This sure has been a crazy Monday! I apologize for not getting this blog done sooner, but I assure you...
It's totally worth the wait.
I JUST KNEW Therese would have a great yarn to spin.
I wasn't disappointed.
Some of my favorite stories of all time came from the 30's, 40's and 50's. What a great time to be alive. From now, they sure looked more simple and laid back but I'm willing to bet they had just the same hard times farming and ranching as some of us face, just on a different scale.
In comes the story from Therese. It's a wonderful tale of her early years on a sheep ranch with her parents in Wyoming. I sure hope she will share more of them with us someday. I feel like stories from this era are slipping away and people feel like no one wants to hear them. I know I sure did!
Without further adieu, my friend and soon to be yours, Therese Staeger.
Sheep Shearing In The Thirties
Back in the pre-ww2 era ranching was done a bit differently than it is now in some instances.
The United States produced a lot of sheep, wool for clothing, bedding and good carpet among other things. Lamb was popular and it did not come from New Zealand and our Beef was from here too. Changes are not always necessary or bad but our ranchers today must face the outside competition and still make a living.
In the late thirties I was a small child, very curious and under foot too much of the time, it was the start of my education in animal husbandry. I loved every animal and still do, I have a special fondness for sheep the first animal that wasn’t so huge alongside of little me.
Sheep shearing time was a special time in the spring in Wyoming, My uncle Frank Eychaner and his brother Orville had a good sized sheep ranch near Mayoworth as did several others in the area. At shearing time they used a large community shearing shed and pens where the sheep were brought to and shorn, which could last many days into weeks with the amount of sheep being shorn. Shearing then was done with hand blades, later electric ones were run by a generator and eventually regular power when it became available.
My mom, aunt and her sister in law cooked for all in the adjoining cook house. Everyone had a job to do and was very busy with the exception of my cousin Florence and I. Any trouble that found us was her fault she was old enough to know better, my part into anything was: OK!
First thing we went to the shearing shed to watch the action of the wool coming off in pretty much a large sheet leaving a clean creamy
almost naked sheep behind, the wool tier making a bundle that was tied with twine and then tossed up to the wool stomper inside the huge wool sack. I was really impressed with that! A few days later while everyone was eating I went by myself to the shed, climbed the frame and jumped in the sack where just a few wool bundles had been tossed in. As soon as I landed in the bottom and looked up I realized it was a long ways to the top, I noticed sheep ticks on the inside of the sack. YIKES!! I managed to get out and back to where I belonged, I didn’t even tell my cousin. A well learned lesson for the day.
The next day we decided to visit Orville’s tepee. Lambing in those days was done out on the range using small lambing tents when needed. The Eychaner sheep wagon was down by the cook house so my brother and Florence’s cousin, the two babies had a quiet place for naps. So Oroville put up a small tepee to be with the sheep at night. It was cute, had a canvas floor too. Inside on one side was a rolled up bedroll, in the corner was 4 empty beer cases, we were thirsty so tipped up a few bottles to see if there was any beer left…nothing!
That bedroll looked interesting so we untied the ropes, unrolled it crawled in to check it out. Somehow it didn’t go back quite like we found it…our reasoning was "he" will never notice!!
The moral is.. NEVER TOUCH ANYONES BEDROLL IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE! I think the folks in Kaycee heard him yelling about those girls better not come near his stuff again! He loved us both all of his life and always gave us big hugs and happy to see us. We never bothered
anything of his ever again. Later when I was older I learned how to make a proper bedroll.
Thank you ever so much Therese! Don't you think she needs to share more by writing a book? I told her I get the first copy!