Tuesday, November 10, 2009



IT is said that we are composite’s of people that we’ve associated with through out our lifetimes starting with our parents and siblings

As I was looking at our mailing list I was thinking of all the diverse types of people whom we’ve become friends with throughout the years.

From mom and my sisters to a boy I met in 1st grade and went all the way through high school with.

A preacher’s son I met at the age of 11 or 12 at the Drayton Plains Baptist Church, high school friends. How about a retired preacher who took a sabbatical for a few years and drove truck. The same man who I used to tease and say “The United Methodist Church won’t want take you back now that you’ve been a truck driver, the same man who proved me wrong went to East Jordan, MI. where he had a wonderful church. A grocery store owner and his wife who now goes all over the world hunting. A retired electrician in Muskegon who is now a widower. A black couple, now retired that raised 7 or 8 kids and with whom we are becoming better and better friends. Our relatives all over the U.S. and relatives of Sally, some are ex-relatives who as we are, are approaching the fall of their life on earth. People Sally has known all of her life in the little town of Hesperia. People we’ve met as RVer’s the last few years, some of whom we’ve just met, they live up near International Falls, but it seems like we’ve known them for years. Others that used to be able to be winter Texans but now spend their winters at home in Missouri. Retired military personnel that are now Rver’s. A couple that grew up in Hesperia and moved to Florida as kids and still live, near Inverness. A former son-in-law’s parents that now live in Vero Beach, Fl. A retired DNR Fire Officer, A country gospel singer and husband that we met at a hymn sing in Petoskey and also Prairieville that live near Lewiston, MI. Many schoolteachers, truck drivers, policemen, self-employed of all types, fellow employees, neighbors, doctors, lawyers and FRIENDS. We think we’re better off from knowing you all.

THANKS to all of you who have written us. I’ve never received many letters in my lifetime and it is a nice personal touch.

The poor economy has hit home and you’ve probably noticed the print is smaller. The rise in the postage and the high cost of ink has forced us to try and save some money, somehow. With envelopes, ink, paper and postage it has been costing us about $70.00 per mailing. I enjoy writing about what I see and we know of NO other way to cut costs. - - - -Darrell.

Also please pass this around to whomever you think might find it interesting. If you by any chance are receiving 2 copies or you wish to no longer receive this please let us know. Phil, thanks for the stamps, it is greatly appreciated.

Thursday July 4, 2002

We went to Idaho Falls to a all day shindig that started out with a breakfast put on by the Elks with Walt and Sue Jackson and then we went to the town of Victor, ID. A real picturesque town of about 700 and set right at the foot of the Tetons and it is real cattle country and trout fishing for the tourists. They have a big Fourth of July celebration much like Hesperia does. It was great the handicrafts were the same as at home only a lot more is done with antlers. The fad for the kids was a little blowgun made of pcv pipe that shot miniature marshmallows. It was a pleasant afternoon and all to soon it was time to return to Tex Creek. Up at the “Red Grainery” we had a great view of all of the fireworks in our neck of the woods. Idaho Falls has the largest pyrotechnics display west of the Mississippi. It was co-coordinated with music and we were able to listen on the radio as the “AWESOME” display went up in the air, they tell us that the local company that does this one day a year, every year spend about $1,000,000.00. We were about 10 air miles from there but it was a great sight. Also we could se the towns of Rigby, Rexford, Ririe and several guest and dude ranches as they all did their thing. It still wasn’t as good as the impromptu fire works we had at Gary and Kathy Eichenberg’s a few years ago. Maybe that was because we were with friends. I think that was the late 70’s or early 80’s.

Friday June 5,2002

I put up a lot of NO OPEN FIRE signs and went on patrol with one of the 4-wheelers. I went up to Cove Creek, Indian Fork, Meadow Creek, Skyline and down around where Tex Creek meets Willow Creek. While at the junction of the two rivers I sprayed a lot of thistle and burdock and did a lot of day dreaming about trout fishing there. There is an abundance of Cutthroat Trout and smallmouth bass. After spraying (about 20 gallons) the little ATV ran really well and I was able to make good time. In all I drove the little ATV 67 miles and got to talk to a lot of others out riding their ATV’s.

Sally also took Aimee to the groomer in Rigby. The dog came back with about 4-lbs. fur removed and 4 shades whiter.

Saturday June 6th, 2002

I hooked up the battery charger to the old Allis Chalmers bulldozer and got the diesel running. It hadn’t been started in a year or three and is supposed to be ready in case of fire and everybody else was afraid to touch it. I was amazed how easy it started and how well it runs and handles. It was manufactured sometime in the 60’s. Walt & Sue Jackson came over and we did some steaks on the grill and then I took Walt up to where I’d found the remnants of an old settlers house.

Saturday a spectacular thunderstorm came around us. I watched the lightning bounce off of the hills and prayed for no fires. 11 fires were reported in the area from the storm but not one for us.

Sunday June 8th, 2002 I got up early and mowed the back 2 acres of the compound. I figured with the little rain that we did have it would help to lay the dust. It was just as I figured for once. In the afternoon Sally & I went for a patrol and saw a cow and calf moose from about 50 yard. The calf still had its’ red hair and I figured it was about 5 to 7 weeks old. He reminded me of a draft horse foal with the muscles bulging, but he did have longer legs and he was able to run about real well. Later we saw a large bull moose with what is going to be spectacular horns. Already they were at least 18 in. out beyond the edge of his head and still in the velvet and growing. He again was about 50 yards away and let us scrutinize & study him for probably 5 or 6 minutes. Then he just melted into the woods.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Summer is definitely here, been in the very high 90’s each day. It does cool down into the 40’s & 50’s at night. But, there is NO DEW. I thought it was dry before you should see it now. The ponds, manmade & beaver are all drying up at a fantastic rate. A lot of the springs that were gushing water last week have now ceased to flow at all. Just a little dampness in the ground.

The cattle are spending a lot of time searching for water and evidently know of some springs back in the hills. The ranchers plan on a 10 to 15% loss of life on their critters and don’ t seem to be too worried about it. They laugh at me when I mention their cattle need water and tell me to wait awhile because it is really going to get dry!

This next paragraph I’m going to especially pick on a friend that lives east of Hesperia and has a little farm, lovely wife and children (lots) his initials are,

RUFUS DAVENPORT you think you’ve got cattle. I want you and Lois to come on out here and I’ll show you outfits that don’t know exactly how many critters that they have and they figure if they only have a 10 to 15% loss in a season they have a good year. All you’ve got to do is buy about 5000 acres and put 1000 critters on it and evidently they make you money. I don’t want the excuse that somebody has to water & feed them thar critters, and my garden this and my garden that. When you die you aren’t going to be able to take all of that money with you. You aren’t going to say Lord I’ve got to water & feed my critters, are you? Your kids won’t want your money as they’re probably making more than what you got saved up, every year anyway. I’m going to shame you into coming out here. We’ve got room for you two (not your critters). Sally says she needs to talk to Lois (Annie) and of course I’ve got to talk to you.

When you Hesperia people see the Davenports tell them to get out here. In fact it might not hurt to stop out at their farm and tell them to get to Idaho, NOW!

The same for the rest of you. For you know not what tomorrow might bring.

I don’t know the rates but there is air service into and out of Idaho Falls. As I told Lois Davenport if need be we’d take a bulldozer in she said, I’d rather ride a four-wheeler.

Yesterday we went into Idaho Falls and I made my weekly stop at the library. I picked up a book called People of the Hills written and compiled by Miranda C. Stringham who was born and raised out here on a dry farm. It is statistics taken from the 1800 through the 1970’s diaries, letters, Bibles and from survivors that were still living in the 70’s.

A lot of this land was homesteaded in the early 1900’s and the book is full of interesting stories of trying to survive out here in this area. It told how one family had run out of hay for their livestock but could see open stretches of grass up on the mountain. How the whole family shoveled a trench through several feet of snow almost a mile long so that their livestock could survive. Of temperatures of 40 and 50 below for weeks at a time. . Sod roofed homes.

Great blizzards that could go on for 2 weeks at a time. Snow so deep that they actually had tunnels that ran through it to the spring or the outhouse or any shelter that they had for animals. Storms where it would snow 2 feet everyday for maybe a week or two. Stories of how they would pack snow down on the ground and put layer upon layer of straw on it so that they might have enough water next summer. Stories of the wolves and the bears and how in the summer about the water shortages and how they had to haul water great distances. They called it dry and/or desert farming and I think they meant it. If you can get a copy from the library it is very interesting.

Today I met a man, Reese Hansen camped out at our campsite #5. He said his friend Jody Smith used to have a settlers house right where he had his tent set up. Also he said he was born and raised on his parent’s dry farm, their home was right where our hayshed is now. The man in his late 60’s was one of 10 children and he has only 1 brother left now. He was the baby and he got tears in is eyes as he talked of his dad and mom (as we all do) and how they would pick berries of all kinds, currents, service berries, choke cherries and huckleberries. How mom would can the meat from the 1 or 2 elk they got every year. Of fishing in the now dried up creeks where supper was only a line throw away. Of dad staying out at the dry farm one winter and there was so much snow that he couldn’t get to town even with the sled dogs. He told how mom talked some barnstorming pilot into air dropping some supplies to his dad and the sheepherder both of whom were stuck out on the farm. To me it was very interesting talking to Reese and his friend who just happened to be a sheepherder in this area for over 40 years.

Here is a poem that is so fitting to most of you, it was written a hundred years ago and is still so relevant today. Are you a friend?

A Friend

A friend came in out of the night;

The room was filled with sallow light,

We talked of this, we laughed at that,

We settled the fate of the old black cat.

My friend went out into the night.

There remained within a warming light.

I love that friend for his humor and vim;

He understands me and I understand him.

by Nephi Otteson

A homesteader of this area.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Boy they know how to turn on the sun out here in Idaho, today in Idaho Falls it’s 106 degrees out here at Tex Creek it’s only 96 degrees and believe me we’re enjoying our 10-degree difference.

We sure are starting to learn about the Tex Creek dust. The roads as I’ve explained before are clay good old sticky gummy clay when it‘s wet. Now of course it is as hard as it can get and the traffic on the roads sort of chip away at it, as it breaks up there is only one thing you can call it (decently) and that is dust. It rolls around on the roads not unlike drifting snow. Right now it is anywhere from a ¼ in to 1 in thick in places. They say it can get to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. The air filters of the equipment including the ATV’s are cleaned weekly. Everything around here has reusable air filters and it seems to work out quite well. By circumstance I had put a K&N cleanable air filter just last winter while in Texas. Now it costs me just a few cents instead of $15.00 or $20.00 each time it needs to be cleaned.

Yesterday I went up on Caribou Mountain while on patrol and think I’ll go back on my own time. There is a couple of ghost towns and lots of old gold mines to walk around the outside of. Caribou goes up almost to 10,000 feet but I didn’t see any snow anymore. Also went to Grays Lake it was formed by a volcano and the volcanic rock (lava) has enriched the topsoil I guess because I saw 1000’s of cattle on darn nice looking pasture. I stopped to talk to a shepherd up near the summit as I was coming back but he couldn’t speak English. He had 350 sheep; I think he said, in his charge. All I could see was one dog, one horse and his sheepherder’s wagon. His wagon is on balloon tires but some of them around here are still on the old solid rubber wheels. His wagon is about 15 feet long and has cooking & sleeping areas. His saddle horse also pulls the wagon each day. I don’t know how far they move at one time but I’m sure not very far. It has to be a very solitary life. Over the past couple of centuries shepherds have piled flat slabs of rock on the highest peaks, so many peaks have these rock monuments up to 5 ft high for no other purpose than to have something for the sheepherders to do.

Saturday, July 13, 2002,

Another hot day 96 degrees by noon so it’ll probably reach 100 degrees out here at Tex Creek, Boise made it to 110 today.

I did manage to grease the John Deere and also the very heavy gate that closes the entrance to the compound. Two 14 ft gates made out of 3 in pipe and 1 ½ inch square tubing. The posts are 6 in diameter well pipe set in the ground 4 ft and 10 ft into the air. All painted black and the name Tex Creek cut out of flat steel on the upper outside of each gate. The hinges are round collars and each collar has 3 grease fittings and there are 3 collars on each gate. When the both gates are open there is an opening 28 ft and wide enough for most equipment.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Another gorgeous hot day about 94 at noon right now. I got up early and did a “Cove Creek” patrol. I took Aimee (dog) and found no trespassing cattle but I did stop to repair 1 gate and stick up a couple of boundary signs. When I got ready to leave Aimee wouldn’t come and get in the truck. I left her in a cloud of dust. When I couldn’t see her anymore I stopped. She bounded in the truck like a gazelle. She was real good for the rest of the trip.

I think I’ll spend the rest of the day in the shop. They’ve shovels, grub hoes, chisels, pruning shears and a lot of other stuff that needs to be sharpened and it’s cooler in there than outside. For this evening I’m trying to talk Sal into going up on Elk Ridge with me. We can ride the ATV’s and it’ll be good for her to get some mild exercise.

She did go on a ATV but I don’t think she really likes it.

Monday, July 15, 2002

It’s a lot cooler today may 85 or 90 degrees (cold spell).

We went on a trip today. We went to Soda Springs where the spring water is carbonated (naturally) and was quite a hit with the wagon trains as they went west on this piece of the Oregon Trail. They’d take their sugar and have some “phosphate” as they called it and we call it pop. They tried drilling for well water and got down to 300 or so feet and hit a gusher. Today they have that gusher capped off and on a timer so that they have a spectacular geyser every hour on the hour in downtown Soda Springs. Also you are still welcome to take some sugar and make your own phosphate.

From there we went to Hot Springs Lava. They have different temperature springs from 94 to 110 degrees. The state has a couple fees and you can go swimming in them for a nominal fee. From there we went to historic Chesterfield, basically a ghost town from the 1800 that is being in the process of restoration. From there I took the back roads home towards Tex Creek, north through Fort Hill Indian Reservation and Grays Lake and finally home.

About sundown we went over to Walt & Sue Jackson’s and I took my fishing pole along. The pond out front of their place is drying up. The fish will surely die for lack of water. I caught a ½ dozen cutthroat trout anywhere from 12 to 20 inches. I enjoyed every second of it and hope to get back there next week.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Where does the go? A minute has gone by never to be seen again. I’m glad friends aren’t like that, aren’t you?

Since I’ve mention the weather a lot I’ll mention it again remember I told you how a lot of the beaver ponds and springs have dried up well, we had RAIN!!! Glorious rain we had 2 sessions of about a ½ inch each and a lot of near misses. The only bad thing about it is I’m going to have to mow again. We didn’t have any spectacular fireworks just good old rain. It sure helped the temperature too; it is now in the 70’s really quite comfortable.

Yesterday I had my first major cattle trespass Painted Porch Ranch had 25 cattle down on our Trail Creek Rd out in our alfalfa fields. Now I don’t blame the cows because there is also quite a nice pond there also. These cows had jumped over the cattle guard. Of course they’re not supposed to do that. The cattle guard had partially filled in with dirt and didn’t look nearly as deadly to them. Sally was with me when we spotted the cattle so as we were on the way home we continued on and I I told her I’d take the ATV back there And herd them towards home and she could go tell Walt & Sue (they work for Painted Porch) what I was going to do. Every thing went according to plan and about the time I had the cattle back up the road Walt came down and opened a gate. They went back to their home pasture just like good little doggies are supposed to. We discussed the weather and water and he showed me how the cattle had broken a plastic pipe that filled the watering tank. Originally the pipe was a couple feet under ground but because of the increasing needs of the cattle and their sharp hooves it was one flat piece of black plastic as they wore away the dirt. He said he needed a backhoe to dig a trench to channel the water away from the tank so it would dry up. I said I’ll be back tomorrow morning with the backhoe about 9 AM. I’ll trench it for you and we can lift up that cattle guard and dig it out also tomorrow. I was getting myself into more work for tomorrow than I’d done all week. By noon the next day we had the trench dug and the cattleguard dug out and back in and nobody the wiser. You see the cattle guard is on a county road and they’re supposed to maintain them.

I was going back to check on the guard about 5 PM and was flagged down by a family right outside our gate. Man, wife, 3 boys and 1 girl who was 4. They wanted to tell somebody how nice an area the WMA is and how much they enjoy it for hiking, camping, picnic &etc. While we’re talking the oldest boy shot the girl in the head with a rock from a slingshot. Just above the hairline on the forehead. Of course facial and head wounds bleed profusely and daddy was instantly shook up. I told him to try and calm down and we could take her to our residence for first aid. Well come to find out daddy was a paramedic and when he got her cleaned up where he could see the damage he was all business on shaving the hair, Neosporin and a band aid. When they left after many trips to the restrooms and etc they were a bunch of happy campers. It was nice to have a happy conclusion.

After I watched the Gaithers on TV we went and checked on the cattleguard. Three big old cows had still jumped it. It seems as these cows had spent last winter out there and are true survivors. They can almost leap over tall buildings and look almost as big as locomotives when they come at you. But believe it or not between Walt, Sue & myself we’ve scared those cattle from jumping over that particular guard any more. Walt hid under the guard and when the cows came up and got ready to jump Sue would yell at Walt and tell him the cattle were getting ready and he’d jump up and scare the cows. It was a sight to behold but I guess it is working. I laughed quite hard over that scene as it was repeated a couple of times. (Those 3 cows won’t even go close to that guard now).

As I was up at the south end of Indian Fork putting up signs by myself having left the dog home, about 6 miles from headquarters, I got the shock of a lifetime. The workers have put up a new kiosk and I was putting new signs on it and completely involved in my work when I got the feeling something was behind me. I turned around and there was a cow about 50 foot tall and horns a 100 ft wide right behind me only about 6 ft away. My yell must be as good as my Smith & Wesson. The cow vaporized back from whence it came. Now I can laugh again at myself and I’m sure that cow is doing the same thing.

Good news my grandson Scott Latsch, from Newaygo, is on his way out here. Now maybe I’ll have the gumption to do some of the things I’d done 30 yrs ago. Somebody to explore the old settlers houses with, climb a hill and see what is on the other side, lay on a hillside and just watch the clouds or a deer or some other animal. Wives are great but they just haven’t got the same enthusiasm as a 13 yr old boy. Pray for us, me especially.

Darrell & Sally

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