Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ranching Memories: Magic, Mishaps, and Mischief

With it being a long weekend, most of the crew (except for Cowboy Pete- he is in Bulgaria!) came back to the ranch to play.  The best part about everyone coming home is the times where sit around and visit.  We always end up talking about days on the ranch.  Those crazy branding days that The Buckaroo’s horse would always buck.  Or the days of near tragedy that were too scary to laugh at.  There is a theme running through them- somebody did something a little crazy!  We were laughing so hard my sides hurt… I wish you could have been there.  Some of the stories were just too perfect to NOT share! 

Three Boys Means no Boys
Any smart ranch dad takes advantage of the free labor that comes with raising kids on the ranch.  One day Rancher Sr. and The Ranch Boss went out to Locomotive to work some cattle and took along a few of the boys for some help.  It was a typical dusty and windy day, which meant that these kids couldn’t hear or hardly hear what they were being told to do.  That’s kind of a must when you are the gate man on a sorting day.  Even when they figured out some hand signals, the cowboys would forget to use them!  The Ranch Boss just told them, “When you have one boy, there is one boy… two boys there is a half a boy…  three boys means no boys!”

Magical Ranch Mornings
Mornings on the ranch really can be magical. The fields smell incredible, the sun streams over the hills, and the birds are singing.  Those moments just make you want to stand still to soak up every bit of the promise of a new day.  Some mornings are a little magical than other, like when The Ranch Boss headed out for morning chores to find the old farm hand tractor running in the stack yard. What’s so magical about that?  No one was there and no one had been there.  The tractor started up by itself!  They actually figure that a few mice got chewing on the wires, crossed them, and started the old tractor up.

The Beginning of Crop Circles and BE Farms
Being observant and industrious ranch kids, The Rancher, The Cowpoke, and a few fellow farming friends started their own farms- The BE Farms.  They had their own patch of dirt to plant their hay and grain in and despite their clever schemes and earnest efforts their crops didn’t produce well.  Buts really no problem when your little field neighbors dad’s big hay field.  Just grab your best pair of kindergarten scissors and cut some yourself a supplemental hay crop!  Don’t be surprised if the carefully cut pivot circes are mistaken for deer getting in the hay! The Rancher Boss was sure there was a herd of deer… nope- just a herd of little boys!

The Rooster Story
We love having chicken for fresh eggs, but once upon a time the ranch raised their own chickens for the meat.  This meant that they had a rooster.  And not any ol’ rooster.  He was the nastiest, meanest old thing.  So mean that the boys wouldn’t go gather the eggs for fear of that rooster chasing after them with his lethal beak.  Rancher Sr., tired of the boys not getting the eggs, decided he was going to do something about it.  His solution- a 2x4.  He left the rooster for dead in the field, sure that the problem was solved.  Weeks later, The Rancher was crouched down working on his snow mobile in the shop when all of the sudden, this rooster jumps up on his leg.  He perched up there, ruffled his feathers a bit and just stood like he was some sort of pet!  Rancher Sr. must have knocked something loose on that rooster, because ever since then he was pleasant as ever!  But they tell me he did walk with his head cocked to one side…

It’s just ON FIRE!
The Cowpoke came back to help on the ranch between semesters a few times.  It’s the sort of thing these boys live for- dad telling them that he needs them to stay to work on the ranch with them.  What they don’t live for is the tractor catching fire on them!  While The Cowpoke was doing some farm work he started smelling a little smoke.  Being a good farmer he stopped to check under the hood only to see a bird’s nest on fire and shooting flames out the side!  Lucky enough he was parked right next to the ditch.  Unfortunately he didn’t have a thing to haul water in!  He was clever (and probably calm) enough to notice the 4 wheeler there that he was able to jump on to find a 5 gallon bucket at the stack yard.  Rancher Sr. was there too, curious as to why The Cowpoke would leave his post on the tractor a bucket.  Um, ya… it’s only ON FIRE!  Maybe that was the beginning of the Eliason Fire Brigade…

The Buckaroo’s First Catch
The Buckaroo has a knack for twirling a rope.  Will Rogers has nothing on him! Well, I’m sure that he will be that good someday, soon!  This roping craze started young, like 2 years old.  The beginning of his roping career was marked with his first tie down.  He had been outside playing with the dog, typical boy thing.  But after a bit he randomly ran in the house. A minute later he ran back out… with his rope.  Then not too much longer he can back inside… without his rope.  When mom asked where the roped was he simply replied, “I tied the dog to the tree…”  True enough, that little cowboy had roped and hog-tied the dog to the tree!    

A Needle Stick

One fine branding day, I was in charge of giving the shots.  I was double fisting even.  Before we would get to work on the calves we had to have them rolled on the right side.  If there wasn't a free man to do it I would jump in and try to help.  Easy, not a problem.  Except the time that as I rolled the calf and bent down so did The Rancher's uncle behind me.  It was like two magnets coming together- his bum and my needle.  AH!  If there was ever a terrible place for a needle stick it had to be there!

Boys and Hot Shots

Little boys and hot shots are always a scary combination, but give them to a little boy that wants to zap his neighbor.  There was a little cousin that loved the hot shot and would just come up to whoever and give them a little zap.  The boys got so sick of it that occasionally they would give him a taste of his own medicine.  And then came the day that he accidentally got The Buckaroo.  He was so sick of this kid doing it and not knowing it wasn't on purpose, he turned around and got him back so bad!  Needless to say, he didn't get anyone with the hot shot again!

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