Teton Mountain Ranch

March 13, 2010 · 7 comments

We saw Steve Bagley yesterday on a walk down our road. He was out in the yard with his girls and Lily, the ninja border collie.

“Hey, why don’t you join us tomorrow when we go out to feed the cows? We go out on a horse-drawn sleigh. You might find it kind of interesting.”

Wild elk couldn’t have kept us away, so this morning we met at the Teton Mountain Ranch, located at the south end of Teton Valley, and climbed aboard.


These gloves are for real. They are worn by this man…


… Greg Bagley.

Greg is Steve’s brother, and together with their dad, Kent, they run a real live elk, buffalo, and beef, trail riding, sleigh riding and mountain packing adventure enterprise.


This is Steve Bagley, our wonderful neighbor. While Greg is driving, Steve does fence duty. Greg says it’s important for Steve to keep up his skills. “Use it or lose it… that’s what we say around here.”

These guys are the real article. They don’t buy their mountain man mystique from REI or LL Bean. They just wake up every morning in God’s country to the relaxed yet hard-working rhythms that only fourth-generation residents of the Valley and operators of their family farm can understand.


This trip out on the wagon was to lay out a little heavier layer of straw for the soon-to-be-calving cows.

Did you know that straw dust is itchy and gets up your nose? While there is much good-natured joshing between Steve and Greg about which one is better looking, I’m guessing the one with the mask on to keep the dust out is maybe just a tad smarter.

I could be wrong. I’m not from around here.

I forgot to introduce someone. See the horse in the background? He’s a trail horse in training. They bring them along just for the ride and to get used to the farm animals, people, stopping, starting, noise, etc. I think people should haul their babies with them everywhere for the same reason.

Speaking of offspring, I forgot someone else. See the pink mitt above?


It belongs to Kennedy, Steve’s seven-year old daughter. Kennedy is the first real live cowgirl I’ve ever met. I don’t know if she even knows she is a real live cowgirl, that’s how much a real live cowgirl she is.

I’d trust Kennedy with my car, or to watch the house for a week or two.


This is Lily.

As vigilant a “round ’em up, head ’em out” farm dog as she may be, she’s not above hitching a ride on the wagon and a cuddle with Kennedy, at least when she thinks no one is watching.

Everything appears to happen in teams in this gig.


This is Hank, the senior member of the border control department.

Don’t let the straw fool you… Hank is a scholar and a gentleman.


He runs a tight team. There’s Lily again, with big black Bear and dainty red Lady, waiting to be told what’s next on the agenda.


Of course, a horse-drawn sleigh isn’t worth its weight in straw without the gentle giants to pull it.


Meet Greta and Faith, one of three teams of Clydesdales the Bagleys rotate into drawing duties. I never heard Faith addressed once during the hour we spent on the wagon. Greta, on the other hand, was called gently by name every once in a while to remind her to keep her brain in the game. Rick has to do the same thing with me every once in a while in the grocery store. I tend to get bogged down in the shampoo section.

I like Greta.


So, the team is all in place, and we’re here to deliver straw.


Steve NEVER stops smiling. Greg might take a break once in a while behind that mask, but I doubt it. These are happy people.


And together they’re raising a happy fifth generation, with more on the way any day now.


The humans aren’t the only ones producing the next generation. This pup, “Red Dog,” couldn’t have been more insistent that he is SO ready to join the team. Come on, already! Let me outta this trailer and on to the dang trail!


Yup… even the pups around here seem wise beyond their years, and willing to share what they know with a grace and dignity that I wish I could bottle and slip into the double-mocha decaf lattes of some the adults I have known.


They know both the safety and freedom of good fences, of listening before you speak, and of the value of deep roots and hard work.

And fun. Lots, and lots, and lots of fun.

Tomorrow’s post? What’s on the other side of those fences.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

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Stephen B March 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Wow, great pictures! You made us look good and we are really glad you came to help us this morning. Thanks again,
The Handsome Brother


rickandkathy March 14, 2010 at 8:49 am

You’re really easy to make look good — especially when you’re doing all the work! We’re really happy to be your neighbor. Thanks for making us feel so welcome in the Valley.


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