Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get the Gate

Approach carefully. It's tricky
On a ranch, there are gates.
Many gates.
In the corrals, big gates made of long, wooden boards.
That are fun to swing on.
As long as your Dad doesn't catch you.
Moving on . . .
Along the hundreds of miles of barbed-wire fences in the pastures, the gates are made of . . . barbed wire.
Go figure.
Barbed wire gates are fashioned by four or five long pieces of wire stretched between two end posts. Then three or four lighter 'dancers' (smaller poles) are nailed to these wires to keep them from tangling when the gate is being opened or closed.
Barbed wire gates are a bit tricky, but easily used, once you get the knack.
With practice, and a cooperative horse, one can even open and close these gates without ever having to get out of the saddle.
If one has an uncooperative horse, the mere thought of dragging a fence post and wires a few feet leads to Entertainment!
Notice the capital 'E'.
Okay, one doesn't have to look for excitement on a ranch.
Soooo . . . gates.
And using them.
My Mom, raised on a ranch and married to a rancher, never quite got the knack of the barbed wire gates.
I should point out here that, when we were riding, we took turns opening and closing.
When we were driving, the person riding 'shotgun' was the designated gateman.
Because Mom was so entertaining, she was always stuck in that seat.
So the rest of us could watch.
Oh, Mom could open the gates, a trick in itself.
And close them.
An even better trick.
But that is where her difficulty started.
Because somehow, she always closed them with herself on the wrong side.
Whereupon (good word) she would have to either perform the entire operation again, or crawl through.
She always chose the latter.
And the rest of us had a good chuckle while she did so.
Okay, you're right, we did have to look for our entertainment.
But at least we didn't have to look far . . .

12 comments:

  1. It's always interesting when you're right or left-handed. So many times you find yourself on the wrong side of the fence. Story of my life. Mom wasn't the only one who ended up on the wrong side of the fence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's where I admit I've done it myself . . .

      Delete
  2. lol
    Moms always do crazy things don't they lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. Moms are so good at so many things, their kids love to find their weaknesses :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've spent time on country properties and the main thing I had to remember was to always, always, shut the gate. There were grids set in the dirt under the gate to help stop cattle or sheep walking, (their hooves would get caught in the grid), but a closed gate was much more effective. Anyone who forgot was in big, big trouble. I don't remember any barbed wire gates though. I feel sorry for your mum having to crawl through those.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ha! Opening and closing gates really is a pain. Love that you were able to chuckle at your mom crawling through!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor mom. We found lots of ways to chuckle at her!

      Delete

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