(Here's a letter we received from from our son who is working on a Montana ranch for the summer.) He writes:
July 4th: The weather here is a little hotter, but on those days we only branded once and it wasn’t too bad. The other days we moved cattle in the morning, napped in the afternoon and moved cattle in the evening till it was too dark to see. We are on the south side of the highway now and as close to the Pryors and the Bighorns as we’ll ever get. The summer grass is a lot taller and more like home than that shortgrass winter range.
We were moving cows out of some smaller traps into [another pasture] on Friday. We happened to be closer to headquarters than camp, so we decided to go there and trailer back to the wagon. We had to cross a creek. It was only a little ways upstream to a crossing, but we rode downstream. (Back tracking is a waste of time.) Timber found a nice place to cross next to a beaver dam. The water was only about mid-stirrup leather high. Buck goes next and he pulls his feet up to the cantle so he don’t get wet. Jake and I follow right after him. Jake is riding his best horse, Captain. Captain seems to be a good swimmer. I’m riding a strawberry roan horse with no name. I call him Bob Wilson. Bob thinks it would be a great idea to go snorkeling. We take a few precarious steps into the water, then SPLASH! Bob’s head and neck disappear! My eyes get big as plates and Jake dodges the tidal wave. Bob comes back up for air. He must have seen an alligator or something down there because he was sure in the hurry to get out of the water! I could barely stay in the saddle for laughing so hard! I thought Buck was going to fall off as well. [When he called to relate this story, he was still chuckling about it and said he got wet up to his chest.]
I was glad to get a letter from Grandma. It was very nice. [Tell her] I don’t think I have enough [stories] to write a book, but Buck is getting there. Hope her garden is doing better and that she is doing well. I also got a letter from Mr. & Mrs. H. It was nice to hear from them.
Glad to hear you are getting rain and that I am not having to deal with any of the fencing. I haven’t made too much money since being here, but I have gained a wealth of knowledge and I am getting ready to head home sometime this month. I figure I need to be home by August 1st, but I’m not sure when I will leave.
“Why do they ride for their money…”*
Sackett [a nickname he's acquired this summer]
*refers to an old cowboy tune “Night Rider’s Lament.”