Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Gates to...

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.
Ahem . . .
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 skittish (ie. stupid) 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 . . .

4 comments:

  1. Your mama was obviously much less of a klutz than I am. I am (conservatively speaking) about 10000 per cent certain that if I crawled through a barbed wire gate I would get stuck. And someone would get exercise rescuing me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am chuckling at the label!! Thank you for that, Diane :)

    Your poor mom - this reminds me a bit of putting together our two-part scissors. I get it wrong every time, I don't know why. Fortunately there is no barbed wire involved.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Laughing at your mum, sorry, but that's funny. I've met a few barbed wire fences, usually with someone else along, and one of us would hold two strands apart so the other could climb through.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wrecked more shirts closing and opening gates than...

    ReplyDelete

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