Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It started out a nice evening. I wanted to go for a ride to look for some wildlife. My friend JoeDifulgentis and I have been talking about doing some spring skiing so I also wanted to see how far I could drive up the mountain. This way we'd have an idea of how long of a day we could have on skis. Katie decided not to go, and I loaded up Hattie and Pfeiffer, my two dogs, and up the road we went. Here's a shot down the valley. One of the houses I caretake is on the bottom right of the photo.

I started to see a few animals right off the bat. These rock chucks make Pfeiffer go ballistic.

Here's a few young bulls just starting to grow their antlers.

I kept driving up the logging road taking in the views. I had gone further up the road then I've ever been and it was completely dry the whole time. When I came around this one corner, there was a bunch of snow. I thought for sure that I could barrel through it and come out on the other side to dry ground. It only got deeper as I went along until I ended up off the road in the drift. High centered. I am from Connecticut originally, so you could blame it on that. But I've been around a bit. Living in Vermont I did my fair share of getting stuck. Mainly it had to do with my best friends being a bunch of hunyacks. I built ski lifts for a few years as well and drove the ski area roads in the spring. We got stuck all the time, wether it was with the snowmobiles or the flatbed trucks. This was the most stuck I've ever been. The only other time that was worse was with my crazy boss from Doppelmayr CTEC, Vern. We were building the new Collins lift at Alta and we got high centered in the snow with a truck full of concrete forms.

Well, the smart guy I am, I didn't bring a shovel or a come along. So I started digging with sticks and branches. 2 hours later, with a bloody head from hitting myself with my stick/shovel, and with it starting to get dark, I decided I needed to call Katie on the radio in the ranch truck for a rescue.

I was almost 7 miles from the house. Katie had only been up the road once, early in the morning. I knew this would be an adventure. And not the fun kind. She has re-injured an old broken rib injury and the bumpy logging road would not be good for her healing process. So I gave her a bit of direction, then decided to start running downhill to meet her halfway. In hopes that she stays on the road that I was on.

So off I went for an evening jog. No gun, no bear spray. The glacier lillies were everywhere. Bears love to eat those little yellow flowers. Hmmm...

It actually was a really nice evening. I stopped running down to take a few shots. Here's a shot of Lone Peak (Big Sky Resort) on the left, and Fan Mountain on the right.

If you look closely at this shot, you can see Pfeiffer and Hattie running down the road, and a small herd of elk up on the hillside. Hattie noticed them and began to chase them. She recieved some serious disciplinary action. They've been really good about not chasing wildlife, actually.

I met Katie about halfway down. I decided that we should try to pull the truck out with my GMC 3/4 ton pickup since we still had some daylight. As we rode back up the hill, I saw a black bear scamper up the hillside. The same hillside that I just ran down to meet Katie. Whoops. By the time we got up to the truck that was stuck, Katie was rather unhappy with me and very sore from the bumpy ride. I decided to not try to pull the truck so that we weren't stuck up there till midnight.
The next morning I had a meeting with a girl who has been working with the horses a bit. We were supposed to go for a ride at 8:30. To make this meeting, I went and grabbed the tractor, and started driving up the road at about 5:45 AM. An hour and 15 minutes later, I got to the scene of the crime. Luckily I had a full cup of coffee and a nice view for my ride:

And, needless to say, Green Monster to the rescue. I pulled it right out.
Here's the aftermath and the scene of the crime.

That evening I went up and grabbed the tractor and on my way down I started sliding on some mud that had been created from the recent rain. As I looked over the side of the hill, to see where the tractor might be rolling, I noticed this big elk shed lying on the hillside. They shed these horns every March or April, and I think this one is from this year.
There were some lessons learned here. I'll always carry a shovel in the ranch truck from now on, spring, summer, winter, and fall. And when I see snow, I'll stop and turn around and wait for it to melt. I kind of have a problem with always going too far, so this one is gonna take some work. Anyone wanna go for a ride???!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Goats~ Day 1

Well Hello from Goat World!
It's true. We brought home four Nubian Dairy Goats yesterday afternoon in the back of a truck!
After MUCH hard work and money spent, we were ready. Finally.
The goats were a little spooked last night.
After being loaded (by hand) into the bed of a pickup truck, being carted an hour and a half away to their new home, and being harrassed by a couple of nosy labs on the back end of the trip, they wanted us to stay far FAR away from them last night.
And so we abided, eventually, after chasing them around their pasture for a while trying to herd them into their shelter.
All it did was upset them more.
So..... we let them be, and hoped for the best.
This morning was definately a different story.
They were calm, and somewhat inquisitive of me (sans husband and dogs).
I mixed a couple of cups of sweet grains and sunflower seeds in a feeding dish, sat down in the grass as close as they would allow me to, and gently shook the dish.
Promptly, the nosiest of the girls, a yearling we (I) named Janet, came over to check the situation out. She was rewarded with some tasty oats, and even let me touch her floppy soft ears once or twice.
Eventually Cheap Trick (the 7 wk old baby boy) and Wild Child (his milking mama) could no longer stay away and came over to share in the treats.
Wild Child, being the oldest and wisest of our small herd, is the most apprehensive of us, as she should be. She doesn't let her small buckling far from her sight. And Cheap Trick abides, staying closeby in his adventures.
Runty, the fourth goat, is a small, VERY small, spotted female yearling. She has yet to come near me, staying far in the shadows this morning, but has a soft spot of animal crackers....
Ed is out in the driveway today working on building a milking stand for me to use with Wild Child this afternoon. Milking does are supposed to be milked every 8-12 hours, but we haven't been allowed near her since we brought her home yesterday.
I'm hoping this afternoon to have some success with her and get her up on the stand for a few minutes. Even if it is only long enough to scarf down some treats and get a quick petting from me. It is all about gaining trust at this point.
Although a little milk would be nice!!
We shall see.....
On another note, we took a ride out to Big Sky on Friday night to watch the Bruins and grab some dinner. It was nice to get out of the ranch for a while, and on the way home we saw two Moose! As you can see (maybe) in the photo, they weren't as excited to see us as we were to see them.
We also saw some really cool naturally occuring snow sculptures along the side of the road.
Well...that's all for now. Wish us luck with Wild Child this afternoon! It will prove to be a challenge I'm sure, but will only get easier in time.
Have a wonderully relaxing weekend everyone~
(the antsy one with the refractured 9th right rib. ugh!)