A Case of the Earlies.

When in Montana…

Did you know moving cows begins at 3 a.m. in the summer?  Well, it does.  Up at 3 a.m., coffee to be made and slurped fast, horses to be caught and saddled, on the trail by 4 a.m. so the cows and calves can be moved up to the high country while the day is still cool.

It’s done in stages, from the pastures around the main ranch buildings to the higher pastures to the higher pastures to the highest pastures – takes about a week.  I only worked for three days.

If traffic jams in the Bay Area are my idea of hell– which they are, riding a big horse and pushing cattle through the mountains of Montana is my idea of heaven.

Finnigan is my favorite horse.  He’s big, he’s fun, he’s bossy, he’s experienced and he gives me an eye right off the bat that says – I know what I’m doing.  I’ve been doing this longer than you so just sit there and shut up and if you fall off it’s your own fault.  Now let’s go.

Finnigan and I moved 120 steers all by ourselves because my daughter took off on her horse to find her dog (chasing wildlife) and the other woman with us wandered over to a swampy area looking for strays (there weren’t any).  We drove the steers a mile to the fence where my daughter’s cowboy/rancher husband waited.  Like I said… heaven.

I wish I had photos for you but I was way too busy to worry about a camera or even a phone.

I’ll give you some brief highlights– you can use your imagination.

Open gate.  Bull.  Stallion.  Mare in season.  Steers jumping fences.  Big black bear.  Heaven.  Loved every single minute.  It all worked out because nobody got killed and we didn’t lose a cow.

Coming home I left the house at 4 a.m. and met up with everyone else as they trailered up the road for the last push into the highest country.  The best part of the trip home?  My flight arrived into Seattle 20 minutes early and I was able to catch an earlier flight home, even got seated in First Class.  Ah… life is good!



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16 Responses to A Case of the Earlies.

  1. Tom Stronach says:

    Sounds tough but idyllic. Shame no photos but understandable, Glad you had a great time and then got your just reward – upgrade to first class on the return flight. Yippe Kay Aye!

  2. Ah yes, Tom, Yippie Ki Yay indeed! I do like your Scottish version – Yippe Kay Aye!

  3. Huh, I am glad you had good luck flying. Didn’t know you were away. S

  4. Ah heaven is right. That sounds like so much fun. I’m jealous. I spent the day watching my guys team rope. Fun, too.

  5. Hi both Stephanies! Yes, Steph, my flights were excellent, especially since I had to fly 3 legs in little planes, which I sort of like, by the way. I finally learned how to schedule posts in advance! Shocking, I know.

    Stephanie – team roping! Fun! That’s happening up in Montana today – the Ranch Rodeo. Had to miss it.

  6. Ciara Knight says:

    It sounds like a little bit of Heaven to me. With a bonus of first class at the end. I’ve always wanted to do something like that.

  7. Oh Ciara, it is. If you ever want to do something like this with your family, go to Sweetgrass Ranch in the Crazies. They have a website. The real deal.

  8. Do you get to keep Finnegan, or does the ranch get to keep you?
    Either way, Life IS Good. Thanks for sharing this!

  9. No, Marylin, don’t get to keep Finnigan. He stays with the ranch. Le sigh.

  10. Marie loughin says:

    Sound adventurous! I’m certain I couldn’t handle being on a horse all day, but I wouldn’t mind trying a couple hours of that!

  11. It is, Marie and you could – you’d be sore the next day!

  12. Kayla Graham says:

    Ah! That sounds adventurous and fun! I don’t think I could do it though LOL! 3 AM!!!??? I am just going to bed at that time….

  13. Kayla – LOL! Not on a ranch you don’t!

  14. anny cook says:

    So glad you had a great time!

  15. sandra cox says:

    It does sound like heaven.