Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ted

A guest post by my baby brother, Blair Stringam.
I can call him that because it's my blog...
Got grain?

While growing up on the ranch, we had some very special pets.  
There was the perpetual dog - or dogs - that wandered around with us.  
A cat that would ride on our shoulder when we fed the cattle. (This cat was unique. When we opened the feed bin doors, the resident mice would scurry and the cat would jump off our shoulder and chase/catch said mice. Then he would climb up on the fence, drop down on our shoulder as we walked by and ride to the next bin.) By the way we had a very creative name for him.  He was called “Cat”.
But probably the most loved pet that I had was a Hereford herd bull that we called “Ted”.  
When Ted was growing up we had him in a pen with several other bulls his age. He was always the biggest one in the group.  
We would feed him and his pen mates in the morning and in the evening.
The feeding routine usually involved: me opening the grain bin door and grabbing a bucket. And Ted moving quickly in behind, gently pushing his head under me and shoving me up on the pile of gain so he could eat.
At this point I would finally manage to get the buckets filled, carry them to the feed troughs and deposit the feed there.
Ted would decide that it was easier to get the feed from the trough and go over there to finish his meal.
Then it was safe to shut the bin door and move to the next pen.
Ted grew until he weighed over 2000 lbs, but was always very quiet and very tame.  Dad kept him on the ranch and used him as a herd bull because he was so big and quiet.  In the winter, we would keep him in a small pasture where we would feed him grain and hay and get him fattened up for the next breeding season.
When I completed my daily chores, I would feed Ted at the end of my routine. 
Ted was always at the other end of the pasture.  
I couldn't just call him. I had to walk out and chase him in for feed.  
Well not really chase.
I’d walk out and climb up on his back. Ted would then walk toward the feed trough.  However, he would usually stop at least once or twice. This meant that he wanted to be scratched. As I scratched his back, he would resume his walk.
Once we got to the feed trough he would bow his head toward the ground and I would slide down his neck over his head and grab a bucket of grain. 
We had Ted on the ranch for a few short years.  When he developed a problem that our veterinarian father couldn't fix, sadly, Ted left this world.  
Most people have favorite pets.
I think my sister had a favorite horse. Or ten.
For me, my favorite was big, gentle, half-the-size-of-a-truck Ted.

16 comments:

  1. Great story, Blair. I can see why Ted was your favorite, your interactions with Ted were so unique (well, as far as this Bostonian can tell).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes the individual animal's personality overcomes all the stereotypes, doesn't it? Truly a touching story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ted certainly wasn't your normal bull!

      Delete
  3. Aw, Ted sounds like a love! Not the typical image one has of a bull. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Hard to put him in any of the 'accepted' roles!

      Delete
  4. He sounds like a real sweetie.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post Blair! We used to go to the rodeos and I can't imagine a bull this tame!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ted certainly wasn't like any of the bulls you would have seen there! Although he was probably bigger! :)

      Delete
  6. I do enjoying reading good stories about farm or ranch life. I am a cowgirl at heart. I loved this one~
    Blessings to you for a great story!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awwww…I love Ted just from reading this post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm with menopausal mama, Ted sounds so loveable. What a lovely pet, I can just picture you riding then sliding off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Ted just standing there, waiting to be scratched. Or fed...

      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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