Tales from the O-NO Ranch 9-13-10 | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch 9-13-10

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Gentle readers, today is Labor Day and the only labor I have done so far this morning is go out in a howling wind, feed the ponies and fill the steers’ water tub, put on a pot of coffee, eat breakfast and make the bed. That may be all I get done today besides writing this column.

I think that in today’s job market, or lack thereof, there could be a good many folks out there that have passing thoughts of working on a farm or a ranch. What do you think? Our unemployment rate is such that folks are gettin’ a little restless. I can’t say that I blame ’em.

I’m sort of taking the long way around the barn getting to the title of my column. Most cowboys that I have known that were sure “nuff” punchers, never liked the idea of having to run any type of equipment like hay balers, or tractors of any description for any reason. They just wanted to stay a’horseback looking after their bovine charges.

That type of cowboyin’ changed for most ranch operations many years ago. Cowboys or “ranch hands” are required to do irrigating, carpentry work, welding or maintaining equipment and farm work if necessary. I would guess that right now, this very moment, there are a lot of men that would move out to a ranch to get any kind of work that they could just to be able to take care of their families.

On the Texas ranch I had a farm crew and a cowboy crew and they both overlapped. The farm hands were required to help sort and load cattle at shipping time. The cowboys were required to plant wheat in the fall and bale hay all summer. If the truth were known they were relieved to get off those horses for a while and do something different, like maybe for a week or so, but of course, it was much longer than that. Cowboys seem to lose their focus when they are removed from their horses for long periods of time.

I was at a farm auction a few years back and the auctioneer Everett told me a really cute but very, very true story. He related that once at a farm auction in Nebraska a group of men were gathered around a seemingly new hay baler. Folks, this baler, according to Everett, was beat all to pieces. One feller present remarked that he just couldn’t understand how a new baler could wind up in such a dire condition. Another feller pipes up, “I can tell ya how it got in that conditions in one word: cowboys!”

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I hope all ya’ll have adequate work and adequate pleasure in fair measure and as we head into fall and then winter. Be as positive and as cheerful as you can and remember to be good to yer neighbor.

As a sidebar I wrote this little ditty a few years back and as I age it makes so much sense. Let me share it with you. “If you treat yer neighbor poorly, poor in spirit will you be. If you treat him like a brother, then a friend to you is he, for life is like a circle, we end where we begin, just like helpless little children in need of lots of friends!”

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