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