Another day, another nickle #16: Mud, Cows and More Cows.

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Blog entry by Thos. Angle posted 04-14-2009 04:02 AM 5646 reads 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: When it's Spring Time in the Rockies(actually the Wolf Mountains) Part 16 of Another day, another nickle series Part 17: Greetings from the land of the big sky »

Well, here I am again. It has been a busy week. I hope Martin doesn’t get upset about me writing about this stuff instead of wood working. My friends here on LJ seem to enjoy hearing this drivel. On Wednesday, I got up at 3:30(AM) and saddled up and met the guys. We trucked about 30 miles east to the Forks division of the ranch. I had never been there so I had one of the cowboys riding shotgun to point the way. We got to a turn off about daylight and I was directed onto this road. I said it didn’t look like it had been traveled this spring but was assured that it was good. I came around a bend and there was a big snow bank across the road. I went about half way across before the truck and trailer sank through into the mud!! We tried to get it out but my shovel wasn’t in the truck. We got our horses out of the trailer and tied our catch ropes on the bumper. When we took up the slack and the guy behind the wheel gunned it, the horse on my right blew up and bucked the cowboy off on his head. He was the one who thought it was a good road! We gave up and trotted about 4 miles to where we were to meet up to begin to gather about 2800 head of cows. We rode hard and got the cows gathered by about 2:30. The guy that got bucked off got bucked off again. I guesss there is justice after all.

All well and good. I caught a ride with the foreman’s wife and one of the Forks cowboys to get my truck out of the mud. I left my horse and two cowboys by the side of the road. By now the whole world was mud. We unloaded the horses and unhitched the trialer. Jerry floor boarded the pickup and we threw mud all the way to my outfit. He pulled up against the bumper of my truck and we hooked on a chain. He hit it hard and slid his truck off into the bar ditch and buried it to the hubs.  Justin and I sat in the truck while Vicky and Jerry walked back to the trailer, got on their horses and rode to the other truck then went to the Forks Headquarters and came back with a large tractor. This took about 2 1/2 hours. We yarded out Jerry’s truck then hooked the tractor on my rig and took it all the way to the hard road. I had one very muddy truck. We met the other two guys riding down the road worried that we were never coming to get them. We got home around 7:30.

Next day, Thurday, we got up at 4:00 and trucked the same road except with Carleen along to flag with the pickup as we trailed the cows 17 miles down the road to our side of the ranch. As we got gathered up to start the drive, it turned into a white out with wind driven snow. On we went.  At about 6:30 we got the last of 2555 cows into the pasture at Decker, Montana. The drive was over 5 miles long.  We did it with 12 cowboys and two flaggers. My truck was out of gas so I had to go to the main ranch for gas. Got home around 10:00.

We skipped Friday to let the cattle rest. On Saturday, we started at 5:00 and gathered the cattle. We needed to trail them another 6 miles to a pasture. Before we got them out of the pasture they were in, the owner of the range we had to  cross stopped us and made us split them. We got the first bunch of 1430 in the gate at about noon. We then trotted to the trailers, about 4 miles and all headed home for fresh horses. We started the second drive around 3:00. It was a fight because all the slow cattle were in the second bunch. We got the last of them into the pasture just as the sun went down. We trotted back to the trailers in the dark, in a rain storm that really got going just as we got loaded. We slipped and slid out to the hard road and home.I got home at 10:00. We took Sunday off and had a big ranch dinner and an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. The kids had a great time but the cowboys were a little draggy.
Anybody still think cowboying is glamorous??

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

28 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3613 days

#1 posted 04-14-2009 04:19 AM

Thanks Thos, for posting.
Yes, cowboying is not glamorous, but the story is interesting especially when we watch it on tv or widescreen.
You remind me High Chaparral, my favorite series when I was teenage.

Take care Thos!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3795 days

#2 posted 04-14-2009 04:21 AM

Kipp-ki-yi-ya! I’d still rather be covered by sawdust,,,,,,Sorry Tom! ;o)

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4423 days

#3 posted 04-14-2009 04:23 AM

I never saw any Roy Rodgers or Gene Audrey movies that ever had that kind of problems.

Maybe you don’t understand how it’s suppose to be done.

But never the less it is nice and warm on this side of the computer monitor.

Glad you are busy and not sitting in your nice warm shop with nothing to do.

-- 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 Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3618 days

#4 posted 04-14-2009 04:35 AM

Sounds like fun to me :-)

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#5 posted 04-14-2009 05:41 AM


-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#6 posted 04-14-2009 05:47 AM

So good to see a post. I thought about giving you a call a couple of times. We have had some great weather the last few days up in Billings. The bad stuff always hits just east of us.

I already know too many people that ranch and have no more inclination to find it glamorous than I do working concrete or roofing.

Let me know when you head to Billings for supplies, we’ll have to hook up. You have to meet Rita.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4086 days

#7 posted 04-14-2009 05:55 AM

Californians pay for mud treatments. Sure you not working a spa and not a ranch?
Always good to hear from you Tom.

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

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4336 days

#8 posted 04-14-2009 06:02 AM

You just keep a bloggin Thos! You have inspired me to try and stick to this sawdust gig another month or so.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3897 days

#9 posted 04-14-2009 06:04 AM

My hat’s off to you, Thos. You are one tough, hard working guy!

I grew up on a smaller family operation – usually 100-120 pair. Even at that size, ranching starts to look a lot like work.

-- -- --

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#10 posted 04-14-2009 06:12 AM

Just caught the weather. The Big Horn and Bearthooth Mts are both supposed to get 1-2 more feet of snow over the next day.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View johnpoolesc's profile


246 posts in 3382 days

#11 posted 04-14-2009 06:16 AM

unique post.. i decided that riding fence was not a lot of fun back in the late 50’s.. i can’t dream of working cattle in mont.. can’t you just freeze them till next spring?

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3241 posts in 3734 days

#12 posted 04-14-2009 07:26 AM

One question: Do you ever sleep? ;-)

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3698 days

#13 posted 04-14-2009 08:04 AM

I don’t miss cattle, hay haul in’ or corn rows one bit! :-)) Your mud story reminds me of one Sunday afternoon, a friend took me up to his uncles to hunt ducks. Nobody was home, so we took his pickup to drive out to the field in the Idaho gumbo mud. Got it stuck, so we walked back to the house to get his truck to pull it out. Got it stuck, so we walked back to the house to get a tractor to pull it out. Got it stuck, so we walked back to the house to get anohter tractor to pull it out. It got stuck, we were out of equipment and it was getting dark. We both had chores to do at home, so we had to leave it that way ;-)) His uncle wan’t happy. He was able to get things loose a few weeks later when the ground froze for the winter.

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

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3961 days

#14 posted 04-14-2009 11:55 AM

Always great to read about your “adventures” Tom. When I was but a boy I thought it would be really cool to be a cowboy. After hearing about your experiences I’m glad my dad led me toward computers.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3844 days

#15 posted 04-14-2009 01:42 PM

Thanks for the post, Thomas. I appreciate getting “your side of the picture”. I can honestly say that I have never entertained any notion of being a cowboy (once I was old enough to understand that it was a job that entailed more than shooting a gun and chasing bad guys). During the summers up until I finished college I would always work on farms that several family members owned, largely in tobacco, hay and livestock. I made myself a solemn promise that when I graduated from college I would never work on a farm again unless I absolutely had to. I can honestly say that, to this day, I have kept this promise. Being a cowboy, as you are, is a lifestyle that requires a special person- one with unique talents and abilities.

Keep us posted on what is happening from your side of the fence. It is good to hear from you.

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

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