Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Few Fun Days in Locomotive

I had every intention of having all sorts of posts typed up and ready to send out over the last few weeks… But as you can see it didn’t happen.  Getting ready for a new baby is a lot of work, especially if you are still finishing moving, cleaning, and your husband is calving.  So the blog went to the back burner.  BUT now that we are somewhat figuring out what normal is and I am hunkered down at home, I’m hoping to do better.

Even though the snow is gone, I still have beautiful snowy pictures and stories to share.  Mid January we haul all of our mature cows down to Locomotive where they will be until May.  I’ve mentioned before what an ideal place it is to calve (too bad the drive down there isn’t ideal…)- little snow and lots of space to avoid mommy/baby mix ups and spreading sickness.  Last year we only took down a small portion of the cows because there was such limited feed.  This year the feed looks to be good!

When we have hundreds and hundreds of cows to haul 80 miles round trip, it means that there is a lot of semi time.  The cowboys spent nearly a whole week of LONG days getting the cows down there.  Pregnant or not, I get stir crazy when they are out working and I get left home, so the kids and I jumped in for a few rides. 

There wasn’t much to help with.  All the boys had to do was let the momma cows out and then after a day’s worth of hauling, they would push them from the corrals to the field.  So really, not much to do to help.  Of course, if they had specifically said that they didn’t need my help all hell would have broke loose, but I think they learned that lesson already.  Instead I finally got a good few days of pictures!

Day one consisted of Locomotive’s muddy mess.  Locomotive has its own kind of muddy mess.  Just imagine the slickest, gooey-est, sticky-est mud of your nightmares and you got it.  Being that it is a dry and deserty place you would think it would dry up fast, right?  Nope.  We hope and pray and beg and plead for to rain enough to grow a little grass and what we get is just enough to run and puddle up (and then those puddles seem to last for weeks!).  Especially on the road or even more specifically where this chubby pregnant lady had to get out of the truck.  But don’t worry, I cowgirled up and managed just fine.

Day two of taking pictures was pushing the cows to the upper field.  We bring in the cows in two groups- one that will summer on BLM pasture and the other that will summer on Forest Service ground.  We try to send the same cows back to the same areas every year because it is what familiar to them.  They already know how to get where they are going, where the water is, and where the gates are.    So once we had the first group all hauled in we had to move them to their calving ground. 

It was the perfect day for a short cattle drive- the sun was shining, the snow was mostly melted, and the cows were moving great.  It was such a great day for picture taking too!  I loved the blue and white mountains in the background with the golden grass contrasting in color.  The clouds seemed to be just as picturesque.  I loved it all!
This was somewhat of a groundbreaking drive for us because we were in the brand new gator! And I must say that every pregnant rancher’s wife needs one because it was SIGNIFICANTLY less bumpy and I actually, truly enjoyed my ride.  It made for better/easier photo shooting because there were no windows like being in the truck and my equipment wasn’t on the verge of falling off like when we are on the 4 wheeler.  These boys did good getting this lady a new ride! Ha… ya… I only wish they had me in mind bunt regardless we are happy and excited and grateful for the fun ride that day!


  1. Beautiful photographs! Sadly, we've gotten pretty familiar with moving cattle over here in recent months. It hasn't rained properly in months, and it was a hot summer, so there's been a constant shuffling of cattle between properties depending on what had had rain, where the dams had water, and where there was grass. Glad to hear your have plenty to eat where they are!

  2. Hot and dry here in Alberta, too. With occasional soggy spots. You get the one or the other. Sigh.