Another day, another nickle #3: Cattle Drive

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Blog entry by Thos. Angle posted 10-04-2007 03:47 PM 1731 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Right Tilt Table Saw Blues Part 3 of Another day, another nickle series Part 4: Horse Thief Moon »

Now you are asking your self what that title has to do with wood working, right? Maybe it doesn’t but it may have to do with the mental health of the wood worker. I’ve spent a lot of my life outdoors and now I’m confined to a very small area in the shop. I seldom pass up a chance to return to my “Real” world and spend some time.

A neighbor called up and asked my help getting his cows to fall pasture. Kirk owns a small ranch outside of town. His wife works as a teacher and administrater for our school system. She does a great job and we really appreciate her efforts. Of course, I told Kirk I’d be there. This was a trail drive to Parsnip Peak, about 10 miles from the house, all the way on Kirk’s ranch. We saddled up at about 7:30. We live on the far western side of the Mountain Time Zone so please forgive the late start. We needed to be able to see. Bob Wrotten and Pat showed up to help us sort. Bob is one of our local deputy sherrifs and a local rancher as well. He also rides a saddle he won at the Jordan Valley Big Loop in 1983. He had 100 head of cows going with us and Kirk had about 200. It was a partly cloudy day, cool so the cows would travel along easy. It had rained on Monday so there was no dust for the first time since May. It never really warmed up but the sun did come out. Bob and Pat got us started on the trail and then after about 2 miles left us to our own devices. When you are out on the range in our country there is real silence. Pretty soon Kirk and I had the cows strung out over about 3/4 of mile and traveling a long about right. It felt good to be sitting on my top horse out in the real world. The only sounds were horseshoes on rocks and the rattling dewclaws of the cows. Kirk and I would line the cows out then get together at the back of the herd and visit for a while until we needed to do some more work. This was the first time I’d gotten to ride since the first of July. My leg is still not good but is some what better.

Back at the ranch, while Bob Wrotten and I were rideing across a meadow we got in to a conversation that is the reason I blogged this. He is now in law enforcement and I live in my shop yet to both of us our identity is here; sitting on a horse working cattle. Kirk drove log truck for 20 years so that now he can raise cattle. It seems that no matter what we do our self-perception is tied to horses, cattle and the range that is our home. You might perceive me as a craftsman but in my own mind I will always be a man on horseback tending and working cattle. Our converstion turned to the young people of today. Kirk has three sons; one grown, one in college and one in high school. None of these young men suffers from an identy crisis, they know where they are going. All have had the benefit of growing up working with their father and seeing what they have accomplished at the end of the day.

Kirk and I got the cows on water and rode back to the truck visiting along as men will do. Bob had brought my truck and trailer out part way so we wouldn’t have to ride all the way back. The trail was about 10 miles but when you are trailing cows you ride about twice that distance pointing them the right way. We got to the truck a little past 4:00. By the time we got the horses taken care of and something to eat it was 6:00. I still had to make a 60 mile round trip to take my horse back to pasture. It was a great day sitting on a good horse in my reality. Now I must go to the shop and work. Perhaps a little calmer for the time I spent yesterday.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

17 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4064 days

#1 posted 10-04-2007 04:04 PM

Thanks for the outing, Thos. It was a good ride for us, too.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#2 posted 10-04-2007 04:06 PM

Sounds like a really good day. I’m hoping to get grounded some here too.

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

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4401 days

#3 posted 10-04-2007 06:35 PM

Great trip Tom. You should have invited Frank along and he could have taken the pictures.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#4 posted 10-04-2007 06:47 PM

I haven’t read a Louis L’Amour novel in a long time—I needed that!!! Thanks. :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3963 days

#5 posted 10-04-2007 08:07 PM

Thanks Debbie, read “The Ourfit” by J. P. S. Brown. Louis is fun but hardly ever gets near a cow outfit.
Tom( I’ve read about everything ol’ Louey ever wrote)

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6856 posts in 3980 days

#6 posted 10-05-2007 12:53 AM


Now THAT sounds like real work!

I’ll stick with playing in the shop.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4022 days

#7 posted 10-05-2007 01:52 AM

Great story Thom:
I am reminded or so many real/raw encounters like yours in my life.

I understand what you are feeling.

Who can savor victory who has not tasted it?


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

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3963 days

#8 posted 10-05-2007 05:40 AM

Lee and Bob,
My old partner, Monty Jackson, used to say when the wreck was at its worst,”Whar’s the man with the guitar now?” It’s hard to “ride and shoot and lean agin the bar” if you ain’t been there.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Buckskin's profile


486 posts in 3988 days

#9 posted 10-05-2007 07:29 AM

Nothing like the smell and creak of leather as you put your foot in the stirrup and swing up, into fresh air.

I had not thought about it until just now. I miss bringing the herd down for the winter, gathering them up in the spring for branding and taking them back up for the summer. A man can learn a lot about him self, or at least be reminded on days like that.

Your making me homesick Tom. I think the wife and I decided that once we empty the nest we are moving back to Wyoming. Something about that country gets in your blood and won’t let go.

Thanks for the ride Tom.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3963 days

#10 posted 10-05-2007 01:45 PM

Yes, Buck,
Someone once said that Wyoming is a state of mind. Here on the high desert is not that different from a lot of Wyoming but the winters are milder. Of course you don’t have the Tetons or the Winds or the Absaroakas. Or Yellowstone. But I can drive over and have supper in Jackson the same day.The biggest trouble I ever had with Wyoming was making a living there. I guess now the oil field is booming so it might be OK. Good luck.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3886 days

#11 posted 10-07-2007 05:36 AM

Thank Thos. I know the feeling I sure miss my herd of Registered Texas Longhorns and the time out with them.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4077 days

#12 posted 11-12-2007 06:06 PM

Wow, Tom, that makes me yearn for a ride on horseback, again. Due to my injury i cannot get back in a saddle without some ledge or other means. I used my patio on the trailer we had in Colorado, but now don’t have that.

Oh, well. We have some horses and saddles, here, if you want to visit AZ, again. Hope you are blessed in your travels.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4022 days

#13 posted 11-12-2007 07:40 PM

I thought this may be appropriate for the thread today.

Alberta Cowboy

An Alberta cowboy was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous
pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud
towards him.
The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban
sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy,
“If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd,
will you give me a calf?”

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at
his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, Why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer,
connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page
on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to
get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA
satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.
The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports
it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he
receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected
Excel Spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes,
receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his
hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy
and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,”
says the Cowboy. He watches the young man select one of the animals
and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you
exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says,
“Okay, why not?”

“You’re a member of parliament for the Canadian Government”,
says the cowboy.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess

“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up
here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I
already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much
smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about cows…this is
a herd of sheep. Now give me back my dog.”

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

View Scott's profile


63 posts in 3862 days

#14 posted 11-13-2007 06:10 AM

I really enjoyed reading about your day outside. I had horses until a few years ago but being a single dad of four kids there was no time for horses. Maybe some day I will be lucky enough to experience a day like you had.


I also think your woodworking skills are great.

-- Scott, Kentucky ----- "Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry" Mark Twain

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4315 days

#15 posted 11-14-2007 03:12 PM

Never been around horses much, but I know sage brush runs in the blood.

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