October 27, 2010



It’s going to happen again! I was afraid of it. The forecast is for showers today and snow the next couple of days. You would think that by now, I would have my fall work done. No way. I don’t think it matters if it snows in September or December, I won’t have my fall work done.
But we did get some calves weaned lately. And Evan, who just turned four, is turning into a roundup boss. I think he is Grandpa Jack’s boy.
When we gathered cattle to give fall shots, Evan, who rides a pretty slow horse with a hitch in his git-a-long, was pretty sure we could get it done without his mother, who was working. And we did. And Evan was quick to point out that, “I told you we didn’t need Mom!”
And when we moved cows a couple of days later, Evan lined out his mother and grandmother. And when Mom was loping figure eights and training on her horse, nearly losing the cows on her side, Evan was quick to tell Grandma, “Ride up and send Mom back to the trailer.” I hope I don’t burn him out before he even gets in kindergarten.
But alas, the nice days for gathering are winding down.
Woke up this morning to a forecast of cold, wet rain. I always wondered why you would say “wet” rain. Seems kind of redundant. Anyway, it is going to be cold and wet out there.
I keep telling Shirley, “You had better put on an extra layer when you go to do chores. I don’t want you to catch a cold.” And she just glares at me.
“Well, I can’t do them. I have to write an article. Oh, and give the horses an extra bait of grain.” More glare.
The forecast is for showers, and wind today. Wind up to forty miles per hour. Which is a lot of wind, everywhere but Harding County.
“Shirley, don’t forget to put on a neckerchief. I don’t want you catching the flu!”
Every year, winter kind of sneaks up on us. I’m not sure why that would happen. I mean I am sixty years old. I should know by now that the snow is going to come in the fall and winter. I should not have to dig through the snow to put away garden hoses, lawn tools, and the toolbox with the sections and guards for the mower. I should not have to dig through the snow to find the hoof nippers and the rasp. My overshoes should be somewhere other than where I took them off last spring when the corral dried out. My winter cap should be in the entryway, rather than under the seat in one of the pickups.
“Oh, yeah, Shirley! Put a little straw in the doghouse for Vern when you go by. I’m working on my article for the paper!”
I was thinking about the time the deer hunters got snowed in at the ranch. First day of deer season. I imagine in the mid-eighties. Started out nice as could be. We had a houseful of deer hunters. The morning was nice, but by afternoon, the wind had risen, and we had a full-fledged blizzard roaring. By the next morning, we were snowed in.
Now, these deer hunters had plenty of refreshments. Not a lot of food, mind you, but they darn sure weren’t going to get very thirsty. And I ask you, have you ever been locked up with a bunch of deer hunters that had nothing to do but drink and play cards?
“Shirley, lock that skinny colt up in the barn before you come in, will ya?”
Anyway, these city deer hunters were listening to “the tirty point buck” over and over on a tape player and slopping down beer like there was no tomorrow. Every once in awhile one of them would go over and look out the door, and report back that the hunt was off for another day. The card game went on and on and on. Pinochle, poker, and three-card guts. Five card stud and draw poker. You name it. We played it.
By the time the sun broke through the third day, I hated deer hunters. I had lost all of my cash and a good part of Shirley’s jewelry.
I was going to tell you…..
But  I can’t. Cause Shirley is outside hollering like a Comanche. I think one of the bulls has her cornered!