Fall means bring the cows back in - again. They get 6 weeks out on the BLM in the spring and another 6 weeks in the fall. That's a lot of work driving them out and bringing them back in. We'd ridden out to check on them a couple times and they were usually around the salt, laying down, chewing their cud.
Two days after we all filled up on turkey and taters, we are out there riding it all off looking for cows. Joe and Josette both thought they'd be in the salt area. Yeah right, that's be too easy. And when we got there, not a single cow. So we split up to do some brushpopping.
The grass was still plentiful, the rocks had not gotten any smaller, in fact I think they had multiplied. The hills were steep and steeper, nothing easy about this part of the Owyhees. We found eight in the same place Josette and I found them last spring, on a narrow hill top. We took them out a bit different route, easier, if there is such a thing in the Owyhees. We reached a gate just about the same time Joe came up with his six from the opposite direction. This was Blue's first gathering and he was herding them along all by himself. Our goal was to keep them from mixing with the other ranchers cows as we crossed the grassy prairies. Tammy and Josette had gone ahead to "sweep" the trail, but three strays spotted the herd and came racing in. Yes cows can run and these three frolicked and acted like they had found long lost friends when they met our bunch. They hung around for a couple miles then when the three of them were altogether again, we cut them out and they mosied off in the other direction.
The sun was going down as Linda and I topped the saddle ahead of the cows, where we rode down into the draw so we could be block the upper part of the draw from the cows. From there it was less than 1/2 mile downhill to the catch pens and trailers. They were spooking a bit until Ace through some alfalfa out and one cow thought that looked real good. Once she moved in, so did the others. Then it was close the wings of the pen and load them up. It was almost dark. These short days don't give us a lot of time. The horses had worked hard on those steep hillsides, we gave them a short rest and water before loading up and going back to the farm. We celebrated a long but safe day with some good food and good cheer; we'd played hard and worked harder, but dang it was a good day!!