Being a Texas boy, I have been thinking about moving back there over the past month. Oh well, I had better take that back because I have seen quite a bit of this kind of weather over the years. I think I am just getting old and the snow is getting hard on my bones. I think it is getting hard on my horse as well. After all, he is Twenty-Three years old and that makes him about my age in horse years.
When I moved my wife, also a Texas gal, up here in 1989 we had a winter like this and she almost packed up and left me then. But I was able to get her through Veterinary School before she bugged out on me. However, we haven’t had much winter in the past 15 years and I think we have gotten soft on this kind of winter in this country. Wonder what she would be saying now if she had stuck around?
In about 1952, I frostbit my feet feeding cattle in Montana with 20-below-zero weather. Of course, we now have insulated boots and thermal lined coveralls to protect us from these temperatures and heated vehicles to get around with. Back then, it was hitch up the team to the hay sled and drive a ways feeding. Then back to the haystack for two more loads of loose hay. As I remember, it involved stripping down to feed because it was hot work. Then put everything back on until reaching the haystack for another load. Then stripping off to feed, and redressing to go back to the stack for another load before heading home. The most comfortable part was when you got loaded, you could snuggle down and stay warm for the trip.
I would leave the ranch about 7 a.m. after eating a healthy breakfast and get back about 4 p.m., eat a healthy supper and fall into bed after stoking up the fire in the bunkhouse and stacking up a load of kindling for a morning fire. Then, wake up about 4:30 a.m., throw back the covers and run to the stove, throw in some kindling and a few chunks of wood. Douse the whole thing with wood shavings soaked with diesel oil, strike a match and toss it in and back to bed until it warmed up at about 6 a.m.
My Goodness, as I write this, the memories come drifting back. I wonder what I would do now? Maybe that is why I don’t even think very long about getting a job as a cowboy anymore. I love riding and working cattle in the summer time, but the same glorious job in the winter is, well …
Mad Jack and I were discussing this the other day over breakfast and coffee. We both concluded that, at our ages, it was better to write about it and leave cowboying up to the young bucks.
Oh, well, guess I had better bundle up, go out and feed, then gather up a bundle of firewood, and get back in the warm house.
I just have one question. Whatever happened to Global Warming?
Roger Thompson is a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.
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