Friday, May 29, 2009

Tending the Sheep Camps

photo from flickr

One summer when I was about 10 year old I went to my Grandfather Davis’ ranch in Haswell for the summer. One of my favorite things to do was to go with my Uncle Johnny when he would go to “tend the sheep camps.” At both Haswell (Grandpa Davis and Uncle Johnny) and Fowler (Uncle Frank Harriman) I had many times tended sheep camps.

To tend sheep camps meant to take supplies to the sheep herders’ camps and to move their camp to another area where there would be more grass for the sheep to eat. The herder’s living area was a tent constructed on a wooden platform mounted on two 6”x6”x10’ wooden gliders which could easily be pulled across the prairie.

Usually the herder spoke little or no English, so I did usually not understand the talk with them, but it was always interesting to hear and to watch them communicate. Grandpa Davis and Uncle Frank could communicate with them, but the others knew key words and lots of sign language.

It seems like most of the herders would work for about six months, never leaving the sheep, and then go to town for a week or so and sometimes return. If they asked to return in a week, they were usually so drunk we would have to carry them (or someone in their family would carry them) to the car and we would dump them out at camp, making sure they had no whiskey on them.

The usual pattern was to go to the camp once a week or every two weeks depending on the amount of grass near the camp. The camp was usually a tent on a wooden platform mounted on two 6” x 6” runners – later on wheels. There was always a barrel for water on the platform. Inside the tent was a stove that used coal or wood, a cot, and a cupboard for food. Usually we carried a 100# sack of pinto beans, slabs of bacon, flour, salt and pepper, sugar, matches, tobacco, and a 25# box of prunes.

If it was time to move the camp because of the grass, we would hook on to the camp and pull it across the prairie for a couple of miles after telling the herders. If he needed meat we would kill and dress out a sheep and leave part of the meat and take the rest to other camps. The herder always had a pot of beans and a pot with prunes on the stove.

It may not sound exciting, but it was always an adventure to me. We most always saw a coyote or two and rabbits and rattlesnakes which we sometimes could shoot as we always carried rifles in the car or truck. I first remember using a Model A four door Ford, but later it was always in pickups. Uncle Frank usually had Chevrolets.

It was always fun to go with
Clark [Harriman] as we never missed the chance to do something more exciting!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Family Memories

Leona at Lou's grave
May 23, 2009
Sunset Memorial Gardens
Greeley, Colorado

Since I began this project a couple of years ago, I have developed a strong sense of connection to the graves of family members. Even though I firmly believe that the individual isn't really in the grave but has returned to our heavenly home, I like being aware of his or her last known earthly residence.

In recognition of Memorial Day, I am posting the few pictures I have of Davis family graves. Some of us may have visited these sacred spots personally, others will only know them through pictures.

Graves of Martha Davis and John Davis, her father

John was born 18 February 1835 and died 16 October 1876. He was the father of Charles Harker Davis and died when Harker was only seven years old.

John is buried beside his first child, Martha Davis, who died as a young child of only 18 months. She was born 22 March 1867 and died 1 September 1868. The notes on the back of this picture indicate that these graves are located on the St. Charles River - South of Hiway #50. At the time of this picture, August 1955, the grave stones were showing signs of age and wear. I would love to find this little cemetery, but wonder if it's still identifiable.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dora Alice Davis
First child of Della and Harker Davis

Many years after Dora's death, members of her family had this grave marker placed on her grave in Mountain View Cemetery - Pueblo, Colorado

Edna - Rachel - Birdie
Dora's sisters
date unknown

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Graves of Della and Harker Davis
Mountain View Cemetery - Pueblo, Colorado

Harker -- 1869 - 1940
Della -- 1870 - 1952

Please feel free to leave your comments and knowledge of these graves and the people who are buried there, so we can all know them better.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'd like to buy a vowel. . .

Mrs. [Evelyn] Samuelson was a Park View School teacher, when Dad was the principal there. When she received funny notes from parents, she often sent them on to the office so Dad could enjoy them too. Dad recorded:

Mrs. Samuelson sent me this note:

“Mary didn’t go to school yesterday because she had loose vowels.”

Mr. Butler, Would you guess it was A-E-I-O-or U? Or maybe it was all of them!

picture from Flickr

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A mother of sons

These pictures were taken in November, 1950. Lou, Sr had been called back into active duty because of the Korean War. When early discharge looked doubtful, Leona had these pictures taken and sent to Lou who was back in Adak. Fortunately, she was able to make a case for a "hardship" discharge, and Lou returned home in February, 1951.

Eleanor Leona Carpenter Butler
25 years old

Louis Edward, Jr.
4 years

James Alan
3 years

Charles Thomas
17 months

Donald Eldon
17 months

There is a quiet place in heaven for a mother of boys

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How do you mend a broken heart?

Lou - his mother, Mable
June 3, 1988
following his open heart surgery

26 May 1988
– I had another (my 2nd) heart attack in Pleasant View

26 May 1988
– Angiogram, 5:30 p.m. Five bad spots.

27 May 1988
– Open heart surgery. Dr. Thomas Blanch was my doctor, and Dr. Cain was the surgeon who performed the open heart surgery at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden. I had 5 bypasses done on my heart, and was weak for a while.

13 June 1988
– My weight is down to 158 pounds. I was walking in my pj’s and robe with Don when my bottoms fell down around my ankles!

22 June 1988 – Started rehab today at 8 a.m. Did a variety of exercises and was closely monitored. Today’s lecture was on stress. Stress causes an increase in cholesterol. Exercise helps get rid of cholesterol, therefore I need to walk regularly.

Treadmill time

Stretching on the step

Working the arms

Gentle jogging

Biking to good health

Stretching the arms

1 August 1988 – Went to my last physical therapy and had my exit interview. I can do most anything except I have to be very careful about lifting and be sure to exercise and watch eating habits.

Closely monitored

That's how you mend a broken heart -
with lots of therapy!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Boys of Summer

It appears that Dad passed on his love of sports on to his sons.

Jim, Tom, Don - around 1958
Dad has the boys identified, but didn't date this picture.

Lou, Jr. - back row, far left

Tom - back row, left -- Don - front row, far right
maybe 1959

Jim - back row, far left

Lou, Jr. - back row, far left

Take me out to the ballgame!