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Continued from The Dudine

In June, the Yry Press reports breathlessly:

Hello Folks,

You’ll never guess what I’m up to now! Well, I’m up at cow camp. I’m living in a 6×9 foot cabin with a bunk, a coal stove, 2 benches, a table, a pail for water, and a washbasin. There are 2 little round corrals and a small overnight pasture for the horse. It is primitive here, with a gas lamp, the spring 100 yards away, and not even an outhouse, or an Eleanor, as they call them out here. In one of the corrals I have a milk cow nursing an orphan calf to supply me with what little milk I need and I have a dog for company. It’s a two-hour ride from the ranch.

My job is to keep the cattle out of the larkspur that is in high bloom. The blooming plants are highly poisonous to cattle and the cows are too stupid to stay away from it, even though there’s plenty of fine grass for them to eat. The draws are really laden with larkspur so I must be up at sunrise to keep the cattle out of the draws. They forage heavily in the mornings.

It’s a half hour ride to the top of the 8 or 9,000 foot mountain and the terrain is very rocky. There’s a herd of horses running in the same area, but they aren’t as likely to eat the larkspur. When they come to drink at the spring, I can lure the horses into the corral with oats and pick out which one to ride for the next couple of days. I’m 10 miles north of Shoshone Lake (renamed Buffalo Bill Reservoir in 1946 to commemorate Cody’s 100th birthday.)

I’m doing some grand cooking here. Cooked a chow of soya beans and ham. I’d had them sent from NY. They are the first I’ve had since last July and they sure tasted good.

Lost a fine fat cow to larkspur yesterday. Must be pretty potent stuff. She came down just as W said she would. They pant then fall down and as the poison affects the heart, the point is to get them lying head uphill to prevent the lower organs from crowding the heart. There is medicine one can give if one catches them before it’s too late, but W doesn’t’ have much faith in it because giving it causes excitement and stimulates the heart too much. I’ve been feeling disgusted about it all day and ineffectual. A cow like her is worth over $100!

Sure wish I’d had a shooting iron with me today to shoot the coyotes who keep pestering my dog. There’s a bounty on coyotes. (A practice she would spurn vociferously in later years)