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Horses, pine trees and millers

Tales from the ONO Ranch
Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

I have always had this affection for horses. It started around 4 years of age with my “camo” covered pony towards the end of WW11. He had buttons for eyes and mop strings for his mane and tail. Around the age of 6, I got the real horse. He was just a worn out old nag on loan so we could keep him fed. Didn’t matter. Nope, he was mine and by golly if I could talk my dad into putting the saddle on him, I was right up there with Roy and The Lone Ranger.

Most every summer, gentle readers, my folks would make a run to Colorado or New Mexico to escape the relentless west Texas heat. While driving through the mountains, if there was a “dude string” within a mile I could detect it and start my, “I smell horses, I smell horses, can we ride, can we ride?”

Oh and the smell of fresh mountain air and pine trees. To me, it had to be what heaven was like. I’ve always loved pines and the aroma they cast off. I love to hear the breeze toss their branches into a little dance. As a result, when we moved our house out here to the ONO, I began at once to plant Blue Spruce and different types of pines. Problem was, I planted too many too close to the house so I could have that intimate relationship with them. What happens then is you get LOTS AND LOTS of pine cones in your yard that have to be gathered up and hauled off. While sitting on the front deck evening before last, I looked up to the closest tree and was astounded at how many cones it had produced this year. Guess what, Charlie Brown, a few minutes later we got one of those wind shears which caused that ol’ tree to start tossing cones in my direction. Yep, they were bouncin’ off my deck like beach balls off your little brother’s head! The result was hundreds and hundreds of cones everywhere. I ain’t makin’ this up.

One good thing was it blew 46 million “millers” off into the far “yonder.” Man what a bad year for Miller Moths! I have slain 63 billion in my shop. Our editor, Rona, gave me a hint on a product that would keep them from wanting to get into your house. It worked quite well, however there is always a few that make it in, but it wasn’t like I had to stand at the windows with the vacuum in my hand sucking up those nasty little critters. I swear one looked just like Nancy Pelosa!

“Pull quote.”

The weather is much hotter and most have moved on to the mountains a few miles west.

By the way, my new horse, Seven, yep, that’s his name as he has a 97 branded on his left hip. He came from South Dakota and is a kind, gentle, know it all, do it all kind of ranch horse. He’s a great fit for me and we are bonding pretty fast. My neighbor Jim rode down and we prowled through the cows and it was a really a satisfying feeling for me to be a’horseback again.

As a sidebar, I always found it interesting to read about the fall of the “Roman Empire” and wonder how does a society let that happen? Could it happen to America, I wondered many times during the 60s, and nope it never did. However I am beginning to see cracks appearing in our foundation. We are in big trouble!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be ready to stand your ground when the time comes and it IS COMING, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖


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