Grand River Roundup

It rained! We got a little sprinkle on Monday, the first day of spring, and Thursday evening there was just over a half inch of moisture in the rain gauge.

It rained! We got a little sprinkle on Monday, the first day of spring, and Thursday evening there was just over a half inch of moisture in the rain gauge. It snowed a little bit Monday night and that snow probably contributed a tiny bit of moisture. The big snowdrifts left over from the Christmas blizzard are still melting and the grass is starting to green up, but we haven’t seen any flowers yet although with this warm weather and soft rain they should appear soon.

Reub and I celebrated the arrival of spring by taking a trip to Hettinger for his appointment with Mary Eggebo. Spring arrived cold and windy. Does that mean we’re going to have a wet spring – or just a windy spring?

The snow Monday night made the highway a little icy when I drove down to Bible study at Kathy Fabris’ place Tuesday morning, but it was all melted off by the time I drove home. Hopefully that’s the last icy road we have to contend with.

While sorting through some stuff this week I found the history that George Elling had written up about the Slim Buttes area. Several years ago, after George and Ann, and Bob and Frieda Elling had all passed away, I was in Hettinger one day and Frieda’s brother, Gottlieb Lutz, asked me if I would like to have the history and pictures that George had written. Gottlieb said he didn’t know most of the people George had written about and thought that I might know them. I was thrilled when Gottlieb gave me a packet with pictures of the Slim Buttes area, George’s autobiography, and copies of several articles George had written about Slim Buttes history for the Rapid City Journal.

Gottlieb has also since passed away, but this history he gave me is absolutely fascinating! I wish I would have found it before we put the Harding County History books together, but I spent most of the week retyping George’s stories on my computer and am giving them to folks around here who are either mentioned in the stories, or have some connection to the history he tells.

There are several articles about the Battle of the Slim Buttes and one about some shady characters that lived in the area back in the day. One of the shady characters had connections to Phil Bonniwell’s ranch where Dillon and Julia Lermeny live now. I gave copies of all these articles to Dillon because he is going to be the Slim Buttes historian when Bill Vroman and I are no longer around.

Irean Jordan from Faith sent me a timely letter this week wondering what I knew about the Battle of the Slim Buttes so I’ve copied several pages of George’s history about the battle to send to her. Irean is 93 years old and has just written a paperback book about her father who was a government hired wolf hunter from 1898 to 1912. He rode horseback up from the Sand Hills in Nebraska to Bixby, S.D. and worked for Ed Lemmon for seven years, cowboying and wolf hunting. He learned how to hunt wolves from Charles Bollinger at Camp Crook and hunted for all the big cattle companies in seven counties in South Dakota and into the southern edge of North Dakota. Irean’s book is entitled “Matt the Wolfer” and I can’t wait to buy a copy!

Mike Kintigh and John Kanta with Game Fish and Parks held a meeting with Harding County folks in Buffalo this week to explain the TB testing of wildlife in the quarantined area. Veterinarians from the Animal Industry Board will do the testing and some of them came to answer questions from the crowd. GF&P will bring in the APHS plane and a helicopter to help with the gather. Starting this Monday, they plan to test 100 white tail and mule deer, 100 antelope and all the coyotes, fox, raccoons, and small mammals they can get. They plan to finish by Friday and they will also check all deer and antelope harvested in Harding County during the hunting seasons this fall. If you have questions or suggestions for GF&P, Mike Kintigh’s number is 394-2391 and the Animal Industry Board phone number is 773-3321.

Lorri called by Friday to see if I wanted any baby chicks that she found on sale for less than half price in Spearfish. I had her pick up a dozen of them for me and she got me some chick feed that was also on clearance. I went to Newell to pick them up that afternoon and was pleased to see that they already were getting feathers. That’s probably why they were on sale, because they aren’t nearly as cute when they’re half grown.

We lost some old friends this week. Casey went to Arlen Hulm’s funeral at the Community Center in Faith on Thursday and I attended Gene Stensland’s funeral at the Rec Center in Buffalo Saturday. Both the funerals for these wonderful guys were standing room only. Their families have our sympathy.

Taz flew back to the rodeo in Austin, Texas Thursday and rode home with Bard Johnson Sunday, getting back to the ranch about 4:00 a.m. Monday morning. That’s a long drive home!

Congress didn’t get Obamacare repealed and replaced this week, although the bill that was presented to was highly flawed. Several Republicans voted against what many were calling “ObamaCare Light” because it kept too many parts of the original law. Even President Trump said there were things in the bill that he didn’t like. Hopefully the Congress will work together to bring a better bill and get rid of this expensive healthcare nightmare.

Betty Olson is a South Dakota rancher and former state legislator for District 28.