The second homestead

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Muskrat Creek was . the second homestead on which John Love had filed in Wyoming. The first-thirty miles away-was in the Big Sand Draw, where the grass was inadequate, the snows were exceptionally deep, and the water was marginally potable. In i897, he collapsed his umbrella and moved. At Muskrat Creek, long before he bought the stagecoach towns, he lived in an earth dugout roofed with pine poles and clay. It was warm in winter, cool in summer, and danker than Scotland all year round. He was prepared to run risks. In Lander, sixty miles west, he made an extraordinary bet with a bank, whose assets included a number of thousands of sheep. John Love bet that he could take them for a summer and return them in the fall, fatter on the average by at least ten pounds. If he succeeded, he would be paid zakelijke energie vergelijken handsomely. If he failed, he would receive a scant wage. He was taking a chance on the weather, because a bad storm could wipe out the flock. By November, the sheep were as round as poker chips, ready to be cashed in. Leaving them in the care of a herder, he rode to Thermopolis, where he made a down payment on a flock of his own. The conditions of the deal were rigid: the rest of the money was to be paid in seven days or the deposit was forfeit and the animals, too. Within the week, he would have to return to his fattened sheep, move them to Lander, collect his money, and return to Thermopolis-a round trip of two hundred and fifty miles.
The sky over Thermopolis was dark with snowcloud. In his bearskin cap, his bearskin coat, his fleece-lined leather chaps, he saddled up Big Red-Big Red, whose life had begun somewhere in the Red Desert in 1888, a wild horse. The blizzard began as horse and rider were climbing the Owl Creek Mountains. Through steep terrain that would have been hazardous in warm clear weather, they felt their way in whiteouts and darkness, in wind-chill factors greater than fifty below zero. Covering about six miles an hour, they reached the herd in twenty-one hours, and almost immediately began the gingerly walk to Lander, conserving the animals’ weight. John won zakelijke energie his bet, got back on Big Red, and flew across the mountains with the money. He and the horse beat the deadline. He collected his ewes, took them home, and bred them. In seven days, he had, among other things, set himself forward one year. By 1910, when he married Miss Waxham, he owned more than eleven thousand sheep and hundreds of cattle and horses-a fortune in livestock which today would be valued at roughly five million dollars.

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