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Springtime in the Rockies

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

From the Kitchen Table by Lynn Harlan

I carefully nudged the tip of my knife under the metal band, circling the very small bottle of soremouth vaccine. These little bottles are $40 or more these days and a crime to spill the contents.  

I painstakingly eased around the top of the bottle, trying not to jab my hand, which I’ve done plenty of times before. I’ve also tried pliers to tear off the band – I just don’t want to scatter the contents of the two bottles before they’re mixed. One is dry ingredients and one is liquid “live virus.” 

When I first started helping vaccinate lambs for soremouth, the bottles of vaccine cost under two dollars. 

It was our first big docking, and I was asked to vaccinate lambs. There had been a couple of smaller dockings, but we had been waiting to do this bunch around the rain. The lambs were born in the shed in April and were getting big. Thank goodness for high school boys and girls!

So, back to work. 

After the deep snow we fought all winter, the land was dry in early May. Mother Nature sent rain and plenty of it. We managed to get the calves branded and the herds moved before the rains set in.  

We range lambed in the rain, and we’ll see how it worked when we start docking those bunches, but it was never too cold so hopefully the rain didn’t hurt too much. We have to sacrifice to the rain Gods to raise all this gorgeous grass. And, Wyoming is gorgeous this spring.

Bob and I slipped off to Maine for a getaway in mid-May. I suggested a trip to Maine is for the fall – to adore the varied fall foliage from all the hardwoods that we don’t have here. But, fall is too busy so off to Maine we went.  

Maine is beautiful, and I just had to imagine all of those trees cloaked in vivid reds, oranges and yellows instead of their brilliant green. Maine gets rain too. 

We ate lobster-in-the-rough – right out of the pot – fried clams and various other gifts from the sea. We went out in the harbors on a small fishing boat, a sailboat and a tourist lobster boat.  

Maine has as much shoreline as California with all of its inlets, bays and peninsulas. The quaint villages had houses and churches, dated back to the 1690s, 1700s and 1890s, which was way before Wyoming was a state.  

It was a nice trip, and we even got to explore the tunnels under downtown Boston while trying to return the rental car near the airport. 

While driving back from the Denver airport, in the rain of course, we noticed Cheyenne and northward are absolutely verdant. And, natural snow fences made of trees and shrubs have done so well. 

We weren’t home long before my brother from Texas came to visit. He likes to golf and enjoys the course in Buffalo, which is one of the nicest ones in the state. He hadn’t been to Devil’s Tower or Cody. 

He said if it wasn’t a horse show or rodeo he got dragged along to, or a high school football trip, he hadn’t seen it. He graciously asked me to go along as tour guide, so I quickly re-packed and off we went. 

Four rounds of golf and 1,300 miles later, we hit Devil’s Tower, Sheridan, Highway 14A off to Lovell, on up to Red Lodge, Mont., drove down on the Beartooth Highway, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway into Cody and back through the Big Horn Basin to Highway 16.

We drove through Tensleep Canyon by Powder River Pass and down through Crazy Woman Canyon to Kaycee. We had plenty of rain off and on and a deep slush at Beartooth Pass Summit at 10,947 feet. 

Every creek and river were raging full. 

So, vacation trips are over, a nephew’s wedding in Colorado is over, Chris LeDoux Days has ended, the College National Finals Rodeo is finished and spring was officially over on June 21. Now, a busy summer begins. 

My grandson lost the rain gauge, but when it kept coming and coming, I just judged the deluge by the puddles in the road and how deep it was in the wheelbarrow. The grass is tall and the reservoirs are full and overflowing. 

We are blessed. 

“Without rain, there would be no life.” – John Updike

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