Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bull Mountain Memories

Christian helps Grandma Marilyn
make ice cream for his second birthday party
Bull Mountain Ranch ~ Laramie, WY
June 1990
Located near Bull Mountain, my sister and brother-in-law's ranch was about 25 miles from Laramie. It was actually closer to the Colorado border than Laramie, but like the old adage states, "you can't get there from here." To reach the ranch from Laramie, much of the road was gravel and/or dirt, and about 10 miles was private and not maintained by the Albany County, meaning the snow was not plowed nor the road graded by the County.

On my first visit, my nephew told me to count the cattle guards after I left Laramie. (I can't remember exactly how many there were, but it was over 20.) The County Road was well maintained to the ranch mail box, but the condition of the road (some 10 miles) was dependent on the weather. One section around the power lines was especially bad when it was muddy. Since the wind howled in the winter, any snow on the ground usually drifted the road shut.

One winter, my brother (John) was working at the ranch, and snow drifted into the engine of his truck. The snow was packed under the hood so tight that melting it was the only solution.

My nephew and his wife, who lived at the ranch, learned to stock up on groceries and supplies. Living on the ranch required a four-wheel drive vehicle, especially in the Winter and Spring. Sometimes they used a snowcat to go to the mailbox or to clear the road to go to Laramie. Thankfully, the kids were too small to go to school because the bus would only travel on County roads, and the nearest one at the mailbox some 10 miles distant. My nephew usually fed cattle with a team of Belgians.

Every Summer, my sister and brother-in-law hosted a pig roast at the ranch for the community. The pig was buried in a pit filled with hot coals and steamed underground all day. Marilyn made gallons of her famous potato salad and baked beans and baked dozens of cookies for the feed. A live band provided entertainment as well as dance music. I have no idea how many people attended the Pig Roast, but it was well over a hundred. Hopefully, Marilyn will comment and provide more information on the Pig Roast.

Update -- Marilyn's notes about the Pig Roast:

"Oh memories,,,,,the pig roast was a lot of work but so rewarding at the same time. It was the only time that some of the people saw each other. Some families had their family reunion that weekend. We had 500+ people. Besides the dancing we had pasture golf, hayrides, and squares mark out in a fenced area (10 x 10), put a cow in there. People would buy a square and if the cow did her thing on that square that person would get the money.

Christian is now 24, where have the years gone."

11 comments:

  1. That's real country living! Sounds tough, but also rewarding.

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  2. Those roads are bad enough when the county does commit to grating them! My parents have a mile long driveway that they have given up on maintaining because it doesn't seem to do much good. A while ago they got stuck on their driveway during a blizzard (they had to call paramedics out, I'm thankful for cell phones), the very next day my father went out and bought a plow attachment for his truck. I don't think they've had issues with snow getting into the engine compartment, mice however... Also, I seriously wish I could attend one of those pig roasts, it sounds like they were a blast!

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  3. you truly have wonderful memories. I love snow, but I think I would have a problem with snow blowing into my engine and getting packed in there. g

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  4. That photo alone sparked memories. We had a very similar ice cream maker, and my father loved to make ice cream...

    Likewise, the Knight and I were newly dating during the winter of 36+" snows. He abused his new truck to assure my cousin could feed her horses, we pushed snow on a neighboring farm with the fire engine bumper...

    Interesting isn't it that our lives, most of a country apart, have similarities? Rural living is rural living, and not all of the east coast is well-developed.

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  5. I think the picture is so sweet of Christian helping Marilyn with the ice cream machine. Love the bag of salt off to the side, Christian's bare feet, Marilyn's watchful eye.

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  6. Oh memories,,,,,the pig roast was a lot of work but so rewarding at the same time. It was the only time that some of the people saw each other. Some families had their family reunion that weekend. We had 500+ people. Besides the dancing we had pasture golf, hayrides, and squares mark out in a fenced area (10 x 10), put a cow in there. People would buy a square and if the cow did her thing on that square that person would get the money.

    Christian is now 24, where has the years gone.

    Thanks Nancy for working down memory lane.

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  7. Wonderful picture and story!! Is it just me or was that the best ice cream ever made--the kind you made each summer and hand cranked on the front porch? I can remember my mom putting peaches and cinnamon and other goodies in it. YUM!

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  8. A team of two Belgians live a lovely life at our town farm which is a LIVING museum. It is the last farm in Huge Cook county. One of them bit off the finger of a careless woman last year....Fireman was there to take her to the hospital...
    the firemen have named the Belgian CHOMPY

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  9. THAT'S what America is to me. Real honest living!

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  10. Homemade ice cream, yum! And what fun memories of cranking and cranking although this one looks electric? Our hand-crank ice cream maker is serving a second life as a planter!

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  11. I really enjoyed that post. What great memories. Wish I knew how to roast a pig in a pit, as that sounds like a grand time. Thanks for sharing.

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