Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Clean, Clean on the Range . . .


Okay. You do this without getting grimy . . .

Ranching doesn't encourage cleanliness.
You heard it here first.
In fact, ranching and cleanliness don't go together.
At all.
Let me tell you about it . . .
I had worked on the ranch all my life.
And had finally been promoted to 'herdsman'.
Where I served for two glorious years.
This included such things as:
Riding herd
Checking herd
Feeding herd
Treating herd
Worrying over herd.
Hovering when herd was ready to calve.
Calving out herd.
Recording herd.
Eating and sleeping with herd.
Okay, maybe that last is a little extreme, but you get my point . . .
Sooo . . . cleanliness.
Cows aren't naturally clean.
I know this will come as a shock.
I'm sure you've seen the romantic pictures of mama cow licking her baby.
I have one thing to say about this.
Cow spit.
How clean can that be?
Cows also have other orifices that are . . . nasty.
And to which I have one response.
Cow pies.
Enough said.
On with my story . . .
I was ready to go to work.
Clean shirt.
Clean jeans.
Clean kerchief.
Clean socks.
Recently cleaned boots.
I headed out the door.
Bridle and riding pad on my horse and I was away.
We made good time reaching the calving field.
And almost immediately spotted a cow.
Calving.
But having difficulties.
I decided to take her back to the corrals.
And restrain her.
And help.
That's as far as my plans went.
I grabbed the protruding calf feet.
And that's when the cow broke out of my hastily-built restraint.
Grimly, I hung onto the calf.
As the cow started across the corral.
Dropping me and her calf in the middle of a puddle of . . . let me put it this way - it wasn't spring water.
I got up.
Carted the calf to safety.
And headed for the house.
My mother met me in the doorway.
Her clean daughter had gone out the door only half an hour before.
Now, dripping from head to toe with . . . barn puddle, said daughter had returned.
Mom stopped me in the porch.
“You just left here. Perfectly clean!” she said. “What did you do out there!”
“Well . . .”
“Never mind. Clothes off here!” she ordered.
I was divested of anything gooey.
Whereupon (good word) I sprinted for the shower.
In my underwear.
Ranching.
Not for the faint of heart.
Or for the fanatically clean.
Okay, let's face it . . . not even for the somewhat clean.
Don't you wish you were here?

6 comments:

  1. Ha ha. So true. So true.

    Reminds me of the summers I cleaned the dairy milking barns for my grandpa... just down the road from where we lived. If you knew me, you would be shocked at that statement alone.

    I would scrub and scrub those cow paddy- covered walls to a sparkling clean!.....just as grandpa would let the first batch of freshly milked cows out the back door of the barn....right past me and my sparkling clean walls......and right on cue.....EVERY SINGLE TIME......those darn cows would let out another fresh soupy {yes.....I said soupy} cow paddy and splatter my clean walls, boots, clothes.....Grrrrr!!!! Those darn cows. How is a girl {a little OCD about cleanliness} suppose to stay sane working like that each day? ; )

    P.S. Picturing you running to the shower in your underwear. Such is the life on a ranch, eh? NO one is allowed in the house with the farm clothes on. No one! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only seagulls are better (or worse) in their timing when it comes to releasing dung bombs! I can just picture you and your sparkling clean walls!!! :)

      Delete
  2. Nope....been there (to a degree) too old to go back to it (and I like being clean).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I've really reached the 'clean' age, too. Warm and dry and clean. Oh, and well fed. Those are my requirements now . . .

      Delete
  3. Diane, I really believe we are born and raised where we should be, I am not a country girl, lol...... I am such a city girl, albeit a small city girl :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly do agree with you! About being born and raised where we should be! I've lived in the big city. I belong in the country! :)

      Delete

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