Saturday, March 9, 2002
Well, after getting our cattle loaded and on their way to Denver on the Moffat Railroad Saturday, I mailed my letter. Then our neighbors, the Tuflys, called and invited us to ride out with them as they were driving over to see their cattle sell and had plenty of room in their car. We said "sure." So, of course, that explains why we saw you for our brief visit at the Page Hotel. And you heard everything that was in the letter firsthand before you got the letter. Funny, huh?
The Tuflys have the farthest ranch up the Elk River above Clark. So, they picked up odds and ends (mostly dairy) stock that homesteaders along the way wanted to ship. They over-nighted at the Cullen ranch, between our place and town, which explains why they hit the ford, crossing the Yampa River ahead of our drive. Although accommodating the homesteaders is just a common courtesy, it is the custom in this area, but Fred says that one milk cow or Holstein steer can be more trouble in a drive than an extra 100 range cattle. Milk-pen stock are forever wanting to turn back and go home. They look for any hole in a fence where they can duck through. They don't give a hoot about staying with a drive of range cattle. It is, therefore, not uncommon to request the owner to ride along on the drive (especially if the fellow has a good horse and some of these homesteaders turn out to be excellent cowhands.) Well, I guess the Tuflys made it to the leading pens on the railroad without too much trouble, because our crew didn't meet anything out of the Tufly drive headed back north.
We were so pleased that it worked out for you folks to get together with us for our short visit at the Page Hotel. We had never been in the Page before but had heard that a number of Routt County folks stayed there. It was very plain, but clean and comfortable and much more economical than the large hotels.
We thought the hotel with its ceramic tile and china "convenience utensils" gave the place the character of a museum but appreciated all the modern features that had kept pace with the times and still maintained its pioneer character. Wouldn't it be interesting to know if those individual (charcoal burning) beautifully tile inlayed fireplaces in each room will ever be used again?
Now, I haven't forgotten my promise to give you a report on our cattle sales. So, as you know, our cattle were consigned to Drinkert and Emmert, which is one of the many commission firms in the Union Stockyards. Some of the other companies are John Clay and Co., Lowell, Mann and Boyd and just a whole bunch of others.
We were at the yards by daylight and found our cattle were already fed and watered and were in good clean pens. And the feeder cattle buyers were already bunching up around the pens containing our white-faced cattle (which had become black-faced from the smoke filled six-mile long Moffat Tunnel) and other West Slope cattle (which were easy to spot because of the smoke).
The yards were officially opened for trading at 8 a.m., but trading was slow partly because the yards were overloaded a "glutted" market. When cattle began to move, the prices were desperately low. A terrible disappointment especially so, since President Roosevelt has been assuring the country that the Depression is completely over, and that prosperity reigns.
It is true that unemployment has been greatly diminished. But, this is due to the national defense industry, which has been sadly neglected since the end of the "War to End all Wars." It appears that it will take a while for this prosperity to filter down to the American farmer and rancher. Must close for now.