Montana Ranch

I spent the first two weeks of July at my father’s angus ranch in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana, celebrating his 71st birthday. This was one of the best hay years he can remember. My sister joined us, coming up from near Sacramento,CA.
We moved cattle to new pastures on horseback and on foot; cowboying over the high grassland and through the forested sidehills pushing the herd- there is nothing better. The hay was so thick that my dad thought it best if he did the swathing, which left me to tackle the yard’s Willow trees that had settled onto buildings and onto the yard, trim back pine trees, mow the acre of lawn, trim the lilac bushes, and fix fence out on the property where bulls had crashed through. My sister made a mean strawberry rhubarb pie and drew up plans for next summer’s possible house-fixing escapades- it is the original homestead place so she kept busy (she is nearly fished building her own place out in CA, so is hot on this kind of thing).
The picture is one of the high hayfields. The hills in the foreground are the Highwoods- a range that ventures out onto the Missouri flats running parallel to the Continental Divide (70 miles to the west). This hayfield is on the foot of the Little Belt Mountains-  a canyon that falls out of the Little Belts just above this pasture leads to the highest paved pass in the state. It is just a few minutes in a car. so in the winter this same meadow looks like…

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