April 18, 2012



Our family has never been a good “naming” family. Our family names are pretty simple. On my side there is Dean, Gayle, Lynn, and Gary. I have uncles with names like Bill, Bob, and Jerry. You see, we don’t walk on the wild side when it comes to family names.
A horse’s name was pretty simple. A brown horse was Brown, or Brownie. A sorrel horse Red. Sometimes the name originated from the person we bought the horse from. The Hansen horse was called Alfred. I remember a glass-eyed horse named Albert, named after a guy in Mountrail County.
We did have to get pretty original in the 70s. We had several buckskin saddle horses. You guessed it. The first one was named Buck. Then came Wally Buck. We had purchased him from Wally up in the White Earth Valley. Then Grandpa’s Buck. The buckskin that Grandpa Herb rode. Then I got Roping Buck from a cowboy over at Grassy Butte.
My little brother’s first horse was Blackie. I suppose you can guess what color he was.
But cows you don’t name. Oh maybe an occasional one. Friendly, the cow that eats cake out of your hand. Christmas, who was born on…Right! Now you’re getting the hang of it.
Evan, our five-year-old grandson likes naming animals as they are born. The first calf was Snowball, who is black. He gets a little mixed up sometimes. Then there was Blackie. Then Red. Then Red Boss. The colt with a white foot is Sock. The one with two white feet is Socks. The cat with a short tail is Short Tail. Another cat is Black Ears. Last week, I had to bring a calf home to get it started nursing. I said we couldn’t name another calf Blackie. Evan assured me he wasn’t going to. This one was Blacko.
By the end of the week I had three cows with calves home that I had to get nursing when I did chores. I had Blacko and his mother. Then I had to bring in the Wing Nut (a wild cow from…Right! Wing, N.D.). Then, the worst case of all, MANEATER!
Now Maneater is the worst cow I’ve owned. She will take a horse or a man or a grizzly bear at the drop of a hat. She will come out of a herd and run under your horse. I believe if she got me down, all that would be left would be a big spot of grease where my demise came. I actually kept her in to sell. But the trailer was full of dry cows so she lucked out. But I had her in with the bulls. And when the calf was born, 17 bulls gathered around to witness the miracle of birth. Although Maneater had the calf pushed through the fence, in the ensuing battle between bulls, men, and mad cow, her calf injured a hind leg. So I have to help him nurse twice a day. Alfred, the Roper, helped me get the cow in. It’s hard to chase a cow that chases you.
And to make a long story short, whenever you approach the pen, she lets out a bellow and attacks you. With the cow bellowing at me, Shirley screaming at me, and the dogs barking, I guess I got a little excited. So I took a Morneau-sized swing with a pitchfork. I need a new pitchfork handle.
But I will guarantee you, I’ve got her so she’ll blink now and head for the chute.
And like Morneau, I’m not sure if she’ll ever get over a slight concussion. I’ve renamed her Justin.