More Dogs on Main Street
July 31, 2009
I’m sure we’re not through with the heat yet, but it’s been downright chilly the last few mornings. It was down to 54 degrees in the house this morning, and I’m shivering a bit as I write this, wearing a sweatshirt. I refuse to turn the furnace on in July. It seems like summer just barely started and, without warning, fall keeps intruding into the conversation. I was with friends the other day and the topic of skiing popped out of the woods.
Since our farm hand retired this spring, I’ve been muddling through this summer as best I can. On these cool mornings, I’m beginning to think about snow removal this winter. We have a lot of internal roads on the ranch to keep open, and we had things pretty well divided up between me, my uncle, and the farmhand. With him retired, and my uncle reaching an age where he probably shouldn’t be climbing on and off the tractor in slippery conditions, well, the old division of who plows what is going to take some adjustment.
We’ll see some hot days again before summer packs it in, but it’s always a jolt when the season seems to change so abruptly.
I took a drive up in the Wolf Creek/Soapstone area this week. The peak of the wildflowers was probably a week ago, but it’s still a pretty amazing display in those broad alpine meadows. I encountered four different herds of sheep on the loop, each with a pair of Great Pyrenees sheep dogs standing guard. Actually, the dogs weren’t standing guard, they were all sprawled out in the middle of the road, snoozing in the sun. It took some effort to get them to wake up and move out of the way.
I normally take that loop on my mountain bike, but didn’t want to ride it until I knew what the road surface was like. Every now and then, there will be a thick coat of fresh, loose gravel on the surface which makes for a miserable ride. So I drove it in the truck. That was probably a good thing, as the sheep dogs, once they woke up, came at the truck like they were going to chew through the tires and strip it for parts. Maybe they felt guilty for sleeping on the job, but once they were awake, they were pretty aggressive about guarding their flock, putting on a convincing show that they were, in fact, still on the job.
After a couple of years of subtle pressure, I let my niece talk me into entering the Kamas Fiesta Days Parade on Pioneer Day. It was complicated in the sense that I had to put the tractor on a flatbed trailer to get it into town, then unload, hitch the trailer to the tractor, and get all the kids there to decorate the "float" for the parade. There were about 10 kids, and three of their mothers, and one niece’s husband. They were all in their best Hildale/pioneer chic. I was concerned about wiggling kids bouncing off the trailer, and didn’t really think about how it looked, but the people watching the parade were quick to assess the situation. One man, three women, and more kids than you could count: It looked like a good old-fashioned polygamist family in the finest pioneer tradition. People got a pretty good laugh, completely unintentionally.
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It’s amazing how things can spiral out of control. I started out a month ago to make a very simple repair on one of my old barns. There was a sliding door on one end, only it hadn’t functioned as a door in my lifetime. There was no track for it to slide in, and the door was held in place with baling wire and a couple of huge nails. The wire had finally rusted through, and the door was beginning to lean out away from the wall. What started out as a plan to nail it back where it had been instead turned into a total rebuild.
The header was rotten and had to be replaced. I thought as long as I was going to do that, I might as well widen the door and get it functional so that end of the barn is usable for storing stuff like more old tractors. But replacing the header ended up breaking a lot of the old siding boards, and one thing led to another. I had to replace about half of the siding. So now I’ve got to paint it, but if I only paint the one end I worked on, the rest of it will really took terrible.
I’m beginning to understand why somebody 60 years ago just wired the broken door shut and never looked back.
Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs On Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for more than 20 years.