Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Horses and Herefords

Our horses grazing west of the ranch
Taming horses, guiding and supplying pack horses for big game hunting trips into Yellowstone were the main source of income for my dad. He and other ranchers would roundup wild horses and then he would select those that he liked--some for pack horses, and others for riding horses. Every year during hunting season, he would guide dudes into the mountains by Yellowstone and they would hunt for Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Moose and Bear.  Besides guiding, Daddy would cook over an open fire in a dutch oven, and tell of his adventures. The dudes always came back happy. The hunting season lasted for a couple of months in the fall.  
Pack horses behind our house
So to supplement this we also raised pure breed registered Hereford cattle.  We had a bull and a herd of cows that grazed on our ranch (1000 acres owned, and as many acres leased from the Forest Service. The herd wintered on some of the leased land across the highway, a mile from the house, by the Shoshone Reservoir).  In the spring when they calved, we would select those that we would keep and then sell the others at auction.
In those days, the market for cattle had bottomed out, selling for about $25.00 per hundred pounds compared with $141. now. But we just made enough to supply our needs.  And we had no debt.  If Daddy couldn't pay for it we waited until he had saved up enough money for the purchase. So we may not have had everything that we wanted, but we had all we needed without the stress of money worries. Yes, we were poor, but very happy.


  1. But really, you weren't poor. You had all you needed and made a living honorably. In a day and age when people want someone else to do it for them and they covet things others have, think they are entitled to whatever they want, the lifestyle your father and family had is in such stark contrast...and so commendable. I LOVED reading this post. Thank you so much!

  2. You may have not had money but you were really rich. What a wonderful story. I would have loved the packing in like that. To see Yellowstone from back of a horse. How wonderful.
    I bet he had wonderful stories.
    We raised cattle too. Nothing better than that. We would start calving about now, the cows would finish about the time our sheep started and then, spring would be here.
    Lovely pictures.

  3. What a wonderful area to have lived in! You weren't poor at all, you and your family had a good life free of debt and I'm sure with a lot of love. Many families would love to be able to say that today! Great post, Marti!

  4. Another amazing story! Hope you had a great day!

  5. wow...wat an interesting post...love your writeup..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  6. You know people go west to take vacations to see things like that. Love your past. sandie

  7. Oh I love this... what a wonderful way to grow up.

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