http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: Sandhills and New Mountains

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sandhills and New Mountains

Over the past few days we’ve heard our first sandhill cranes, no sightings as of yet but we sure can hear their squawks!  We have rosy red finches and chickadees at our feeder—the chickadees have been chattering their delight at our being back to fill their feeder.  I love the sound of a chickadee!

Today we drove over to see Lonn and LoraLee.  Their mountains, the West Boulder Mountains were just shining in the sunshine with a cloak of snowIMG_2601IMG_2602

As always it was a spectacular drive—we spent a few hours visiting with Lonn and LoraLee before heading back over to our side of the mountains.  Picked up the last of our mail—we have our own private mail forwarding service—works out great!!!  Thanks a bunch LoraLee!!

On the way out this morning we ran into a Montana style traffic jam:IMG_2598

A little story for our readers about life in Montana:

When I first moved to Montana with Michael he instructed me in the fine art of going through both cattle and sheep herds when you meet them on the roads. 

For sheep if you are going in the same direction as the sheep, wait until someone from the band comes with a four wheeler to take you through the band, stay on his butt with the vehicle so the sheep can’t get between you and the 4-wheeler or in the case of several vehicles, stay close to the one in front of you.  If you are going against the band of sheep just stop and wait for the sheep to go past.  Sheep are easily excited and stressed—sheep owners don’t like for their sheep to be stressed! 

In the early years of our marriage one sheep owner, Lawrence, and his herders would herd about 2500 sheep approximately 50+ miles up into the mountains to summer pasture bordering the northern border of Yellowstone Park every spring and then back home in the fall.  The herders and sheep would cover over 10 miles per day staying in pastures rented from land owners along the way.  Some of the herders walked the entire way.  When I owned a store in Big Timber I timed my trips to town with when I knew the sheep were past where I would enter the highway.  Then I drove over sheep poop all the way to town! 

One fall day I didn’t time it right and came to a large band of sheep heading north as I was.  There was a mini van in front of me with out of state license plates.  Sure enough, soon here came Lawrence on his 4-wheeler to take us through the band of sheep.  He motions for the mini van to follow him and off we go with me staying right on the bumper of the mini van.   Soon we are surrounded by bleating sheep—that’s what happens but if you stay close together the animals can’t get in between vehicles and halt your progress. 

All of a sudden the van screeches to a stop and the driver gets out, stands on her running board and starts to take photos.  Chaos, sheep everywhere.  Lawrence hasn’t realized this is happening, has to stop, turn around, dodge sheep and come back to get us.  OK, off we go again and danged if the woman doesn’t do it again!!!  Lawrence is not the most patient of people and he lost it, he came back, got off his 4-wheeler, spoke with the woman, shook his finger in her face and off we go again.  Needless to say the woman did NOT stop her van again!  Sheep are easily stressed and I guess so was Lawrence!!

The re-introduction of wolves to Montana ended this long held tradition and Lawrence and his family are no longer in the sheep business.  Many ranchers, us included, gave up and stopped fighting the people who brought us the wolves.


  1. interesting traffic jam!!..and great tale of the sheep herders!!

  2. A few years back some wolves showed up in this area. They had to be reintroduced since there hadn't been any here before. Hunters around here practiced shoot, shovel & shutup and the wolves are no more.

    I'm afraid the mountain lions will suffer the same fate since there are getting to be a few too many and maybe they are losing their fear of humans because they are being sighted more often. Game & Parks won't admit there's a breeding population in NE Nebr. but there is and has been for quite a few years. They're beautiful animals but since farmers are starting to find partly eaten dead calves the guns will come out and the cats will lose. It's hard enough to make a living off the land without reintroduced predators killing your stock.

  3. There is a Mtn Lion season now in the Black Hills where we live. They are getting over populated and its getting almost scarey to hike the hills.... Pets are also in danger as they are coming into towns and even onto peoples patios...The limit was 70 Lions this year and it was met a couple weeks ago... The limit seems to raise each year.....Sure glad we don't have bears and wolves YET!!

  4. Janna, Thanks for the very interesting story about herding sheep. My dad had sheep on our Minnesota farm, and always claimed they were the dumbest animals he ever raised!


  5. Great sheep story. Are the tactics the same for moving through a cattle herd?

    I will keep my opinions to myself about the wolves and mountain lions.

  6. Lovely little anti-wolf rant. If only I could put it so nicely :) Glad you went to see Mom and Dad. See you Tuesday.

    P.S. Thanks for the blogging tips. I got it figured out.

  7. Great story! If we happen to run across any sheep on the road on the drive home, I'll know not to stop and take pictures!

  8. To use your word "reintroduced" Enough said.

  9. Janna, love your pictures of Montana and make me long to head there for a summer...maybe a couple years from now! Colorado this year, and we're hoping Maine next year. Current plans are to alternate east coast west coast for a while. Otter Springs has become a bit busier, but next weekend is our last one. We head west April 9.


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