ranch

With school ending for her and high school graduation arriving, my grand-niece, Jala Satterwhite is looking to the future, and making plans for what she wants to do with her life. Jala is ready for a break from school, and has no plans at this time to go to college. Many students are ready for a break from school after so many years in it, and the past two school years have been especially hard with Covid lockdowns, online classes, and now the in school mask mandate. It has been very frustrating. Really, at this point, she wants to work on a ranch. Jala loves horses and riding, and really other animals too, but not like her beloved horses.

Like most kids, Jala is ready to spread her wings, try new things, and get a place to call her own. It’s all about independence, even if their parents weren’t super strict or confining, there comes a time when every kid wants to make their own decisions. That time often arrives right after graduation, be it high school or college. So, once she starts working full time, Jala is going to find a place to rent with one of her friends.

With all the Covid restrictions, Jala hasn’t done any sports for the last couple years. That is a sad turn of events, because Jala was very good in sports, but with the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year completely online, there were no sports, no conditioning for sports, and a general change of interests in many students. With school back in session now, students are often not ready for the work it takes to get back into competition readiness. It’s almost like it was stolen from them. The same applies to in-school classes…especially at the college level. They found out that it can be done online, so why go in person. Jala has lots of time to go back to college, if she so desires. It’s never too late to learn and to get a degree. I’m sure Jala will make good choices for her future, she is a smart girl, and she will do whats best for her.

I can’t believe Jala’s graduation is here already. I remember when she was born!! Where has the time gone. She should still be a little girl, but time waits for no man, and Jala has grown up, whether we like it or not. The day has arrived. Happy high school graduation Jala!! We love you!!

My nephew, Eric Parmely has changed so much over the years. I find myself amazed at the life he lives today. Eric is husband to Ashley, and daddy to Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. That’s his human family anyway. Eric and Ashley own a little ranch west of Casper, where they raise children, dogs, cats, goats, horses, turkeys, cows, ducks, pigs, and maybe others that I have not mentioned. There are always new babies on the ranch, and those animal babies are just as much a part of the family too. I can’t imagine all those babies in the family, but Eric and Ashley love each and every one of them. Of course, they and the children also understand that some animals are for food, and that is just how it has to be. The constants in the family of animal members, of course are the horses, cats, and dogs. They will never be food, as we all know. They are, and always will be pets.

Eric is a hard working man. He has a regular job, and then comes home and works hard on the ranch. He and Ashley bought a tractor that he is been fixing up. Once it is in good shape, it will be a big help to him on the ranch. There is much work to do on a ranch and a rancher needs the right tools. This tractor will put them closer to having all the tools they need. They live on a dirt road, so they need to be able to clear roads and so much more. Tractors and ranches just go together.

Eric has discovered audio books. To me that is vital. With our busy lives, finding time to read a book is almost impossible, but we can listen to our books while we work. Eric likes a variety of books, and just finished Harry Potter. I’m not into the Harry Potter stuff, but I love to listen to World War II books. To each his own, I guess. I find that audiobooks have broadened my horizons, and I have other types of books I have listened to since I started with Audible. Eric will most likely be the same.

Eric, being the dad of young kids, has had to keep up with all their activities. I saw a video recently of Eric trying to skateboard. He did pretty good, but I’m sure that the kids, especially Reagan can out-do him. It’s simply an age thing, so it would make sense for her to be better at it than her dad, but I could be wrong. I have been known to be wrong about such things, after all. Eric has recently discovered iced vanilla lattes and has switched to decaf coffee. Now, that part is odd to me, because he probably need more caffeine kick, not less to keep up with his busy lifestyle. More power to him if he can do it caffeine-free. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My brother-in-law, Mike Reed has been having a very busy summer. In addition to working as Area Manager for Sinclair Oil Corporation, he and my sister, Caryl are working on getting their retirement home ready outside of Casper. Their new home is complete, and now they have been working on the property. They have been planting grass, trees, and flowers, as well as decorating with some bronze statues of several animals, like elk and antelope. The yard looks really nice. Mike has worked really hard at fixing their place up. From putting in a road, to fencing, to planting grass, and now to becoming an oat farmer with the full on irrigation system necessary to make that successful. These are just a few of the projects Mike has turned into reality. He still has a number of future plans that will turn their ranch into a wonderful place for them to live.

This year, Mike and Caryl decided to grow oats on their land, after talking to a neighbor who wants to buy the oats from them. It’s a really cool thing, because they crop is already sold, and all they have to do is water it and harvest it for the neighbor. Their plan has always been to have a working ranch, so they will have an income when Mike retires. Caryl retired a couple of years ago. They has boarded horses on their place, but they don’t own any horses right now. I think that might be a plan for the future, because Caryl has always loved horses. I think Mike does too.

Mike has worked for Sinclair Oil Corporation for long time now, and so has good vacation time available each year. This year, they decided to go to the Black Hills for a few days, riding the trike Mike got Caryl for her birthday. They had a blast!! In fact they had so much fun that they decided to head up through Beartooth pass, Red Lodge, and Cook City in northwestern Wyoming. They are really enjoying that trip. For this one, they trailered the trike, because of the mountain roads, and cool weather in Beartooth pass. I know this is just two of many future trip for both of them. Once Mike retires, they will have lots of free time to travel, entertain at their ranch, and reconnect with the family that lives here a little more often. We all look forward to that. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Alice Ivers Tubbs was born in Devonshire, England on February 17, 1851. She was the daughter of a conservative schoolmaster. While Alice was still a small girl, she moved with her family to the United States. The family first settled in Virginia, where Alice attended an elite boarding school for women. When she was a teenager, the family moved with the silver rush to Leadville, Colorado. As a young girl, Alice was raised to be a well-bred young lady, so few people would ever expect her to be known as “Poker Alice.” Nevertheless, marriage can change a person. While living in Leadville, Alice met a mining engineer named Frank Duffield, whom she married when she was just 20 years old. In the mining camps, gambling’s was quite common, and Frank was an enthusiastic player. He enjoyed visiting the gambling halls in Leadville and Alice naturally went along with him, rather than staying home alone. Alice stood quietly and watch her husband play…at first, but Alice was smart, and she picked up the game of poker easily. Soon she was sitting in on the games, and she was winning. Alice’s marriage to Frank Duffield was short-lived. Duffield, who worked in the mines as part of his job, was killed in an explosion. Needing to make a living, Alice, who was well educated, could have taught school, but even with 35,000 residents in Leadville, there was no school. There were also few jobs available for women, and those there were, did not appeal to Alice, so she decided to make a living gambling. Though Alice preferred the game of poker, she also learned to deal and play Faro. Very soon, she was in high demand…as a player and a dealer. Alice was a petite 5 foot 4 inch beauty, with blue eyes and thick brown hair. She was very rare in that she was a “lady” in a gambling hall…and not of the “soiled dove” variety. And Alice loved the latest fashions, she was a sight for the sore eyes of many a miner. Every time Alice had a big win, she began to take trips to New York City to buy the latest fashions.

Due to her traveling from one mining camp to another to play poker, Alice soon acquired the nickname “Poker Alice.” In addition to playing the game, she often worked as a dealer, in cities all over Colorado including Alamosa, Central City, Georgetown, and Trinidad. Later on, Alice began to puff on large black cigars, still wearing her fashionable frilly dresses. She, nevertheless, never gambled on Sundays because of her religious beliefs. Alice carried a .38 revolver and wasn’t afraid to use it. It was rather a necessity, due to her lifestyle. Alice soon left Colorado and made her way to Silver City, New Mexico, where she broke the bank at the Gold Dust Gambling House, winning some $6,000. The win was followed by a trip to New York City, to replenish her wardrobe of fashionable clothing. Afterward, she returned to Creede, Colorado. She went to work as a dealer in Bob Ford’s saloon…the man who had earlier killed Jesse James. Alice later moved to Deadwood, South Dakota around 1890. In Deadwood, she met a man named Warren G. Tubbs, who worked as a housepainter in Sturgis, but sidelined as a dealer and gambler. Alice usually beat Tubbs at poker, but that didn’t bother him. He was taken with her and they began to see each other socially. Once a drunken miner threatened Tubbs with a knife, Alice pulled out her .38 and put a bullet into the miner’s arm. I’m sure that man thought the threat was Tubbs, but the man should have watched Alice in stead. Later, the couple married and had seven children…four sons and three daughters. Because Tubbs was a painter by trade, he, along with Alice’s gambling profits, supported the family. The family moved out of Deadwood, to homesteaded a ranch near Sturgis on the Moreau River. Finally, Alice found something she loved more than gambling…for the most part. She helped with the ranch and raised her children. Then, fate would again deal Alice a bad hand. Tubbs was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Alice refused to leave his side. She planned to nurse him back to health. Tubbs lost his fight, and died of pneumonia in the winter of 1910. Alice was determined to give him a proper burial, so she loaded him into a horse-drawn wagon to take his body to Sturgis. It is thought that she had to pawn her wedding ring to pay for the funeral and afterward, went to a gambling parlor to earn the money to get her ring back.

For Alice, the time spent on the ranch were some of the happiest days of her life and that during those years, she didn’t miss the saloons and gambling halls. Alice liked the peace and quiet of the ranch. Still, she had to make a living, so after Tubbs’ death, she hired a man named George Huckert to take care of the homestead, and she moved to Sturgis to earn her way. Huckert quickly fell in love with Alice and proposed marriage to her several times. Alice didn’t really love him, but finally married him, saying flippantly, “I owed him so much in back wages; I figured it would be cheaper to marry him than pay him off. So I did.” Once again, the marriage would be short. Alice was widowed once again when Huckert died in 1913.

During the Prohibition years, Alice opened a saloon called “Poker’s Palace” between Sturgis and Fort Meade that provided not only gambling and liquor, but also “women” who serviced the customers. One night, a drunken soldier began a fight in the saloon. He was destroying the furniture, and causing a ruckus. Alice pulled her .38 and shot the man. While in jail awaiting trial, she calmly smoked cigars and read the Bible. She was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, but her saloon had been shut down. Now, in her 70s and with her beauty and fashionable gowns long gone, Alice struggled in her last years. She continued to gamble, but these days, she dressed in men’s clothing. Once in a while, she was featured at events like the Diamond Jubilee, in Omaha, Nebraska, as a true frontier character, where she was known to have said, “At my age, I suppose I should be knitting. But I would rather play poker with five or six ‘experts’ than eat.” She continued to run a “house” of ill-repute in Sturgis during her later years and was often arrested for drunkenness and keeping a disorderly house. Though she paid her fines, she continued to operate the business until she was finally arrested for repeated convictions of running a brothel and sentenced to prison. The governor took pity on Alice, who was then 75 years old, and pardoned her. At the age of 79, Alice underwent a gall bladder operation in Rapid City. Unfortunately, she died of complications on February 27, 1930. She was buried at Saint Aloysius Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota. In her lifetime, Alice claimed to have “won more than $250,000 at the gaming tables and never once cheated.” In fact, one of her favorite sayings was, “Praise the Lord and place your bets. I’ll take your money with no regrets.”

Until recently, it had never occurred to me just how much my grand-niece, Jala Satterwhite is like her great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg. She doesn’t really resemble her, since Jala takes more after her mother, Susan Griffith, but there is a notable similarity nevertheless. Jala loves horses, and in many ways, would live on a horse if she could. That thought brought me back to a time when my mother-in-law’s own mother, Nettie Knox made that very statement about her own daughter, Joann. Whether we realize it or not, our parents really do know us well.

Jala didn’t have much opportunity to ride horses until her mom married her step-dad, Josh Griffith, whose family had horses. Jala was introduced to the horses, and her love of horses was sealed. Later, her parents moved out into the country, and got horses of their own, giving Jala the ability to ride much more. Because her mom had never really been around horses, and only learned to ride with a great degree of apprehension, this natural riding ability that her daughter had, left Susan somewhat in awe, but also very proud. Of course, Susan’s own abilities have greatly improved, but that does not change how she feels about her older daughter’s riding prowess. Still, I don’t think Susan realized just how much Jala was like her great grandmother. I don’t think any of us did, really. I just looked at a picture of Jala on a horse yesterday, and it was like looking at my mother-in-law on her own horse. It was crystal clear to me then.

I think that for young horse-lovers, the horse provides them with an ability to go and do things without asking a parent to take them…at least within certain limits. When my mother-in-law was a kid, they could ride to school, as well as to other towns and ranches of friends nearby, those aren’t really options for Jala, except for nearby ranches. Still, there are lots of trails available these day, and Jala loves riding on them. I’m sure her great grandmother would love them too, and maybe she is there, watching proudly as her great granddaughter, Jala continues the great tradition of horseback riding just for the love of horses. Today is Jala’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is becoming quite the rancher. A few years back, Mike and my sister, Caryl bought a ranch west of Casper, and started fixing it up. It was…a process, to say the least. The ranch had been a sheep ranch, and had a huge complex that was used for birthing lambs. Since Mike and Caryl were not going to raise sheep, and because of the disrepair of the complex, they had to be demolished and removed. Since that difficult job, Mike and Caryl have been working very hard to get their ranch ready for their future retirement plans. They are boarding horses, and they have a ranch hand who lives on the ranch and takes care of things, since they are currently still living in Rawlins, and coming to Casper for the weekends. The have been building a house and a barn, and this weekend, they are putting together side roll wheels for irrigation, as they continue to get ready for the hay field they are planning to plant. They are becoming real ranchers, in every way. It is one among several of the new chapters in their lives.

Recently, they decided to buy a Trike, and they have found that they really enjoy their outings. They joined with some friends, including Mike’s brother, Shawn and his wife Tia for a 300 mile poker run from Saratoga, Wyoming through the Snowy Mountains, into Laramie, Wyoming, then back to Saratoga via Walden, Colorado and Riverside, Wyoming. They had a really great time. In fact they had so much fun that they have made plans over Labor Day to take a trip up to Red Lodge, Montana.

Mike is a avid hunter, and he has made several trips to hunt, including Canada, Alaska, and Africa. Mike is getting ready to take another hunting trip to Alaska in September with his good friend, Scott Penman, to hunt Alaskan Moose. This trip will be what is called a drop hunt, which means that the plane lets them off at a camp spot and then leaves them there on their own. Then it comes back for them later. Mike is pretty excited about this hunt, and according to my sister, he’s been gathering everything together for months!! I don’t know, maybe he’s a little excited!! I’m sure the guys will have a great time, and I hope their hunt is successful. These kinds of trips really get Mike’s adrenalin going. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

This past year has been filled with many exciting changes for my sister, Caryl. She retired from her long time career in respiratory therapy at the Carbon County Memorial Hospital, but stayed of the board of respiratory therapists. That position has kept her somewhat busier that she had originally anticipated, but it has also been fulfilling. Still, when you are retired, you don’t really want to have too many obligations. The whole point of retirement is to have as little obligations as possible. Most retired people want to be able to pick up and go somewhere on a whim, not have places they need to be every day.

Caryl and her husband, Mike Reed have spent the past year building their retirement home on their ranch outside of Casper. It will be very strange to have them living in Casper. Caryl hasn’t lived in Casper for years, so it will be nice to have them back here again. Their new home is a beautiful, open concept home with granite countertops and floor to ceiling windows in the dining room, which looks out on a beautiful view of the mountain. The entertaining space is big enough to entertain our whole big family, which is just great, because there are enough of us to need a big space. Caryl loves to entertain, so I know that we are all going to enjoy many good times at their house. It will be a whole new life.

Caryl has always loved horses, but for this birthday, she got a different kind of power…trike power. Her husband got her a trike for her birthday, and she absolutely loves it. It is a beautiful dark red Harley Davidson, and I know they will have many wonderful adventures on the open road. They like to travel, and this will be a new kind of travel for them. I’m not a fan of motorcycles myself, but there are many in my family who are, so this bike fits right in with the rest of the gang, and Caryl is very excited about riding it, so that’s what matters. I’m sure that in the future Caryl will have a couple of horses of their own, and while they won’t take trips on the horses per se, they will enjoy spending many hours riding them as well. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When I asked my sister, Caryl Reed to get me some “dirt” on her husband, Mike for his birthday story, she laughed and said it would have to be ranch dirt. Of course, I knew exactly what she meant, because there really isn’t much “dirt” to get on Mike, who is very busy being a supervisor at the Sinclair Oil Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming, during the week; and working on their retirement ranch outside Casper, Wyoming on the weekends. Working on the ranch isn’t Mike’s only pastime, however. He like to golf, and he and Caryl took a recent trip to salt Lake City to golf on a really nice course there. It was a much needed vacation, because they haven’t taken many vacations lately that didn’t involve work on their ranch…not that either of them were sorry about that really.

Mike enjoys his golfing, and hunting too, and has taken several trips to go hunting, including Africa, Canada, and Alaska. He had a great time on all those trips, and the meat from those he got to bring home was used for a number of things, including jerky for the family. The meat from the Africa trip was not allowed to be shipped home, but rather was given to the surrounding villages, where it fed a good many people. Mike was allowed to have some of it and said it was really good too. While golf, hunting, fishing, and other sports are a big part of Mike’s life, Caryl thinks that the ranch may have just topped them in the priority line. He wants to have everything ready for their retirement, when they will move to the ranch, in less than five years. Being an entrepreneur, Mike has decided to plant hay on the ranch to use as an income source. It isn’t an unusual idea for Mike, who was the one that suggested that they buy apartments buildings for extra income. Caryl has been very pleased with his wise financial decisions for their family, and trusts his instincts completely.

Now that they are having their house built on the land, Mike can hardly stand to be away from the construction site. He put cameras up so he could watch the building of their house from their current home in Rawlins. Their vacations are all about working on the ranch. They’ve started to get to know many of their neighbors, and have many new friends. They all look out for each other, and of course we’re all there for each other. Mike is very well liked out there, as is Caryl. Their retirement plans are shaping up quite nicely. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When Conrad Kohrs, immigrated to the United States at the age of 15, he was seeking his fortune like so many other immigrants were. The year was 1850, and while it is odd these days to think of a 15 year old boy immigrating to America alone now, it wasn’t entirely unheard of then. Kohrs was a native of Denmark, and had planned to head west to make his fortune in gold or silver. Unfortunately, while he had some small success in California and British Columbia, try as he might, the “big strike” always eluded Kohrs.

Kohrs tended to follow the crowd, and in 1862, he joined the latest western gold rush and headed for western Montana, where rich gold deposits had been found at Grasshopper Creek. It might be true that gold was plentiful at Grasshopper Creek, but Kohrs realized that he could make more money mining the miners than mining for gold. Miners need lots of supplies, and the man who was able to supply the needs, was the one who made money. He established a butcher shop in the mining town of Bannack and began to prosper.

His work as a butcher led Kohrs into the cattle business. Cattle were a big commodity, being in relatively short supply in frontier Montana. Much has changed today, and Kohrs had a big part in that. Kohrs traveled around the territory to purchase prime animals. He had several brushes with the highwaymen who plagued the isolated roads of Montana. Determined to stop these murderous bandits, Kohrs joined a group of Virginia City vigilantes, and helped track down and hang the outlaws. By 1864, robberies in the territory had plummeted. Proper or not, vigilante justice, got the point across very well.

Whether he was good at being part of a vigilante group or not, it couldn’t be what made his living. Kohrs began shifting the focus of his meat processing business to the supply side. In 1864, he established a large ranch near the town of Deer Lodge, where he fattened his cattle for market. Kohrs was pretty much the only major rancher in the western region of the territory. This caused his business to boom as Montana grew. As always happens, eventually, competition from cattle driven overland into the territory from Texas began to challenge Kohrs’ monopoly. Nevertheless, he continued to prosper, and remained the largest cattle rancher in Montana for several decades.

Kohrs entered the political arena in 1885, translating his economic strength into political power. He was elected to the Montana Territorial Legislature. Kohrs and his fellow ranchers had considerable influence over Montana in the years to come, and Kohrs went on to become a state senator in 1902. The big ranchers never had a free hand in Montana, however, because mining interests and farmers always kept the ranchers in check, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Kohrs was widely celebrated as one of the greatest pioneers in Montana history. He died on July 23, 1920 at the age of 85 in Helena.

For all of his life, Butch Hein, my husband, Bob’s uncle, was a cattle man. His dad, Walt Hein had a ranch, and it was his desire that one of his sons would takeover the business. Butch was the one that was interested in ranching, so he did. I don’t know all the details of their agreement, but I believe that everything went into Butch’s name years before Walt died. Butch has been raising cattle for as long as I have known him, and the beef he raised was amazing. He has made a great living as a rancher, and now his son, Scott and his family are a part of the business too.

Butch has been a single dad,for a years now, since his beloved Bonnie died of cancer when their son Scott was just a toddler. those were rough years, but Butch was a great dad to Scott, and now that Scott is grown, Butch’s family has grown by four, with Scott’s wife, Terri, and their children, Laura, Carson, and Lindsey. While those early years were hard, the blessings that have come to Butch now have brought the joy back to his life. I just wish Bonnie could have seen how wonderful her family turned out. She would be so proud.

Butch still works hard on the ranch, but these days, he has lots of help There is something to be said for growing your own ranch hands. His son, his son’s wife, and his grandchildren are all a great help to him. After all the years as a single dad, I’m glad that he has the wonderful blessing of a sweet family. Today is Butch’s birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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