Monthly Archives: September 2012

Gross Alert! Sour Grapes!

Herein illustrated is why cowboys should keep their feet out from under their horse’s foot.

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And that was just little Trouper. Looks like a big old sour grape, doesn’t it?

Brrrr!

It was a cold and damp ride today. I wasn’t expecting it and didn’t dress warm enough. Thank heavens for my scarf but my hands (even in my gloves) were cold and I didn’t take any pictures today. But here is one from yesterday.

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Did you know the fluff off cattails lights afire real easy. It’s good to have a little of it or dryer lint in your pocket when you want to start a fire. I was tempted to do just that today just to warm up.

Sunshine and Shadows

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Days like today I appreciate the company, my friend and her horse, Shadow. I did tell you Peter Pan and I have a few things in common, right? I mean besides not really ever growing up. But I only fly in my dreams.

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And I was this guy’s company. He never notice’s his shadowy friend ( and he doesn’t fly in his dreams either).

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And here is someone we ran across that is only a shadow of her former self (thanks to one dark and stormy night with lightening).

In order to have shadows you have to have sunlight. And today was one of those bright and pretty (officially) fall days.

My Cowboy’s Favorite

Jake, the rancher, went one day
to fix a distant fence.
The wind was cold and gusty and
the clouds rolled gray and dense,

As he pounded the last nail in
and gathered tools to go.
The temperature had fallen
and the snow began to blow.

When he finally reached his pickup,
he felt a heavy heart,
from the sound of that ignition,
he knew it wouldn’t start.

So Jake did what most of us do
if we’d have been there.
He humbly bowed his balding head
and sent aloft a prayer.

As he turned the key for the last time,
he softly cursed his luck.
They found him three days later,
frozen stiff in that old truck.

Now Jake had been around in life
and done his share of roamin’.
But when he saw Heaven,
he was shocked — it look just like Wyomin’.

Of all the saints in Heaven,
his favorite was St. Peter.
Now, this line, it ain’t needed
but it helps with rhyme and meter.

So they set and talked a minute or two,
or maybe it was three,
Nobody was keepin’ score —
in Heaven time is free.

“I’ve always heard,” Jake said to Pete,
“that God will answer prayers,
But one time I asked for help,
well He, just plain wasn’t there.

Does God answer prayers of some,
and ignores the prayers of others?
That don’t seem exactly square —
I know all men are brothers.

Or does he randomly reply,
without good rhyme or reason?
Maybe, it’s the time of day,
the weather or the season.

Now I ain’t trying to act smart,
it’s just the way I feel,
And I was wonderin’, could you tell —
what the heck’s the deal?

Peter listened very patiently
and when Jake was done,
There were smiles of recognition,
and he said, “So, you’re the one!

That day your truck, it wouldn’t start,
and you sent your prayer a flying,
You gave us all a real bad time,
with hundreds of us a trying.

A thousand angels rushed to check
the status of your file,
But you know, Jake, we hadn’t heard
from you in quite a while

And though all prayers are answered,
and God ain’t got no quota,
He didn’t recognize your voice,
and started a truck in North Dakota.

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Rich

“If you want to feel rich count the things you have that money can’t buy. ”

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Yes you can buy the horse but you can’t buy how he feels about you.

Trouper, I’m not sure I told this story. We sat at a horse sale in Pincher Creek a dozen years ago and my cowboy leans over and says to me: “If you let me buy that little grey horse, I’ll never shave my head again. ” At the time I was pretty cranky about his bald head, some crazy idea he had about not liking his hair being so grey. I agreed in a heartbeat.

We got him home and found out he was going to take some careful handling but my goodness he was a worker and we often still call him Super Trouper. If a cow could climb a tree I have no doubt at all that Trouper would follow it right up there or down a rabbit hole. I watched my cowboy ride him in places and at speeds that made my heart almost stop. I’ve marveled how he would accept a saddle on a cold wet back and go out in a blizzard to save a freezing calf or stand his ground and take a hit from a charging cow or patiently pack around a green rider.

But don’t swear when you ride him, or be rude to him. He’ll do anything you ask if you’re not a jerk; if you are, you won’t be riding him long. I sometimes call him Grumpy but he’s not really. He just insists on being treated fair.

We don’t have the relationship my cowboy has with his Buddy horse but we’re friends. His friendship makes me feel rich.

Mucking in the Mud

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Evidence. I so wished I would have remembered to at least take my phone so I could have took a picture or two. I had to take this one when I got home.

I have to admit I had fun. It’s been a long time since I got mud between my toes (such pretty pink polished toes at that).

With a half dozen pairs in the wrong place we rode out on a quad (of all things). With a horse I wouldn’t have had to take off my gum boots and walk almost crotch deep across the ditch connecting a couple of sloughs. But I guess it’s hard to pack wire on a horse, as much as we needed to fix the fence. I had to wade in to pull the wire across the ditch after we chased those cows out. The water was only cold at first.

I looked up and laughed when I saw those same cows standing there glaring at me. They already had plans on sneaking back in. Ha, not now!

But that whole mucking around in the mud made me feel like I was kid again. I might just do it again sometime.

I like my my life.

Air

Something most folks take for granted. When it comes to air, I’m not most folks.

The whooping cough I had when I was seven left its mark on my lungs. I talk very softly because it requires good lungs to speak loudly. And days when the wind blows in smoke from some fire , grass or forest, I suffer. Today the wind blew in the grey air and I can barely function, now.

Earlier, it was such a pretty day, such a nice ride. We found 7 calves on the wrong side of the fence and managed to reunite them with their mothers.

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But alas the last bull, that we were really searching for, seems to have vanished into ‘thin air’.

Riding for the Brand

It’s a cowboy way of saying something important. It has to do with loyalty, and integrity.

Cowboys aren’t ranchers. Although some ranchers are cowboys, part time at least, but a rancher has a lot of other hats to wear. He has to make sure there’s hay to feed the cows which might involve actually having to ride a tractor instead of a horse. He has to deal with the bank, pay bills and taxes, sometimes attend meetings as a landholder or a cattleman, develop a good relationship with his neighbors, a lot of things not done from the back of a horse.

Cowboys, in my world, take care of cows, and take great pride in doing that one job well. Their chosen life doesn’t give them a lot of time or money to spend. But they also have a lot less worries which is part of the draw, a real sense of freedom. We call it “living the dream”, when people pay you to do what you would pay them to let you do (shh, don’t tell the bosses).

There is a lot of integrity wrapped up in doing the job. A lot of employers will never know all the work a cowboy does (even though the cowboy doesn’t often call it work), the hours, the aches, the danger endured for their sake of some one else’s cows. But the cowboy knows and he knows the big Boss is watching. He’s riding for the brand; that’s what he signed on to do and that is what he does.

And while he’s collecting their pay he does what they ask, how they want it done, unless it goes against his most deeply held beliefs. If it does, he will quit and move on but while he’s on the payroll, he can be counted on.

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His Buddy

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Buddy was diagnosed with navicular a year or so ago. It was devastating to the man I love who loves this horse.

We were about ready to put him down this fall. The horse hadn’t improved and he couldn’t figure out why my cowboy was riding every other horse. He tried taking him out a time or two and Buddy tried so hard but he was just so sore.

Kind of as a last resort we had the farrier put on Memphis Bar shoes. Bar shoes have a tendency to contract the heels because of the restricted movement at the heel. With these type of shoes the bar is more towards the horizontal centre of the shoe.

Well, the long and the short of it is that Buddy feels good enough now to go out and work a little, the odd day and not for too long. He’s a pretty happy boy, one of two happy boys. Which makes me happy too.

Inheriting the Earth

You know who gets to do that?

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Not the rich and powerful, not the good looking, not the famous.

I’m afraid I kind of mirror the sentiments of Tom Seleck’s character Raph MacCord in the movie Crossfire Trails (love the way that guy holds his reins) when asked why he didn’t end up being a priest after all. He just smiled and said: “I couldn’t get the hang of turning the other check”. That would be me, I get my back up and come out spitting like one of the barn cats.

My cowboy, not so much. He lets so much slide past. Sometimes I figure people just take advantage of him (and by association, me). But when I calm done and think about it, there is a lot to be said for inheriting the Earth.