Two Days In The Fall - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 253793

Home on the Range

Two Days in the Fall 
 
Oct. 16, 2011 1:26 pm 
Updated: Oct. 30, 2011 7:11 pm



After a somewhat challenging week, I found myself in a fit of good health and was able to resume riding...at least for a couple of days. The horses were wrangled up into the corral and Wimpy didn’t even bother to run from me. He is so convinced he is retired that he saw no reason to exert any effort, so I haltered him and lugged him over to the milk room where my saddle is. He was fairly astonished. I got him ready then stuffed him in the barn to wait on everyone else. We loaded up in the trailer and drove a few miles down to the corrals where we gathered up about 400 head of dry cows. We were moving them to another pasture a few more miles up the road. 
We split up and I rode up the fence line to kick up some cows we could easily see and start them toward the road, as well as find whoever might be hiding. There were 14 sneaky cows in the willows that traveled all the way to the top of the pasture where the sage is heavy and there is a dry creek that runs pretty deep. We trailed them thru there, and they jumped down into a new holding pond which is dry, but has a cement spillway and I wasn’t about to ride down it with a shod horse. I turned Wimpy and we trotted thru shoulder high sagebrush and greasewood. It caught me up and tore my pants, so I am now down to one good pair. With nothing but straight 7 foot banks, we wound our way around until we found a passable entrance to the creek bed and after running across the rocks a bit, we popped up on the other side to see my errant cows just ahead of me.


We pushed them up on the road and over the next couple of hours had few mishaps except for when they went thru a hole in the fence and had to be turned back. As usual, with our heavy traffic, there was one vehicle that passed during the hours we were moving the cows. We got them all across the big field they were going to stay in and drove them all the way to the water tank back by the mountain.





 It was hot and we were a little weary, so we pulled our saddles and gave ourselves and the horses a bit of a rest. Wimpy was grateful. We’d begun at around 8 in the morning and we got back at 3. It felt good to be bone tired.



The next morning, the ranch kids were home, so 6 of us went out to move some more cows. The new cowboss has a just turned 7 year old girl with a great little horse, so she came along too. 
We rode out and crossed a few creeks and boggy spots before splitting up and cleaning out the field.
The ‘fields’ or pastures here are enormous. It takes a good long while to ride from one corner to another, and you cannot see the fences from the middle as they are so far away. The grass has turned and there are just hints of green at the bottom of the wheat and golden colored stalks that rise up from the boggy ground. There are rust colored specimens that resemble a marshweed that stand like sentinels in contrast to the tawny grasses around them. Riding along, we pass sun bleached bones in the deep grass and see an occasional coyote skulking away. The sounds of the cattle lowing relaxes me and I realize that I can still hear crickets, or locusts around me, along with an occasional bird call. We pass through a gate and after riding a ways, I remain to turn the cattle thru the next fence while the cowboy I was with long trotted out of sight to help bring the herd from the far corner.



I piddle around with Wimpy while we wait, flexing his head, backing up some, trotting in some circles and winding them down to pivots. He perks up out of his apathy and it helps relieve my boredom while I wait alone. About 5-600 head of cows show up and drift through the desired gate. A few errant cows try to head down the swath of golden grass towards the open gate behind me so we sidle over to block their advance. They are still a good way off, but they see us and choose to turn and follow their compatriots to the next field. The boys have been trailing a weak calf along, but he finally fails and sinks down into the mud. They pull him out and we wait while someone rides to the truck and trailer to get a syringe and antibiotics for him. It won’t likely help as he is probably too sick to recover, but we want to try.




We leave him until someone can go back with a 4-wheeler to get him and bring him in. We trailer on out in the direction of the desert to push yesterdays cows back to water.
We drop 3 people and their horses at the first corner of the field then drive a little past midway. We unload and I ride down the center with our littlest rider while her dad heads to the far corner to kick the cows up from there.



A couple of cows wander off a bit and lag behind, she so kicks her horse up and gallops up to push them back.




After we get all the cows to water, everyone takes a breather. The boys think up some mischief, such as tying a piece of ribbon to a cows’ tail. They take off swinging their ropes, but this time it was cows-1, cowboys-0.





We get back home 6 hours after we started and once again I am happily tired. I realize I must be contagious, as Cletus is too tired to sit up and clean plates. He does it laying down. We’ll all sleep well tonite.
 
Comments
Gitano 
Oct. 16, 2011 3:34 pm
Oh petey...you sure know how to make a 'cow girl' (hidden in city street clothes) hanker for the great outdoors and her horse... lordy I miss riding something awful...but I LOVE reading your trail tales as they make me think I am right there along with you! TOTALLY jealous here, savour every moment of that glorious lifestyle - I would give my back teeth for it :) Excellent blog writing missy, again...BOOK, BOOK, BOOK! :D
 
Gitano 
Oct. 16, 2011 3:36 pm
P.S...love the cowboss' daughter's Palomino...GORGEOUS! mine was an Albino Palomino/Quarterhorse X
 
Oct. 16, 2011 4:33 pm
Ridem' Cowgirl!!!! I am so happy that you got in some good riding days. I agree with Gitano - book, book!! We all live vicariously through you, so eat well, rest well - - so WE can all get to ride another day!! Ya-hoo!!!!
 
Oct. 16, 2011 4:35 pm
Oh - and since we're fessin up to our equestrian counter-parts - - - mine was an arbian/quarterhorse X.
 
Mamaw1 
Oct. 16, 2011 5:20 pm
That little girl's palomino looks a lot like my(X out my, put in my 13 year old granddaughter's)"Dolly" mare. I bought it for me, but she took her over. Your pictures and story sharing are awesome! So glad you are feeling up to riding the trail again!
 
Oct. 17, 2011 5:46 pm
Your pictures are great, as usual, and I swear I can smell the dry grasses and sagebrush. I am so happy you were able to manage a few days on horseback.
 
Oct. 17, 2011 6:46 pm
Hi, Petey! As always these glimpses into your life are inspiring and beautiful. Now, take a look at this. ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=NA-ST8nXl4U ... Maybe it can be your new pass time.
 
Oct. 18, 2011 12:55 pm
Petey, WOW! So glad you let us come along for the ride. Thank you!
 
Keri 
Oct. 18, 2011 3:57 pm
Once again I sit in awe of the beautiful life you live. I hope that little calf is able to pull through. I know you all will do everything you can to help him. I echo the sentiment already voiced by others here - BOOK BOOK BOOK!!!
 
petey 
Oct. 18, 2011 5:59 pm
thanks guys! I am off to CA to meet Kinley and visit Abby! You all have a great week!
 
Bunchie62 
Oct. 18, 2011 6:06 pm
OMG such a wonderful diary of life so few of us will ever know. Thank you for posting your amazing stories. Have to tell you, I loved and still do, the original "Little House on the Prairie" recants of pioneer life...yours are about as close as we'll ever get in terms of 2011 reality and the fact that this not only exists but proliferates as a way of life is so wonderful. We continue to learn from your life lessons.
 
char 
Oct. 19, 2011 1:41 pm
I enjoyed yet another of your blogs. I sure hope the calf is better. So glad your health was good enough for the two day ride. I will be waiting patiently for your next blog.BOOK BOOK BOOK
 
Oct. 22, 2011 6:39 am
Oh WOW! You got some AMAZING photos this day!!!!
 
Oct. 26, 2011 7:17 pm
Thank you for making me feel like I was there with you. You have a gift. How is that little calf?
 
petey 
Oct. 29, 2011 8:39 pm
Thanx Rosebud. I am afraid the calf didn't survive. There is a lot of pneumonia going around right now and there are a lot of calves being doctored.
 
Maggi 
Oct. 30, 2011 5:35 pm
Another fascinating read! Petey, where do you get your energy??
 
petey 
Oct. 30, 2011 7:11 pm
It doesn't take much energy to sit on a horse. He has to carry ME, so I have the easy part! :)
 
 
 
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petey

Home Town
Tehachapi, California, USA
Living In
Princeton, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

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Cooking Interests
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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. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
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.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
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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