2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted in Driving Donkeys, Equine Driving, Farm Related, Mammoth Donkeys, Teamdonk #1, Teamdonk #2 | Leave a comment

2012 Year End Driving Totals

I have to say the Teamdonk boys truly lived up to this year’s theme of Four Mammoth Driving Donkeys.  Luc and Galahad drove as Teamdonk #1 with Merlin and Hank as Teamdonk #2. 

We had a mega load of fun starting off with a little spring time runaway, nothing like that to get the juices flowing!  After harvest we discovered some new driving fields that were delightful.  Merlin and Hank’s first parade experience brought home the blue and some fun videos.  Galahad was the winner of the 2012 Most Improved Award, especially the day he and Luc met a D-5 Crawler on a narrow gravel road where there was no escape and he was able to hold it together long enough to get us safely past the creature and calmly head towards home!  Galahad has matured into a wonderful driving donkey.

It was a year of stress free fun and our first experience with filming and posting videos.  Many of our box seat driving photos were part of this year’s write-ups!  I even had the opportunity to relive the days of single driving which has inspired a pole to be installed on the Pacific Gig this winter so we can make it a part of next season’s adventures.

We came up a little short on what I was hoping for as far as totals, due to the late summer wildfires and heavy smoke that blanketed our world for well over a month, but in reality our driving distances and times are pretty impressive.  As of July 10th, 2006 all the Teamdonk donkeys combined have driven nearly 842 miles in 474 hours.  Luc has been driving the longest and probably is one of the largest contributors. 

Today, November 5, 2012 the boys are on Sugar Maple Leaf Clean-Up Duty.  As always click on the photo to enlarge it.

They have just gone through a five-day double dose wormer; their fence-line has been walked and is being repaired.  The pasture has been cleaned up, it won’t be long now before the winter water tank with a heater will be moved into place as we await the first of many layers of snow and bone chilling temperatures. 

Thank you to all our loyal followers, I believe the numbers of those who visited the blogs grew immensely this year!  Next year’s blog has been launched!  You will find it at, www.2013teamdonk.wordpress.com   The new theme will be Teamdonk Yarns & Other Stuff.  The boys and I plan to see you there for another terrific driving year!

Posted in Driving Donkeys, Equine Driving, Mammoth Donkeys, Teamdonk #1, Teamdonk #2 | 2 Comments

Fall’s Beauty

The leaves are floating to the ground, the frost has covered my pickup and snow is in the near forecast.  We all know what is just ahead!

Click to enlarge

At 20 degrees three of the Teamdonk boys are soaking up the early morning rays of warmth.  There’s a fire going in the wood furnace, I think we’re all well blessed!

RMS Magical Merlin, Handsome Hank Bishop and RMS Lippyluver Luc hanging out in feed jail after breakfast. What a beautiful morning! Crispy, Cool and full of promise!

 

Posted in Farm Related, Mammoth Donkeys, Teamdonk #1, Teamdonk #2 | Leave a comment

Memories of My Grandfather

This is the only known photo of the adult children of James L. Bronson Sr.  R to L…Jim, Lucy, Turah, Dru, Sue, Father Jim Bronson, Ora, Gladys and Bryan.  Photo was taken about 1929-33 at sheep camp near Meadow Creek, Idaho which is located near the present I-84 Interchange 254, about 60 miles from Burley.  Roads were gravel and dusty.  Ruth Bronson Fuller at age 94 remembered attending but said they did not take photos of the children.  Note  the classy pants on Sue and Dru and dresses on the other sisters.  Grandpa reportedly said that if he had known they were coming he would have changed clothes.  Camilla always washed his clothes.  By Merilyn Bronson, Reeeves, September 2009.  I remember stopping to take photos of the old house just before it collapsed.  This was where my father was born. 

James Bronson Jr.  was my beloved Grandpa Jim.  Born January 5, 1889 and leaving us February 21, 1970.

This was my Grandfather, my Father’s Dad and the Great Grandfather to my daughter, nieces and nephews.  It is for them that I am writing this.  Someday I hope they will write the story of “Bamps”, my Father for their Grandchildren so their stories may be passed on.

I remember so many wonderful things about my Grandpa.  He drove a one ton pickup with sturdy racks that often had a bull or a cow and calf riding in the back or sometimes a saddle horse or two.  There was no pulling a horse trailer back then.  It was jump whatever you were hauling into the back of the truck and head down the road. 

Grandpa’s horse was probably a half draft, as he was huge.  I have photos of me holding the horse, I was the same height as that horse’s leg!  It took two men my Dad, Robert Max Bronson, with my brother to nail Geronimo’s huge shoes on.  Grandpa always rode with the reins in one hand and a bull whip in the other.  He could flick a fly off a cow’s ear with that whip and when he make it crack we all paid attention.  Cracking bull whips was a large part of our farm pastimes.  I often rode behind my Grandpa when chasing cows thru the sagebrush.  I distinctly remember Jim telling me, “Hold on, we’re going places Jackrabbits wouldn’t go!”  and off we would go crashing thru sagebrush taller than we were or into a grove of Cedar trees.  I would bury my face into Grandpa’s back and hold on as tight as I could and pray! 

Grandpa also loved to chase coyotes across the desert in his pickup, never mind the boulders, the gulley’s, the sagebrush, the pinion pine trees, he was gonin’ to git that coyote!  He would bounce us so hard we’d both hit our heads on the roof of the cab.

Jim was born in Almo, Idaho where he grew up and attended elementary school.  Later he completed his education at the Oakley Academy, prior to going on a mission for the LDS Church.  He married my Grandmother Camilla Lewis and lived in the Springdale community near Burley, Idaho beginning in 1915.  They settled on 40 acres of state land which they cleared of sagebrush.  They later purchased 80 additional acres where they lived out their lives.  Their home is still standing today.

Grandpa Jim had a large ranch that my Great Grandfather started nearly 100 miles from their farmland.  It was near the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon near Naf, just over the state line into Utah.  About twelve miles south-east of Naf is where they wintered their cattle.  I remember those cattle drives between the two ranches.  My cousin Tim Judd, my Dad, brothers and of course Grandpa on Geronimo with his bull whip made those drives a memorable event for me. Tim and I named all those Hereford/Longhorn crosses after our favorite (?) school teachers during those long dusty cattle drives.   People driving the highway would stop and ask us if this was something we did every day.  Of course we had fun leading those Greenhorns on!  This was part of our lives during the 1960s. 

My Grandpa was honored as Rancher of the Year in 1962 by the Box Elder Soil Conservation from Utah for the work he did on that desert ranch.  My Father and Brother, Robert Douglas Bronson, have since continued that tradition several more times by clearing the sagebrush and cedar trees, running water lines and establishing ponds for the livestock.  They planted their land in crested wheat grass that now sustains the cattle in the early spring and later thru the winter.   They put in a corral system that works so efficiently, my even my Grandfather would have been amazed at and very proud of those who have carried on his work.

When Grandpa retired, he and my Grandmother enjoyed trips to Texas and later to Alaska.  While in Texas they visited the King Ranch and the 6666 Ranch.  It was on those trips, that I believe, he may have purchased quality Quarter Horses.  There was always a herd of wild horses at the ranch while he was alive.  I believe some of those horses were brought up from Texas and turned loose.  The stallion was a Golden Palomino, who was the most wonderful horse I had ever seen, and a small flaxen mane and tail sorrel mare who lead the group.  Tim and I had the job of rounding up the wild ones and driving them to the corral.  We rode the fastest, the most agile horses we had available but still just before getting to the gate this quick little mare would split off and take the herd with her and the chase would continue! 

It was from this herd that our riding stock came from.  Peaches and Cream was a beautiful pair of Palominos that use to buck my brothers and myself off as we were coming up my Grandparent’s lane after riding all the way from our farm to theirs.  Ike, was only about 14 hands, a little red mule named after our nation’s president, I was probably about 3 or 4 years old and Ike was my first mount, gosh, I loved that mule.  I remember I needed a stick to make him go and a bucket to get on him but could not get into the saddle without someone to hold my stick!  Flame, was a golden buckskin that I rode for many years in my teens. The stud had grabbed Flame’s neck in an attempt to kill him and left a bump, a perfect indention of that stallion’s mouth as he clamped down on the youngster.  My hand would barely fit over the large bump on Flame’s neck.  That stud had a way of eliminating his male competition.

My Grandfather with his two BLM Donkeys Photo was taken in October, 1958

When I would spend the night with my grandparents I remember that every morning at 4 or 5 am Grandpa’s Donkey would bray.  Grandpa would get up and turn the light on and the donkey would quit braying.  I was told to stay away from the donkey, at that time I did not realize he was a breeding jack.  Other than that I really don’t remember much about Grandpa’s donkeys.  I was told that Grandpa had two BLM donkeys, a jenny that no one remembers what happened to and a jack he used to breed the mares that were to wild to break or even those that were not imported from Texas. Dad said he had a breeding pit so the jack could reach the mares.  Anyway we had mules, the kind that would hurt you if given an opportunity. 

These photos have been tucked away in a photo album of my Grandpa Jim and his two donkeys.  I guess you could say that Donkey’s are just in my genes!

Kristien Bronson Kingma, Written October 17, 2012

Posted in Family | 4 Comments

If this were the end…

Just speculating or maybe just being realistic; if this were the last drive of the year it was the perfect venture.  There was a new field we had never explored before and Luc and I really enjoyed it.  It was our first time driving where the stubble field had been machine rolled and it was as smooth as a baby’s behind… whell almost!  It was in that field where we jumped the largest rack on a Whitetail buck I have ever seen.  That boy was packin’!  He was down in a bottom hiding in tall grasses between two gravel roads where he was totally hidden, even from Luc and I.  WOW!!! How super thrilling it was watching him run off, didn’t take him long to get the heck outta there either!  Whatta Rack that boy had!

I’ve been revisiting single driving on the Pacific Gig this month which has made me rediscovered the advantages over team driving.  First, one can get a nice quick drive in.  All it takes is just a couple of hours and sometimes that is all the time there is in my busy schedule.  I do have a pole and a conversion kit for the Gig so it can be set up for a team vehicle.  With another driver all the donkeys could go out for a drive at the same time. Now, how fun would that be?

Click on the photo to enlarge it

 The second reason is comfort.  This vehicle has more leg room and with the seat size and adjustment I could take another person with me.  The back of the seat is heavily cushioned and fits into the small of my back so there is much less back strain.  It is a little bit heavier and rides quieter and smoother than the cart.  Next driving season look for Merlin and Hank on the Pacific Carriage Gig.

It was 55 degrees when I hitched at noon and two hours later it was 65.  We had warm sunshine, a light breeze along with heavy smelly forest fire smoke.  The kind of smoke that lies on the ground and makes you drink every drop of water you brought with you and want more. The kind of smoke that tells Luc it is okay to cut across the stubble and go thru the field fire lines to home just because you need to get some relief.  The rains are coming, the rains are coming…welcome relief is just a couple of days away!  So if this is to be the end of the 2012 driving season, it was a great ending.

Today’s Stats:  4.4 Miles, 4.8 moving maximum speed which was a fast downhill walk, and we were out a little less than 2 hours

It’s rain all next week, so we’ll have to see what the next week and a half brings.  Hopefully more October driving!

Posted in Driving Donkeys, Equine Driving, Mammoth Donkeys | 6 Comments

RMS LippyLuver Luc’s Turn

Today it was Luc’s turn on the Pacific Gig and he was his spectacular driving self.

The American Donkey and Mule Society have several great driving programs in place for donkeys.  Here are Luc’s lists of ADMS awards: In February 2004 Luc was honored with the Versatility Hall of Fame Award, to go along with that Luc is currently working towards his 9th Honor Roll, which adds up to nearly 2,000 accomplishments! He has been shown in fairs, rodeos and parades in Montana, Oregon and Idaho.  Luc won his Supreme Driving Program Award May 26th, 2008.

What a gorgeous sky!

Luc is such an awesome driving donkey, I just don’t know if they come much better!  It’s been too long since it was just Luc and I out for a countryside stroll so today we revisited those good ole’ days of single outings that are filled with so many fond memories and fun times adding this one to the long list of adventures.

This canola field was photographed as it was just starting to grow back in August. It’s now froze back enough that it will be dormant until next spring. It did very well in the dry conditions of this fall.

Today’s Stats: 3.12 field driving miles in one hour and twenty three minutes.  Luc was really moving out and got up to a 4 mile per hour walk before breaking into a trot.  We had sunshine and blue skies above the smokey horizon!  The temperature was in the mid 50s again with a nice warm sun and a cool breeze. Finally there is rain in the weather forecast after nearly 80 days of no moisture.  Looking forward to at least one more driving day this week before the rains fall and put our fire season to an end.  The Gig is covered and tucked under the gooseneck, ready to go out again!

Click on today’s photos to increase their size!

Posted in Driving Donkeys, Equine Driving, Mammoth Donkeys | 4 Comments

Galahad’s Turn

Click on the photos to enlarge them. This one I took from the seat half way thru our drive. The smoke haze was close to the horizon. Above that was clear blue skies!

Galahad had a terrific single drive October 7th!  Sunny and 55 degrees, two and a quarter miles in a little over an hour.  He did so well we plan to go again soon!  A perfect day for a perfect outing!

This is my favorite photo of the day. After living with smoke day after day one appreciates fresh air and blue skies!

Jim took this one as we were coming down hill between the yard and the stubble field. Shows how the smoke changes the sky color from bright blue to a smokey haze.

Posted in Driving Donkeys, Equine Driving, Mammoth Donkeys | 2 Comments