lots of them this week.
It sure enough is pretty but some of the country looks like we’d be better off riding mules. My cowboy will think his whole life a disappointment if he doesn’t get to own a mule once. I keep telling him he’s got me. 😉
We spent our first night in the Glamper (pretty fancy camper accommodations, big 5th wheel with a slide out) on Wednesday. Fencing the next day, as much as my tender bottom could take on horseback (all the calluses must have disappeared while I was living in the mine) then we cheated and did what we could reach from the pickup truck. It added up to 26 miles on Thursday, no small feat.
Today we spent all day in a meeting an hour and a half away and went over and signed our contract for the season. Got to meet all the members who are putting cattle out on our lease. It was interesting to see the new beginnings of a grazing association.
This one might have a little more government hoops because of the unique and very special area that it is. The grass is pristine with 86 years of phenomenal records plus it is home to 80% of Alberta’s endangered species (it’s even the only place this far north to have Yuca plants, go figure). I’m in heaven and it’s pretty.
I don’t think the members really understand how privileged they are to be awarded that grazing contract and they haven’t realized the resource we can be for them. We’ll work hard like we always do and they’ll figure it out, eventually.
The only down side is no cell phones, no internet, so I’ll only get to share my heaven with you all once a week or so.
So here we are trying to sleep our first night in the condo. I say trying because we are so sore from moving that we are waiting for the Advil we took to kick in. Soon.
Some good men from church helped. They were so cheerful; made me wonder if they were just glad to get rid of us. And four Mormon missionaries, nice boys, (kids to me, barely out of high school) and not one complaint, just so happy to help, God bless them.
So this will be our home away from home once we start work on the lease. They still haven’t figured out our living arrangements there yet. Waiting on the Federal government to make some decisions, so that could take awhile.
But it’s all good. Oh, think I just felt the Advil kick in. Nos Da all.
Aaaah! What a lot of work! And mess. Oh well, it’s a move up, literally. 😉
Fist time I ever got a high-five. Just about wasn’t sure how to do it.
While we were out to the new job cleaning up the tack room and doing some little odd jobs there and checking on our three really happy horses, we met a fellow from Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, the folks who control government owned land like this new lease.
We talked about grass (of course) and I mentioned that we worked hard to leave the grass improved at the lease we used to work on. He was so excited, I got the high five. And then he totally made our day when he said now he could sleep easy knowing we’d be managing this new lease.
People happy about a couple of old people who care about grass and cows. We’re so in the right place.
Getting boxes to start packing. The moving madness begins.
So many things going on at once. Still trying to get it all straight but for now this is the plan.
#1 The Condo: we’ll rent for now till we’re sure what’s going on. It’s Scarey having your home tied to your job. Been there done that and don’t like it. With the condo for backup we will have a place to live no matter what (like getting hurt or being let go or quitting but I sure can’t see that happening). That alone gives me a sense of peace. I can live there if I have too. It’s a really cute little place in a nice area close to where I can board my horse.
The Grazing Association we will be working for is all rather new and they are still figuring some things out like housing for us. Best case scenario we get a free house /free utilities to live in and worst case we spend the summers in a trailer kind of like glamping (pretty nice camping).
If the job and the housing on the lease job works out more permanent we’d like to buy the condo and rent it out till we need it, letting someone else make our payments for us till then.
I feel so good about everything, so calm and peaceful. It’s a good plan for us for now.
I spent the whole day looking at my new prairie home: creeks, wells, fences, grass, 40,000 acres of It. It was breathtakingly beautiful in places. It’s where I belong, where I’ve always belonged.
I’m so tired and happy, happy, happy.
I’m not sure I ever had a sense of destiny, of being prepared for any purpose in particular, well, nothing past cows and grass anyway. But that changed today.
All the frustrations and door slamming these last couple of years I just couldn’t understand. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. It all makes sense now. I had a little glimpse of destiny during an epiphany this morning. I saw how it all was leading up to this new page in my book of life.
Now it’s up to me to make the end of the story a good one. Destiny: if it’s to be, it’s up to me.
Stay tuned for what I hope will be some interesting reading.
So help me if I ever complain about anything again, kick me quick.
You know how living on the basement is/was hard on me. I thought spending the summer on the prairie was heaven sent but heaven had even more in store.
Our lease is up end of this month and in looking around for another place to live we went and looked at condos for sale in the city. (I never in a million years would have even considered that a couple of years ago but living here underground changed my thinking quite a bit.)
We found the cutest condo then decided maybe the timing wasn’t quite right to buy but when we told the owners they said they liked us and asked if we’d like to rent for a year. Oh Ya.
So when we went in to sign the lease they put in an option to purchase anytime, without us even daring to ask. The gist of all that is, I’m no longer homeless. We’ll rent for a while and then buy (a really nice place).
It felt like home the minute I stepped in. The kitchen is huge. The feature walls are my favorite color of blue and even the house numbers are my lucky Phi type numbers. It’s all in one level and up a few steps, no one tramping around overhead. There’s a covered front porch with a place for the porch swing I always wanted. It’s in a really nice neighborhood surrounded by a huge park with lots of windows to enjoy the view. There’s an outdoor pool (my cowboy loves to swim) and an outdoor skating rink (I love to ice skate) almost next door. Best of all is only a long stone’s throw to where we will board our horses in the winter; I’ll be able to go ride everyday all winter if I want.
So now I’m not only smiling ear to ear (‘glist y glist’ in Welsh) but I’m so excited I can hardly stand myself.