A Day in January
By Lynn Harlan
When I pulled into Buffalo, it was 60 degrees. It was warm as the wind was screaming in most of the state. Jan. 13 was one of the windiest days of 2021 so far.
It was 34 degrees at Powder River Pass on top of Highway 16 on my way over the mountain. The road was mostly melted, which is rare in winter months. There was little traffic on the road, so I was enjoying the bright winter day, with the high winds shifting the snow on the peaks.
I savored the stunning sides of Ten Sleep Canyon, which is always magnificent, but more so today without ice on the road or a vehicle crowding from behind. I wasn’t in a hurry.
As I drove by the rodeo grounds in Ten Sleep, I reminisced about the Fourth of July Rodeo. There are bigger rodeos on the Fourth of July, but the Ten Sleep Rodeo, held since 1946, has always been a fun regional rodeo for cowboys and cowgirls.
After the performance, everyone spills into the main street and the party is on. It’s warm on the Fourth of July, and those cool refreshments hit the spot.
Just a few minutes out of town, I turned north and drove up the Lower Nowood, headed to Manderson. Hundreds of Black Angus cows dot winter feedgrounds along the way.
They’ll stay on the meadows until they are kicked out on spring pasture and then summer pasture. Many herds will end up summering on the Big Horn Mountains. Today, they’re happy to follow the feed tractor and eat for two.
The Big Horn Basin, surrounded by the Absaroka Range to the west, the Beartooth Mountains and Pryor Mountains to the north, the Big Horn Mountains to the east and the Owl Creek and Bridger Mountains to the south, is full of farms raising sugarbeets, pinto beans, barley, sunflowers, oats, corn and alfalfa hay. These crops are irrigated by the Big Horn River and it’s tributaries.
I drove through Manderson, Basin, Greybull and Emblem. When I hit Basin, there were dark clouds to the north, and I got a spattering of rain. I decided to take the drive this particular day because the big winds are supposed to blow in a storm, but all I’m getting so far is blowing topsoil.
After the Emblem Bench, I turned again and headed for Powell – my final destination.
We have been sending our ewe lamb replacements to Powell since the early 1980s. The feed is good and the coyotes are few. When we started owning and retaining feeder lambs, we sent them to farms around Powell to be fed hay, beet pulp and corn to grow them out slowly and try to hit the Easter market for fat lambs.
This winter, for the second time in seven years, we have most of our ewe herd near Powell on Ray Gimmeson’s farm, as well as some of his neighbors.
As Bob says, “There was no rain last summer between the April snowstorm and the September snowstorm.”
With no winter feed, we loaded our ewe lambs on Oct. 26 and trucked them over, along with two Peruvians who couldn’t fly home due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The old fences from seven years ago were mostly there, they just had to be put back up. The ewes are eating beet tops, beans and hay, and they will spend some time in a cornfield. We will ultrasound and shear the yearling ewes, and then we will bring the whole herd home sometime near the end of February.
Doug and Tebbie Heny have been feeding our ewe lambs for almost 40 years, and Bob got them going in the feeder lamb venture, along with Shane Smith.
The Heny’s are like most people in agriculture I know. They worked hard and took various jobs along the way to get where they are today with a good farm and lamb feedlot.
Tebbie makes an excellent and easy-to-prepare jalapeño jelly. Here is the recipe.
This recipe requires two four-ounce cans of chopped hot jalapeños, one and one-half cups cider vinegar and six and one-half cups sugar.
Mix all together and bring to a boil. Add one pouch Certo fruit pectin or Sure Jell and boil for one minute.
Strain off jalapeños and add four drops of green food coloring.
Pour into jars. Invert jars for five minutes or give a five-minute water bath.
This recipe makes seven cups and can be served with Triscuits and whipped cream cheese or with lamb.