Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11, 2013

Marie's father, Fay Anthony, died of an aneurysm 13 years ago today, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Marie, her mother Betty, her sister Barbara Groom, Barbara's husband, Harry Groom, and myself spent most of the day today honoring Fay and his rich live.  Fay spent a lifetime delivering fuel to large farms and ranches in the Ririe/Idaho Falls area.  I think that Fay was somewhat envious of these large producers, most of whom had inherited their large farms and ranches.  Perhaps this is why Fay told everyone in Idaho that the Horse Prairie Ranch in southwest Montana was his ranch or farm!  Fay also had some business cards made up for ranch business that said "Fay H. Anthony, Right-Hand Man".

Fay's primary job at the HPR was to mow the lawns at the LakeSide guest area.  He loved to be interrupted by a cold glass of Lemonade.  Fay might have imagined that the little Sears Craftman was a big green John Deere tractor mowing his thousands of acres of hay.

I think at times Fay also thought he was mowing a fancy golf course.  He would cut the grass as short as the hair on his head.  I used to tell him that short grass would dry up more quickly than hay or grass with some moisture.
Fay taught me  a lot about business.  He was a superb businessman.  He was fair and honest in all his dealings.  Fay worked very hard, rising at 4:00 a.m. 6 days a week.  Fay was also a star Lion Club member. He saved the Ririe club on more than one occasion.  He was such a great community service volunteer.  At Christmas time Fay would stay up all night filling the ice skating rink with water so that it would be frozen the next morning and ready to skate on.  Of course, at Christmas time Fay was also the emcee and would usher Santa Claus in to town each year (at the community get together's). 

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Memory of Morrison

Working horses are the backbone of a western working cattle ranch.  Horses are nearly always used when working with cattle.  ATVs have their place but they cannot replace a horse.  At the HPR we use working horses to move cattle to and from summer pastures, to sort Cows, at shipping time, to get to and repair fences, and to get to remote places to put out mineral, check stock tanks for water, and many other important ranch jobs.  In addition to working ranch activities, if the ranch hosts guests, as we did at the HPR for ten years, then horses must do trail rides and pleasure riding (e.g. arena games).

One of the most liked horses to have ever lived and worked at the HPR was “Morrison”.  Morrison was purchased in Idaho in 1997 from Warner, who did a great job of training the young Quarter horse.  Morrison was everyone’s favorite horse to ride.  He was gentle yet had stamina.  He was all Quarter horse, with large hind quarters and I have never seen a horse hold its neck more level.  Guests loved Morrison.  A doctor from southern California contacted me several times offering $5,000 for Morrison.  
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I received an early morning call recently from Urs who informed me that Morrison had been prostrate in a wet pasture and he could not get up.  In the ensuing thrashing to right himself Morrison broke a hind leg.  Urs had to “put down” the beautiful horse.  It was a sad but necessary experience to capstone Morrison’s great Montana life.  Morrison was our son, Marc’s horse.  The photos on this page are of Marc and Morrison moving Cows on the beautiful Prairie.9422_out_zps906bdb76 photo 9422_out_zps906bdb76-1_zps7cdf9d4f.jpg

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Swiss Ingenuity

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We had to let our #2 man go last Fall and I was a little concerned about how Urs was going to do all the work at the ranch, especially the winter feeding. See the accompanying photo of Urs applying a little Swiss ingenuity to feeding Cows, and in the process saving manpower, fuel, and wear and tear on the equipment. Oh how nice to run a western cattle ranch like a Swiss farm!
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Growing Up With Boys

Ah to grow up with Boys!  My niece, Michelle Cope, recently found this photo while collecting vintage photos for a NetDocuments Christmas party at Sundance Resort.

Study the faces and stances and think of how these Boys turned out.  Start with Stu, on the left, “Stuart Von Duncan”, also known affectionately in the neighborhood as “Sunny Boy”.  Note Stu’s happy, sunny face.  It’s like he is saying with his smile, “Mom, you can take pictures of me all day!“ Stu grew up as a gentle giant, always with a new joke to spread and always with a jovial personality. And how about that Cowboy outfit that Stu is wearing?  Mom always dressed us up (see the photos below of two Mercurys where it appearsthat Mom dressed us to match the cars), no matter what we were doing or where we were going.  Stu turned out to be a math teacher at Orem High School in Orem, Utah.  Stu has fun with all the students and wins them over with his smile and sense of humor.
Now let’s study Lee, the cute little toe head in the middle, the third of seven boys.  Lee Alan Duncan, known as “Lee”, has a face that says “I’ll let you take this picture if you’ll let me develop the film or wear a baseball cap backwards!”  Or, if you are using the right camera you might get some good photos.  And if you are not using the right camera Lee will help you get the right one.  Lee was always helpful to everyone.  He was also inquisitive and always wanted to know how things worked.  Lee pursued a business career and is one of three founders of NetDocuments and is today its COO (Chief Operating Officer). 
Finally, who is the guy on the right?  His body language and expression says that he either wanted Stu’s Cowboy outfit for the photo or he wanted to stand in the center for the photo op.  And growing up with such a happy brother and such a helpful brother, what does his face communicate.  Intensity, anxiousness, stress, a “I’m going to kick your butt if you don’t hurry and shoot that picture” attitude!, or “Mom, what is with these blue polyester pants…….why couldn’t I wear my Wranglers?”  Ken or “Kenny” or Kenneth Westover (Mother’s maiden name) Duncan grew up to be an entrepreneur and is one of three founders of NetDocuments and is today its CEO.  The third founder of NetDocuments is Alvin S. Tedjamulia, born in Jakarta, Indonesia (how about 2 boys from Joseph City, Arizona, Population 500, teaming up with a boy...Alvin Tedjamulia...from Jakarta, Indonesia, Population 10,000,000+).

The seven sons, who came in two batches, a threesome of "War Babies" born 16 months apart right after World War II, and about whom this blog post is primarily written, and the second batch which included Bill, Jerry, Scott and Earl, a foursome.  We seven sons had one sister, whom the Boys ran away from the Boy-dominated home, then she got married and had four sons of her own!

Growing up with seven Boys, with a World War II First Sergeant as the commander, we experienced a lot of Boy-type activities.  We bunked in a room with three beds, one of which was a roll-away (I had the middle bed and my nose nearly touched Stu’s bed above me).  Lee’s bed, the roll-away, was the easiest to get in and out of. In addition to prayers at night, we all enjoyed leaving our socks bundled up when we took them off so that we could throw them (like a basketball shot or baseball throw) into a small waste basket. Poor Mom, who never complained, had to not only pull apart the socks but she also had to separate the socks from the gum and trash in the wastebasket.

There is an advantage to having Boys while traveling.  Dad was always in a hurry on vacations.  Like keeping those long trains rolling along northern Arizona and New Mexico (Dad was a locomotive engineer on the Santa Fe railroad), he wasn’t about to stop every 10 miles for a boy to pee. A large empty Pineapple can became a mobile urinal.  And, similar to trains, it was convenient to “flush” the contents out the window.  Another time saver during travel was for Dad and Mom to exchange seats on the fly by sliding across the console-free front seat, at sixty miles an hour, to exchange drivers.

Sports soon became an interest of all Boys.  Baseball, basketball, and track all became fun pastimes for the Boys. In baseball Lee was a catcher (note the cap on backwards), Stu a baseman and  I was a pitcher, with a pretty good sidearm.  I remember scoring 56 points in a basketball game and track was always fun as I was able to jump my height of 6 ft. 1 inch.
 Only the Boys grew up working for the Westover Guernsey Dairy in Joseph City.  We did all the chores and activities associated with a small Dairy farm, including naming the Cows we milked after our girlfriends (who were mostly imaginary).  You could always smell a Duncan or Westover Boy at a local church dance on Saturday night because it smelled like walking by the Dairy.  Stu wondered why our Uncle Russell Westover always had us clean out the septic tank on a Saturday when there was a dance that night.  We Boys got a lot UDDERLY brilliant wisdom and counsel from Uncle Russell while milking the Cows at 5:00 a.m. in the mornings.

We three Boys also got to hunt Mule Deer with Dad.  It was not easy for his young recruits to follow him through the Mogollon Rim country in the Sitgreaves national forest in northern Arizona. Sometimes it felt like we walked from Winslow to Payson.  Dad's pace while hiking was amazing and I realized that I inherited some of those walking (really "sprinting") genes when I out-walked business associates on the streets of Manhattan or Chicago.  Dad also showed his marksmanship skills and soldier style carrying his Springfield 3.06 rifle.   We Boys thought that it was pretty cool that Dad brought his combat rifle home from the War.  On one hunting expedition Dad took us south of Winslow in our "Woody" station wagon (an early SUV and he actually had 2 of them at one time) and when he saw a herd of Antelope he pulled off the road an rambled through the Sagebrush going about 50-60 miles per hour.  But the Antelope ran about 60 miles an hour.  We Boys couldn’t stay in our seats.  I couldn't imagine how Dad would ever get a shot off at the Antelope, let alone hit one in such a race.  I realized that Dad just wanted to do some "4-Wheeling" in his new toy.  This was before the days of seat belts and I remember bouncing in the back seat with my body bouncing off the ceiling.  
Every once in a while Dad would take one of us Boys with him on the train.  What a thrill riding in the lead engine at 79 MPH racing across that beautiful high desert Indian country from Winslow, Arizona to Gallup, New Mexico.  Then while “laying over” in Gallup Dad would take us to a Mexican food dinner or maybe a movie.  Of course Dad’s favorite activity to pass the time away in Gallup was to walk all over town.  Many of the “Hog Headers” spent time in one or several of Gallup’s numerous and famous watering holes.  I remember later in life when I was a college student working summers on the railroad as a brakemen.  I was walking down the street (Route 66) when all of a sudden two drunk Indians came flying through the swinging doors and out of a bar.  It was a scene out of a John Wayne movie and I truly thought I was in the Wild West.   
We Boys also got introduced to Band a Joseph City marching Band where Stu played a Trumpet, Lee a Clarinet, and me a Trombone. And, we were all cool because we could wear sun glasses in the bright Arizona sun. I was not a good Band member.  I recall that we were in the Band room in the Old School playing the Great Gate of Kiev and I got a little too much vibrato, syncopation or Staccato, not sure which of these concepts I abused; maybe all of them, but it got me the Band.  Mr. Wright, our Band teacher, threw the baton at me and said, “here, Ken, you take this Band since you won’t let me run it”.  Getting control of the Band, along with eating Karen Foree’s lunch while being locked in the closet so that Mr. Hansen could conduct his class, may have got me the last real physical spanking in a public school.

I am so thankful that Johnny Paulsel, a local cattle rancher, moved to Joseph City and with his wife started a 4-H chapter.  We got to choose nearly any animal we wanted to raise. Stu raised a Holstein Heifer, Lee raised a black-faced sheep and I raised a Hereford Steer.  In the fall we dressed up our animals and took them to the Navajo County Fair.  Before the animals were able to enter the Fair they had to be judged. I’ll never forget the kind but stern judge of the Steers.  He examined the rest of the steers then walked over to me and leaned  down and said something like “Young Man, yours is the  best Steer of the Lot and should be the Grand Champion; however, he will  receive only Reserve Grand Champion. The reason the Steer did not get Grand Champion is because he was topped of too late, or in otherwise you did not “finish” off your Steer soon enough.  In other words you should have started him on grain much sooner.  The lesson: Always finish 100% of the job, even if is difficult.
We three Boys took several trips to Utah with our parents.  A favorite stop was Provo, Utah, where Brigham Young University was located.  This may have been so long ago that the statue on the campus of Brigham Young may have included his beard! We Boys not only earned several degrees (5) from BYU but we were all also BYU ward bishops at the same time. Mom must have had a little pride at that time.

We brothers continued to grow up together and enjoy a Boys’  life.  We grew up, married and raised families and often heard our sweet Mother praise our wives for “finishing” off her Boys.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shipping Time

Every fall one can see  a lot of cattle trucks on I-15. It's weaning time in the West.  In our case, our Calves have grown up on Montana grass and they now have to change their diet and environment to the corn fields of Iowa, a 22-24 hour trip on a cattle truck to the Midwest. The cattle trucks arrive at the  HPR at day break. 

Each truck can hold approximately 5 Calves per compartment, and there are approximately 10 compartments per truck.  It takes a couple of hours to load 6 trucks.
When a "baby" Calf enters a cattle truck  he or she must think back, earlier in that beautiful Montana fall weather when they were gathered with their Mommies by Cowboys on horseback.   The Calves (actually "Pairs") would have been gathered and herded among the HPR's 70 pastures, including the beautiful high mountain US Forest Service pastures, sage-brush dominated BLM lands, non-descript, integrated Montana State lands, and lush deeded meadows.  The Calves grew up as "natural" Calves, free from growth implants and antibiotics and to be sold exclusively to suppliers to Whole Food stores across North America.  This is where I dream that someday the rancher and consumer can meet one another by packaging our natural beef for retail consumers to include photos of HPR cattle grazing on HPR high-mountain pastures and drinking pure mountain water (kind of like "Country of Origin" but "Ranch of Origin" ).  This would be the ultimate marketing for producer ranches in the West.  A western ranch is such a more appropriate place to raise food than a feedlot. 

Back to shipping.  All of a sudden, with all the confusion in the HPR corrals, the Calves find themselves separated from their Mommies.  Dad hasn't been around since summer. Then all of a sudden a Calf finds a narrow passage to the loading chute to which the truck has backed and then "Ouch.....what the Hell was that bite in my butt.  The Calves got their first taste of a "Hot Shot". 
They'll grow for another 10-15 months on some of  America's best corn, grain and supplements.  Back at the ranch, Mommie Cows wonder where their Calves went.  They see a little black Calf and run up to smell it, only  to realize that junior may be gone forever from Montana.  It must be time to start the cycle again.  Maybe Mommie is thinking that she can enjoy this beautiful Montana country before those Bulls come to join them next summer.  Mommie hopes that she can repeat the cycle at least 10 times.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 12, 2012

Riding the range with Urs (on Sante Fe and his half brother), keeping track of one of our assets!