Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Monday, July 11, 2016

In the Dirt

Dad on Shaker.
This really has nothing to do with the story. I just like the picture!

Ranching is always an adventure.

Sometimes a tad . . .  uncomfortable.
But always entertaining.
Orphaned calves are cared for in one of several ways on a ranch.
Bottle feeding is always an option.
But the best solution usually involves adopting the little baby onto another mother.
Okay, it sounds good.
But convincing the mother to take on another cow’s calf is tricky.
She is seldom . . . okay, never . . . willing to cooperate.
If she has lost her calf (and I know this sounds icky) the rancher can skin the dead calf and tie the hide onto the living one. The cow smells her calf and the adoption is complete.
But when she still has a calf living, the process is a bit more difficult.
The solution usually involves buckling the two calves together at the neck and turning them in with the cow.
The cow quickly discovers that she can’t kick the strange calf off without also losing her own.
A bovine conundrum.
Eventually solved by allowing both calves to suck.
The only concern thereafter is making sure one periodically loosens the collars as the calves grow.
And that’s where my story starts.
Finally . . .
Several of the cow hands on the Stringam ranch were checking the herd.
They noticed that a pair of coupled calves’ collars were getting a bit snug.
Someone needed to chase the intrepid pair down and perform the necessary loosening procedure.
One volunteered.
By spurring his horse.
Now, this was a man who was accustomed to working with cattle.
He had chased down calves before.
But he didn’t realize in this case that the yoked calves couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t-want-to run together.
Instead, they began to run in at least two different directions.
Forward progression was . . . limited.
The cowboy, used to gauging his movements by normal calf movements launched himself off of his running horse.
Flew straight over the heads of the struggling calves.
And chewed up about 10 feet of dirt.
His friends stared at him.
Then, sympathetic to the end, burst out laughing.
The would-be wrangler spit out a mouthful of dirt and, face scraped, bleeding and dirty, joined in the general laugh at himself.
The calves were duly caught. Their collars loosened. And everyone headed home.
Bruised.
But happy.
Yep. Ranching. An adventure.
You get the picture . . .

4 comments:

  1. Learned something new! Life on the ranch sounds like a good sense of humor is needed, of course a good sense of humor and being able to laugh at one self is a good thing everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like great lengths to go to in order to get a laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am surprised that they need to stay yoked after the mama accepts them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like he had a good sense of humour (defined as an ability to laugh at oneself) ;)

    ReplyDelete

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