Tales from the O-NO Ranch 7-20-09
Gentle readers, I awoke this morning a little after 5 a.m. After a few minutes of stretching and yawning, I finally convinced myself it was time to not burn any more daylight. Joe would be bringing out a few more steers to put here at the O-NO to finish out the summer grazing. He had some out here already, but it’s just been such an unusual summer for rain that between his steers and our three horses, the grass was running away from them. As I made my way to the bathroom the faint light from the rising sun made a sleepy appearance into the bedroom.
I don’t know why, but the thought occurred to me that if I was a young man in my 30’s, I would be on the historic LX Ranch north of Amarillo, Texas. And more than likely I would already be out a’horseback on a canyon rim or in a five or 10 section pasture looking for cattle to gather along with another half dozen cowboys. Boy, I gotta’ tell ya, it didn’t take long to spend the night on that old ranch. It was and still is a cowboy’s outfit. No four wheelers or motorbikes or gunzels on that ranch, nosiree.
By the way, for those of you that are not familiar with the term gunzel: a gunzel is somebody pretending to be a cowboy and is all fluff and noise.
There were many an evening that I wouldn’t get home until eight or nine at night. I would be so tired I would just want to eat and go to bed. Poor Little Miss Martha didn’t see much of me, and I hardly could find the time to play with my little ones. Fortunately, I was only there for a few months and moved on to operate a small ranch 70 miles to the east.
I remember one particular morning on the LX where I was half asleep when I went down to the little saddle room at 3:30 a.m., to saddle my horse and then return to the house for breakfast. As I stepped into the little shack to get my tack, I heard that awful rattle somewhere very near me. The saddle room had no light, so I stepped out, shut the door, went back to the house for a flashlight and a pistol.
I came back and very carefully opened the door and shined the light all around. No snake but I could still hear that rattle just RIGHT THERE! I took a closer look down at the old floor to see a separation between two boards and under the floor was a huge Diamondback. I, of course, didn’t know how big he was at the time; but after I took a crowbar and pried the floor apart a little more and fired off three rounds from that ole 45, he came out and I finished him off. My mother- and father-in-law were spending the week with us in our little camp house on the ranch, and of course I woke everybody up and made a short night for them also.
I liked the LX and how the ranch operated other than I just didn’t have any time in the summer to spend with my family. There have been many times when I think I didn’t get adequate sleep that I will reflect back on my short time at the LX and appreciate the good night sleep I just enjoyed.
My day has gone off without a hitch. I went in early for coffee with the crew, met Joe back here at the house to unload his steers and then rode the motorcycle back to the post office and bank to take care of a little business.
By the way, my bank bought a couple of original pen and ink cartoons from me and had them hanging in the lobby over the coffee pot. Thanks guys, I was impressed and pleased.
I hope your early mornings all go well, and sometime in the day you get to have a good “laff” or a portion of joy comes into your life!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.
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