Posted tagged ‘Cowboys’

HANDS

August 11, 2018

Okay,  this posting may be a little gross, so be ye warned.

barbed line

Yesterday I wrote about the country that young Bryce Andrews* drove into  (taking my heart along with him!),   but he went there to work,  not to be a tourist.    He went there to be a cowboy, to work the cattle that feed us  (and  give us other useful products too).

I’ll do Cattle in the next post,  take you right among the herds with Mr. Andrews, but here I want to tell you what I found out about being a cowboy.   Most of a cowboy’s time is  not spent with the cattle,  rounding up cows, keeping them moving,

After you have the cattle put where you want them,  they pretty much take care of themselves for long hours, long days at a time.    You don’t ignore them,  but  your time is taken up with a lot of other tasks.

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Keeping pumps repaired, for example,  that bring water to the herd.    You’ve got to be a small-motor man and be able to trouble shoot the little motors that are exposed to the elements and in almost constant use.     You’ve got to be toting salt for the widely scattered salt licks that are so important to keep our cattle (and elk)  alive.     You’ve got to patrol for predators.

Most of all,  your time is taken up with an endless round of fence inspection and repair.  Some fencing is electrical,  but  fences are still mostly barbed wire:

barbed spikes

What takes down fences is age,  storms,  cattle plunging through when they’re panicked, and frequently the elk herds and the moose.

And then you have to know whether to repair broken lines or cut them apart and restring the fences or build them up from scratch,  starting with  the fence posts.

How do you put up a fence post?    With great strength and persistence, a little knack for it, and good luck.

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(That’s not a cowboy in the photo!     You can’t have bare legs in the Western scrub and you can’t go without good, strong boots!)      But you don’t carry a motorized auger  on the saddle of your horse either, so you have to use other tools:  a strong steel pointed mallet,  a heavy hammer,  and once you’ve worked your muscles sore,  then you use a shovel to take out the small broken pieces of stone-hard earth.   And then you pound again. . .

Ever drive in Wyoming or Montana in the summertime?    It’s often  90 degrees or more with a strong, dry enervating wind blowing against you.    And that’s when much of the routine  fence repair occurs, occupying you with long solitary hours,  sunrise to sunset.

Fence building is hard on your body, and it’s hard on your hands.

THE FENCE

(If this gets too long, just skip down to the last quote-box.)

After a hurried lunch, I loaded all sorts of fencing tools into my work truck and headed out to fix a handful of broken H-braces on a fence . . .   An H-brace consist of two upright posts, usually eight feet apart, with a stout rail, spanning the distance between them . . .   An H-brace is pinned together by a pair of heavy spikes which are driven through the posts at each end of the rail . . .

An H-brace is a masterpiece of applied physics.  Properly built, it stands strong as a rock for many decades.  The secret is the wire.   Picture the low H of the brace’s wooden frame.  Upon it superimpose an equally wide X formed of two loops of wire.  One loop connects the lower left and upper right corners, the other angles from lower right to upper left.  At either end,  the loops are secured to the posts with fencing staples.

What he isn’t telling right now is the strength it takes for a man to work these “heavy” tools, post staple guns, the stout and  heavy parts of the wooden frame, and the strength it takes to position and move these fence parts around.

And then he sees the fence line that needs to be redone:

For the most part, I could tell very quickly how long digging posts would take and how difficult it would be.    If the shovel,   when stabbed down, slid into the ground a few inches with a satisfying crunch,  the dirt was cooperative,.   If on the other hand, it clanged like an off-pitch bell and bounced back through my hands, hard hours were in the offing.

. . .  I stomped on the shovel, giving it all I had to little avail.   A spasm of all-out work yielded just a six-inch crater around the old post.   I looked down  the fence line at the rotten, shattered braces that needed to be dismantled,  dug out, and replaced.  I was in for a long afternoon.

Setting aside my shovel,   I pulled a rock bar from the back of my truck.   A simple, brutish tool, made for unforgiving soil . . .  it was a heavy steel rod, six feet long and tipped at one end with a flat, tempered blade that looked like an oversized screwdriver.   The blade was used for shattering rock and dry compacted earth into pieces that could be shoveled out.

The rock bar was never fun to use.   It weighed twenty pounds and tended to peel the skin from my palms with shocking efficiency.  I beat steel against embedded stone until they broke or loosened, mining downwards.

The first hole took an  hour . . .

He inserted the post, part of the H-brace,  then stapled the barbed wire to the posts,  then strung loops of wire by sticking a piece of wood about two feet long,  twisting it in circles until the wires began to twist around each other, pulling the barbed wire lines taut  . . .

That’s working in close contact with the barbed wire!  When he was learning the job,  his hands and arms were all cut and bloody,   but he  noted that the more experienced man next  to him had no bleeding cuts from the barbs, only old scars.

 

The HANDS:

But then, after this day’s work, he walks back to his truck, and as he goes in, he first gazes at the beautiful open land stretching out to the horizon before him .

After drinking in deeply from it, I noticed my hands were stained an unnatural yellow.   Sweat had mobilized whatever noxious chemical was used to tan my gloves and it had stained my skin a dead, unsettling hue.  It worried me, so I flipped my hands over to take a look at my palms.     They looked even worse.      In addition to being yellow, my palms were torn to pieces.  A number of callouses, softened by sweat or the tanning agent,  had torn loose.    The raw, new skin beneath them oozed a clear liquid with a slight reddish tint.   I peeled off the biggest sloughed pieces and threw them in the grass at my feet.

As  I looked down at the jaundiced wreckage of my palms, I felt a strange surge of pride.  These weren’t city boy hands.  They weren’t delicate by a long shot.   From the elbows down, the skin of my arms was covered with a chiaroscuro of barbwire scratches.  The older ones had healed, peeled, and turned a dark, bluish color from the sun.    More recent marks were zippered shut with lines of cracking seals.   A few spots, either sliced open today or bumped hard enough to reopen, were smeared with small patches of freshly dried blood. . . .

 

This is the life of a cowboy.   Strong,  hardy,  solitary,  hard-working, rightly proud.     He has earned his self-respect.

So, see what I mean?    I love to drive through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.   I drive through easily, as a tourist,  inspired and spiritually elevated by the scenery,   making a few stops here and there,   but quite aware that I don’t belong to this land.     These young men do.

mon steak

And think on these young cowboys when you have your next hamburger or that big, juicy steak,  tender, full of flavor,  marbled miraculously with good tasty fat.

And next time I’ll tell you about how the cattle got that way.

 

 

 

 

 

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THERE’S KNEELING AND THERE’S KNEELING: CLINTON BIGOTRY

October 11, 2016

(From the keyboard of a “Deplorable”)   –

 

Two men, both known for “kneeling” . . .

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        . . .   for different reasons.

One man’s kneeling got him the praise of “America”  as seen through the lens of the entertainment-news media.     Poor oppressed guy.     (Poor oppressed rich guy.)

The other man got nothing but scorn and ridicule for his kneeling.

The poor oppressed rich guy’s kneeling got him a renewed and lucrative contract as the head quarterback of the San Francisco  49ers.   He will bring much value to . . . us.

The scorned man?  There’s something more to his life than  football   sports.

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Just recently at a game (where he is employed)  he saved the life of a fan in the stands who fell into an epileptic seizure.    The man had stopped breathing, according to witnesses.   Tim Tebow, the tall handsome man in the photo who likes his fans, ran over to the man,    held him,  prayed for him —  and shortly the man began breathing again.

YOU tell that man that it was mere coincidence.

But that’s not the first time.  A similar incident happened on an airplane in which Tim Tebow was a passenger.  A fellow passenger was in life-threatening trouble — and seemed to be not breathing.

You can guess what happened next.    It was prayer.    YOU tell that man it was just coincidence.

But I wanted to think about kneeling,   whom you’re kneeling to,  why you’re kneeling.

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Men kneel.

Men now and before now  –

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Men kneel even when they don’t have a church to kneel in.

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You all know I like cowboys!

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MY kind of cowboy!   –

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Wouldn’t you rather have your king (or your Ruler or your president)  acknowledging that he has a Higher Power –  the same Higher Power that everyone else has to answer to?

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Even The KING OF KINGS prayed –

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I’m not  a man, and yet I can  pray –

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Because in the end,  our end or the world’s end,   that is all we have,  it’s the true source of strength.

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Wikileaks:     All those praying people,  any Catholic that you know,  any evangelical that you know,  any person who prays,   you, me,  she and he —  have been mocked and made fun of,  disparaged and called names  by those high up in the Clinton campaign, according to their own emails.

Let’s see . . .    some hate-powered phrases from those recently leaked emails:     we people who pray  are totally unaware of Christian democracy (their idea of Christian democracy, I guess);   we who pray are:   attracted to severely backward gender ideas;  we “throw around Thomistic ideas and subsidiarity just to ‘sound’  sophisticated”;    Mr. Murdoch is ‘Friggin Murdock’  because he had his children baptized in the Jordan River;    we are ‘bastardizing’ the faith.    And don’t forget from before:   we’re the people who are “bitter”  and clinging to our guns and our Bibles.    Catholics are weird,  reactionary people out of step with the times.

This from the Democrat Party which “weaponized”  the I.R. S.  against conservative  patriotic and Christian groups.    This from the campaign of the Poor Sick Woman who stated that it’s smart to have one persona for the public and another one in private.   Someone who holds herself leagues above the common people, and drops the “f”  bomb on those in her way, including her security staff – and their canine helpers.

They are bigots as well as hypocrites –  and please don’t think they like you.

 

A COWBOY DOES THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

September 7, 2015

Oh, you know me.   I love to drive across the Great American West!

I love each issue of my Cowboy magazine!   Here’s my newest issue:

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The soft, firm  voice of Clint Walker (Cheyenne)   still sounds in my head:

Cheyenne on a horse

I liked his plain simple talk,  no extra words,  just saying what he means to say;   and always that quiet strength and certainty in his voice.     I admired that during my formative years.

Yup.     So it’s a “natural”  that I should listen to how a cowboy would talk about the Ten Commandments.     I found this many years ago;  glad I saved it all this time.

The page says:   “Folks in Texas have trouble with all those shalts and shalt nots in the 10 Commandments;   folks just aren’t used to talking that way.  So some folks in West Texas got together and translated the King James  into King’s Ranch language — and here we have the Ten Commandments Cowboy Style.”

  1. Just one God
  2. Honor yer Ma and yer Pa
  3. No telling tales or gossiping
  4. Git yourself to Sunday meeting
  5. Put nothing before God
  6. No foolin’ around with another fellow’s gal
  7. No killin’
  8. Watch yer mouth
  9. Don’t take what ain’t yours
  10. Don’t be hankering for yer buddy’s stuff

Yup.   that’d about do it.

cowboy at prayer

That page with the Cowboy 10 Commandments goes onto say:    “I sure can’t  think that here in America it wouldn’t hurt to post these anywhere —   even in a courthouse.”

TUESDAY 1 – AMERICAN COWBOY MAGAZINE

April 15, 2014

If you’ve been here before,  you know my interest in all things “Cowboy.”   I have a longstanding subscription to American Cowboy – the only magazine which I seem to read over and over, until the next issue comes.

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What we used to see in the movies was only a brief era in American history, just a few decades, really.  But the cowboy mentality exists as an important part of what used to be the American mind.   Independence, self-reliance, honesty,  hard work, taking care of yours and your own, including family and neighbors, living locally and in the present reality,  wherever you are.

Alert to Danger (last weekend) –
Cowboy Americans

And that doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you – further away.   Danger lurks – always – and must be dealt with, because that’s the nature of the world we live in.    But, you take care of that too.

One of you is duly elected to be  sheriff – a local law enforcement agent.

Cowboy sheriff to protect us

Sheriffs are the Good Guys (usually)  for us.

Then someone far away changes the rules,  runs some ranchers out of business,  makes you pay money for what you’ve been doing for over a hundred years,   then doesn’t do with the money they took from you what they said they would do, and then start running off your cattle with helicopters,  separating the frightened young calves from their mothers,  running the cattle till they drop from exhaustion and extreme thirst – because the foreigners don’t know how to care for the land nor the animals on the land….

Cowboy cattle died first

Their public excuse is to save some turtle that has always lived in harmony with your cattle and are doing quite well,  but now the foreigners have to “save” the turtles from your cattle.   It would be funny except those foreigners had to kill off hundreds of those turtles because – then they didn’t know what to do with them and couldn’t afford to take care of them!

Americans came from all over the country to help in the stand-off.

Cowboy Flag

Which became a stand-down.     Temporarily.

Temporarily.  Because when you cross Big Brother (communist/socialist/progressive/leftist/whatever) –  then they get mad.

Cowboy weilds power

They wield more firepower.    They can drive people out of their homes, as they did in Florida a few years ago,  to make room for an elite golf course for their friends….    They can drive people out of their homes to make way for an elite yacht club.     Or they can try to drive cowboys off their land to make way for a Chinese solar energy facility.

On and on it goes.

You’d know all that.   If you were like a cowboy:  American, alert, and taking care of your own problems.

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If you’re still doubtful about what the non-shoot-out is all about,   check out Agenda 21 –  soberly,  seriously.    In case you don’t know,  your local government is rapidly and quietly implementing it in your area.   Every time you run into a regulation or rule that tells you you can’t do that anymore,  you can’t  go there anymore,  you  have to do this or that  from now on – whether or not these rules apply to your own private property.

“Cowboys”  are honest and they hate to be lied to.    The ranchers discovered that the fees they had to pay because of New Rules were not being used for what they were supposed to be used for…but they were being used to ruin many ranchers off their land.  Legally, of course.

Check out also what this land was going to be used for.   You’ll find the government was going to give it away.   To another country.     Hats off to our Rulers, in this Tribute to Tuesdays;  they sure know how to make friends.   From elsewhere.

 

2nd SUNDAY IN LENT – PRAIRIE DOG HOLES AND THE UNSEEN

March 16, 2014

“The unseen reality, veiled, as if by a cloud….”

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Imagine, if you can,  the bright happy giggles of a two-year-old looking at something extraordinarily funny! holes

Well, that’s not what I expected when I showed these photos to my little grandson.    I had been traveling across Nebraska (en route to his home in the mountains)  and at a rest stop I got out of my car and came across these prairie dog holes.

holes 2

I took the pictures because the holes were fascinating – to me.   Were there really prairie dogs inside?   If I took a big stick and poked it into the hole, could I reach one?  Would I make one “squeak” if I touched him?   Or would he come out at me, biting and scratching?

Fortunately for me, there were no “long sticks”  lying around.  There aren’t too many trees along I-80 in the middle of the Great Plains.

cowboy off horse rt 90 I knew prairie dog holes can be killers.   Many a man has lost his life because his horse had stepped into a hole, at full gallop,  stranding the man on the open prairie, days and weeks from any help.

So what on earth did my little grandson “see”  when he looked at these pictures and broke out in uncontrollable – and infectious –  giggles of delight?  What was he thinking was inside?    Now I laugh too at the “unseen”   things these holes could contain.

My mind wandered in Church today, during the Readings, right over to these holes.   I was listening to the Gospel reading about Transfiguration of Jesus – an unexpected, unexplained experience reported by the three disciples who walked up a mountain with Jesus .

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They  were given a glimpse of the Unseen reality of Jesus, true Son of God.    Jesus was “transfigured” so that some of His divinity shown through; and after a while,  after a scarcely comprehended divine message was perceived, a luminous “cloud”  came over the area –  fear came over the disciples – and then after a reassuring touch by the Master,  all heavenly reality became Unseen again.

Just like it is for us now.    Unseen reality.

Just like the little footprints and claw marks around those holes made me believe in unseen prairie dogs,  so is there subtle evidence of the reality of Heaven nearby, though unseen.

And one more thing:

Mass unseen things

Jesus gave a glimpse of unseen realities to His close friends in order to strengthen their faith, if possible,  for the ordeal that lay ahead, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension.   And now today we have His  Presence,   veiled by the outward appearance of  the molecules of “bread” and “wine”;  veiled, again, as if by a cloud.      Veiled and  Unseen, but He is still with us on (some)  altars.

It’s enough to make one “giggle” with joy and delight!

“SUPER” BOWL COMMINGLEMENT

February 4, 2014

“Comminglement.”    Well,  the commingling of two sports in Super Bowl 2014.

It’s called  Bronco Busting Football.

Bronco bustedThat blurry brown thing  thrashing around down on the field is a bronco.

Just got my latest issue of Cowboy Magazine in the mail…..

SAMSUNGThey’re big on bronco busting too.

That takes nothing away from the enormous talent of Peyton Manning – and his whole team.  And the Broncos played a worthy opponent.   The Seahawks were a pleasure to watch.   Russell Wilson has a lot of good words to offer young men.

I don’t think anyone has an adequate explanation for the Game,  but that’s all right.   I’m already looking forward to the next season.

I just may not watch the next “super”  Bowl.    This American was mightily offended by the half-time show and by most of the ads.

I actually didn’t watch much of either….  Just thumbed through my Cowboy magazines while I was waiting for the game to resume.