The river has receded and the threat of flooding has passed. We are finishing our second week of volunteering with four other couples at Circle J Ranch. The first week my partner Mary and I built flower boxes for the kids at camp to decorate and fill with vegetables and flowers. They were so popular that a request came from on high to build six more, so we obliged. That was on Monday. Shannon and Ray have been building giant A-frame fence sections to go with the new rock and log entryway to the camp. They got a man lift in here for the week and Randy has spent most of the week 30 feet in the air stripping and staining the logs in the entryway. June and Sheri and Carl were tasked with turning a huge clump of brush into a beautiful grove of trees. June and Sheri on chainsaws while Carl manned the chipper. Shannon has been spending time taking pictures of the rest of us working!
One of the main projects on our list was a wooden sidewalk made of 4x4s and 2x8s, which we thought would take all of us a whole week to build and the NOMADS group coming in August could dig out the trenches to lay them in so that they are level with the grass and the lawnmower could go over them. Well, Ray built us a jig for his miter saw and Mary and I knocked out all eight 12’ sidewalk sections in two days. The women in our group have been dubbed the Southern Belle Lumber and Construction Company and are thinking of getting t-shirts made! Wednesday we were blessed to have 7 or 8 kids from the Wyoming Boys Home here to do community service and we were told to give them the heavy work, so they dug the trenches and installed the sections and voila! there is now a wooden sidewalk all along one side of the lodge!
Things we found out this week on our days off, while we were in Worland waiting for new brakes on the Honda (an issue with the gain setting on our Patriot brake buddy): Washakie is pronounced WA-sha-kie and is the name of the Indian chief for which this county, and many things in it, are named.
and. . .
There is a series of tall carved statues by Peter Wolf Toth, 76 in all, spread all over the US (and a couple in Europe). The series is called “The Trail of the Whispering Giants”. Some of them have disappeared, but there is supposed to be one in every state. The one in Wyoming is here in Worland. We think, instead of trying to sleep in every state (we may still do that too) or touring all the state capitols (not so much), it would be cool to find as many of these statues as we can (probably not the ones in Europe). We will be travelling close to where several of them live during the rest of this year. By Christmas we should be able to assess whether or not this is a worthwhile pursuit.
We saw these sheep shears in the Washakie museum. Let me go back. First of all, the Johnson County Wars were not fought between cattlemen and sheep farmers as I had previously thought. The cattle barons, some of whom never set foot in this country but ran their operations from Europe, were hit hard in the winter of 1886 and lost so many cattle that they had to lay off most of their workers. These workers, who had learned something of the cattle business, started their own smaller operations and built fences across the open range to keep their herds separated. The big operators, in a last ditch effort to survive, accused many of the small ranchers of rustling, and hired gunmen to wipe them out. Sheep didn’t show up till much later, and now to my point. . .a shearer could shear 100 ewes a day with this primitive tool and was paid 9 cents a head. I’ve been complaining about my hands hurting from gripping my power tools this week. . .new perspective!
It has been rainy and cold today, which precludes taking our new Sea Eagle kayak out to Meadowlark Lake. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have let a little bad weather keep me in, but apparently I have grown soft in my old age. I may go out and inflate it and sit in it under our awning later, just so I look like I know what I’m doing the first time we take it to water!