Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Refurbishing the CCC boy's 80 year old creation.... and wishing for a modern day CCC program

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken Oil formation.

It hit me today as I was on demo detail while we were replacing a couple corner posts and building braces between two pastures.  I was pulling out cedar posts and rusty, brittle barbed wire that had been sitting out here in these hills for a long time.  Just how long? I didn't know.

After supper I hit the laptop and searched 'CCC boys'. I often pondered over the years who the sorry souls were that first fenced this county, as its not your typical fencing job.  Often times you can't get close with pick up or four wheeler.  Packing supplies in by human or horse brings the physical challenge of fencing to a whole different level.  Every time I would spout out while mending with my dad as a kid, "Who were the crazy people that put these fences in?" my dad would chuckle and reply, "The CCC boys, and they didn't just DIG every post and string the wire, they harvested cedar trees to build each post as well".

What Wikipedia had to say about the CCC boys was that they were ages 17 to 23, unemployed and unmarried and their families were considered 'relief families'.  These boys were paid $30.00 per month with $25.00 of that going back to their families where ever they were from.  This program operated from 1933 to 1942 under the FDR Administration.  The 300,000 CCC boys that went through the program during its existence worked on many conservation programs throughout the country including planting 3 billion trees, constructing national park infrastructure and upgrading many state park structures.

Admittedly, we don't know the age of the CCC fences out here,but most of the running miles of these amazing creations will see the century mark.  Above, this cedar post was left and braced into the refurbishing of these corner posts and braces.  I suspect it is as stout as the day it was tamped in back in the 30's.

 Pete and Kyle digging a hole for the railroad tie (we are supporters of recycling) that will replace the old cedar post that had given way to the elements over time.  Kyle decided he wanted his own digger and tamper for his birthday.  When you really think about it, that is funny stuff.
 Notice 'his' shovel next to dad.  They traded.
 He is a good helper and tells me frequently how much he loves ranching :).
Kyle adding dirt to the hole while I tamp.

 There was a lunch break between construction of the first and second braces!!!!!

So from our little piece of heaven at the end of the road, here's to keeping the cows happy, the calves healthy and the humans fit.... the horses were on recreation assignment this day.


  1. Oh, I love the history in here. Fencing...not for wussies!

    1. Thanks Jessie. Interestingly, the history has struck up some fun FB conversation, but so has the idea of bringing back a similar program for today's youth. Maybe we need to get Mike Rowe on board!