Tales from the O-NO Ranch | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch

by Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Recently I watched a program on RFD TV that showed some folks hooking up 20 mules to a skid sled loaded with logs. This was taking place in Tennessee and apparently there is still a large interest in using mules and draft horses for certain jobs in some places. This was just a demonstration to show how one man on a sled could control 20 mules and do an admirable job of movin’ a huge load of logs. They had to stop the mules a number of times to readjust different hookups on trace chains, etc., to keep this operation running smoothly.

I often think back to what life must have been like for folks at the turn of the century and before in terms of life expectancy and how difficult life had to be for all family members concerned. To us living today, we would have thought life would almost be unbearable because of how we live now. Our forefathers didn’t have warm transportation with music or news or a padded, comfortable seat to take them to the work place of their choice. They lived at the work place and there was no radio in the barn or in the tack shed, or for that matter, any electricity to give good visibility. There was no telephone to call the vet or computer and internet to look up the latest movement on the stock market or order the latest thingamajig to help with whatever.

Gentle readers, guess what? They didn’t know that their life was all that difficult because they had nothing to compare it with. There was no benchmark to measure the difficulty of their way of life to any other way of life unless it was that of a storekeeper in town or the local banker, baker or candlestick maker.

I am aware, of course, of a segment of our society that chooses to live, for religious reasons, much like their forefathers. They farm with horses and mules and they go to town in wagons and buggies and they all dress alike in modest attire and do not entertain themselves with television and the like. They seem to be a comfortable, happy lot and they do have a benchmark by which to measure their personal situations.

For me, I have become, for the most part, a fair weather cowboy. I really don’t relish going out in harsh weather situations to participate in cattle gatherings and the like unless I am really needed. I spent most of my adult workin’ life a’horseback in all kinds of weather because it was necessary. I, too, had a benchmark to judge and compare what others did for a living and I chose to be a’horseback because to me at that time in my life that was living and living at its best. I still enjoy moving cattle and occasionally getting to rope and doctor something, but I prefer that I get to do it when the weather is somewhat agreeable. I reckon that I’ve just turned into a great big ole sissy!

If you are one who will be out feeding livestock this winter in bitter conditions, I sincerely hope you can do it from a truck or tractor and not from a wagon seat, that is unless, of course, that is your choice of transportation. If it is, my hat’s off to you!

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