Tales from the O-NO Ranch 5-31-10 | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch 5-31-10

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Gentle readers, I reckon most of you have a favorite tree. I would guess it would all depend on what part of the country you are from and your experiences as children. And maybe not. I didn’t grow up around any cottonwood trees and yet they are one of my favorite trees. If your environment has anything to do with your perception of what your favorite tree is, mine should be a mesquite tree. Not for me. Mesquite trees are really nothing more than a large shrub with thorns and offer very little shade and take a lot of water out of the ground.

I think back and feel like my first real connection with cottonwoods was on our place north of Amarillo, Texas. There was this one big ol’ cottonwood down in the dry and sandy Amarillo Creek that ran through our place. There was a great horned owl that took up residence there and on warm summer nights, Little Miss Martha and I would raise the bedroom window for whatever cool breeze might be lurking outside and we would listen to that owl. We had smaller and younger cottonwoods in the creek closer to the house but not close enough to listen to the leaves stir in the breeze.

When we looked at our present place here north of Wellington, Colo., it reminded us a lot of our above mentioned place. Coal Creek, a seasonal creek that meanders through this place has three older cottonwoods in one section of the creek. Much like what we had in Amarillo except there is water in the creek for several months out of the year and it’s running pretty good as I write.

The wonder dog, Clancy, and I just came back up from the creek. I drove down through the pasture to check on the grass situation. The grass is green and is beginning to grow after a couple of fairly warm days. It has just been too cold not only at night but during the day to get much growth out of the grasses. The cottonwoods have leafed out and old timers say once that has happened summer is right around the corner. I sure hope so!

I planted a couple of cottonwood trees here in the back yard so I could leave the bedroom window open on summer nights and listen to the leaves serenade me when there is a breeze. Now that Martha has passed on I have only fond memories of those summer nights when the kids were tucked in their beds, the breeze ever so slightly pushed the curtains inward and that ol’ owl ask “whoo, whooo, whooo?” Life, however is good and a big part of my pleasure in life is life itself and all it offers up … things like cottonwood trees, summer nights, hoot owls and, yes, those beautiful memories.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.