Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badgers!

Yes
No








The Stringam ranch sprawled out over many, many miles.
And took many hands to cover.
My Dad was twelve.
He had happily joined the ranks of the ranch-employed.
Aboard the first horse he could truly call his own.
The recently-broke and still fairly green, Queenie.
His pride and joy.
His first assignment was to keep an eye on the bulls.
I should point out, here, that the bulls were kept in the South pasture.
A vast, open field which went on forever.
With an outer fence that also went on forever.
Back to my story . . .
This fence had to be constantly patrolled.
On the other side of it were the Community Pastures.
Filled with . . . community cattle.
All female.
And none pregnant.
A state which their owners wanted to continue.
So someone had to explain to the bulls that any form of interaction was distinctly discouraged.
Hourly.
This was Dad's job. Make sure that the fence was doing its job.
Keeping the heifers on the one side . . .
And the bulls on the other.
But bulls are, after all, bulls.
And when the siren song goes off in their vicinity, they must answer.
With voice and/or action.
Usually action.
What's a paltry five lines of tightly-stretched barbed wire when love is calling to you from the other side?
Nothing.
They would ignore it as if it wasn't there.
And that's where Dad came in.
At a gallop.
Chase the bulls back.
Fix the fence.
He got pretty good at his job.
One day, he was riding along the fence.
Everything was calm.
Then, something moved.
A brown head poked up out of the great sea of grass.
A brown head with darker brown stripes.
A badger.
Dad had never seen a badger close up.
He turned Queenie towards it.
It turned away from them and started off across the prairie.
They followed.
It ran faster.
They pursued faster.
After a few minutes of this, the badger had had enough . . . umm . . . badgering.
So to speak.
He turned and attacked.
Well. Hissed.
At this point, Queenie decided she was finished with this adventure.
Dad could go it alone.
She dropped him, forceably, into the prairie dust.
And left him there.
Dad screamed and jumped to his feet.
Certain that his beloved horse had landed him on the badger.
Or that said badger was almost on him.
He pictured teeth and claws.
And ravening.
He wasn't sure what that was, but it sounded nasty.
He looked frantically around.
Nothing.
The badger had disappeared completely.
He took a deep breath of relief.
Then recovered his horse and continued with his job.
Dad decided, then and there, that the only four-footed animals he and Queenie would chase would be the big ones with hoofs.
And horns.
They were safer.

14 comments:

  1. Badgers may be Gods children too but they are nasty little ******'s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Learned that one the hard way!!! :0

      Delete
  2. I thought all the badgers lived in Britain or Wind in the Willows. Didn't know they are native to North America, too. I imagine they are nasty when disturbed. Even Old Badger had a rep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one was certainly native! And territorial! Yikes!

      Delete
  3. Nice story!

    I don't think I've ever seen a badger in the wild...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Not in the wild, maybe, but I think I've seen a couple at the local pub . . . They were nasty there, too!

      Delete
  4. A fun story as usual. I really love your stories because they do stir up memories of my own father's experiences on a ranch.
    Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LeAnn! I spent the weekend visiting with my Dad and now I have all of these stories that I need to write. It keeps him close . . .

      Delete
  5. Badgers could be nasty He was lucky :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He sure learned that . . . a bit too late!

      Delete
  6. I love hearing your stories of life on the farm from the ease and comfort of my home. What adventures there were every day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EVERY DAY! It's so much fun to remember them. From the comfort of MY home!!!

      Delete
  7. Those pesky badgers! :) I can imagine how scared he was. Kinda reminds me of the time I got the pickup stuck in the mud when we were gathering so I left the pickup behind and took over a 4-wheeler. I hadn't gone but about 20 yards and came within a foot of a rattle snake just as I slowed going up a steep, rocky hill. Scared me to death! I gassed that 4-wheeler so fast... I was outta there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gahhh! A rattle snake?! I would have been scared to death as well! I've never seen a live one up close and personal. I wouldn't be responsible for my actions!!!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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