Living on a great Alberta cattle ranch has its ups and downs.
Maybe I should explain . . .
In Alberta, cattle are generally raised in one of two locations.
In a feedlot. This is for the ‘feeder’ cattle. Those animals one to two years old without offspring.
The upside of a feedlot operation is that when you have to check on your animals, you just walk out into the corral and . . . look. The downside is it’s rather smelly.
But the cattle are happy and healthy with regular feedings and good friends to stand around with, so all is well.
The other location most frequently used is the field. Now the field, as suggested by its name, is out . . . in the field. So . . . not close to the house.
Checking the cattle every day requires a good horse and rider. (ie. me and/or Chico or Bluey or Zee or Zephyr or Fancy or Peanuts or Pinto or Rebel or Lady or Topper or . . .)
Or Dad in the family car. (ie. yikes)
Now, for many fields, the second option wouldn’t be a problem. Those fields are flat. (Saskatchewan flat. Google it…)
In our part of Alberta, the fields aren’t.
Flat, that is.
Maneuvering around them on a horse is simplicity in itself.
In a car? Less so.
And still, Dad did it.
A suggestion of a Sunday drive inevitably ended up in one field or another, ‘just to have a look’.
I, in the back seat would white-knuckle the entire trip as the car went straight up.
Or straight down.
Or, the very worst. Straight sideways.
We kids would roll around in the back seat like dried peas (seatbelts were only something they used at Cape Canaveral).
Fortunately, the speeds were kept to a minimum as we crawled about the field.
But that allowed for me to imagine tipping over backwards. Or forwards. Or sideways.
Believe me, I would rather have been crawling.
The smell of sage in my nostrils.
The feel of the stiff, prairie grass under my palms.
The threat of some messy accident far away in the ‘never-going-to-happen’ realm.
One good thing came of our little trips through the fields.
I mastered the art of breathing only in short gasps.
P.S. I get sick on boats. Something about the up-ing and down-ing and sideways-ing. Perhaps a holdover from my childhood . . .?