RimrocK

where memories rhyme

PaulKern

Introduction
Rimrock is found in many places of the intermountain west along the upper reaches of the canyon and valley walls of our mountains. These stone formations stand as silent sentinels watching over the passage of time below. Rimrock formations are the same today as they were when our ancestors came a westering into these mountains and valleys during the 1800s. If rimrock could talk, what stories would it tell? As a silent witness to the transigence of the human kind, it stands as a connection between the past and the present. Our surroundings and we have changed, but the rimrock has not. It is largely the same today as it was one hundred and fifty years ago. Through the pages of this book, I present a collection of my cowboy and western poetry. Each poem is reflective of an actual personal experience. In addition to the poetry, there are numerous topically related vignettes culled from a treasure trove of unpublished personal pioneer journals and family histories in our possession from both sides of our family. Each vignette has been identified by year and author. Each vignette is from a direct ancestor of my wife, Kathryn Gates Kern or myself. It has been remarkable to learn that much of what we experience today in our western lives is not all that different from our progenitors. Despite the obvious differences, there are many points of commonality. There is clear linkage between our generations. No vignette was used if there was not a direct blood link to either my wife or me. You will find the exact relationships of the vignette authors in the Ahnentafel in the appendix. I have illustrated this volume with original photography and artwork of various family artifacts, horse trips, ranch work, livestock etc. I did not have to look far to come up with subject matter for the illustrations. It was all there in one or two locations. Please refer to photo credits table for more detail. Let’s turn back pages through mists of time, along the rimrock where memories rhyme.

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RimrocK
let’s ride up again

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et’s ride up again and drop the reins, Along the rimrock as the twilight wanes. We’ll loosen the girth and pull the saddle, And lay aside for now the cares of the cattle. We’ll roll back time as we take a seat, And ride to the rhythym of each hoof beat. That steady rhythym that drums through time, Along the rimrock where memories rhyme. We’ll take in the rimrock’s hidden view, Where beauties are many and cares are few. We’ll ride up together just to gaze, Along the rimrock where it clears the haze. We’ll setttle ourselves down for a spell, On that spot of ground we know so well. We’ll turn back pages through mists of time, Along the rimrock where memories rhyme.

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Rimrock

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Paint &

A Pinto a

A PalominO

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orning hues of red and white, Run together trailing the night, An overo day breaks as minutes fly, Then tobiano colors lighten up the sky. A pinto and paint gallop over the hills, East of the Snake just where she spills, Thundering foam over a precipice, Where seagulls dive and rattlers hiss. As the river courses on to the sea, Like clockwork it flows away from me, Rushing away as the sun climbs high, The river reflects the mountain sky. As horses of color trot on their way A palomino sun bursts into day, Rearing up high right about noon, As fast as it came it’ll be gone soon. There as the sun sinks into the west, The sunset glows in her colorful best, Vespers blaze bright in that old by and by. The pinto and paint fire up the sky. Evening hues of orange and white, Flow together to awe and delight, It’s a tobiano sunset as minutes fly, Then overo patterns darken up the sky. At dawn and dusk with horses so bold, To the palomino as the day grows old, As the day came, let the day go, With a pinto, a paint and a palomino.

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A Pinto a Paint & a Palomino

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or just a moment I thought I saw, Our brood mare lying in the straw, Foaling a colt in the early morn. Now weeds grow tall where he was born. The tack shed by the sagging gate, Is where I learned to sit and wait, As my father caught his horses at dawn. It’s quiet now - the horses are gone. For just a moment I could smell it again, That good horse smell in the old catch pen, Same warm smell on both young and old. You can’t go back - the horses are sold. It was the scene of a trailer fight, With Dad and Slippers – my what a sight. The rope took off part of his thumb. Just maybe now, I should not have come. At Codding’s place was my first ride, My father walking close beside, He carved out memories for me his son. Where he kept horses now there are none. Those boyhood horses each had a hole, That left a mark upon my soul. At Codding’s Place was my first ride, My father walking close beside. In another place and another time, On a different farm that I call mine, We keep our horses on that place, A paint, a pinto and a bally face.

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At Codding’s Place

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Tales of the Trail

f time rushes over a blacktop bridge, It slows to a walk on a rocky ridge. Since just a boy barely five feet tall, I have followed this backcountry call. Imprinted young at eight years old, To follow the tales of the trail I was told, Those old time trails that I still ride, Burned deep their brand into my hide. Up ahead in the next drainage over, The past meets up with a mounted rover. Ghost riders of pintos untacked and unshod, Rise up through the dust of unplowed sod. Faint rings in the bottoms along a stream, Come into view in the morning gleam. Teepee rings face the rising sun Circles of home before the ride is done. Voices of those, whose legends were made, In rendezvous camps of the beaver trade, Echo through canyons and fade in the trees, Where a rusty old trap still holds the keys, Of a cook fire ring that’s still neatly made A circle of home lies there in the shade, Of a trapper blowing coals on his knees, Over rocks in a clearing back in the trees. And of time worn tracks and dusty trails, Where an old time path is there - then pales. Dust has settled followed by grass, It comes into view and then seems to pass.

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Those worn out trails of olden date, Spread over grassland in paths of eight. Riders and wagons rolled side by side, To check the dust where the trail gets wide. Dust that rises, takes wing, then falls, Signals the past and quietly calls, To tell the tale of those yesterdays, And the circle of home over bygone ways. Trails rocky and steep then easy and wide, Circle me back each time I ride. They circle me back each time I roam.

The tales of the trail are of going home.

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A Canyon Adventure

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should relate here that a lot of my outdoor activity during the First World War was riding my favorite pony that we called Dirk. He was very gentle but had good life and I could do many things with him. My girl friend with whom I usually went riding and I would run races, but the horses got so used to running together that neither one would go much ahead of the other. One day my girl friend Florence Welch, and I decided to take quite an extended trip, first up East Canyon running east of Avon to the old LaPlatt Mine. Here we stopped and ate our lunch, returning we decided to try Dry Canyon. I think it was called that. At any rate it run south from Avon. After riding for some time we met two young fellows who were stranded with a broken down motorcycle. We stopped and talked to them and were told that they had stopped back up the canyon a number of miles having motor trouble and on leaving they left their camera and asked us to please go back and get it. Our time was our own and not having any good reason not to help them, we said we would go. They said they hadn’t had any dinner so we gave them the lunch that we didn’t eat while up East Canyon and we had more than we could eat. We road several miles back to where they had been and found the camera at the place they described. By this time we had traveled as far as we had intended so with the Kodak we returned. When we got to the boys they were still trying to get the motorcycle to run.

They expressed their gratefulness to us and took our pictures

on our horses and promised to send us each one when they got them developed. We left them working on their machine and arrived home having had an interesting and somewhat of an eventful canyon trip. Amy Shipley - Paradise, Utah

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A Good Farrier by Trade My Father Was

good farrier by trade my father was, Nipping and rasping one-toed claws, Countless shoes he’s attached with nails, Hammering hooves from heads to tails.

A hoof is a hoof by most any name, They’re mostly alike and can all go lame, But a hoof on a foot stomped on just plain, Can crush a man’s toenails causing much pain. His toes were smashed by a rank old stead, Hanging and dangling they all did bleed. Removing his stocking and cowboy boot, He took his nippers and trimmed to the root. And so saved his toenails - all five toe-claws. A good farrier by trade my father was.

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Up Alaska Basin Way
p Alaska Basin way, Then north to Hurricane Pass, You’ll find the trail to a crystal lake, Still and smooth as glass. Forty years have come and gone, Since packhorses, family and friends, Made camp on the rocky shore, Of Sunset Lake where the sky begins. As the alpine lake touched the sky, Vespers glow of red and orange, Cast their spell upon the eye. As it was then so is it now. Lakeshore rocks of years gone by Untouched since then by father time, Anchor still water to the sky. Forty years had come and gone, We rode good horses on a rocky ride, My father, my son and I returned, To Sunset Lake on the Idaho side. Up Alaska Basin way, Then north to Hurricane Pass, We followed the trail to a crystal lake, Still as smooth as glass.

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Big Moose in Bridger Lake

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rom John Colter’s day to the present the striking scenery of the Absaroka Range, like the beauty of the desert rose, has shone in the glory for a hundred summer suns, unseen and almost unknown except to the few big game hunters who travel by horse in its vast untamed wilderness. Osbourne Russell and other trappers noted in their journals of a place where the waters on one creek parted into separate currents; one flowing east toward the Atlantic Ocean via the Missouri River and the other toward the Pacific via the Snake. Tales of the Absaroka Range, Enos Lake (Named after an Indian who was exhibited at the San Francisco Exhibition in 1915 at the age of 102. He reportedly lived four years longer. It is said that he traveled through the area with Fremont in 1842.), the Thoroughfare Plateau (where large numbers of protected bug game drift in and out of Yellowstone Park) all whetted our appetite to explore this place. Legend had been created there and then mythically transported to the outside world preserving the wild virginity of this forbidding land. Labor day of 1970, Dad took some time off work for our trip. It was late summer; fall was coming on fast in the high country. Moose hunting season was open in Wyoming. Ladd our new Arabian and Slippers the American Saddler were loaded into the “outfit” – the Jeep Wagoneer and horse trailer at the Codding’s small farm just south of Idaho Falls. This was the place where our horses were boarded. After putting an extra bale or two of hay into the front compartment of the trailer, we were headed off into the mountains. We traveled through the Palisades dam area, south of Hoback Junction into Wyoming in order to avoid the steep Teton Pass with a horse trailer. Upon arriving in the Jackson Hole area we still had a distance to go on highway US 287 before

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the trailhead at Turpin Meadows. At Turpin Meadows the horses were unloaded and allowed to stretch out a little. They were obviously excited to be back in the mountains. Our gear was loaded into saddlebags and on the saddles as we had done before. Each rider was a compact self-contained unit. It something didn’t fit on a horse, it wasn’t taken. We started up the trail at sometime between nine and ten o’clock in the morning. As luck would have it, the meadows were too much of a temptation for Slippers, my horse. She insisted on wandering through the meadow tasting the grasses and flowers with little acknowledgement that I was on her back. Slippers was high-spirited. Dad decided to knock some sense into her as only he could. He got off Ladd. I got off Slippers. Dad was going in all four directions simultaneously. All four directions did not necessarily mean on the trail. Through the mud, through the bushes and wildflowers, poor Slippers didn’t know what had hit her. The message was clear. These were the mountains. There would be no room for horse tricks. I got back on. Slippers was a different animal. She dutifully followed nose to tail as Ladd took the lead. We set out on the trail leading to the confluence of the Soda Fork and Buffalo Rivers. This we passed on the left. It was an impressive sight. Lots of whitewater in a deep gorge. A little beyond this point we began running into a couple of hunting parties. It was only then that we learned that hunting season was open. Towards noon, Ladd stopped with a start. There was something coming towards him on the same trail. Dad looked behind to me indicating to stop. There we stood as the biggest moose we had ever seen came galloping down the trail towards us. As it reached the crest of the rise that separated us, it stopped and surveyed the threat level. The moose was every bit as big as Slippers. Eyeball to eyeball and nearly nose-to-nose, the three animals stared off for what seemed to be an eternity. The moose backed off and charged into the thicket, uphill side of the trail.

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As we stopped to water the horses for a break, we marveled at the size of that mornings moose. The spread of the antlers was at least six feet. If it had chosen to charge we would have been in serious trouble. As we rode, we left the banks of the Buffalo and headed towards Two Ocean Pass. During the later part of the day we spotted several more moose, though none as large as our first encounter. The moose seemed to be on the move. Hunters were in the forest. The cool of the evening had come on. We pastured the horses in a lush area with a good stream and then bunked down for the night. As night came on and as the moon rose in the east, a sound like I had never before heard came to life. Coyotes were howling mightily at the moon. A little while later a pair of coyotes ran through the trees only fifty yards from our camp. Night came on. The horses were safely hobbled a short distance downstream from where we were camped. The amount of fallen deadwood was a though it had accumulated for hundreds of years without ever having been disturbed. The fallen trees were a testimony to the antiquity of the living forest. Generations lay upon generations. The mulch of the past fed the present. We fell asleep in our sleeping bags. Morning light shown through the mist rising on the grass where the horses had been hobbled. During the night they had strayed more than we thought they would. We awoke in the morning to light, mist and wet grass but no horses. They had developed a loping kind of hop so that they could move about fairly well even with hobbles on their front legs. We finally found them down the hill a ways. We spotted a herd of about one hundred fifty elk running from one ridge crest to another. It was a magnificent sight to see. The sea of grayish animals seemingly floating through the tall misty grass and then into the invisible gave a dream-like quality to the early morning hours. We broke camp and hit the trail. Our plan for the day was to go up to Two Ocean Pass and then follow Atlantic Creek

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most of the way to Bridger Lake. We found our way to Two Ocean Pass. Two Ocean Creek flows through Two Ocean Plateau in the southwest portion of the Yellowstone country and on into the northern portion of the wilderness area. The Continental Divide winds through the plateau country in a nonspectacular almost indistinguishable manner – until the Parting of the Waters at the pass. There, Two Ocean Creek divides into Atlantic Creek and Pacific Creek. This juncture allows fish to migrate back and forth across the Continental Divide. It is an impressive place. We took pictures there, drank from the waters and went on our way. The Yellowstone and the Teton Wilderness are the domain of the lodge pole pine. The trees grow evenly to a height of fifty feet or more. Douglas fir, Engelmann Spruce and aspens and also found in quantity. The ride from the Parting of the Waters to Bridger Lake revealed some of the secrets kept hidden by the back-green trees. We discovered a coupled of abandoned hunters camps. In one they had butchered a young moose. This was the only sign of success had by hunters during the entire trip. Bridger Lake, located two mile south of Yellowstone Park is in moose country. As we approached the lake surrounded by large meadows of grasses and willows, a big bull moose standing in the middle of the lake placidly dipping his head into the water for the tender aquatic plants below the surface. Moss dripped from his enormous antlers. He looked up undisturbed. Perhaps it was his poor eyesight. Perhaps instinct. We stayed silent. Dad explained that it is easier to get closer to wildlife on a horse than on foot because the animals are not spooked by the sound of hooves in the same way that they are by the sound of human feet. We had learned the truth of that by experience at the outset of our trip. We left the majestic moose in silence. We rode for a distance around the lake to the meeting place of trails coming from Atlantic Creek and the Yellowstone River, which has its headwaters in the remote reaches of the

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Thoroughfare Plateau. At this point we turned around and started back home retracing our steps as we went. As we loaded the horses into the trailer at Turpin Meadows, we were happy to have had the experience together. Impressions were left in my mind and spirit that time cannot erase – the majesty of the Absaroka Mountains, the Parting of the Waters, the howling of midnight coyotes. The sea of shimmering elk. And the moose in Bridger Lake, undisturbed by our human intrusion, at that mostly quiet time of day.

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t’s a mostly quiet time of day, No one has too much to say. Muscles ache from what’s been done, We sit and watch the setting sun. Purple mist settles over the valley, Okra and sienna come forth to sally. The old wests brushes swing center stage, Indian paint, sego lily, lupine and sage. Blossoms blazed red in the light of day, Fade slowly into shades of gray. Small white petals fold down their husk, As sunlight drifts softly into dusk. The cool of the evening wafts on by, As painted clouds cover up the sky, Red yellow blazes carry the light, Of celestial embers into the night. Dusters and slickers untied and unrolled, Come off the saddles to ward off the cold, As the evening dew begins to rise, Remaining colors fade from our eyes. Voices are soft away from the crowd, Muffled and muzzled by a low hanging cloud. What was yellow and what was white, Now’s just a shadow in the pale lunar light. It’s a mostly quiet time of day, We rise from our rest not much to say, It’s gray in the east - a new day has begun, We saddle and ride to the rising sun.

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It’s a Mostly Quiet Time of Day

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The Parting of the Waters

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he parting of the waters on the divide, Recalls our freedom to decide. The daily decisions we have to make, Set the course our very lives will take.

For a distance from their source, The waters follow the self same course, They mix and gurgle and flow together, Giving life to forest, field and heather. And then abruptly they separate. Following paths to a different fate. One flows east and the other west, Both are equal but which is best? One follows the Missouri wide, Then the Mississippi on the Atlantic side. The other pours into the Snake, Then the Columbia on the Pacific wake. Never again shall the twain be one, The paths they took and the course they’ve run, Differ so much and to such a degree It’s not all that different for you and me.

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Friends from when my eyes were young, Don’t come ‘round where my hat is hung. For years they’ve not come by my door, Nor I theirs – we’re different to the core. Some chose the bottle and some the fix, Some chose the city - I chose the sticks. I ride my own trail in my personal life, With horses and cattle and a good-hearted wife. Give me the desert, the mountains and such, The wild and unruly with no human touch. Give me the hard gusting wind in my face, That I know myself and measure my pace. So that when my river has finally dried, And I meet my maker up yonder divide, I will have followed an acceptable way, And pour myself into His ocean to stay.

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A Horse Camp Has A Rhythm of Chores
horse camp has a rhythm of chores, The needs of horses come before yours. Unchanged since before the dawn of creation, It’s been like this through each generation. You unsaddle, brush down and check the feet, Of horses who’ve carried you through the heat. You then turn ‘em out in the evenin’ to graze, To water and rest for the upcomin’ days. It’s only then that you think of you, When horses are settled and cares are few, It’s then you warm up by the fire, ‘Fore your bedroll’s undone and you retire.

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This rhythm of chores where horses come first, Teaches you fast that beasts ain’t cursed, And they ain’t dumb though mute they be, They ride high in the hearts of you and me. Through hours of dark throughout the night, You hear their movement and sleep is light, The new dawn breaks you take up your chore, You’re waterin’ horses and tendin’ more. Camp is broke, you’re packed and rolled, Ready to go as in days of old, You catch the horses and fit them out, They’re rested and ready - there is no doubt. This rhythm of chores don’t allow much rest, But it lives and breathes the Code of the West, Some have called it the Cowboy Code too, Look after your neighbor and he’ll look after you. It comes from puttin’ livestock first, You’re just second, so’s your hunger and thirst. From a horse camp with its rhythm of chores, You learn that needs of others come before yours.

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Three Metal Barrels

hree metal barrels wait in the sand, Of the rodeo arena with a spectator stand. Tractor and harrow smooth out the course, Of cloverleaf tracks from the previous horse. Straight in the saddle awaiting her call, Sits a young girl ready to give it her all, Her Duke can’t wait to get his cue, They want to be first or at least number two. For weeks they’ve practiced and done the drill, They’ve picked up speed with nary a spill, The horses ahead set a very fast pace, For those that follow in this three barrel race. They burst out of the gate and kick up sand, A charge to the barrel on the right hand. As they turn to the right it all falls apart, Duke twists his leg while giving his heart. He bucked up in pain and finally threw, The girl to the ground when his rear leg blew, She landed on her outstretched arm, Laying in shock as they raised the alarm. Her arm was set in a sling and a cast, It healed up in time as pain slowly passed, But Duke’s leg didn’t get over being hurt, He’d just drag it behind him over the dirt. Though both horse and rider had taken a fall, Nothing left is how a horse gives his all. Duke’s useful life reached its end in the sand, Of the rodeo arena with a spectator stand.

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On the Way Home

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e had a nice pony we used for light work and riding. As we lived three miles away from school and church, we always went by buggy or horseback to school and church services. This day my sister Selma and I were riding home on the pony, Selma riding behind me, as she was three years younger than I. It was her second or third year in school. The road lead through a field and I did not see a barbed wire lying in the road. The pony touched the wire with one leg and, being very frightened of the barbed wire as many horses used to be, she jumped sideways, throwing Selma and myself off. The horse ran fast on up the road, around a hill and out of sight for about on fourth of a mile. Selma was hurt and I was busy trying to find out if it was serious as she complained of her wrist hurting. I decided, after I got her quieted from her frightened condition, that she probably had a sprained wrist, which we later found out to be so. We were still about one mile from home. By the time we were straightened out and found ourselves still able to walk, the pony had gone out of sight. We started to walk and hearing a sound we looked up and saw the pony just at the top of the hill where she was in plain view. She had come back where she could see us. She stopped and whimmered to let us know that she was waiting. When we got to her I had quite a time to get my sister Selma back on the pony. With the cooperation of the horse to stand close to a bank at the side of the road, we got her on for the rest of the way home. Even though our pony had thrown us off, our fondness for her grew because of her coming back into sight and then waiting for us. Alfred Kern – Riverdale, Idaho

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f he nickers at yer comin’, And is waitin’ by the gate, If he perks his ears up right, And they’re standin’ tall and straight, If he softly nuzzles nose to cheek, And is blowin’ light and easy, If he draws his head into yer chest, And around his ears ain’t quesy, If he opens easy for the bit, And in cinchin’ just ain’t bothered, If he’s got a soft look in his eye, And he lingers when unhaltered, If he trailer loads from twenty feet, And stands calm to trim and shoe, If he moves out fast on yer command, And pays attention to yer cue, If he nickers at yer comin’ It ain’t the oats within yer pail. He nickers at yer comin’ ‘Cause he knows he ain’t for sale.

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If He Nickers at Yer Comin’

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My Blue-Eyed Bay

e did some horse tradin’ just after the molt, Kirby got old Dan and I got an unbroke colt, When I first handled him he lingered to stay, This was a real good sign for my blue-eyed bay. Still only a yearlin’ he wasn’t much use, I just wanted a horse that’d had no abuse, To get one I’d have to break him my way, I’d get along fine with my blue-eyed bay. Months of workin’ and sackin’ him out, One step at a time each day left no doubt, He was a good one and had a good place to stay, I was startin’ out fine with my blue-eyed bay. It took five bouts of buckin’ ‘fore I hit dirt, When he threw me just my pride was hurt, That was the last time he’d toss a rider away, It was comin’ together for my blue-eyed bay. Months passed, he grew and learned each gait, But to lope with a rider he preferred to wait, It would come out in time but in his own way, He was movin’ out fast now - my blue-eyed bay. He loped first on an uphill swell, That November mornin’ it was clear as a bell, There was more to come I could easily say, I’d be gettin’ there soon with my blue-eyed bay. A horse worth ownin’ has to give satisfaction, A good head, soft eye and a whole lot of action, You can get all this if you’re willin’ to pay, Most horses keep a givin’ like my blue-eyed bay.

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One mornin’ in the deep arena dirt, Loose rein, no spurs, no need for a quirt, He picked up his leads and loped circles each way, This, a true gift from my blue-eyed bay. It’s that very same spirit that draws us near, True gifts come from within - not out of fear. They come from the heart and in their own way, Like this one to me from my blue-eyed bay.

Break Some Young Horses

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n those days we usually had very hard winters, much snow and very cold. The snow would lie on the ground from late November until the middle of April or the first of May. So during the summer we worked long days and worked hard. But in winter we had only to feed our stock and horses, break some young horses to work and ride, and enjoy ourselves sleighing, attending school, dancing and surprise parties. In those days I was just the average country boy. I could run a mowing machine, rake hay, bind bundles of grain, haul hay and grain, plow, sow and harrow, irrigate, go into the canyons and haul out fencing and building material and firewood, and ride the range for cattle and horses. James F. Gordon - Meadowville, Utah

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The Trap Corral of Stone

he west may all be settled but its spirit can’t be thrown. On an island in the old salt sea stands a trap corral of stone, It’s use to some a mystery but to others it ‘s well known, To whence a storied feral stud - the spotted wild roan.

Trap corrals catch mustangs when there’s just no other way, When they’re too fast and wily and keep you well at bay. A herd of horses wild, well bred and fast and free, Once roamed this island range out in the old salt sea. High upon a rocky ridge a trail there bends and curves, Fast horses slow up some to settle down their nerves. Years ago they built right there a trap corral of stone, To catch the colts and mares and the stallion spotted roan. A finer horse you’d never find, that wild spotted roan, Lott Smith knew his mind and would have him for his own. Run ‘em in and throw ‘em down and tie ‘em nose to tail, He and his partners did the deed and did it very well. They tried to break and tame that feral spotted roan, The stallion that they caught there in the trap corral of stone. One day all saddled up the spotted roan broke free, And swam back to his island home out in the old salt sea. Never to be caught again, the saddled spotted roan, Never to come close again to the trap corral of stone. Corralled but hardly captured the spotted roan remains, The blood of wild horses flows deep in western veins. The men who ride fast horses in places wild like these, Share heart that rides the wind and dallies on the breeze. The west may all be settled but its spirit won’t be thrown, On an island in the Great Salt Lake near the trap corral of stone.

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When On The Trail a Griz’ You Meet

grizzly on the trail we met, Headed downhill so it couldn’t get, A full head of steam and a runnin’ start, To grab us and then to pull us apart. But it probably wouldn’t have anyway, In front of the bear stood that day, Three mounted horses whose footfall, Gave no clue that we were human at all. It’s that shuffling booted gait, That makes the hair stand up straight, On the backs of the necks of the forest clan, Who run from it as fast as they can. The cleated soles and stumbling sound, Travel the trail with a constant pound, Way too heavy for the weight of the walker, Compared to the paws of a forest stalker. Put that biped on the back of a horse, And travel across a mountain course, Then much to your own disbelief, The critters don’t run away like a thief.

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The closer you get the more curious they are, They just want to meet this thing from afar, So they stand there with some anticipation Calm and collected with no trepidation. It’s the beast that’s all covered with tack, The one who’s withers and saddle back, Are down below and between your legs, He’s nervous himself and walkin’ on eggs. Don’t worry ‘bout that bear you meet, Standin’ on the trail on all four feet, The six-footed creature he sees through his eyes Your horse - could give you a big surprise. Move fast he thinks, run down the trail, Away from the griz’ – quick turn tail. Somethin’ could loosen inside of his head, You’re riding your very own hazard instead. Just stay calm on that saddletree, Stay together in your group of three, Shorten the reins and take a good seat, When on the trail a griz’ you meet.

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Where Sagebrush Still Ain’t Plowed

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iles from lonesome, where sagebrush’s all been plowed,

It’s been for me and perhaps for you right lonely in a crowd, Where some crawl on top and set themselves up proud. It’s they who’ve not known lonesome - the lonely crowd and all, Where folks are freely merchandized, based on the markets call. It’s more’n just solitary alone – bein’ part’a the lonely crowd, Where they take and don’t put back and egos go unbowed. It’s the lonely crowd that’ll never know the softly rushin’ willows, Where griz’ leave tracks and coyotes call and a distant bull elk bellows, Where the wind blows hard and the sun burns long and fierce and hot, It’s there I prefer to spend my time, where most would rather not. Where it’s just your horse and you and maybe a few trees, It’s lonesome where sagebrush grows, in places wild like these. Where nights are starry cold and daylight meanders slowly by, It’s way too far for a man to walk, and the trails are dusty dry. Where places off the beaten track still raise that lonesome feel, It’s lonesome – but hardly lonely - it’s where you come to heal. Miles from the lonely crowd, where sagebrush still ain’t plowed.

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Plowing Sagebrush

1914

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uring the years 1914, 15, 16 I was working the dry farm. I used a box to stand on to harness the horses because I was not tall enough to put the collar or harnesses on. There were about 35-40 acres past the hill top that was usable land. So we cleared off the sagebrush and worked that area. First you got rid of the sagebrush and moveable rocks. Next it had to be plowed, then harrowed to break up some clods and gather some of the sagebrush that was left. Next you would drag it with a flat to fill in the low strips. Last was the seeder or planter. I did all of these jobs. I remember very well the seagulls that would follow when I was plowing. It would please me when I had trained the horse I liked best to follow the furrow. But one of the bad memories I have is the rocks that would break the plow shear points when plowing. Mostly I was using cast iron plow shears. You would snag onto a buried rock and too many times you would snap off the points. And then, even if you had an extra one on hand, it took time to get the broken piece off and the new one on. But the cast iron ones cost about 1/3 of what an all steel one did and the rocky ground would wear out either one at about the same speed. There was one homestead that was further back in the hills than ours. We we first moved there it was the Alcorns that lived there, but they gave up and left. Sid Elswood tried one year. I guess Dad got him interested. He planted a crop, but that year was not the best. Serge Lauper - Penrose, Utah

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Warmth meanS
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Where Warmth Means Wood

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n the winter of nineteen twenty-one, Before the arrival of their firstborn son, Alf took Amy through snow and ice, Forty miles by sleigh from Preston to Paradise. My grandfather felt a little regret, That a horse and a sleigh was all he could get, To visit her family as he knew he should, When travel meant horses and warmth meant wood. In the winter of nineteen sixty-eight, Thanksgiving that year just had to wait, My father drove cattle through drifting snow, To the shelter of valleys down below. We just put off our holiday feast, Grateful for safety of man and beast. The cattle were cared for best as they could, When rescue meant horses and warmth meant wood.

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A little closer towards the end of the year, We called on poor families living near, In a Quonset hut and a tarpaper shack, Heat was by fire and water they’d pack. Country radio had made a plea, To donate a Christmas gift or a tree, So we took a present to each little child, They were ragged, dirty and a little bit wild. Plastic sheets on the windows let in daylight, And the wind and the snow and the cold of the night, We tried to help out as they expected we would, Horses lived better than this; still warmth meant wood. So here we are in two thousand and some, It’s hard not to let your feelings go numb, So we remember our folk’s blood, sweat and tears, We try to pass it on down through the years. From horses to cattle to neighborly ways, From harness and saddle to one-horse sleighs, To being kind to man and to beast as we should, It still means something where warmth means wood.

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Sagebrush for Warmth

1903

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attended school in the winter. I had a hard time getting on in school and didn’t like school. We had to go three miles to school and that was real tough during the cold weather. My father took us in the sleigh some times and other times we rode horseback and almost froze before we got there. All the heat we had in the schoolhouse was the pot bellied stove and all the kids would crowd around the stove in the one room schoolhouse and the teacher would rub our frozen hands and feet to help get them warm.

At home we lived in a one room lumber house with a ladder that went to the attic where we had our beds. The stove was just a four plate cook stove on four legs and

an oven to bake bread in. We burned sagebrush wood to keep us warm. It made a hot blaze but one would have to be chucking in the wood most all the time, it burned up so fast. It kept my father busy hauling and chopping sagebrush wood. After Father could prove up on the farm, we moved on a farm two miles out of Preston. That was when I started to work for the Marrums and a while later I started in the store. I walked to work and home every day, only when it was too muddy or stormy to walk, and then Mother or Father would take me to town in the buggy. We had a good home life. Clara Kern – Riverdale, Idaho

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Heater in the Tent

1918

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ow I’m thinking of the winters with mostly sage brush for the fire, with some cedar and a very little coal. There were so many of us in the small cabin and that it heated up pretty well with the kitchen stove. We had a round bellied heater in the tent and, in real cold weather, mother would warm up some flat irons or bricks and put them in our bed. But that, too, would become warm pretty quick because there would be three or four children in each end of the bed and the snow banked against the side of the tent. But one thing we had in abundance was clear, fresh air. Not a cloud in the sky. You could see for miles. Spring was really wonderful with the snow gone and before the hot summer. We always had a period when we had buttercups, blue bells, and for a while, green, growing grass. . . So much for memories of a time long past. Serge Lauper, Penrose Utah

Along the Canadian Trail

1898

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n 1898, Robert Elsworth Shipley, his wife Ellen Jane and their daughter Elva left the state of Utah to make a new home in Alberta, Canada. They were accompanied by Ellen Jane’s parents and family. Elva wrote: The party traveled in covered wagons drawn by horses. Each wagon was equipped with a cook stove, beds and all necessary things to make a home while traveling. After the party had traveled for about two weeks they came to a river. Here they decided to stop and rest the horses. As we drew near the ideal camping ground, we noticed a wagon already camped there.

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Investigating we found a family of nine, seven children and their parents. We learned that a few days before their horses had broken loose and had been killed on a railroad bridge. The parents were beside themselves, as they had neither money, food or clothing for their family. After my grandmother Louise Smith learned all the facts, she at once went into action. They decided to take the family to Canada with them. The problem of clothing was solved immediately. It did not matter that the boys’ overalls were made of a new straw tick mattress that grandmother had brought along, or that the dresses and shirts were all made of the same material. She immediately got her sewing machine and with the help of her daughters, proceeded to clothe the destitute family. His name was John Sherwood. Extra horses were hitched to their wagon and they all traveled together. This slowed their traveling considerably, as the wagons that had three horses now had to be drawn with two. While we were still camped at the river where we found the Sherwood family, my mother and her sisters decided to wash all the bedding and built a fire and put a wash boiler on stones to heat the wash water. As I was only seventeen

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months old, there was a problem of what to do with me so mother went to their wagon and obtained a new horse collar and put it on the ground on top of a blanket and sat me in the center - it was my first play pen. My father had strung clotheslines from tree to tree some distance from the fire. Mother left me and went to hang her clothes. When she turned to see if I was all right, the sight she saw almost shocked her to death - for standing by me was a full-grown cougar just standing and looking at me. I was reaching out to it, probably thinking it was a dog. She screamed and it ran for its life. My father often teased me in later years about being so spoiled that even a cougar wouldn’t have me. Grandmother had brought along six barred Rock Hens and one rooster. Each day there were fresh eggs. Grandfather had built a coup on the side of the covered wagon. When the company stopped for the night the chickens were staked to the wagon wheel and allowed to scratch in the ground for an hour or two. We usually made camp on Friday afternoon until Monday morning. On Sunday we held services and thanked the Lord for all our blessings. Each morning before starting out and each evening when we camped we had prayers and Grandmother, who had brought her little organ along played hymns and everybody sang. We arrived at Cardston July 24, 1898. The country was sparsely settled. At that time of year, the rich rolling prairies were sparsely settled. At that time of the year, the rich rolling prairies were covered with gorgeous profusion of wild flowers of every hue and lay, spread on what seemed to be an endless expansion, dotted with occasional buttes and toolies. All this was indeed a welcome sight to the weary travelers. There was not much farming done then, cattle ranching was the chief industry. My father accumulated a nice herd of beef cattle and was able to provide a good living for us. Elva Shipley, Cardston Alberta

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When the Hurtin’s Over

hen the hurtin’s over and the pain’s all done, Your gimp is gone and you’ve got back your run. When the healin’ gives you back your lope, Your eyes will flash with a spark of hope. You’ll forget that rusty old t-post, And about the jump that hurt the most, You missed the jump; it went through your hide. The hole it made went deep inside. Somehow you did it for your own sake, You pulled off of that metal stake, And managed to finally cross the fence. What happened to your good horse sense? Spring grass on the other side, Was way too temptin’ for your pride, Dried hay today? Don’t care if it’s clean. I’ll take what’s there - it’s fresh and green. So up you rose into the air, The fence below became your snare. I found you outside the gate, Head down and hurt but not too late. You spent lonesome days inside a stall, No chance to lay, no chance to fall, Just stand there straight and let it heal, A horse feels pain – it’s just as real.

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You lost your standin’ in the herd, Once you got out, once you were cured, You had to give up your place, To that palomino with the bally face. But the hurtin’s over and the pain’s all done, Your gimp is gone and you’ve got back your run. The healin’ gave you back your lope, Your eyes flash again with a spark of hope.

Might As Well Shoot Him

1916

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f I had had any kind of encouragement I would have stayed on the farm because I loved horses. I had my own horse Prince. I had saved up some money for him. One time he was down with a spinal injury. I remember the neighbors said he would never get up, and I might as well shoot him. But I didn’t give up on him. I arranged an A frame and put that over him and arranged some support underneath him and managed to get him back on his feet. And he recovered. When he stood up, I could see how to take care of him. He lived and got over the disease. I loved horses. My best horse was a roan.
Serge J. Lauper - Bear River City, Utah

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Lambing Time in the Rockies

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n the way to the ranch we had to stop, At a country store to pick up some pop, Some pliers and some gloves for our hands, As well as a bunch of small rubber bands. The pickup took off with a spurt and a wheeze, For a few days of lambing up in the trees. It rolled out of the lot and onto the road, Heading on up once we’d picked up our load. We stayed in the cabin just built and brand new, With a Franklin stove and round eight inch flue. It kept the place warm in the cool spring air, In the Rockies again, we were glad to be there. Grandpa Jess cared for the rams and the studs, The rest of the clan grew the beef and the spuds, It had been a good season with lots of new lambs, About sixty were born to the yews and the rams. The work of the day went forth as planned, Long dirty tails each got a new rubber band, Some of the lambs got a freshly docked tail, Not to mention a good reason to wail. Females ran in a pen to bleat and to moan, Young bucks winced whenever they’d groan, As each was castrated and sent over beside, A vat holding gallons of sheep dip inside. Some ewes were covered up to their throats, With smelly stuff that soaked their coats, Those that went in couldn’t wait to get out, To shake themselves off, to bleat and to pout.

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Counting the ewes Old Jess kept a tally, The rams had been sent down to the valley, As lopped off tails piled up in the grass, He counted and recounted one more pass. One more time he scratched his head, One ewe was missing, he hoped not dead. Old Jess jumped up and into his jeep, All through the trees he looked for his sheep. About the time when the sun sunk low, We finally found her and hurried to go. The pregnant ewe lay all distressed, Unable to birth the lamb that pressed, Against the birth canal too small, To let a lamb struggle and crawl, Out to the air, to light and to life, Grandpa Jess slowly took out his knife. He opened the opening a wee little bit Then onto the ground he took a sit, To pull the dead lamb from out of the ewe, Relieved from all that she’d been through. He picked her up slowly, got a good hold. She was sweating chills and getting cold. He then placed her gently back in the bed, Of the jeep pickup where she quietly bled. Back to the ranch house on a dirt road, He anxiously carried his precious load, Then the truck hit a rut that had a big rock, The ewe flew out and lay there in shock.

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In the dirt she split and came unwound, Her innards fell out and were lying around. Carefully lifting her up once more, He put her back in and closed the door. Back at the cabin we hung our hope, On boiling water as we took the soap, A needle, some thread, iodine and bands, Grandpa Jess carefully washed his hands. He went outside and washed out the ewe, As best he could, as best he knew, Then placed her insides back inside, And closed her up by sewing her hide. Old Grandpa Jess had done his best, We went to the cabin to get some rest. Jess prayed mightily for that old sheep, Hard as he could, then dozed off to sleep. Sleep can come in many a way, The sheep didn’t see the new dawning day, My throat got lumpy as I watched Jess weep, Love for his herd went bone marrow deep. Staying in the cabin just built and brand new, With a Franklin stove and round eight inch flue, Part of me grew up in that cool spring air. That wrinkled old man had taught me to care.

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Coyote Country

1864

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was born June 5th 1859 in Washington, Washington County, Utah. My first remembrance of my parents, George Washington Adair and Miriam Billingsly Adair was when they lived in a twelve by fifteen foot shed roof adobe house and my mother did all of the cooking over an open fire in the fireplace, as we had no stove. I don’t remember the name of the town but I do remember that they then moved to Minersville, Beaver County, Utah. It was here we had a small herd of sheep and my father gave me a little lamb to raise on my own. This was wild country and often the wild animals would come and kill the sheep. One day a coyote came and took my little lamb and carried it away and I stood helpless to do anything to rescue it. I will never forget how I cried when that coyote took my lamb and I had to stand there and watch it go. Jedediah Grant Adair - Minersville, Utah

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Salt Lake Valley Winter

1848 - 49

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he winter of 1848 and 1849 commenced at an early moment and therefore found many without fuel and without houses. The snow fell very deep and that made it difficult for the necessary amount of wood to be procured to make the people comfortable. The wheels of time roll on and we hailed with joy the first token of another spring and the warm rays of the sun soon began to open a space through the mountain of snow which had kept us shut up for about six months and prevented any communication outside our valley home. The mail could not go through East to let the nation know that the Saints in the wilderness were still alive and that ‘the mustard seed was growing.’ We had resided in this lone retreat about eighteen months, where civilized man had not made his home, nor a ripe harvest had not been enjoyed for ages till last season. There had been no prevailing sickness of any kind and very few deaths up to this time in the valley. Bread stuff began to be scarce, but we were beginning to be more comfortably situated. We owned a team and wagon and were quite proud of our outfit and felt truly thankful to our Heavenly Father for the many blessings he had bestowed upon us in our valley home. You who have plenty cannot imagine how hungry we would be with nothing at all, except one half pound per person per day. Once in a great while through the winter, they would kill a beef or poor worked oxen. The men would stand around waiting and each anxious to get a small piece. There were always some who did not get any. There would not be any of the animal left except the horns and the insides of the entrails. I was thankful if my husband would bring home a piece of hide or a piece of liver or just a foot. This would make a good stew if we could get a few vegetables to go with it. Miriam Billingsly Adair

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CallS DowN Moonlit dreamS

When the Coyote

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When the Coyote Calls Down Moonlit Dreams
leep comes fast along the trail, Twilight, moonlight and a coyotes wail, Echoes along the canyon wall, Are a haunting cry and a lonesome call. Calling tonight through the cold and clear, To the distant past or some future year. My eyes grow heavy; I nod off to sleep, On a saddle blanket in the canyon deep. When the coyote calls down moonlit dreams, To a boy still bursting at the seams, Asleep in the canyon ‘till the morning dew, Dreams like this always come true. Evening cool raised a gentle breeze, As the horses pawed the roots of the trees, Of the picket line standing tall and true, The years to come came into view. You came to me though you never knew, We walked a while as warm breezes blew, A seaside, a riverside, a far off place, I saw your smile, long hair and face. As sunrise kissed the morning dew, I knew some day that I would find you, And each to the other would belong. It was all right there in the coyote’s song. We found each other and have lived the dream, That came beside a mountain stream. Asleep in the canyon ‘till the morning dew, Dreams like this always come true.

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Dream of White Horses

1845

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iriam Billingsly was born January 31st, 1829 in Gibson County, Tennessee. In February 1845 she started, with her parents to gather with the Mormons and arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois in a drenching rainstorm. She crossed the Mississippi River the 25th day of April, heading westward. It was at this time she met George Washington Adair. She had a dream the night before that a young man would come riding up to their wagon on a white horse. She had told her sister of her dream and of course the laughed about it as young romantic girls would, so when the young man did come riding into camp on a white horse, the two girls nudged each other and wondered if this was really true. Yes . . . That was the man that Miriam married before they reached the Salt Lake valley. Friendship ripened into love as they sat around the campfire in the evenings after the long days journey. Sometime the evenings were spent dancing and singing. They arrived in the Salt Lake valley October 1847, part of the second group of pioneers. Miriam wrote of her husband on the trek west; At this time when he and I, Walked sweetly side by side, Then there was glory in the sky, Neither storm nor cloud could hide. For I knew that if this heart Should fail in strict demand, That I could look into his face, And he would understand.

Miriam Billingsly Adair, Mt. Pisgah

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Caroline Was a Cowboy’s Wife

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aroline was a cowboy’s wife, She could have chosen an easier life, Well bred and pretty she let it all be, To marry that Jacobsen boy - Lee. She fell in love and Lee did too, He was a 1910 vintage buckaroo, Who first wandered into Island Park, On horseback where he left his mark. A young cowboy on the Railroad Ranch, The Harrimans gave him his chance, To live out his dream on the back of a horse, Caroline followed with no remorse. From there they worked the Flying R, A ways up the road but not too far, Two sons she bore him - one for each knee, They named ‘em Cody and Larry Lee. Two lives entwined in the livestock trade, Caroline made the cowhand grade, She rode and trailed and fenced and hazed, Making a home where the cattle grazed. Caroline knew livestock better than most, She helped Lee build fences post by post. All the same she would cook and sew, Her favorite mare she called Latigo. In time they bought a place of their own, The kids were big now, nearly all grown, Their brand, the Quarter Circle J Bar, Still they kept on working at the Flying R.

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They shared their cowboy ways with me, How to find strays and where they’d be, How to run cattle throughout the year, And how to use old-time cowboy gear. I’d got thrown off by a horse named Buck, Caroline came over in her pick-up truck, She always said to just get back on, I would have, but that horse was gone. Lee claimed never to have lost a steer, Or a heifer or bull regardless the year, And so the years came and then flew by, Caroline departed for the sweet by and by. One quiet morning Lee opened the door, Caroline’s sewing room was left as before, Just as she left it before she left him, Lee’s eyes were misty but not really dim. He said that on his headstone next to hers, There’d be an empty saddle, a rope and spurs. Someday when Lee crosses that great divide, Caroline will be ride again at his side.

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Under a Montana Moon

ate in the summer just before fall, In Montana’s Virginia City, They put on a dance and call it a ball, and the women folk dress up so pretty. It’s hard to believe the garb they wear, As tourists gather and gawk, Manifestin’ their Victorian flair, As they promenade down the boardwalk. Back at the dance hall up on the hill, They make a right joyful noise, The Grand March plays on until, It plays out with much bravado and poise. Soldiers decked out in Union blues, Commingle Confederate grays. Boots keep time with fine buckled shoes, As the fiddler stands up and plays. With TJ Wald a callin’ the moves, To a sea of lavish hoop skirts, Scoundrels and scallywags pick up their hooves, And dance until it hurts. The crowd glides through the Tom Sargent Waltz, Then fires up a Virginia Reel. The tempo is fast ‘til the fiddler halts, And all present have kicked up a heel.

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Circles are formed for a comely dance, As the Spanish Waltz they play, Demurrin’ debutants wait for their chance, As couples swing as they sway. The waltz is a polka played out slow, How they’re related has got me treed. But this here polka is quite a show, As hoop dresses whirl at top speed. Four couples comprise the French Quadrille, And deftly show off their grace. Across the hollow from Old Boot Hill, The quick are a smilin’ face to face. The dance preferred by all of the men, The Schottische - they stomp on the floor. With a hop of the boot and a skip and again, Hey, can the fiddlers play more? A dance comes down that’s relished by all, It must be the real McCoy, A jewel of a jig, the crown of the ball, They call it the Soldiers Joy. It’s Virginia City’s Victorian Ball, At full roar under a Montana moon. Who could ever request more, As the fiddlers from Dillon strike up a tune?

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Twin Fiddles and a Cello

1879

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y brother Joe had studied playing the violin before leaving Salt Lake City. When we got back to Meadowville there was a man there, William Moffat, who was a very good violin player. And a man, Henry Grow, W. Moffat’s brother-in-law, who played the cello. So the two violins and cello formed a string trio, which furnished music on all public and most private occasions. I had got an old violin, I think from J.S. Moffat, and was learning to play by ear. Joe used to tune my violin for me. So when I was 13 years old, Mr. Moffat having moved back to Salt Lake City, I began to play second fiddle to the dances with my brother playing first fiddle. James F. Gordon – Meadowville, Utah

In a One-Horse Sleigh

1891

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t was not long before I met the Schutt girls. I was attracted to them at once. Then when winter came I’d drive up to their home with a sleigh and take the girls to the M.I.A. meetings. The same on Sunday. The more I was in Margaret Schutt’s company and the better our acquaintance was, the stronger the attraction was to her. I had great pleasure in taking her sleighing, and to dances, also horseback riding and visiting her at her home . . . So on New Year’s night 1891 returning from a dance at Lake Town I declared my love and was overjoyed to find I was not repulsed. James F. Gordon – Meadowville, Utah

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By Bobsleigh in Blankets

1915

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he following winter I kept house for a schoolteacher in Cedarville. While I was there, we had some of the heaviest snow I have ever seen. The drifts covered the telephone wires in many places. All of the roads had to be rerouted through the fields in the bottom of the hollows. Everyone had to use bobsleighs. The farmers ran out of hay. Many of them lost some of their livestock. Other animals were kept alive by eating straw. Some of them were fed the straw off of the roofs of old sheds with a little grain. But we still had fun. They had dances in Cedarville and in Weston. We would go in bobsleighs wrapped in quilts and blankets. They were typical old western dances, where the babies were put to sleep on the benches around the edge of the floor and on the stand while we danced. Selma Kern – Riverdale, Idaho

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The Rush of the One-Horse Sleigh
hey keep on tryin’, but I can’t convert, To a motorized sled - now what would it hurt? It’s not that I object to that kinda’ fun, Making curves an’ all on a downhill run. What I prefer’s a different kinda’ ride, In a one-horse sleigh with my bride at my side. There are few thrills that can compare, To thunderin’ hooves kickin’ snow in the air. I call out his name with a touch of the whip, We charge off in an instant and hope we don’t tip. Snuggled up warm in a buffalo robe, Ears covered in fur right down to the lobe. With gloved fingers ever so light on the reins, A swish of the tail and a flyin’ lead change, Sprayin’ snow from a high steppin’ steed, A turn to the right he again changes lead. The creak of the harness and the groan of the sleigh, Are all notes of the music of a cold wintry day, Sleigh bells ring out as we flash through the snow, We dash away now with cheeks all aglow. The hours rush by in the wink of an eye, The horse is tired now and, well so am I, It’s hard to have a better day than this, I reach over and steal a midwinter kiss. For years we’ve all sung the songs of the sleigh, There must be a reason for those carols to stay, It’s a whole lot more than – the horse knows the way. Must be the ride and the rush of the one-horse sleigh.

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It Ain’t So

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Tell Me It Ain’t So
ell me it ain’t so, Or at least that you don’t know, The sky’s not all that blue up there, And rain don’t fall through mountain air. Tell me it don’t figure, Add up each and every river, There are more here that start and end, Through canyons deep that twist and bend. It can’t really be, But at times it seems to me, The eastward wind rides cold and coarse, O’er sagebrush plains on an unbroke horse. Tell me on that plain, After a storm of desert rain, There is no scent as sage awakes, No rabbits, rock chucks or rattlesnakes. Tell me maps don’t show, Mountains high and valleys low, That have more miles of rocky trails, Than most places have of roads and rails. Make it sound so strange, Unnamed peaks in the Targhee Range, No Henry’s Fork, no Henry’s Lake, No pines, no firs, no trees that quake. So tell me just once more, The Snake has no thundering roar. Tell me now that it ain’t so, ‘Till I get back to Idaho.

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A Stiff Wind

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hen I was about five or six years old, Father’s dream came true and he was able to buy a homestead right in the clay hills north and west of Riverdale, Idaho. Our first house was a little shanty that Father built on top of the hill. We had a beautiful view from there, but the winds blew badly. One day when Father was away working in the fields, we had such a severe wind that it began to lift the shanty off the ground. Father had bought a lot of barbed wire to do fencing around the farm. Mother and Alf and the rest of us lugged those bales of wire into the shanty to weight it down. When we got it all weighted down as well as we could, we went down over the side hill into a protected area and waited until the wind subsided. It was a very frightening experience and after that, Father moved the house down into the hollow. Selma Kern – Riverdale, Idaho

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Back to the River of No Return

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ome thirty years past or maybe more, I spent a summer on the banks by the roar, Of white water rapids where they make a turn, On the legendary River of No Return. It was the river that I came to love, As she cut through the mountains rising above. The sky near roads would captivate you, As the sun on the waves reflected the blue. From there to the end there is no road at all, Mad crashing whitewater encased by the wall, Of untouched mountains guarding the gate, To the foam crested river that crosses the state.

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A river this wild accepts only her own, They’re unkempt and unruly and often alone. The rest are washed out dare they get in, This turbulent River of No Return. The river’s a magnet for a colorful bunch, Of misfits and rogues who’d followed a hunch, When first they heard that siren’s song, Winging them off to where they might belong. Hermits and squatters oft times found a home, Down hills and mines where they would roam, And others up yonder in old Grantsville, Or Leesburg where the Confederacy still, Lives on in spirit and what’s left of the minds, Of hermits who still eek gold from the mines, First dug and mined out just leaving a hole, By veterans of the war that tested the soul, Of a nation just coming of age, Finding part of itself out west in the sage. Where gold dust littered the beds of the streams, Tumbling down to this river of dreams. Dreams of dreams present and past, Of boom towns that didn’t long last, Where colors fade and wooden beams gray. Amid the rubble of a livelier day. Just over the bridge near the end of the road, Where Panther Creek dumps its violent load, Of frothy white liquid into the swirl, Of the river herself at full howl and full hurl.

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A road there rises up through the pines, A dusty dirt road that heads for the mines, Of Leesburg and the crumbling town, Where no one is usually hanging around. Once we got there and parked the truck, We jumped out to maybe try our luck, In looking around for a thing or two, Just horsing around like young kids do. Then came a voice from out of a shack, Or maybe that dugout hidden out back, Of an old saloon with a westward lean, A raspy old crackle with a tinge of mean. A man stooped and crumpled with age, Came out of his hovel in a fit of rage, Shaking his fist and giving a show, That he wanted us to turn back and go. We approached the old guy shaking his arm, And seeing that we meant him no harm, We sat a spell just to bone our jaw, And for a fleeting moment in his eyes we saw, Something strange as we sat in the grass, When he first came to this mountain pass, A flickering light from out of the past, Of a girl once loved with a love - his last. It was a lonely life down in his mine, Abandoned and left alone to dine, On berries and game with shirt in a tatter, It seemed to him now it didn’t much matter.

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Unlucky in love and unlucky in life, His mind was no longer as sharp as a knife, From all the long years working his mine, He now would sit, wonder, ponder and pine. One thing though was lead pipe certain, Something that somehow healed the hurtin’, The mountains and the river down below, Welcomed him back whenever he’d go. In winter he said, he just watched the snow fall. In springtime it melts and flows down the wall, Through puddles and creeks till it’s done, Flowing to where all the snow pack has come. At about the same time and with the same speed To join in the ruckus of the watery steed, Soaking in spray and covered in white, Rushing west to the coast by day and by night. The river returns when mountain lakes freeze, On the wings of storms brought in by the breeze, Of easterly winds billowed full of white snow, That melts and runs back to the river below. So the river each season always returns, To the mountains, and hills and then turns, To rush out and to rush back and then, It returns and comes back again and again. A river this wild knows only her own, They’re unkempt and unruly and often alone, But it’s that feeling of home that’ll quietly turn, Them back to the River of No Return.

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Sunday Drivers

t the bottom of Lost Trail Pass, Where you eat and then get gas, Some good ol’ folks live there still, In a little place called Gibbonsville. One Sunday we were out for a ride, Taking a gander around the countryside, When what to our wonderment did appear? That old jalopy we gave away last year. It was free you know, it cost not a dime To Ma n’ Pa Riggin who’d had a hard time. They could have it as long as they’d please. Beware the motor had a snort and a wheeze. As that bucket o’ rust rounded the bend, Hangin’ out of the hood was someone’s back end. And to boot and by golly it was still movin’ along, With a pitch and a roll like an out of tune song. A stranger contraption you’d never seen, With Ma at the wheel behind the windscreen, Those two legs dangling out of the hood, Came dangerously close to the spokes of wood. That old sedan would slow near to a stop, Then with a burst take another hop, And now with a jerk it started to slow, Then a burst of speed, and off it would go. But not too far before Ma n’ Pa saw, They were watched a bit further down the draw, From the looks of things as we came to pass, The root of the problem was a leak of gas.

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The gas line had busted completely in two, But that ol’ Pa Riggin knew just what to do, Suck up the gas and a split second later, Turn and then spit it into the carburetor. It was by this method under the hood, They managed to move along pretty good, By a suckin’ and a spittin’ with Ma at the wheel, And Pa workin’ the gas and a draggin’ a heel. We stopped and offered to help if we could, Pa was still poking out underneath of the hood, Ma just said “no thanks” as her eyes came alive, “We’re just out for a Sunday drive.”

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The Holdup of the Yellowstone Stage

stagecoach was held up inside the Park, By outlaws who struck before it got dark, They stole everything, then turned to run, On fast horses of color, pinto and dunn. Riding south each on a swift mounted beast, At Fall River and beyond they all headed east. Hard through the river bottoms and shoal, Toward the rendezvous camp of Pierre’s Hole. Down in the valley at the county seat, The sheriff’s posse was called up to meet; Eight men at least twenty years of age, To catch the thieves of the Yellowstone Stage. The sheriff’s posse knew too well, That for these renegade robbers to jail, They had to track ‘em through thick and thin, From dawn till dusk ‘fore the mist sets in. Along the river and north up the draw, Through the pines rode the men of the law, Into the thickets and through the sage, To catch the thieves of the Yellowstone Stage. As far as we know for the story they tell, Of the posse, one rider fell dead near Sawtell, The rest rode on toward the high granite walls, Of Outlaw Corral where the coyote calls. The robbers had prepared for the worst, From a valley wide and flat at first, Eight miles of trail that came to narrow, Testing man and horse; nerve and marrow.

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The trail grows narrow, wet, steep and dark, Over slabs of granite iron horseshoes spark, Then through the mud and over the snow, Slick from the spray of the torrent below. And from the cliffs towering above, A gun sight and trigger under an outlaw glove, Could easily be trained on an approaching rider, No matter the size of the fight in the fighter. The deputies seven didn’t stand a chance, Of getting the robbers who’d taken this stance, Not enough paycheck in a posse man’s wage, To bring in the thieves of the Yellowstone Stage. Two of the men fell slumped to the brown, The rest panicked; turned tail and headed on down, The narrow pass at breakneck speed. For a narrow escape on a wild-eyed steed. And so they went free those bandits of yore, With a handful of shots from a lever action bore. The booty they buried somewhere down in the sage, The booty from the hold-up of the Yellowstone Stage. Fifty years to the day since they fell to the ground, A man with old clothes and worn hat was found, By a young elk hunter just coming of age; Said he hunted the thieves of the Yellowstone Stage. When sand cranes rise in sudden flight, When the mountains thunder on a moonless night, There rides a ghost posse from a bygone age, Tracking the thieves of the Yellowstone Stage.

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Stage Holdups

1887 – 1915

Yellowstone National Park lies due east of Island Park, Idaho. The name Island Park is derived from an old stagecoach park or resting place surrounded by water on at least two sides. The rangeland of the Quarter Circle K and Kern family cabins are located in the Henry’s Flat area and on Aspen Ridge respectively, approximately seventeen miles west of Yellowstone Park. The proximity of Yellowstone permeates the surrounding countryside with its grandeur, wildlife and history. An interesting part of Yellowstone history is the five stagecoach holdups that occurred between the years 1887 and 1915 when motorized transportation replaced traditional stagecoach travel through the Park. Stagecoaches, surreys and other horse drawn vehicles would transport tourists through the Park in caravans of fifteen to twenty five vehicles, each trailing the other by a hundred yards or more because of the dust. There would be at times a military escort at the front of the column. Bandits would let the escort and the first few stages pass out of sight before holding up the rest of the tourists. Weapons of preference seemed to be .38 caliber revolvers and 30-30 Winchester lever action carbines. The poem “The Holdup of the Yellowstone Stage” is not a representation of any of the five holdups so far as the documents allow. Still, two holdups were left unsolved. Knowledge of the surrounding area and local lore do not preclude the possibility that the area known as Hidden Corral (Outlaw Corral to some) on the north slope of the Teton Range may have played a role at one time or another in one or maybe both of the unsolved cases. The rest of the poem is pure fiction on my part. The definitive book is Yellowstone Stage Holdups by Jack Ellis Haynes, 1959, Haynes Studios, Bozeman Montana.

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The Christmas Celebration of Helen Dutton

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hristmas had come as quick as it went, Cold was breezin’ through the hot air vent. Us rowdy kids didn’t much give a care, For what the teacher was sayin’ there. It was cold outside and the snow was high, It squeaked underfoot as you walked by. Your breath would freeze inside your throat, Arctic wind nipped at your old winter coat. Like colts in the mornin’ of an early snow, We were buckin’ up and wouldn’t let go. And then she did it without makin’ a fuss She asked what we’d all got - for Christmas. Well, Mike he got a new pair of chaps, A Stetson, new boots and a pistol with caps. And Butch by golly got a bunch of new shirts, Some games and a monster toy called Lurch. Lanona, the quiet girl, if I correctly recall, Got a blue gingham dress and a Barbie doll. And Rayelle the redhead got somethin’ too, A three-speed bike that was fancy and new. From kid to kid the teacher went round, We listened good to what the others had found, Under the Christmas tree - when all of a sudden, She turned and asked that little Helen Dutton.

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The Duttons lived in a tarpaper shack, On a ramshackle farm they rented out back, And well out of sight on a rutted dirt road. No one should ever go there, or so we’d been told. Well, Helen brightened up just a speck, And we did too, hey what the heck – Maybe she’d had a celebration too – Good, that’s what families normally do.

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Helen Dutton hadn’t washed in a while, But when she broke into this great big smile, Could it be she was ready to tell us all – About some new clothes, new shoes or a doll? Or maybe about a holiday feast with her Dad, With turkey and ham when he wasn’t all mad. Or maybe a box of oranges and treats and candy, Or the party they’d had – that’d sure be dandy! Now it was time for Helen to take the floor, There’d been none of what was said before. But she smiled softly as she began to talk – She’d got a colorin’ book and two pieces of chalk. That’s it? That’s all? What about the toys? And sugar plums for good girls and boys? Not there. Just a crooked smile and tangled hair. Helen had a few more words to share. This girl with threadbare clothes and a dirty face, Would teach us somethin’ ‘bout dignity and grace. Little Helen Dutton went on to say -. “Toys don’t count much – ‘least not on Christmas day. “Mamma was home and the fire was warm, And Daddy’d came in from working the farm, He put up a sagebrush for our Christmas tree, And we all got excited my sisters and me!” After a meal of oatmeal and a horehound stick, Helen reached under the sagebrush and went to pick, The present with the colorin’ book and chalk. Then Mamma picked her up and gave her a rock. She whispered somethin’ as she cradled her tight, Like Mary musta’ done that first Christmas night. Those quiet words of Helen Dutton just won’t go away “Toys don’t count much – ‘least not on Christmas day.”

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April Fools Day

1903

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attended school in the winter. I had a hard time getting on at school and I didn’t like school. Some kids made fun of me because I was a Dutchman – this is what they called us. When I see how good children have it now I think; Oh, if I could have had a teacher who would have taken an interest in me, how wonderful it would have been, but the teacher had pets and showed much favoritism. My classmates, many of them dressed so nice, and often had candy and goodies in school. Once day on the first of April, two girl pals had some chocolate candy in school and they offered me some. I wondered why they were so nice to me, but not knowing about April Fools Day, I took a chocolate candy and thanked them. They watched me for a while and when I bit into the chocolate, it popped and the smell of onion flared up into my nose. I spit the candy out and the girls had a good laugh on me. I felt real sad about this, because I was bashful anyway and was so embarrassed. So my schools days were not very happy for a number of years. I never did get as far as the eigth grade because my two older sisters and I quit school and went to work. Clara Kern - Preston, Idaho

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Aroma Therapy

y boy and me we went for a ride, A mid-summer eve through the countryside. The mountain runoff was fast and deep, Cuttin’ the banks and cuttin’ ‘em steep K.C. on Rory and me on a colt, As a cool evening zephyr slowly took holt. Sure smelt good the scrub oak and the sage, Enough to relax you regardless yer age. Aroma therapy I think they call this, It sets yer dome a jiggin’ in a state of bliss, Folks pay big bucks for this respiration, Seems they overpay for their recreation. Just go to the forest and breathe it there, Where it smells best, you know – the air. It’ll cure whatever ails as good as a spa, Without that old wallet quick-draw. As my boy and I continued our ride, The scent of the trail cast my worries aside, Relaxed in enjoyment I gave him his head, My colt that is, as he crossed a streambed. Next thing I knew he bucked up a lick, I flew out of the saddle barely missin’ the crick. Landin’ in a heap in the pale evening light, He bucked through the crick and on out of sight. I took off my boots and then my socks, Waded back over through the current and rocks, Then went and found my trembling horse, Climbed back on and resumed my course.

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That ride’s been over for a week or two, I look at my leg and it’s real black and blue. My body’s bruised and I gimp through my days, I can’t keep up with those twice my age. My whole achin’ body is feelin’ right raw. This hurtin’ of mine must be against the law. I wonder if anyone’d care if nobody saw, That just this once I went and found me a spa?

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Only a Cattleman Knows

ive the land back to the Injuns! - I’ve been heard to cuss and say, If the open range came under wire, it don’t seem to hold much sway. What a holy mess! – the fences on land the State has leased, To range-bred cattle barbed wire’s just an inconvenience to the beast. And furthermore ya’ never know to whence the State is goin’, If they’ll re-up your lease or not – can’t plan much without knowin’. We found our branded bally steer down by the Seven Bar, They say wild cattle ain’t much for herdin’ - how right they really are. They’re wild as a March hare and four’ve died of brisket disease. But we hazed ‘em down despite the snow – right before the freeze. Them cowboys won’t get off their horse and go and do some work, If they ain’t dodgin’ duty - they’re findin’ somethin’ else to shirk. I hold it to them the broken fences and the cattle we found dead. Their rope burn scars on the sorrel mare are healed - but still are red. Those squatters on the Bureau’s land just don’t respect a herd, Due to the damage they inflict - a loss of eighteen head occurred. Never to be found a horseback, they’ve been run off through the trees, The squatters broke the fences down - and run them o’er with ATVs. At preg checkin’ time an open heifer broke loose and found her bull, In workin’ cattle – to stay on top - there’s hardly time to lull. Hanged if on that parcel I’m dickerin’ on, they ain’t upped the price, I thought we’d made a deal but now they say – “Not yet, no dice!”

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Why, I figgered we had settled things - again and once‘n fer all. Well I’m as mad as spit and more’n likely - won’t move on it this fall. That Smoky turned out a good cow horse he only bucks up in the cold, But calms pert much when lunged a bit - after which he’s good as gold. But the contract price per live-weight pound has turned out pretty fair, So next spring when things get up and rollin’ – ya’ bet that I’ll be there. In life’s remuda there’re tamer mounts, but a green broke one I chose, For I sure do relish a good complaint - as only a cattleman knows.

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He Should’a Wore His Chaps That Day
e should’a wore his chaps that day, Just wantin’ to get on his way, Ridin’ high through tall timber, Crisp fall day and feelin’ limber.

A tree was stretchin’ out to grab, To scratch and cut and poke and jab, Grabbed him as it cut his calf; Tore it wide in the aftermath. He roped his bleedin’ calf together, Rode back on in on saddle leather. Old sawbones closed the hole to stay. He wears his chaps now every day.

A Doctor Was Hard to Get

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e lived on a farm belonging to Father’s brother-in-law Emer Harris. Here I learned to milk cows and ride horses. I had a pony of my own and with girl friends with ponies would take cows to the pasture and get them at night. One day I was riding my pony to water, went through the gate. It wasn’t open wide enough to go through and I cut my leg on the barbed wire which was around the post, ripped my leg wide open down along the shin. A doctor was hard to get, the nearest was in Logan so Mother took care of the wound and bandaged it up. I was laid up for several weeks, but it healed all right. Amalie Kern Evans - Benson Ward, Utah

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Resurrection on the Quarter Circle K

he cattle fed on grass and corn, Angus, Herefords, and a skinny Shorthorn, The blacks and reds fattened up right, But the Shorthorn’s ribs poked out tight. Summer wore on and turned into fall, The Herefords and Angus were ready to haul, The grass was gone and turned into meat, But the Shorthorn was too little to eat. We trust the neighbors but to save a battle, We mend our fences and brand our cattle. Still this runty Shorthorn was way too little, To string up for the hot iron sizzle. Besides, she warn’t much ‘a temptation, To a fellow of the rustler vocation, This heifer was skinny, long and lank, Red eyed, ornery, bad tempered and rank. Still skinny, ornery and rank as she was, It came time to apply the brand to her fuzz. Hold it, right shoulder, burn it to stay. The registered brand of the Quarter Circle K. We roped that bally face ‘bout the neck, One rope on top and a second below deck, She pulled and pushed and got real wild, We could easily see she was gettin’ riled.

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When she crashed it made a terrible thud, Holding her down there in the mud, We got her strung up and all throwed down, But to finish the job there’d be one more round. As the brandin’ smoke rose in the air, The less the heifer the ropin’ could bear. She broke right down and fell on her rump, No breathin’ at all, just a big bovine lump. To the best we could reckon, we did surmise, She must be dead from the glaze in her eyes. Was she really dead? We hastened to ask, But dared not answer ‘fore we finished our task. The brand in the coals was evenly roastin’, From grey to red her hide for a toastin’, To singe the hair and cook the hide, Mid right shoulder on the starboard side. On came the gloves to pull out the brand, Out of the flames, grey hot it did land, Onto the hide of the carcass that lay, The registered brand of the Quarter Circle K. The burnin’ stench of hide and hair, Wafted through the springtime air, Penetratin’ nostrils of quick and dead. In every human and bovine head. It happened then with a powerful jerk, The cow lurched to life and woke with a spurt, She jumped in the air to escape her demise, That wild-eyed spark was reborn in her eyes. Before she landed the lassos let fly, Droppin’ to earth as they fell from the sky, Off flew the lariats and she dashed on her way… Such was resurrection on the Quarter Circle K.

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The Heifer’s Last Waltz

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couldn’t forget even if I knew how, The hole in the fence from a Black Angus cow. She waltzed on through and went AWOL, Right there in front of Sandy City Hall. We parked the trailer next to the gate, Fourteen cops stood there to wait, We saddled up me and Pete my son, Atop Duke and Toby the cow bolted to run. To the hole in the fence where the cops had been, They ran off with a yell and raisin’ a din. A crowd gathered ‘round with hoots and yells, This uptown rodeo had all the whistles and bells. It was left up to us to pen this cow, We had to get her in the trailer – now, Pete cut her off left and tailed for a bit, I spurred Duke right and the cow threw a fit. She charged the fence - Toby gave no ground, Duke nipped her flanks as he worked her around, Toby blocked her path by the trailer and truck, With Duke at a lope this heifer was stuck. In the trailer she jumped and so ended the fun, The waltz was over - the course had been run, We shut the door and entered the street, And took the heifer to Gary’s Meat. Where they arrange for the hooved and for the hairy, That last rendezvous with the hamburger fairy.

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The Cowboy’s Song

1870

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e [collectively in the United Order] had great herds of cattle and ranches in many parts of southern Utah and I was called to care for a cattle ranch in the Colorado River section. It required great skill to care for the cattle, using many cowboys to watch them. The cowboys sang many songs to quiet the cattle, so I learned many songs, which I always remembered as my children and grandchildren enjoyed my singing them for them. It was here we had the pleasure of taking care of Major Powell and party – the first white men to go down through the Grand Canyon by boat. George Washington Adair – Kane County, Utah

Cows and Rattlesankes

1904

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ome of my earliest recollections are . . . herding cows and meeting rattlesnakes. Ida Kern - Riverdale, Idaho

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Some Sweatbands Do
as it just an old cowpuncher, Or some saddle tramp with a tooled belt, Wearin’ that Triple X Stetson of once fine felt? A hat well worn and past its prime, A grimy hat abused and long past new, Oily around the brim where sweat beads through. You can’t help but sorta’ wonder, What manner of critters therein abide, Where they congregate or how they prefer to ride. That darkened rim around a hat, Ain’t for sale at any price it just cannot be bought, It only comes from bein’ with the workin’ cowboy lot. That oily grime around the brim, Is a badge of honor ‘round the cowboy clan, It’s evidence you know your way and you know you can. Some folks’d never wear a dirty hat, They don’t understand or maybe just plain won’t, Still - some sweatbands do - and others just plain don’t.

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A Cowboy’s Pay

erhaps you’ll remember the time when they were weaned, It takes some time for the human kind to go and break away, But feelin’s of some twenty years come on all picked and cleaned, And rise up high into my throat and stick – what more can I say? Pretty soon the day-to-day becomes thoughts just memorized, It was this way once or that way twice or was it meant to stay? But what of the boy who took the jumps on a pony that I prized, And left me breathless as he lifted off astride the dapple gray? Perhaps it’s just a dusty blur those hopes of years now passed, It’s somethin’ that I treasure and would never trade away, But what of the boy who used to ride like it would be his last, And worked along with no complaint in fields of fresh mown hay? Poetic movement from his horse pure black and highly withered, Is what I recall from the high-speed chase of cattle on that day, But his saddle’s empty now and dry and cracked and weathered, And he’s off a chasin’ his own dreams and headin’ on his way. Perhaps it’s just a passing feelin’ or somethin’ that I dreamed, It comes at times when I’m alone and don’t have much to say, But what of the girl who upon that paint sparkled as she beamed, And broke him of his buckin’ vice like it was so much play? Pretty soon they’ll all be gone these four kids we have had, It seems they’re ridin’ flat out fast to go and make their way, But the years we rode together have made me mighty glad, And so we grin, laugh and look on back – this is a cowboy’s pay.

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A Hay Knife Rings Out In The Winter Cold

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akin’ hay the old fashioned way, Is an art long lost and replaced today, By bales square, rectangular and round, Tied together, compressed and bound. When you stack hay like it used to be, In the old way handed down to me, Pile it into a square fence and pack, It’ll compress as it cures into a stack.

Remove the fence, a whole lot’s there, ‘Bout eight feet high and eight feet square. For a bale bigger than most’ve seen, With good straight walls of faded green. Then cover your stack with a sturdy tarp, Get your hay knife out and make it sharp. Old knives with handles of wood offset, Will cut into a stack as slick as you get. When the cold settles in and freezes hard, And you’re out there throwin’ hay old pard’ Thrust into the stack - hear the steel sing, As the knife glides through, it’ll softly ring. It only happens when the snow is deep, When critters leave tracks along as they creep, Deep in the winter before spring takes a hold, A hay knife rings out in the winter cold.

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Stacking Hay the Old Fashioned Way

1915

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ome memories of the past: I think we ere living at the Barton house although some things don’t quite fit. Dad had bargained for another haying job. His prices may have been low because he always seemed to get the job. We did not use derricks. We used the rope method. We called them “slings,” heavy one inch diameter ropes that we would spread in a U shape on the bottom of the hay wagon floor. Sometimes they were not wagons at all, but flat bottom slips that you would drag over the field. The trick was to build up the hay in a matted fashion covering the ropes first. This was not difficult with long stem and not too dry alfalfa. But with short length or dry hay, the ropes, when tightened up by the roll team, would pull through and spill the hay. But under the right conditions the load would pull up to the haystack. The pull rope would be tied to the bow end and the two loose ends tied to the two bed ropes that would lie on the top of the haystack. The team would then pull the bow end and roll it up on top of the haystack. Serge J. Lauper – Penrose, Utah

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A Trajectory Off Course

hollow wrenchin’ in the gut comes on a little cold, As you climb aboard that unbroke colt and go to take a hold, You know well what to expect and can feel it in each bone, So many have been broken, this feelin’ is well known. Though you hate for young horses to ply the buckin’ trade, And do your best to hide from them this talent God has made, By sackin’ out and round pen work and easy as she goes, But some just have a knack to launch a rider ‘fore he knows. They call ‘em athletic, they’re just heedin’ nature’s call, They’ve a well-formed hip and overstep and seem a little tall, Not mean by disposition just sensitive about the girth, Gotta get ‘em past this so they can claim their right of birth. Someone has to climb aboard and be willin’ to pull leather, Could be you or maybe me, odd ducks of different feather. So you ask me what it’s like atop a buckin’ horse, And how it feels to lose your seat in a trajectory off course. Well first of all I have to say that it’ll nearly always hurt, To hit the ground at runnin’ speed face down in rocks and dirt, In my time I’ve tried out gravel, pavement, dirt and sand, Regardless though the bruises come no matter where you land. When you see him bog his head and hump his saddleback, And he’s pullin’ at the reins and hogs up all the slack, And fakes a lope to fool you just to catch you off your guard, It’s too late to recuperate ‘cause you’re airborne now old pard’. The highest that I’ve ever flown is five feet over saddle, For ten feet up and ten feet fore – and thus begun the battle. There are some things you have to know before you pick a fight, Some horses buck up leftwards and some buck to the right.

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Somehow you need to figure out how landin’ hurts the least, I light upon my left where I don’t seem to get so creased, I’ve learned to tuck ‘em in – my wrists into each arm, But never seem to walk away from havin’ done a little harm. At first when you take flight you think your life is at its end, Below you see your saddle movin’ out upon your friend. The ground always comes up a little faster than it should, Your hip and leg hit first, then the other strikes like wood. Your teeth all grind together as your head flops to the ground, Your eyes and ears fill up with dirt, you can’t hardly hear a sound, You catch your wind and check your bones and try to find your feet, Your elbow rips through your sleeve and your face flushes with heat. Your colt is still a buckin’ like some demon straight from hell, But you know that in a minute he’ll calm down for a spell, So you get back up and get back on and find he’s good to go, You work him hard and work him fast - he’s run out of fits to throw.

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A Visit from Wyoming

1895

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hile in Wyoming, my father Robert Wright Shipley, made friends with some cattle ranchers whose letters he addressed to J. Widowfield, Widowfield, Wyoming. He may have boarded with them, but of this I cannot be sure. One of my outstanding childhood memories was when the Widowfields came to visit us. By this time they were wealthy and were returning from a year’s trip around the world. The trip in itself was one seldom heard of and made them heroes to me. Even Mrs. Widowfield’s smoking a corn cob pipe did not make any difference though I had never seen a woman smoke before and had never heard of one smoking a pipe. How she did enjoy it and how we children enjoyed watching her and listening to her tell of the things on their trip. We were saddened later when their letters stopped coming. It was rumored that they had disappeared from their home and was thought to be a case of robbery and foul play. Mabel Shipley - Paradise, Utah

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Ice On The Bear River

1896

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t the back of the two-story rock house where we lived, the land sloped down to the Bear River. The cattle would get their drinking water from the river and in the winter father would cut a hole in the ice for them to drink. Sometimes the ice would get very thick, making it hard for the cattle to reach the water. One day Moody our dog came barking up from the river to the house. He led the way down to the river and we found our pet heifer had slipped while drinking. We all felt very bad. Rosa Kern – Trenton, Utah

Ranch near Spring Creek

1900

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erman Ellsworth went into the livestock business with his older boys. They bought a [ ] ranch near Spring Creek, near Spring Lake. The young people loved to ride the horses for the cattle. Wilford Ellsworth, Payson Utah

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Life at Present

1932

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t present life is a jumble, We hardly know which way to turn, Our pockets and purses are empty, And even the banks are closed. The husbands and sons are idle, Or working long hours for their board, Yes the times are surely depressing, But we Guernsey folks are not out yet. There are still some purebred Guernseys, And their kind is hard to beat, They pay for their keep and a little more, In times as hard as these. And then if you are looking for beauty, Such as poets write about, Just look at a herd of Guernseys, Knee deep in their pasture lot. At present life is a problem, That will be hard to solve. But we will keep on trying, To make the best of our lot.

Sarah Ellsworth Madsen , Salt Lake City Utah

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Privileged Folk

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here privileged folk once came to recreate, The Harrimans and Guggenheims would often congregate. Lee was a workin’ cowboy up on the Railroad Ranch, A simple man, a good rider too - decked out in blue jean pants. One evenin’ S.R. Guggenheim had made it clearly known, That on the morn he’d bring ‘em down a ridin’ out alone. Deep furrows then plowed across Mrs. Harriman’s brow, For S.R. could barely tell horseflesh from a cow. She pulled Lee over tellin’ him - take care of old S.R. Have him ride her blondy mare – don’t let him get too far. Take care of him; not hard for Lee for as the day dawn broke, S.R. had not yet appeared for he still had not awoke. Lee rode out early on and gathered up a bunch, Settled ‘em down nicely, and then returned for lunch. S.R. was up and ready - to ride on out somewhere, They rode on out both together - S.R. on the blondy mare. Lee pointed to a place where cattle just might be, And told S.R. to take a look, he’d wait there by a tree. S.R. took off all alone astride that gentle mare, And found to his delight Lee’s cattle waitin’ there. He brought ‘em down with a little help from Lee, And corralled ‘em just as easy as could be. S.R. was proud as any peacock had ever been, And oblivious to the fact that pride’s a deadly sin. Lee came ridin’ over to check on S.R.’s fun, Do you think they’ll pay me for the work that I have done? Lee told Guggenheim he didn’t need more wealth, S.R. then declared – Then I’ll just have to pay myself!

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AffairS

Indian

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The Camas Meadows Cavalcade

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olten lava once flowed there before, Through the mountain valley of Kilgore, Time was young and the earth was new, Sagebrush sprouted under skies of blue. A caldera crater is formed from the heat, Of igneous streams not used to defeat, Round like a circle with one missing link, Where hot rock flows over the brink. Lava flows hot and scorches its path, The earth is hardened in its bath. Molten eddies, ripples and waves, Petrify into canyons, cracks and caves. Somewhere back of this shimmering past, An Indian band found their home at last. In the Wallowa valley they came to live, Where life and time was theirs to give. Life they spared for Jefferson’s men, Struggling to the Pacific and back again, They fed and sheltered these brave and bold, In a dark deep winter from the bitter cold. For years, more white men didn’t come, But then they came with bugle and drum, And took the lands of the Nez Perce, Pushing them hard out of the way.

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When the U.S. Calvary forced their hand, They lost their hold on ancestral land, From Wallowa Valley where they were born, Chief Joseph’s band from the land was torn. Ordered to leave with no place to go, Young braves killed settlers, a bitter blow. The tribe of Joseph on horse and afoot, Escaped to the valley of the Bitterroot. To a green wooded place known as Big Hole, Crossing over the mountains from Idaho. Into Montana they fled from the chase, Of the U.S. Calvary’s advancing pace. At Big Hole the soldiers could only kill, Sixty-nine children, the old and the ill. The braves attacked and then crossed fired, Before Bannock Pass, hungry and tired. Four hundred forty Indian souls Mothers, fathers the young and the old, Carrying everything on foot and in packs, Fled to escape the cavalry attacks. And on to Kilgore ahead of the crush, Of horse soldiers and mules all in a rush, Following the orders of one who signed, O.O. Howard - “General Two Days Behind.” There in the meadowland, lava and sage, Not far from Mount Jefferson’s steady gaze, The cavalry and mules stopped for the night, To resume the manhunt at first morning light.

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The mule corral was a petrified eddy, Pistols and rifles were kept at the ready, Lava rock barricades made gunmetal clink, A stone circle each - with one missing link. They camped near the caldrons of eons ago, When time was young and lava still glowed, Not wanting the Indians to scatter and flee, It was getting dark and hard to see. They were fleet to answer the bugles call, Be quick and spare no life at all. No mercy for families covered with grime, Running for life and needing more time. Two days behind just wasn’t enough, Two weeks were needed and going was rough. Supplies were scarce, the nights were clear, For the hunted families, the end was near. The caldera knew from when it was young, That kindred souls were on the run. A people not used to defeat, Short on time, supplies and meat. Near the mountain that bears his name, Jefferson’s spirit brooded again. Not forgetting seventy years ago, These Indians saved his men down below. To return the favor long ago made, Army mules would make a suitable trade. Army packs would give supplies and time. To head down through the forest of pine.

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Through Camas Meadows and beyond the bend, Miles ahead of where the soldiers would end. The plan of the band camped in the trees Head east to where the rivers don’t freeze. All gathered ‘round the council fire, The lodegpole burnt and flames leapt higher. By the light of the coals a pact was made, To scatter the mules in a cavalcade raid. No sleeping Indian at all that night, As the horses and braves moved out of sight, Across the meadow under cover of dark, Quietly, quickly they rode to their mark. Ahead of the rays of gray morning light, Soft leather shod feet prepared for the fight, Hidden away from the night guards view, Behind the rocks awaiting their cue. Molly mules and Johns never would know, Who it was that let them all go, Off of the ropes and off of their tether, Far into the shadows they ran off together. Bugles sounded, the men sprang to life, Shooting at rocks, and sage they might, Get back at a redskin and make him pay, For the mules he scattered at the start of the day. Volcanic cartridges from the lava flow sounded, Behind rock barricades they stood surrounded. The battle erupted and the battle flowed on, Three soldiers and two braves dead at dawn.

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In the lava flow the Army was stranded. In harm’s way they now had landed. No way to chase the Nez Perce braves, Running the horses back through the sage. For General Howard it took two weeks, To go for help through mountain peaks, From the caldron on the lava flow shore, He’d get the Indians in his wrath he swore. The horses and riders returned to the hills, Where old men, boys, women and girls, Took to flight according to plan, Escaping the wrath of the cavalryman. Through prairies, pines and over the flat, Through Targhee Pass and over the back, Over oceans divide swift through the trees, To a land where the rocks not rivers, freeze. Taking to flight according to plan, To escape the wrath of the cavalryman, They moved out ahead of bullet and blade. At the Camas Meadows Cavalcade.

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Crossing the Plains

1862

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e have heard Mother (Christine Pherson Ellsworth) tell of their experiences while crossing the plains. One day an Indian with his face covered with war paint rode up beside the Captain of the company and asked if they were Brigham Young’s people. He said his tride would not harm Brigham Young’s people because Brigham Young had been good to them, giving them food to eat and blankets to keep them warm. The next day their Captain receive word that the same band of Indians had attacked a company of emigrants who were on their way to California killing most of the people and burning their wagons. While their luggage was hauled by ox teams, Mother and Grandmother walked the entire distance from the Missouri River to Salt Lake City except for one half day. Their journey was one common to the early pioneers. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley July 4, 1862 Sarah Ellsworth Madsen, Salt Lake City Utah

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Indians! Indians!

1866

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e lived in Manti, Utah in a little log cabin on the outskirts of town and it was not considered safe to stay there at night as the Indians were sometimes not too friendly, so we slept in the school house for a while during the times it seemed unsafe. The schoolhouse was in the confines of the fort, built for the protection of the people of Manti. One night just at sundown, the Indians that were captured and confined in the Court House succeeded to escape and there was a great commotion. I remember every one calling “Indians! Indians!” and people running in all directions, not knowing just what to do or which way to turn. Two men were killed and several hurt badly before order was restored. This is one of my most vivid memories of our stay in Manti. Florence Fowler Adair, Manti Utah

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WOver MeG atchin

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He Was Watching Over Me

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unting season came in the fall, Buck fever had infected us all, Pickups and Willeys, horses and men, Converged at a ranch to reload and then, We rode double that early morning, A spirited mare that gave no warning, She lost her calm and found her fear, Rising up in a two-legged rear. While the two of us for a moment we hung, On the saddle right before she flung, Both of us down hard on the ground, She twisted and turned and then fell around. Hooves flailing and churning the air, One hit the ground beside my hair. Air rushing by grazed over my ear, Crushed rocks under hoof I could hear. Lying there I considered my fate, I could’ve been killed there on that date, But I wasn’t. And it was plain to see He was watching over me.

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Sharp Hooves

1915

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n my fourteenth year, I escaped the newly shod hoofs of my saddle horse and . . . The stock had to be driven about a mile to water. One evening I drove our cows and horses to the canal, riding the 1,600 pound Buckskin. He was thirsty and gulped too much water. The cinches or saddle girths became too tight. The horse started jumping and bucking, breaking one of the cinches. I was thrown under the horse, and the sharp hooves came down all around me, cutting my jacket, punching holes in my hat, making deep impressions in the ground. But I was not scratched. Serge J. Lauper – Bear River City

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Seagulls and Crickets

1848

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he crickets came like an army marching through the valley devouring every thing they found. They did not leave any of the wild vegetation that we could have used. Then the question arose, ‘what shall we do now?’ The way to procure anything to eat seemed black indeed. And then the gulls came. At first we thought it was another calamity, but when we saw they were eating the crickets we shouted with joy. The gulls would eat until they were filled, then they would drink then throw them up, continuing to do this from morning until night, every day, until the crickets were all gone. The destruction of the crickets strengthened our faith and our endeavors to continue planting and trying in every way we could to raise something to keep from starving, knowing that the Lord who had miraculously destroyed the crickets could bless our labors and cause our crops to grow and come to maturity even though the season was late. We were blessed in producing a great amount of vegetables and we felt like shouting aloud for joy for we surely beheld the salvation of the Lord. Miriam Billingsly Adair - Valley of the Great Salt Lake

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Just Before They Closed The Door
ust before they closed the door, To the truck bound for never more, Tied to a rail with head hung low, Stood a gelded horse of golden glow. Run through the rocks, thistles and sage, Of old Wyoming, five years of age, Four cracked hooves and tender feet, Patiently waiting his death to meet. But why’s he there among this crowd? This palomino so pretty - so proud? Who can redeem him from the gore, Of the death truck bound for never more? I bid once, twice, thrice then four, And bought this horse from never more. New home, new shoes, new life and so, Ran free the gelding of golden glow. He’s proved to be a faithful friend, Saved from the bullet of an early end, And then I wondered about you and me, Those who look but who cannot see. Can He really save us as He said? Will He buy us from the dead? Or are we bound for that awful shore, Door closed, fate sealed forever more? He can redeem and make us reborn, No matter if we’re winded and worn. Before they close our lonesome door, The choice is ours – ever or never more.

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Struck by Lightning

1914

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am now reverting back a few years to relate a few experiences, which I had while working on Father’s farm. I was about nineteen years of age. It was a late spring morning I had been plowing only a short time when a storm approached. As it seemed to appear very light, I paid little attention to it. And kept on plowing, going around a land with single and three horses. I turned a corner and this headed me towards the storm. It soon began to rain very hard. At this moment I turned the three horses around to have their backs to the storm and I squatted down in front of one of the horses to keep out of some of the rain. I stepped away from the horse and back about even with the horse’s hips. The next thing I knew, I felt myself waking up as if I had been asleep and I layed my head down again and again. I awoke, and this time I felt numb and cold. Looking around I realized the horses and I had been struck by lightning. The three horses had fallen down away from where I was standing and I fell back with my head in the mallboard of the plow. The only horse that seemed to move after they fell was the one nearest to me. The lightning struck me in the left temple, then passed down onto my shoulder making a red streak from the shoulder down my left arm. I walked about a mile to the nearest neighbor. He took me home to Preston where I rested for a few days, nursing an eye that was damaged some. I was then ready to work again. I always felt thankful to the Lord for giving me the urge to get up from in front of that horse even though it had not entirely quit raining when I moved out, for it would have meant sudden death if I had stayed. Alfred Kern – Preston, Idaho

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Thou would look on all I love, tenderly tonight. Weed their hearts of weariness, scatter every care. Dawn awake of angel wings, winnowing the air. Sarah Ellsworth Madsen Salt Lake City - 1946

Lord, Dear Lord, Kindpray Gracious Lord I

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Prayer Comes Easy in a Barn

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hen sunlight bathes the winter morn, All creation is reborn. The horses watered, fed and warm, Prayer comes easy in a barn. When Mary’s babe his eyes did open, He saw the sheep, the goats, and oxen. In a feeder filled with fresh cut hay, He first began His earthly stay. It was cold without, but the warmth within, Came from the love of his Next-of-kin. He was not kept from the noble beast; Nor from the shuffle of its cloven feet. Simple folk there went and in awe they stood, Unbathed, unschooled, unread, but good. To welcome in this newborn king, Amid the livestock and the steam. The sounds and smells of earthy creatures Caressed the child as gentle fingers. Mary his mother gave birth that day, To a shepherd for all who’ve lost their way. It all began in a humble barn, With the animals, our King was born. There’s something special that I find, With the hay and beasts – a peace of mind. When sunlight bathes the winter morn, All creation is reborn. The horses watered, fed and warm, Prayer comes easy in a barn.

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The Sign of the Grass

pringtime grass grows thick and green, To bring new life to the yet unseen, A round of living has again begun, Under a full moon and a brand new sun.

That endless rotation of the sky, Leaves track and sign for both you and I, That a cowboy’s heart beats just so far, Before it’s hitched to that one last star. When summer ranges are all grazed down, And winds have scorched them all to brown, Old partners with furrowed lines, Know to read the tracks and signs.

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When winter winds howl mean and cold, And a cowboy’s heart grows tired and old, The sign of the grass he knows so well, With the rangeland tracks has a tale to tell. That a good man who knows his station, Looking after part of God’s creation, Raising cattle and horses on that place, Has come to know Him face to face. It’s in this knowing that he lets it go, To unfenced ranges he’ll come to know. A round of living will begin again soon, Under a full sun and a brand new moon

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When the Work’s All Done

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here’s a time in the mountains beyond the hill, You can’t drink it all in and may never will. The cattle are shipped and drop fences are down, And we’ve made that one last trip into town. The gates are propped up to last through the snow, And the cabin is closed and we’re ready to go. There’s a time in the valley at the foot of that hill, Time slows to a stop and then seems to stand still. The aspens glow warm in the late autumn sun, And the high mountain snow has melted and run. The hay’s all stacked and the crick’s run dry, And frosty fall air warns that winter is nigh. This is a time of satisfaction second to none, It’s a time of fulfillment when the work’s all done.

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When All Life’s Lessons Have Been Learned

1865

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ometime, when all life’s lessons have been learned, When sun and stars forever more have set The things which our weak judgment here have spurned The things o’er which we grieved with lashes wet, Will flash before us, out of life’s dark night As stars shine most in deepest tints of blue, And we shall see that all God’s plans were right, And how, what seemed reproof, was love most true. Miriam Billingsly Adair

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