October 16, 2013



Well, by the time you read this Shirley should be heading home. You see, she had knee replacement surgery on Monday. I blame it on barrel racing decades ago when she would take a barrel a little close and bang her knee on a barrel. She blames it on carrying buckets to feed calves because I like to have chores for her to do. But, like Congress, it does no good to play the blame game. It is time to move forward.
I had an entire column in my head dealing with this. How I was going to write about the grindstone I had bought Shirley so she could sharpen sickles and knives as she pedaled. How I bought this bike that would generate electricity as it was pedaled, so as Shirley rehabbed, we could power the house and save some money. How I was going to buy some smaller buckets so she would have an easier time feeding calves until she healed up. But one of my neighbors warned me that many readers would think I was making light of a very serious situation so I will not go there.
When you are in the livestock business, or farming in general, you deal with a lot of injuries. Like when I told you about Ralph being injured while helping us earlier this summer. And Ralph, by the way, is on the mend, albeit it slowly.
I was telling a friend about this horse wreck the other day. He started telling me about a wreck he witnessed a couple years ago. It happened at a dude ranch in South Central North Dakota.
This rancher runs a dude operation in conjunction with his cow-calf outfit. He has a couple hundred cows, so he splits his branding into half a dozen work deals. And he gets lots and lots of dudes to help, and that is using the word “help” loosely, with his brandings.
Now, we used to run a dude deal ourselves. And rest assured, when someone wearing flip flops and shorts tells you they know how to ride, and they want an eight-hour ride when it is 100 above, you know they are either insane or just like to be in pain. But we did have experiences with riders who assured you they could handle any horse you ran under them.
Anyway, this rancher was getting his crew mounted up to gather 50 pair to brand that afternoon. One guy, who was a little too heavy (who am I to judge), struggled to get on his horse. When he was about half on, and not holding on to the reins, the horse took off. I mean he really took off. He could have been in the lead at Los Alamitos for a million dollars. And this old boy is hanging on for dear life.
Well, I imagine that is what we would all do. His best deal would have been to fall off immediately, but alas, he didn’t. He held on until that horse was cutting a hole in the wind and passing everyone in sight. When the horse was going faster than he had ever gone in his life, the rider lost hold.
All the other riders were sure he was dead. And I’m thinking maybe he was wishing he was as well. He broke all the ribs on one side of his body and separated both shoulders! Both! Now, I had a hangnail once…But I’m guessing this hurt worse. But his help was smarter than we were with Ralph. They did call the air ambulance and had him out of there in short time.
I guess the guy healed up fine. Doesn’t care to ride anymore though.
Get well Shirley! The calves are bellering for you and I don’t know how much you’ve been feeding them.