Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 11-5-12
Gentle readers, as I was checking the news on my computer I came across a news story about ranches in Montana that use the Savory Grazing method.
If you are not aware of it and I know most ranchers are: it is a method of not overgrazing by concentrating large numbers of animals on a small area of grass and then moving them often so the grass can recover quickly. It works by all accounts that I have studied. But I digress. There were a number of photographs that came with the article and it got my brain in reverse as I studied all the different images of kids, dogs, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas all working together for the good of the whole. I thought back to the time my son drug his first calf to the fire and my daughter threw loop after loop on foot trying to catch her calf which she finally did. I see Little Miss Martha with manure splattered on her baseball cap as she volunteered to help myself and the cowboy crew process a bunch of fresh yearling steers headed for our wheat pastures.
I thought about the back yard parties and the Christmas get togethers we had for our employees. We all brought something to eat and I tried along with another feller to provide some music with my guitar as we all sang along. I always had some gift for my crew as they were good men with good families and I wanted to show my appreciation. I remember cattle being spilled at the pasture gate because someone wasn’t paying attention and not a word of anger was expressed although it would have been OK to do so.
I remember the different ranches where I worked. I remember the smell of the sagebrush in that Texas panhandle pasture after a late summer rain. I remember chasing that stupid bull through the down timber above Ridgway, Colo., in the high country. He almost ate my lunch before I got him back with the herd. I remember “spooking” those three bull elk that summer in that timber thicket as they rose to the ground and busted through the trees. I was the one that got “spooked” along with my pony.
Ranch life is like no other life. Even though I still run a handfull of cattle during the summer, I miss those big ranches with my family around me and a crew of capable men who loved their jobs as cowboys. It doesn’t get much better than to be moving large numbers of cattle and knowing you are taking them some place that will suit them better. Those little calves that fall behind and momma who comes bustin’ back through the herd lookin’ for her baby. A good mother cow will warm your heart and sometimes your britches if she thinks you are abusing her calf.
Ranch life is good. Ranch life is good for the folks that are involved. Not always financially, but rewarding in so many other ways. Cowboys “cowboy” because it reaches inside the soul and reveals that sometimes the most simple things in life are the things that are important. I have a sign in my kitchen that reads “the most important things in life are not things!”
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c y’all, all y’all. ❖
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