(22:47) Ann – Yes, they had a big hay field, down east of the buildings. They mowed it and then took it up on one of these big machines…But it is like a big hay rake and it had forks to push it up on top of the hay stacks.

Fred Dixon moving wild hay between the ranch buildings and Big Horn Falls – Photo courtesy of Ann Dixon

(23:14) Rod – It was all used on the ranch though?

(23:20) Ann – Oh yes.

(23:25) Connie – That would be a hay cutter wouldn’t it?

(23:26) Peggy – It was just like a big fork or whatever. Was it made of wood kind of? Then they just brought it up onto the stack with that.

(23:37) Ann – On the stack yeah. They would put some on the wagon, on the hay rack. Then it was taken over to the barn. We had a big loft in the main barn then. They pulled the large hay slings up to the loft which had openings over each manger below for feeding the hay.

(24:11) Peggy – They’d have to have had something figured out of how to get it out of there.

(24:16) Ann – A hay sling wasn’t it…When the wardens came then it was full of hay. So when the wardens came out to either shoe the horses or get the horses for the trek into Banff, some of them slept in the hay loft. After they left we found all kinds of whiskey bottles!

(24:54) Peggy – I’ll bet you one or two of those whiskey bottles made it to the house…I have the feeling there might have been the odd party!

(25:06) Rod – Now you mentioned in your book that you had other duties. You had to take the weather and phone it in.

(25:15) Ann – Oh yes, that was my paying job. Well, so was cooking really.

(25:22) Rod – They actually paid you?

(25:26) Ann – The government supplied a dollar a meal for each man that I cooked for. At the end of the season I felt like a millionaire! So I always looked forward to that and one time when they were out, just before they always lined up. I have pictures of them being lined up before they went on the horse run. Slim rode over to the gate where I was standing. I was going out to take pictures of them and he took something out of his pocket and put it in my apron pocket. Well, it was a five dollar bill! I just felt like a millionaire, you know. Five dollars!

(26:28) Ann – But I took the temperature and the weather everyday and I checked the rain gage if it rained…For a dollar a day and then I had to phone it into Banff with the old crank phone.

(26:44) Rod – The forestry phone yes.

(26:46) Ann – Crank phone sounds better!

(26:51) Peggy – Something that most people wouldn’t realize that with mom making her own clothes, she always made herself dresses and she wore a dress every day. And she made aprons, sometimes to match, to keep her dress nice. Didn’t you decide that when you moved there…

(27:17) Ann – That I wasn’t going to wear overalls or shirts and look like a scrubby woman from the backcountry!

(27:27) Peggy – And she wore beautiful dresses!

(27:29) Ann – So I wore dresses all the time and I made aprons to match. It was this apron that matched that had the big pocket that Slim put the five dollars in.

(27:41) Rod – So were you a silent partner in those days, or were you able to tell the cowboys what to do? Did you have to get them up sometimes when they slept in the loft?

(27:52) Ann – No, no they slept in the bunkhouse some of them with Lloyd and he was the foreman then until later. I guess whoever slept in the bunkhouse got the barn crew up.

(28:15) Connie – You had a gong, a dinner gong.

(28:17) Ann – Yes, we had a triangle dinner gong and that is what we used to call them in for a meal.

(28:26) Peggy – They never missed that!

(28:29) Ann – No! A big crank and it made a lot of noise too. But I don’t know if we used it on those guys that were up in the hay loft or not. They would always have a big party afterward you know.

(28:45) Rod – They liked to party, those cowboys always have!

(28:49) Ann – Slim Haugen always brought a case of white rum. He liked white rum and honey. So we got a big jug of honey all the time because the horse shoers were coming up. They got so drunk. One guy got so tight we found him in the wood box the next morning!

(29:19) Connie – I remember that!

(29:21) Peggy – Imagine how uncomfortable that would have been!

(29:26) Rod – So you obviously enjoyed the ranch life.

(29:27) Ann – Oh yeah!

(29:29) Rod – It was a great time by the sounds of it! What about the daughters, Peggy and Connie do they have some interesting memories and stories from their time at the ranch, as children…

(29:42) Peggy – Connie probably has the most. I was a year and a half when we moved there. So there is a lot that I don’t remember.

(29:50) Ann – Connie was the oldest.

(29:55) Connie – Sharon wanted to know when Peggy and I ever came out from the verandah after the people came. Usually to eat and go to bed, that was about it I think, or to use the outhouse. We got so we would hang around a little bit and watch things, but at first we didn’t.

(30:10) Rod – Pretty shy eh?

(30:13) Connie – Very! We would hide behind the door or under the bed. But one of the things that I remember at the ranch was we used to have the bears that would come in all the time. We had a blind lab and an old yellow tom cat. The blind lab would follow the yellow tom. They didn’t like the bears, so Yellow Tom would chase the bears and jump in between its shoulder blades and the dog would run behind the bear and sometimes grab onto the hind quarters and take him out of the yard.

(30:45) Ann – Just like a miniature stampede!

(30:47) Connie – Yeah, that’s right. They worked together very, very well to get him out because we had lots of bears there.

(30:54) Ann – What about Yellow Tom after?

(30:57) Connie – Old Yellow Tom, he was my favorite. I had an old doll buggy and I used to dress him up in doll clothes and put little bonnets on him. I put him in the buggy and covered him up and I would wheel him around the yard and he would stay in there! He was an old yellow tom and he was wild! He didn’t like the bears, but he didn’t mind if I dressed him up and wrestled him around. He didn’t mind that at all!

(31:21) Rod – What about the outhouse? There must have been stories around the outhouse.

(31:25) Connie – On the way out of the house, because we didn’t have running water or anything, they had a slop hole that was kind of by the gate. You had to go through the gate, past the slop hole out to the outhouse. Peggy was quite small so we always went out together. So anyway we went out to the outhouse together and when we were ready to come back, a black bear was coming down to the slop hole between the house and the toilet. We had to somehow get out and all I could think of was that they were scared of dogs, so I said to Peggy, “Okay, let’s bark like Major.” Which was the dog, but we were really young and had high pitched voices. I think we sounded like two Chihuahuas barking at the bear! But he turned and went anyway so we were able to get back into the house. Bears were just part of our lives though. They were almost like a daily thing.

(32:19) Rod – Were there quite a number of elk on the ranch in those days?

(32:24) Connie – Yeah, I think there were, weren’t there?

(32:28) Connie – One of the things mom reminded me of was the chickens. I hated the chickens! But it was my job to go out and get the eggs. Every time I would go out, those stupid chickens would sit there and they would bug their eyes out at me you know! You had to reach in and get these eggs. I got the eggs, a pail full and we had this stupid turkey that hated me. He would chase me all the time. I would come out and I had this bucket of eggs and that stupid turkey started to come after me and I took the pail and threw it around my head and the eggs all flew out. By the time I got back to the house I didn’t have any eggs, I just had an empty pail! So that was the end of the eggs that day. We had to wait until the next.

(33:10) Ann – So then your dad came along, didn’t he?

(33:15) Connie – He always used to tell me, you take a piece of wood with you and don’t worry about the turkey. But that turkey chased me every single time!

(33:28) Peggy – And she would be out there with me. I was crawling, sort of half walking, crawling. She would drag me around. Well, when the turkey came she would just leave me! Leave me for the turkey!

(33:40) Connie – I wasn’t sticking around for that silly turkey!

(33:41) Peggy – That turkey never bothered me.

(33:43) Sharon – I bet you learned to walk real quick!

(33:45) Peggy – Yeah, that’s probably where I learned to run!

(33:48) Connie – Oh Lord, that stupid turkey…

(33:51) Peggy – I think Connie just tasted better!

(33:53) Connie – My dad was really angry at the turkey… once I was going out to the toilet. “Take this piece of wood.” And this turkey is after me and I am kind of running. Of course as soon as you looked back he chased you even worse. I had this stick and I am racing to the toilet. I got into the toilet and came out and there is that stupid turkey still sitting there eh. My dad said, “Just take the stick…” And I couldn’t eh. So he came out and he marched up to that turkey and he grabbed him around the neck under his head and he picked him up off the ground and he rung him around like this and then he sat him down. The turkey just sat there and his head was going and he just looked drunk eh. Oh Lord! And I was able to get back to the house. Man, I hated that turkey! I think we butchered him shortly after, didn’t we? We ate him after that. I think that they were tired of me complaining about the turkey…