A Special Milestone

Phew.  This post-a-blog-every-day goal is getting tougher as spring gets into full swing around here.  The weather is beautiful and the days are longer, so the kids and I are outside more and busy doing the things we were longing to do all through those frozen winter months.

What it means is that there’s less time for me to sit at the computer and blog this time of year — unless I, as usual but which I’ve been trying to avoid — edit pictures and write while everyone else is sleeping (hey, I need sleep too!).

But!  Days like today are full of bright, sunny photos and content that I really want to document.  So, because writing is worth it, I will hurriedly get these pictures and words posted tonight before I hit the hay.

Today on the ranch… Beau left headquarters about 9 a.m.  He and the camp guys met at Butte Camp to gather the mama cows in the Indian Creek pasture; they then set about trailing those cows 11 miles to the Shuth pasture.  Meanwhile, the kids and I worked on school and 4-H and our gardening plans earlier today.

About four o’clock this afternoon I loaded two horses and the four kids in the pickup and drove up the Sumatra Road.  Beau had sent the camp guys home for their respective evening heifer checks, so he was in need of a little cowgirl and cowboy to help him push the cows the last 3.5 miles.  I drove us up the road while Beau and the cows were headed down the road.  We came together at County Reservoir, where I quickly unloaded and put 7-year-old Emilyn on Doogan and 9-year-old Asher on Jiggers.

Then they trotted out to go to work… just like big kids.

What a proud moment for all of us.  Today seemed like a milestone we’d been waiting to reach for many years.  The goal, see, has always been for our entire family to be out riding and working together.  But it’s taken us a long time to get this far.  Because for a few years there I would just get one baby growed up enough to ride before I had another baby, which meant I was back in the rocking chair instead of out riding with the older kids.  And, too, the majority of the horseback days here at the PV are just too big for kids to enjoy.  (For instance, I wouldn’t have sent Emi or even Asher along with Beau first thing this morning; it would’ve been too many hours and miles for their little bodies and brains.)  There are professionals employed to handle all the real work around here, so there’s no need to put the kids through a ride that wouldn’t be fun for them by the time it was over.

So Beau and I have been watching for a long time for days like today, when it would work out just perfect for our family to get a job done with Just Us.

After I got Asher and Emi horseback and headed south with Beau and the cows, I got my northbound pickup turned around and then followed behind the herd as they meandered down the county road.  The two littlest Blakes, Marsielle and Muggins, helped me with the driving and the window-opening-and-closing.

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Several times I hopped out of the pickup to walk behind the herd and take pictures.  Here I am with the herd in front of me…

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… and the pickup behind me.

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I could only be out of the pickup for approximately 49.6 seconds before Muggins and Marsi would start screaming MOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM! out the window.

Still, I got some photos I treasure:

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Through the gate at last.  Once in the pasture, Beau and the big kids trailed the cows on down to a reservoir for water.  The little kids and I played at the cattle guard.

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And when the horsebackers came back to us, these brothers sure were glad to see each other:

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We loaded the horses in the trailer and got home about 8 p.m.

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Here’s to the end of sharp shoes season!

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© Tami Blake

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