27 July 2016, Sunny Highs in the 80s, then rain and hail

We rode up to Deerfield Lake with Cowboy Dave to load up a trailer of hay.  This season has been especially dry and Cowboy needed to get some hay to feed his cattle this winter.  Each cow can eat 20 lbs of hay per day, and he has quite a few so that means he needs tons (literally tons) of hay.  He talked to his friend Wild Bill up in Deerfield and worked out a deal to buy some bales.  We rode along to meet Wild Bill and to help load up/strap down the cow food.

Wild Bill is an interesting South Dakota character.  His specialty is taxidermy, and he was part of the company that invented the artificial eyes that are seen in the very best trophy hunting mounts around the country.  His company sold to Cabela’s years ago, but their process of creating these realistic looking eyeballs remains in use.  Wild Bill showed us his workshop and told us some of his crazy stories about his South Dakota adventures.  He reminded me of Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.  He has long hair and a swagger that you might attribute to a pirate. He is one of those people that turns every conversation into a party, and he was very welcoming to us.  He also drove the Bobcat to load the hay bales onto Cowboy Dave’s hay wagon. 

Pilot Dave worked with Cowboy Dave to make sure those hay bales were strapped securely, and 20 bales later we were headed back to Stagecoach Springs to unload.  We were very pleased to see that there has been some progress at Hoten Holler.  We no longer have just a hole in the ground, but instead we have walls!  Our builder, Todd, has been working hard getting our place together and the site really looks amazing.

The two Dave’s unloaded the bales of hay and Linda mentioned that one of the cows needed to be checked on because they were expecting her to deliver a calf in early August.  I said I would go with her so she fired up the Mule and we drove all over the North 40 looking for the cows.  We couldn’t find a single one so we became concerned they may have broken through the fence somewhere and skipped town.  We kept looking and we drove through the heavily wooded area and came up over a ridge where we spotted them.  All the cows were hanging out together and I asked, “Which one is Mairzy?”  as she was the cow of interest that day.  (Mairzy is named from the song Mairzy Doats and Dozy dotes…and they have a cow named Dozy too…I guess they both eat oats?) Linda described her to me and we walked amongst the herd looking for the big red lady.  And then we saw her, well, them!  She had a new little baby girl with her that was still wet.  She must have had that baby just a few hours before we got there.  Baby was walking around on unsteady legs and we kept our distance so as not to disturb them too much, but they both looked great. 

We jumped in the Mule and drove back to tell the two Daves about what we found.  It was a great day, and on our way back to the campground we rode up with Cowboy Dave to check out his new calf.  The storm clouds were gathering and we saw Mairzy and baby hoofing it off toward the dense woods.  Cowboy Dave said, “She’s giving us a weather prediction, getting her baby into shelter before the storm.”  He did get close enough to the pair to see that the baby had milk all over her face which he took as a good sign that all was well. As we drove away, the rain came, and then hail, but only a little hail.  Pilot Dave said, ”I think we should call that calf Stormy.”  What a great day!