Tuesday, July 26, 2011

driving cattle


today my girls got to do something I hope they'll remember for a long time and that few people ever get to do - help in a small cattle drive.

Caleb's ranch got a chance to use some free pasture several miles away so that required moving about 60 momma cows and their babies down the road to their new temporary home.

I had to hang back in the safety of a big truck with baby Vesper but Janie and Anna rode a four-wheeler with Caleb.

It took two guys (Mike Krantz and Josh Senecal) on horseback, two on four-wheelers (Caleb and his brother Josh) and two fast heeler dogs - took them about an hour to travel a few miles to some new green grass.

Nothing happened that wasn't supposed to but I had to laugh at one point - the cows all bunched up so I hung back a little further in case they turned - wanted to give the horses and dogs room to work. When I got to where the "cattle-jam" occured, it was a smal bridge with a weight limit sign "3,000 pounds maximum." I couldn't tell you at any given moment how many cows were on the bridge, but at an average of 1,000 - 1,200 each, I think they busted the limit!

In addition to riding along, every time they passed a road or a driveway, both girls got "road-blocking" duty. They'd stand in the gap with arms spread as the cows passed by.

If you watched Lonesome Dove, I'd say they got the sounds about right - above the diesel drone of Sarah's truck (Aside - my daughter has a much nicer and bigger truck then me!) you could hear the bellowing of the 120 or so cows.

Heeler dogs do exactly that - nip at the heels of slow or unruly cows to keep them moving. Once one of the dogs got caught under neath a calf and went rolling only to hop right back up and resume nipping and pushing. I almost said chasing but they really just cross back-and-forth at the rear to keep things moving. Pretty much the same for the horsemen - crossing back and forth to keep the stragglers from getting too far behind.

Sorry but no stampedes or runaway cattle. I guess when you know what you are doing and my son-in-law and crew obviously do, it looks easy.

Vesper slept through most of it but I would guess at only 2+ months old, this was probably her first cattle drive too. Glad we got to share it!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

rest high on that mountain

Visiting my daughter, son-in-law and of course new grandbaby. Caleb is part of a large Krantz clan that stretches back more than a hundred years and they had a reunion this weekend in St. Ignatius, MT. Maybe 300+ attended and this morning about 50 of them gathered for a family church service.

The original Krantz homestead is in the Mission Valley which lies west of the Mission Mountains north of Missoula. Church was held high on a hill overlooking the valley. The National Bison Range lies to the west, Flathead Lake off in the haze off to the north and of course the Mission Mountains to the east and partly behind us. I've never had a better view of creation during church before. Did I mention we were outside?

We sang Amazing Grace, read the 23rd Psalm and them several family members shared various recollections of the earlier Krantz-s (I don't know how to make a plural of that name!)

Then Caleb's uncle Tom preached. His focus was family, farming and faith. He managed to tie them all together by looking backward to the earlier Krantz, the here-and-now, and of course Heaven. Honestly (and no offense to any current or former pastors) but it was a great little sermon.

When he finished all I wanted to do was sing the doxology (my favorite hymn - if you can call it that) but we just prayed and dismissed.

Not much here except to say that I can't imagine a better location for church than where we were today.

A line of that Vince Gill song from which comes my title goes something like "Go to Heaven a shouting, love for the Father and the Son." I may be taking some liberty in how I interpret that song but it fit today's location and the message.

Maybe I'll come back next year if they let me!

Friday, July 1, 2011

It’s a small world or you won't believe this!

Several years ago – March 2006 to be precise, our home was hit by a tornado.

The oddest thing was that we had already sold the house but were still living there.

The couple that bought it were moving from California and may have even been in MO at the time planning to stay with friends etc. until we moved out later in the month.

You can only imagine their devastation at seeing their newly purchased home devastated.

The month passed, we moved out (actually never moved back in – spent most of the time in a hotel and returned every day to begin the clean-up and packing process) and they began the re-building process. They did a fabulous job (wished we could have moved back in!) but I think the trauma of what happened was too much and they put the house on the market and moved back to CA.

Fast-forward to today.

I was out shooting some video and some of the work crew there wore ball caps with Webster Farms on them. We struck up a conversation while waiting on some equipment to arrive. Our home in 2006 was in Seymour in Webster County.

As we talked one of them asked me where I had lived. As I gave the street name, he asked “where on that street?” I began to describe the location rather than giving an address and mentioned, “after the gravel starts, then our house was up on the hill to the right.”

Imagine my surprise when he said he lived there now.

Seems he bought the house from the CA couple after they moved away and has been living it since then.

We began to share more details about neighbors, other houses, our Amish neighbors, fences, trees knocked down by the tornado, etc.

We enjoyed our 10 or so minute chat, parted ways and I felt like I made a new friend; even if I will likely never see him again. Even though the house he moved into was very different than the one I lived in, I felt like we shared something; had something in common.

Co-incidences do happen and this one ranks with the more unusual I’ve experienced.