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Tales from the O-NO Ranch

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

I am not the least bit cold and hungry as I just finished a big bowl of chili, apple pie and ice cream. As I sat down to write this column I noticed a crow circle over the front yard and land in the trap in front of the house and start prancin’ around. It looked as if he had found something to eat but just hadn’t located the exact spot. Actually, he may have just wanted to warm hisself in the bright sunshine. It’s only 8 above, but that seems almost warm compared to the last few days and nights.

As I drove in from the coffee shop this morning, there was a herd of about 60 prairie goats (antelope) just up the road and they were tryin’ to pick through the frozen grass for something to eat. They sure looked cold and hungry to me. I had also passed some heifers on cornstalks this morning and they seemed to just be walkin’ trying to warm up a little before they settled down to rummaging through the snow for food.

My ole ponies are fat. Well, they are carrying good flesh and the reason they are is because I feed them good and they are not getting used. Who wants to get a’horseback when it’s 0 degrees and ride on solid ice and snow just to be riding? I remember those times that I had to do that because there were sick steers that needed to be doctored in the pasture. I didn’t like it then and I sure don’t want to do it now. I don’t envy anyone that has to saddle up on mornings like this.

Our little world up here in northern Colorado, especially in the Greeley area, are really having some cold temps that just don’t seem to want to go away. We’ve been spoiled to mild and open winters for the most part these past few years and we forgot what extended cold and snow early in winter was all about.

Search and Rescue recently found a young woman who went on a winter hike just before Christmas. I understand it was just to be for the day but she never returned. These mountains can be so deadly, even under fairly good conditions. She had all the right gear and was experienced in all types of mountain hiking, but it was not enough this time to save her. They found her in a snow cave that was not finished.

Winter is really just getting started and I’m already tired of it. Yep, I’m ready for green grass, rattlesnakes, big flies and fat steers by a clear stream. Wishful thinking on my part …

There are always the bums, addicts, and mentally ill shivering on the streets of any large city. I feel sorry for them getting in the shape that they are in. Some can’t help their situation, but many could if they would really buckle down and clean up their act. It still bothers me to see them dirty, cold and hungry, even knowing that most choose that style of life and place the blame on everyone and everything except themselves. It’s too bad and it’s sad.

I know that most family pets eat better and stay warmer than the street people, but again, life is a series of choices. I choose to eat chili and apple pie instead of cheap wine and drugs. I wonder sometimes if animals had the ability to act like some of the above mentioned, if they would indeed choose that lifestyle. I doubt it.

I do have a hoss that’s a cribber and he sure seems addicted to suckin’ on the fence post. He acts like he gets a high out of it. Go figure.

Well, here’s hopin’ you’ll stay tuned, and oh, by the way, thanks Irv and Tina for the nice e-mail.

Check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.


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