I don’t know whose life sounds more exhausting – the men moving cattle from the ranch here in Jumping Pound to Grand Valley, or Grandma cooking like a fiend and delivering hot food to them twice. Her homemade doughnuts were legendary. “I don’t believe you can sit still, you either go ahead or slip back” wise words Grandma.
But we were becoming a bit cramped. In 1951 we heard that Mr. Chas Mathews was wanting to sell his ranch in Grand Valley. Percy and I talked it over carefully. Should we sit still and lead a placid life or work like mad a few more years? I really don’t believe you can sit still, you either go ahead or slip back. We went immediately over to see the place. We bought it the next day.
Trailing cattle back and forth across the Bow river and by Cochrane to Grand Valley was no easy feat. It always seemed to be done when there was snow on the ground and was a long, cold ride. I used to time it so that I’d catch up to them just before they reached the river and I’d give them hot coffee and fresh hot donuts. Then I would race home and pop in the oven an individual chicken pie full of good vegetables for each rider, a dessert, and more hot coffee. I would meet them for the noon lunch just north of the railroad track where there was a good spot to hold the cattle. Sometimes the smell of the hot steel railroad track would panic the spookier cattle and they would have to scatter hay over the rails to get them across. The bridge across the Bow was another bad place, it didn’t take much to spook them.
I stopped making butter and took the cream and eggs to Swift’s in Calgary and often bought bread instead of baking it so often. We still had several steady men working for us and living in the bunk house. All though the years we made the most delicious homemade ice cream with the plentiful supply of cream the always had on hand. Sunday mornings the boys would take turns cranking the ice cream freezer. Every Sunday morning we had really good buttermilk pancakes for breakfast too, with mounds of them with Rogers syrup. When the roads were passable I would go to church in Cochrane taking the children to Sunday School and taught Sunday School many years.