Back In The Saddle - Home on the Range Blog at - 251176

Home on the Range

Back In The Saddle 
Sep. 22, 2011 10:15 am 
Updated: Sep. 29, 2011 3:26 pm

Due to advancing age, illness, lots of orphan calves, goats, sheep and the daily  mundane chores of laundry, meals and housecleaning, I have been able to do very little riding this year. I had a very good day, however. My chores were mostly done, things were pretty organized in the milk/feed/tackroom and the cowboys just happened to bring the horses back up from the field in the afternoon. I ambled out to the corral and captured Wimpy, with a little difficulty, as he thought maybe weaving in and out of the other 40 horses in the  corral might result in his not being seen. I asked the guys if they were going far, or riding hard and they said “not too hard and not too far,” so I invited myself along. They were kind enough to take the horse trailer and save us several miles of long-trotting right off the bat.
We agreed I would ride with them until I got tired then I would ride back alone and drive the truck and trailer back to the ranch headquarters.
All the riders from the ranch (except me) spent a week on the mountain bringing cow/calf pairs down from the summer range. They gathered them, pushing them to the bottom of the long and winding road down the mountain back to the valley and now over the next week, the cows make the 20 mile trek home on the road themselves. Cows are good that way, if they know where home is and they do this every year at this time. So good, in fact, that 2 years ago, the boss had to truck the cows out to the desert in the winter, because they kept coming home on their own, 3 months early. That was interesting, as we were unloading on a moonless night, in the pitch dark and following them to water with flashlights on horseback.
We drove  down the road to the pasture we were going to start riding in, pulled over and unloaded the horses, climbed up and headed off. We found a bunch of pairs waiting in a corner outside the fence we so opened a few gates and let them drift in. We spent the rest of the afternoon riding across the ranch through several different pastures, checking feed and gates and having good conversation. Usually we don’t ride close enough to one another talk to visit, but since we weren’t looking for cows, we were able to converse a little now and then.

The current cowboss has a new baby boy. At one point, the discussion turned to baby-spit which the other cowboy has an aversion to. He started gagging during the conversation so he resorted to plugging his ears and sing la-la’s until we we changed the topic. It’s good to know these guys are not overly tough and they still have some weaknesses. Riding through blizzards, wind, rain and blazing heat doesn’t insulate one from baby spit or diapers.

My nephew’s cellphone rang. Phones don’t work here on the ranch because of the mountain we sit under which blocks the signal, but once you get far enough out on the range, you are likely to get reception somewhere. It’s just not very convenient to saddle up and ride 5 miles or so to make a call, unless you happen to be doing that anyway.
It was the boss asking about the truck and trailer we left back in the road. We always leave the trucks and trailers in the road, because there is 50 miles of dirt road from ranch to highway and not much traffic. The boss had Randy with him so offered to drive it back for us, saving us having to backtrack or drive down there later for it, as I was holding up fine and didn’t have to stop riding early.
It turned dark on us while we were only a few miles from home and as we came through the last gate, the cowboss’ horse started acting up again, as he had been doing all day and some schooling commenced. The cellphone rang once again and I found out Randy didn’t realize I had ridden out with the guys. I assumed he knew as he saw me saddling Wimpy. Nevertheless, he called to make sure I wasn’t laying dead somewhere else on the ranch and satisfied with Logan’s answer, he hung up. I trotted on home in the nearly pitch dark, Wimpy picking his way, as I had no idea where we were, or where the fence or open gate was. I long trotted the last mile up the lane and into the back corral. EmmaLou had been bawling without ceasing and I was able to hear her all the way down in the horse pasture, which is a good long ways away.
I yanked off Wimpy’s bridle, saddle and sweaty blankets and drug them into the milking room where everything is kept. As I filled up Emma’s feeder with her grain, I noticed Wimpy was still standing in the middle of the dark corral where I had left him, in spite of the open gates. Normally he is not a very social fellow, so I figured I would reward him for not taking off back to the pasture just because he was loose, although that had been what I intended for him to do. I got him a scoop of grain and gave it to him in a bucket. He ate and then trotted off into the darkness. It left a warm feeling in my belly that he'd waited.
I brought Emmalou into the dark milk-room and got her belly-strap on by braille then went to get fat Willy, her calf, and bring him in to nurse. He kept spooking and refused to go in the milkroom. I hollered at him, chided him for his foolishness and being afraid of the dark and finally managed to chase him in. As I went to follow him, Randyman quickly jumped out from around the corner and I sucked up nearly all the oxygen in Harney county. Now it makes sense why Willy didn’t want to go in, because there was a big, old hulk of a man hiding in there. 
I guess I had it coming as I forgot to tell him I was going with the guys and didn’t get back until so late. 
Instead of griping about my not leaving a note, he brought the milker and a light out and helped me bottle feed calves. He also nuked us a dinner. I appreciated it, as after riding 6 hours, I didn't really want to cook. What a guy!
Sep. 22, 2011 10:53 am
Great blog awesome pics. You should write a book...when you have time of course.
Sep. 22, 2011 11:32 am
Wife worries and baby spit; every mans shortfalls. ... Well written and excellent photos, Petey!
Sep. 22, 2011 11:44 am
Glad you're "back in the saddle, again!" (Was that Gene Autry??)
Sep. 22, 2011 3:26 pm
A good day of riding - - and back at the ranch,- who's waiting on you but your cow and your man - - it don't get any better than that. Ain't God good!!!!
Sep. 22, 2011 7:22 pm
Well, you have Wimpy and I have Joe and the horse formerly known as Twister. Both got ridden by the kid due to those um things you mentioned. As my DH is on the East coast right now didn't have to worry about him jumping out from anywhere. Again a wonderful look at life on a ranch!
Sep. 22, 2011 9:16 pm
Petey - you MUST write a book! Really - your stories are so perfect - each chapter of your blog is a gem. Another great blog! Thank you!
Sep. 23, 2011 5:16 am
Gobsmacked petey.. I am just gobsmacked and totally deep-green with envy! I would give up my 2nd born (I am too fond of the 1st!) :P to be able to saddle up and spend a day riding out on the range rounding up cattle...and as BN said - you really, really, need to put all these together in a book!! I so look forward to reading your blogs when you post them!
Sep. 23, 2011 10:30 am
I'm so glad you were able to ride! Now, be a good girl and take it in easy steps. What's that Randyman thinking, scaring wives and young cows? Thanks for sharing another slice of life.
Sep. 23, 2011 5:30 pm
Good grief woman, you need to put "writing a book" on your bucket list. I have been lurking for a few months reading your posts and I am so amazed with your daily life. I continue to revisit your blog for the latest and greatest. What you do, who you are and what you manage on a daily basis is so far removed from most of our AR lives. I imagine you are likely humble in nature but your writing ability and your lifestyle is just so incredible. I humbly encourage you consider sharing your life as a ranch hand. Perhaps the proceeds could benefit a cause of your choice. Your story could benefit so many as your efforts already do on a daily basis. If other AR folks haven't conveyed, you are one amazing person accomplishing some pretty extraordinary things. Kudos to you!
Sep. 23, 2011 6:54 pm
thank you for the very, very kind words and encouragement. I am working on putting something together because you people have all been so supportive!
Sep. 23, 2011 7:12 pm
Yeah!!!! book . . book . . book . . - Go Petey!!!!
Sep. 24, 2011 2:31 pm
So... Who sang "I'm back in the saddle, again. Out where a friend is a friend. Where the longhorn cattle roam..."? Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Who? Does anyone remember?Surely, I'm not the "oldest" kid on the block!
Sep. 24, 2011 2:53 pm
Ok. I just googled, and I was right the first time. It's Gene Autry. If any of you ever saw his TV cowboy shows,(a few years ago..ahem...)you woulda known this! Glad you've joined good ole Gene Autry, Petie!
Sep. 24, 2011 3:10 pm
heheh...that was when they had GOOD tv shows! Heroes instead of pregnant teens. Wow.
Sep. 24, 2011 3:15 pm
Amen to that!
Sep. 24, 2011 5:46 pm
I watched Roy Rogers & Dale Evans and Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger & Tonto and Sky King - - back when watching TV was worth watching. Gosh - give me a man and his horse any day! Or a woman and her horse for that matter!
Sep. 25, 2011 6:47 am
Love this blog. That is a long time in the saddle! Loved the singing cowboys---and then along came Sky King!
Sep. 25, 2011 8:40 am
and now Sky King is grounded, but I still have singing cowboys!! :)
Sep. 25, 2011 12:18 pm
Since so many of you remember those famous cowboys like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, I know that you and I are close in age. The problem being that I have nowhere the energy for all the work and adventures that you all seem to have. I just love reading all of your blogs, Petey, and from so many of the rest of you gals. (guys too!) They sure make my days!
Sep. 25, 2011 3:38 pm
I am in awe of your blogs and of your life on the ranch. Every time I see you have blogged, it makes me so happy. I sincerely hope you go forward with the book notion. I know where you can likely sell your first 100+ copies!! :-D
Sep. 25, 2011 7:23 pm
gosh you guys...that makes ME smile!
Sep. 26, 2011 10:41 am
Loved reading this blog! Have fond memories of both times I rode a horse for any length of time. The first time, I was 9 years old at summer camp and thought I was something else - way up there in the saddle. The next time was fifty -two years later, when my teen-age daughter and I took a guided horseback ride at Gettysburg, Pa. I was assigned a Tennessee Walking horse and have remembered him fondly ever since! He almost rocked me to sleep in the barn while we were waiting to start our tour!Would love to repeat that riding tour at Gettysburg, but think I would probably need a gelfoam saddle now!
Sep. 26, 2011 3:10 pm
Beautiful pictures and really enjoyed the story. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Sep. 26, 2011 4:01 pm
Great - Wonderful - Awesome, I love all your blogs!!! I will look forward to seeing you publish a book and of course....pls. add me to the waiting list :)
Sep. 27, 2011 7:58 am
Another great blog Petey:)
Sep. 27, 2011 10:14 am
I love your blogs. I read them and then read them again. You see, I've been on a horse twice. Both times they threw me off and I got hurt. So now I am scared to death of horses. But I want to like them. Glad you were able to get on and ride.
Sep. 27, 2011 11:39 am
What an amazing afternoon you had! Sometimes when we feel knocked down by Life's curveballs and the chores, it sure is nice to "go for a ride" and have a chance to re-affirm the reason why you chose such a fine and unique lifestyle. It's easy to get bogged down in the little things and forget to enjoy the privileges of it. I hope that "my ride" is coming soon, it's been a long, strange year and I could use some reminding... Your pictures make me feel like I was almost along for the ride and so I thank you.
Sep. 27, 2011 12:47 pm
so sorry to hear that Rosebud. I have never been an advocate of 'just get on and ride". It's so much more enjoyable with instruction so you understand the animal and how to best help him do his job!
Sep. 27, 2011 12:47 pm
thanks, to all of you!
Sep. 29, 2011 2:22 pm
Oh wow, petey...I have GOT to stop reading your blog at work! I just got the strangest looks from the guys here because I burst out ROFLMAO when I read "...I sucked up nearly all the oxygen in Harney county"!!! I'm telling you, girl...if you don't write a book soon, I'm coming up to Oregon to sit on you until you DO write one!
Sep. 29, 2011 3:25 pm
Awesome, wonderful, beautiful, interesting, making me envy you, all those words and more to describe how your blog is to me! Petey, I agree with the others who urge you to write a book! I always look for your blog when I come on this site and am so excited when I see a new one!! So glad you were able to get "back in the saddle again" and yes, I am old cause I watched all those singing cowboy shows, Sky King and The Shadow Knows, The Creeking Door and Fibber McGee and Molly and others I have forgotten!!
Sep. 29, 2011 3:26 pm
Actually, some of these were on radio, not the TV so guess I really am telling my age!! LOL
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
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Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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