Cowgirl Up on

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Arrival Day @ Buck’s

Livingston, MT to Sheridan, WY

I started the day fairly early. I had set the alarm for 6, but it didn’t go off because my cell battery was getting low. It beeped incessantly for about an hour before I decided to roll out of bed. Uncle T had been up and gone early to go to Townsend to buy a new ATV and I had heard him get up. I dressed and packed up my stuff and the horses buckets and went and caught up Buena. I tied her to the trailer and went and caught up Mercy. Did a little, and I mean very little, groundwork and went straight to the trailer. We had a few discussions about forward and leading up. Eventually she stepped in. It was pretty much the same as the day before. She’s reluctant to lead up on that initial feel. I got her to lead in further and further each time and eventually she let me feed the lead up into the tie ring. Amazingly, or maybe not, she stayed when I moved the divider over and she only attempted to push on it once and instead of leaning back into it and charging out, she leaned forward and took a small step. I got the divider secured. All of this WITHOUT Aunt M’s help with the back door. It’s improvement!

I had Aunt M hold the trailer door while I secured Buena and within 20 minutes I was on the road. I stopped for diesel before I got on I-90 around 8:15.

At 12:35 I rolled in to Buck’s ranch at 12:35. Thanks to Uncle T, I took a frontage road from Garryowen, MT down to Wyola, MT. Problem is I should have taken it all the way to Ranchester, WY. I was SOOO done with hauling up and down hills on the interstate. One the return trip I will make sure I take the RIGHT road the WHOLE way.

Buena and Mercy are settled into some end pens under the corral shed. They were content to be munching on their hay and sipping their water. Buena was rather insistent that she have something soft to pee in. She was pawing the ground, which is a bit hard, and one I put a small pile of bedding down she happily peed. Mercy, on the other hand, couldn’t wait and peed in part of her hay, at least it was my hay and not the expensive stuff from the feed store!

There are a wide range of folks here. Some from Montana, a couple from Ohio I think. And there’s a woman from Washington who recognized J from K’s back in Yelm, WA.

Ch, J and I ran into Buck tonight and he said the group should be a nice one, and small (only about 13 or 14 people). There is LOTS of work to be done bringing in cattle and possibly retagging them all before they ship. He said the evenings after dinner could be spent doing a lot of roping. I just laughed at that one.

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Rest Day @ The 2B Ranch

Today was a lazy day. I woke up at 8 and didn’t get out of bed until 8:45. The horses didn’t even barely make a peep when I went out to feed. I am sure they were happy to be lazy and not have to ride in the trailer. I fed them mashes and tossed out a few flakes of hay. It was already warm and it was only going to get hotter. I was still not feeling so hot. All I had eaten for dinner the night before was soda crackers. I worked on rearranging the tack room a little and cleaned out the poops and pee spots in the horse compartment. Gave the horses a shot of fly spray as they were getting pretty bothered by the flies on their stomachs. The horses spent most of the day scritching on each other; quite cute. I should have probably gone for a ride, but I was feeling quite weak from not eating any real food. I managed to down a sandwich around noon and spent a lot of time reclined on the couch. Oh, and I checked some e-mail since I could. Aunt M made a nice pasta dinner and I ate again. Tasted good and my stomach is feeling much better.

I did have a loading session tonight with Mercy and it went OK. Luckily, I will have help in the morning with the door. Mercy still won’t respect a hand smack on the butt to go forward, so I will have to have Marje hold the back door for me like Cathi did in order for me to get the divider over, etc. We’ll get it done, even if it isn’t pretty. And by this time next week it will be 100% better.

The plan is to be up and out early so I can get to Buck’s and get the horses settled and then GO SHOPPING.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Alberton, MT to Livingston, MT

Awoke at 5:30 and looked out the window at 5:45 to see Buena making love noses at Mercy’s window. Got up about an hour later and went out to check on Mercy and give her a bucket of water. Proceeded to practically dump the bucket on myself while losing my balance on the wheel well. Buena almost got her nose popped by the window dropping down, but barely hit the end of the lead rope. Mercy looked wide-eyed, but stayed calm.

Uncle C helped me get things reloaded and organized and also held the door while I secured Buena’s lead in place. I pulled out of the driveway around 8am. Stomach churning after having had a couple of waves of nausea.

I rolled into the Missoula Les Schwab to have that brake check done. Took about an hour, but they replaced the left front caliper while I ran across the street to Quality Supply. Once back on the road I topped of the diesel and was heading east on I-90 again by 10.

I stopped at a rest area between Missoula and Deer Lodge. Stopped again in Deer Lodge at Safeway to grab an icy soda. On the way out of Deer Lodge I chatted with Ben and then a bit later Cathi. No more stops until Bozeman where I decided I needed some more salty fries and another soda. Traffic in downtown Bozeman sucked because of construction (I guess it’s been like that all summer). Drove up Fleshman Creek Road to the 2B Ranch at about 3pm local time. It was HOT.

Aunt M was still at work and Uncle T showed up about 20 minutes after I did. He was in town getting parts. I have already put the horses in the pens, but hadn’t located a turn-on for the automatic waterers. Uncle T pulled out hoses and we ran it from the house and I filled the large buckets I brought. The horses both drank well. I was spent. I took a shower and laid down for about 2 hours. Fed the horses and separated them into 2 pens since Buena had still been herding around Mercy a bit. They did scratch on each other a little, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

I hit they hay around 10 and slept until 8 the next morning.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Departure Day

Enumclaw, WA to Alberton, MT

C arrived around 7:45 or so to help with last minute packing and loading of the horses. My intended departure time was 8am, but I was not holding fast to it as I was going to wait until Little Cowboy was up before pulling out of the driveway. Got all the last minute details taken care of (mostly just clothes) and C helped by gathering and cleaning buckets for me. Buena and Mercy stood tied at their respective stations. Mercy, to the tie post and Buena to the trailer. Both were happily munching/slurping on their hay pellet mashes. They both knew something was up. Buena was a pill about being caught. Mercy was just antsy while being tied before she got her breakfast.

We commenced with loading Mercy around 8 or so. It was a bit hairy at first. I didn’t even go near the trailer, just did some groundwork. Very UP and very back, but not much forward. Once the forward came, then it was time to attempt the trailer. Just walked with intent up into hoping that Mercy would just go on in. Front feet got in just OK, but that was as far as it got. Cathi drove with a little bit of body energy and Mercy flew backwards. C then went and grabbed a lead rope for reinforcement. In the past, I had tried using a flag with Mercy and I didn’t think that would be a good idea. The lead rope worked and she got better. We did lots of in and out and eventually more in than out. Time for the door. Mercy is real pushy with her hindquarters and every time I would wiggle the divider she would blast backwards out. If the trailer door was there, and closed or held firm, then she would eventually come forward off it. That worked this time. And eventually the wiggling divider didn’t cause a panic reaction. We went in and out a few times. After about the 4th or 5th time, I decided that it was good enough and we secured her in and then loaded Buena. Buena wanted to be nosey over the divider so I ended up tying her shorter than I would have liked, but better that than an agitated Mercy.

Said my good-byes to Little Cowboy and Grandma Montana while the horses hung out quietly in the trailer for 20 minutes or so. Ariel was eventually quiet until I drove past her paddock.

I pulled out of the driveway at 10 after 9. Stopped in Four Corners to top off the diesel. Said my good-byes to C and thanked her for her help (and for the chai) and hit the road.

I made really good time for the most part. I had to stop at Indian John Hill Rest Area to pee because of all the chai I had that morning. I stopped again at Schrag RA to stretch my legs and pee. And grabbed a bite in Ritzville from a burger joint. My appetite wasn’t that great, but I at least needed some fries and more soda. Stopped again at the Flying J in Post Falls, ID to fill the tank. Getting decent mileage considering the load. And made good time over Fourth Of July Pass and then Lookout Pass. I stopped at the RA just on the Montana side of Lookout. The truck got warm and so did the tranny, but not bad. What concerned me more was having to put on the brakes coming down the pass and having it pull pretty hard to the left. There is lots of construction and narrow lanes on the highway, so I needed to get that looked at on Wednesday in Missoula if possible. That was my last stop before arriving in Alberton, MT.

Mercy got the privilege of staying in the trailer and Buena was tied outside. Worked perfectly. I wasn’t sure I’d get Mercy back in or not, so it was better to play it safe. She ate PLENTY of hay overnight (and wasted some onto the floor) and drank a little from a bucket when offered through the drop down feed door. Buena was pretty much quiet and did her usual good camping tied to the trailer right outside Mercy’s window. She spend a good portion of it making snuffling noses at Mercy through the open window.

I slept maybe 4 hours. Nerves were setting in big time already!

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