Writing is like cooking, if you spill something, you should make it look like part of the act.
–John Keeble–

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gone to work

For nearly two years now I’ve been collecting the gear to be able to help out on the ranch. A couple days ago I finally got to use them.
Boot- the cowboy boot where given to me by James’ mom. I needed appropriate footwear for the rodeo. In the early morning chores they got covered in mud and cow dung. Pink Carhartt jacket- after helping the boys outside in the early spring, I told James that I need a coat that I could work in. A pink Carhartt jacket was a birthday present in the following weeks. This morning they held my pocket knife as I pulled it in and out of my pocket to cut twine. Pink Pocket Knife- after James and I were dating, James bought me a pocket knife. His reason was “everyone can use a pocket knife”. This was weird to me at the time because people who cared pocket knives got in trouble for caring weapons. “They’re tool”, and I’ve come to see them that way. As James used the back-hoe to carry the feed it was my job to cut the twine and free the bails. Gloves- at the co-op we picked up a pair of gloves for me, so that I could help. Well, I lost them and did not have them, so I got mud and cow poo on my hands from freeing the bails. Crochet Hat- while James was on field trip to Seattle he bought me a hat from Pikes-Place Market. This caught the straw that I threw into the calf pin for a bed. So good news everything got broken-in… almost everything.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Dead Cow

Living in the suburbs and living on a ranch has it similarities, none of which when it comes to talkin’ cows. Not actual talking, but the subject of. “There is a dead cow that needs to be taken care off” might be something my Mom would say to refer to dinner. My Husband is referring to the rotting meat out in the field Here the cows are put on the corn fields during the winter; corn stocks about knee high are what the cows feed on, along with salt licks and minerals. Temporary electoral fences are uses to keep the cows penned in.
All geared up against the cold weather, we jumped in the Back-hoe. I figured we would just scoop up the animal in the bucket and be on our way. It grew more complicated than that once we reached the animal. Chains were placed around its feet and hauled up in the air. The complicated part was when I got to help run the Back-hoe as James chained the legs of the cow to the bucket. Snow was falling, the kinds that never seems to find its way to the ground but swirls around your head as we headed back. “Stock holders will lose”, old Leroy, our neighbor to the west, said as we crossed his place with the stiff meat hanging from the Back-hoe, “that is what I said to myself when I saw it out in that field”. Neighbors around here are different too. Driving a Back-hoe down the free-way doesn’t turn heads, even if it is hauling a dead cow swing from the bucket. I pictured in my head kids screaming in a School Bus, but James pointed out that kids that have to pull calves aren’t too affected when they see dead cow, or if it gets shot in front of them. It is after all the way of life. I jumped out as we passed the house, and James finished the business. This was dropping the animal off by the front of the property for the “Meat Wagon” to pick up. I’d grown up knowing where my meat came from, and that hard working Farmers and Ranchers lived to grow me food. Let’s face it, I truly did not understand were my food came from, the details of the hard work, because the closest I’d come to a cow was a petting farm. Being around here I truly feel like a city girl, but refuse to be a Paris Hilton, and plan on getting dirty.