Home Away From Home Carving

Carving called “Home away from home”

This is the story of the memory that inspired this carving.

In Dedication to My Father, John P. Bartholomew

As a child growing up in the small, rural farming community of Fayette, Utah, I learned the trades of farming and livestock from my father, John P. Bartholomew.  I developed a great love of the animals when I was very young.  I personally didn’t care much for the farming part.  The alfalfa crop was beginning new growth and needed to be irrigated.  The bailed hay had to be out of the fields and put up as rapidly as possible to get ready for the next crop.  I am grateful to have had that experience but spending my summers from before daylight until well after dark hauling hay with my Dad and brothers was not my favorite thing to do.  It wasn’t until after I left home that Dad finally bought an automatic bail wagon.

HUG_7132Working with the sheep is what I enjoyed the most.  During the winter Dad would lease other farmers’ fields of various crops.  He would put the sheep in those fields, as well as in his own, so they could feed on the left-over beet tops, hay, corn or grain from the harvested fields.  During the winter, the sheep would be moved from field to field cleaning up each crop.  Eventually, the sheep would be moved to the low sagebrush covered hills west of town.  Then in the early spring the sheep would be moved into the lambing yards south of Fayette.

This is the time of the year that was most special to me.  The sheep were sheered and lambs were born.  Hundreds of them.  I loved watching the miracle of birth.  I loved watching the new born lamb get up on its wobbly legs and begin bouncing and playing around the corral.

However, the sheep were not all fun and play.  They were hard work, too.  Feeding, watering and taking care of so many sheep was full time work, but for some reason it was enjoyable to me.  Dad would always let my brothers and I bring the “bummer” lambs home to care for.  (These were the lambs that didn’t have a mother for some reason or another.)  We would raise them from a bottle until they were old and strong enough to be on their own and join the herd.

Shortly after the lambing season, the snow would begin to melt around the base of the mountains.  We would then trail the herd from the lambing yards to the spring range.  Dad and the herders hated this area.  There was never enough feed or water.  Dad would have to haul water to the sheep every day.  As the days became warmer and the feed scarcer, the sheep became restless.  The herders were constantly fighting the sheep because they wanted to move to the upper summer range where there was plenty of green grass and cool water.  Mom said that when I was really young I had referred to the trip to Cedar Mountain as, “the road to no return.”

HUG_7142The way I remember it, on July 1st, we would turn the sheep loose and the herd would head for the upper mountain, called Clear Creek.  We would begin the two day trail following along behind the herd, pushing the young lambs through the thick oak brush.  We would trail the sheep up across the rugged mountain while Dad pulled the sheep camp around the mountain and back up the rough old, dirt…or usually this time of year, muddy road.  Depending on how many times Dad became stuck and depending on how long it took to get himself unstuck, would determine how far we would beat him to the camp spot on this last leg of the sheep drive.

In the old days, before my time, the sheep men would put a tent and other belongings on a pack horse.  They would then be able to follow along with the sheep.  They would stop every night to reset their camp, cook their meals and roll out their bedding.  When sheep camps where invented, they were much more convenient, but they also had their drawbacks.

I have had many fond memories connected to Clear Creek camp.  As an adventurous young boy, after we arrived with the sheep to the clearing, I didn’t want to sleep while waiting for Dad so I would either walk or would ride my horse up to the cabin that was about ½ mile east of the camp site.  The cabin was never locked, back then, and was stocked with all kinds of fun things that young active boys like.  If I was hungry, and at that age I usually was, I would take a can of peaches or something similar, and a fishing pole and head for the beaver pond that wasn’t too far away.  I would eat my peaches and fish for a couple of hours until Dad arrived with the sheep camp.  He would set up the camp, carefully leveling it, and then would prepare dinner which usually consisted of sour dough, mutton and fried potatoes.  YUM YUM, the best!

The Clear Creek Camp is depicted in this representation.  This art work is carved on a piece of wood that was cut from timber of a fallen tree which used to be a prominent land mark a half mile north of Fayette when I was growing up.  Even though it has some cracks and imperfections, it has special meaning to me.  This is the same wood used to carve a depiction of the Manti Temple which hangs in the Bartholomew Fayette home.  (Which Dad really likes.)

HUG_7144The sheep camp carving is of a crisp, early morning at the Clear Creek Camp.  The sun would come up over the top of Molly’s Nipple and would glisten through the new green leaves on the quaky trees beginning to warm the surroundings.  The depicted cabin is a real cabin, privately owned.  It cannot be seen from this particular camp spot, and in reality is turned facing the opposite direction.  It is a major land mark to the local folks.

The sheep camp was a safe, dry place to call home when you were away from home.  I have many fond memories of times spent with my Dad in the mountains at the sheep camp.  The moments on the mountain when I could go with my Dad made the long, hot summer days in the hay fields worth it.

Thanks Dad, for teaching me how to work.  Thanks for the sweet memories.  Thanks for your love of the animals and mountains that you have inherited to me.

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