Hot day, hot dogs, hot me, taking a little rest, having a drink of water and for sure looking at the beautiful view from way up high.  What a different way of life now.  In the olden days when my husband was alive, we took the salt out on the horses with the 50# blocks in panards.  It took two of us to put it out. One to lift the panard up and the other to pull the strap over the cross bar.  When we took the first one out we had to take a block out of the other side and anchor it down on the top of the pack saddle so we had a balanced load on our horse.  The next spot we took one out and then put one of the other ones on the other side in the side that was empty. The last one on the other side on had to go on top to the next place.  It always took most of the day.  No body ever cared it was so great to be out there just the two of us and our horses.  This is the way we would break a young horse coming up to be another saddle horse. After we packed him in we would ride him back to the trailer.  Part of the trip back we would make him dodge brush, rocks etc. to get a good handle on the colt. It was also a way we would teach the colts how to manage their feet.  Great days. Great memories. Also made great horses.

          One time the whole family took salt out way up high on the top of the ranch.  There were 5 of us: our oldest daughter Sara Lee, 2nd daughter Jeannine and son Raymond. We were not only putting out salt, we were moving the cows to another pasture where we put the salt.  Low and behold if the big old black clouds started boiling up and we could here thunder rolling.  By the time it moved in where we were it wasn’t a sprinkle it was a down pour full of lightening popping all around us.  Bob decided we should split up and not all be in a bunch so he sent the girls and I one way and he and Raymond went another.  Our boots even filled with water and our horses were wanting to turn their tail to the storm. Can’t blame them it was hitting them right in the face running down over their eyes. I don’t think even turning their tails on it would have helped. Boy did we ever ride, I mean we rode on a dead run.  I didn’t know which was worse, going a little slower and taking a chance it would hit us, or faster and run into it.  Everytime I came to a gate I asked my God, “Please God, watch over us.  Don’t let it strike us and don’t let it run down the fence and get me, I have to get my girls home they can’t open these gates.”  He did watch over us.  We made it home as well as Bob and Raymond.  When we got down to the lower part of the ranch we had to go down the county road to the barn to unsaddle the horses. So I left the girls off at the house. I told them go get in the bath tub and get warm. I took their horses on down to the barn so they could fight the storm however they could. I then of course worried about the lightening hitting the horses out in the pasture. The water was running in the bar ditch like a flood had hit. (It did hit)  Bob’s parents were out running up and down the road in their car with the windshield wipers really whipping it up looking to see if they could see us coming in. Praise God we all got back to the house all in one piece.  Next morning it sure was nice to see the horses were all still standing on all fours.

          Lots of changes have taken place.  Now I take the salt out on the ATV; makes it a lot easier.  But it’s a little hard on the dogs.  They have to go faster to keep up but when they get hot and their little tongues are hanging out we take a break.  Usually by a water hole so they can lay in it and really get cooled off.  I now have a poodle to keep me company so the house doesn’t seem so empty and the poodle goes right along with us hanging on with his paws on the handle bars. When we get the salt blocks off the back the big dogs can jump on the back rack and ride. I can get up when the day is so fresh and quiet, put the salt on the ATV and load it in the horse trailer and take off.  That is if I am putting salt on the Forest Permit. I can get it done in 2-3 hours depending on the pasture the cows are in.  At the ranch I can get the salt loaded and out and be back to the house and be ready to ride with everyone else. Sometimes the rest of the bunch doesn’t even know I’ve been gone. What a great tool the ATV is!!! 

          I don’t always take block salt.  Depending on which pasture it is.  The lower pastures we have salt tubs out so then I take a trace mineral loose salt and a sack of dical and mix the two of them together.  I can’t carry the salt tubs on the ATV to the high pastures.  They get racked off in the brush or some other thing to where I’m all time stopping and tying them.  Then I have to go back and pick up the salt bags.

           How great it is to get out there and hear the birds singing, see the deer and elk, and just smell the forest. It’s just around the corner.  Got to get the calving done and then it all starts all over.  What a wonderful life.

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