Another day, another nickle #19: Just Another Day in Paradise

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Blog entry by Thos. Angle posted 12-06-2009 08:12 PM 5854 reads 1 time favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Branding, The Dust and The Smoke and The Noise Part 19 of Another day, another nickle series Part 20: Western Horseman Magazine article »

It’s been a while since I updated my friends here on LJ about my non-woodworking activities, but, since I no longer have any woodworking activities, I thought I’d check in. Today here on the WY-Mont line, it is 6 degrees or so and snowing a little. We spent this last week gathering cattle from the biggest pasture we have on this part of the ranch. It’s on the Crow Indian reservation and I suppose it is about 25,000 acres. At any rate, we had 742 cows with calves, 32 bulls, and 988 yearlings heifers in there somewhere. It was a pretty cold week but we have most of them in a smaller pasture near my house. Now if we can get the heifers out of the herd tomorrow, we can wean the calves and get all this stuff out of here. It takes a lot of riding and we are as always, short-handed.

Of course, I had to complicate the fall work. On November 16th, we were gathering pairs out of the Bar V Meadow. Not all of it is flat, in fact, most of it is hilly. It is probably one of the prettiest places on the ranch, with pine edged hills and ridges and the Big Horn Mountains in the background. Like I said, we were gathering cattle in the very early morning, about 7:00. It was cold and clear with a thin layer of snow on the grass. The ground was frozen for the first time this winter. The sun was still about 30 minutes from making its daily appearance. I rode up on top of a hill to gather up some cows and calves. I could see a cow with her head down behind a few bushes. I knew the colt I was riding would spook when she threw her head up so I began yelling at her trying to get her to look at me before we got too close. Cows being cows, of course, she didn’t raise her head until we were right to her. And, horses being horses, the colt spooked to the right. None of this would have been a problem except I was riding a new roping saddle that I wanted to break in. I also had a new pair of overshoe stirrups on it which are over sized. I had a little snow on the stirrups and when the colt spooked, my left foot slipped out of the stirrup. I grabbed for everything I could but the results were predictable. I landed on my left shoulder and back much like a sack of spuds. My head banged the frozen ground and bells rang and birdies tweeted for a minute. I also landed with my head slightly down hill. Thankfully, no one witnessed this next moment. I thrashed around like a boneless chicken trying to get my feet under me while my knuckleheaded colt ran off a ways and looked at me. He had this look like, “What in the heck did you do that for?????” I trundled over to him and got my breath. When I grabbed the saddle horn to step on, my right hand told me there was something wrong. I got one awful loud pain right in front of my wrist on the bone that goes to my right thumb. Yeah, that one, the one I tore off in June. I pulled my glove off and sure enough it was starting to swell. I trotted after the cows and got them to the herd, still trying to figure out how I fell off the left side of my horse, landed on my left shoulder and my hard head and broke my right hand. I trotted up to my immediate supervisor(we are modern, now, no more cow bosses) with snow on my back and dirt on my cap. I told him I broke my hand. He said, “Oh.” like I’d told him it was cold. We pushed the herd on to the corral and I told Matt Miller that I had broken my hand. I got much the same reaction. Oh, well. When the cattle were corraled. I had Jesse, my pardner, unhook my trailer and again told everyone who could hear that I was on my way to the doctor.

I got home to find Carleen at the lodge. By now I’m trying to hold my hand way up in the air to keep the throbbing to a minimum. She told me she had to finish dinner for guests I had forgotten were coming at 3:00. Oh well, I got my hat and changed coats. I drove to the doctor who had rebuilt my thumb. X-rays, cat scan and a nice new cast on my thumb completed the day.

The next day I got my butt chewed by the office girl because I didn’t go to the office then go to the emergency room. Well, I tried to check this out in the Policy and Procedures Manual and the Employees Handbook with no luck. (neither exists). I said to hell with it and just kept working. Workman’s Comp will pay for the treatment and the paycheck goes on. I haven’t missed a but one day yet, but there are some things I can’t do. I do what I can and get Jesse to do the rest. If I can just keep from frost-biting the thumb in the next few days we are home free. I guess I put some “FALL” in the fall works,huh. My back has been bothering me since the fall so I went to a Chiropractor and then sat real still yesterday and today. Typing without one thumb is fun. I also thought a lot about how warm it can be in my shop at home in Jordan Valley. Sometimes I really miss that place. I miss you guys too. Keep the faith boys, I’ll be back some day.


-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

25 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#1 posted 12-06-2009 08:27 PM

oh Thos… so good to hear from you, although the story is not a good one :(
interesting that you kept telling everyone with much response and the one person you didn’t tell—well .. sheesh.

I hope your thumb recovers quickly, cleanly and you don’t go messing it up again !!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3968 days

#2 posted 12-06-2009 08:28 PM

Tom it is always a pleasure when you stop by.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4128 days

#3 posted 12-06-2009 08:37 PM

I was just wondering how you were doing down there with this weather moving in.

Good to hear from you. Make sure you contact me when you head to Billings.

Take care.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3850 days

#4 posted 12-06-2009 09:16 PM

Thomas, it is good to hear from you. Bummer about the hand and I am sure that being outside in 6 degree temps is not as fun now as it used to be.

Keep in touch.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#5 posted 12-06-2009 09:23 PM

It’s good to hear that there are still some tough American cowboys around. I wish I could do what you are doing in spite of the discomfort, but I know I probably wouldn’t last 10 minutes out there. I enjoyed your story/report very much and really envy you the experience. At least when you are hurting you know you are still alive and that is something to be thankful for. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope you will soon be back in your new workshop. Thanks for reminding us that there is more to life than the Saturday shopping trip.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4053 days

#6 posted 12-07-2009 01:45 AM

You seem to have a time with that thumb!

I know where you’re coming from about the cows. Our neighbor has a herd that tended to get out till he sold the ringleader, & we all would pitch in to round them up. One nice thing about 4-wheelers—they don’t spook. Of course, you’ve got to do ALL the thinking, unlike with a good horse.

Funny thing, I don’t remember the Cartwrights having policy & procedure or workman’s comp problems on the Ponderosa. ‘Course, we all know tv’s a crock, even the old good stuff. Still, it just seems to take something away, doesn’t it?

Good to hear from you again, & I’m glad to hear that the hand’s not TOO bad. Just remember to work ‘er back in slow & easy when you get the cast off. Also, maybe you can draw a little older horse next time!

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View scottishrose's profile


110 posts in 3194 days

#7 posted 12-07-2009 03:00 AM

Ya, on the Ponderossa the doctor rode out to them!

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3802 days

#8 posted 12-07-2009 03:05 AM

Hi Thomas

Sorry to hear about the hand but things like that could have been alot worse. I rolled my 350lb ATV on top of me this fall and all I had was a very sore chest. The good Lord was looking out for me that day. We have not been that cold yet here but living in SD and ND, I know what cold is really like. Good hearing from you again. Keep warm and have a very Merry Christmas.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4115 days

#9 posted 12-07-2009 03:34 AM

OUCH! Sounds like that “romantic” cowboy life was interrupted by a healthy dose of frozen gound reality. I think I’m like Stefang I wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a cold saddle. Always good to hear how you’re doing, so what if its not woodworking realted. Wishing you a quick healing.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4050 days

#10 posted 12-07-2009 03:45 AM

Tom, get well soon and stay off fhose colts.
I figure they should “pair off” the more experienced workers together.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18293 posts in 3704 days

#11 posted 12-07-2009 04:25 AM

Glad to hear yoiu weren’t hurt any worse than a broken thumb. I was outside working on equipment and rearragning trailers all day today. Its around freezing and the ground is just frozen a bit on the surface. The humidity here in Water World is 70%. It feels a lot colder than it is with a 15 mph breeze especially with teh humidity added in. At this temp in sunny Idaho, I’d have been in shirt sleeves:-)) I was thinking how glad I was I didn’t have to be out tending stock & milking 2x today in this weather. I don’t envy you one bit. My knees are bad enough from spending 40 years on a ladder, I couldn’t get on a horse anymore without a ladder :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18293 posts in 3704 days

#12 posted 12-07-2009 04:27 AM

BTW, the National Finals Rodeo is on ESPN this week :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3332 days

#13 posted 12-07-2009 05:19 AM

well the spirit of the west is still alive…at least you fell off a horse and didnt crash from a 4 wheeler…..sorry about the hand…..and i wish you too were in the comfort of your shop…..i will add my hope to yours and wait to see you in the shop again …someday soon…...doesnt sound like your upper managment is to concerned with your health…..i know your suppose to be a tough cowboy…but hey..with workers comp and no one called trail boss anymore…....then the concern level should rise up…cowboys are not a dime a dozen anymore…merry christmas to you and your dear wife…...grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3991 days

#14 posted 12-07-2009 06:45 AM

Well, boys, it’s going to be -11 at 7 in the morning. good day to sort cattle. Got three days of it coming up. Aw the romance of the West!!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4126 days

#15 posted 12-07-2009 06:47 AM

It is supposed to get down into the upper 20s here in California this week and I thought 50 was cold…. lol

It is good to hear from you again. It has been too long.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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