the most recent cold spells with ice and snow everywhere, Ruth and I sat by the
blazing fireplace, under good lights reading our favorite books and writing. Occasionally
we looked out the picture window at the cold wintery scene and thanked the good
Lord we were retired and not responsible for tending the ranch livestock. We recalled
some of the many experiences we had shared when the critters were our responsibility.
morning back in about 1982 we were feeding some yearlings in East Rockwall pasture
at a windmill and stock pond. Snow was a foot deep and a silly steer walked across
the ice on the pond and broke through, falling into the icy water. He was unable
to crawl back out on the ice and was fixing to drown without our help.
tossed a loop over his head and began to help him to shore. The ice kept breaking
as he lunged and near the edge both the steer and his benefactors pooped out.
We all rested a moment and Ruth walked out on the ice to twist his tail. Suddenly
her right leg fell through the ice filling her coverall leg, overshoe and boot
with ice cold water. The rest of the recovery was like a movie of the Keystone
Kops and before all reached dry ground we were laughing so hard we had to sit
same year we received a pot load of light steers, conditioned them and taught
them to eat cake. When all were well and coming to the feed truck we turned them
into a big pasture for the summer. The pasture contained many cap-rocks and deep
A few days later a spring blizzard hit, leaving a foot of snow
and ice on the grass. The load of fresh steers just disappeared into thin air.
Deep snow drifts limited getting around in the feed truck so I walked to some
of the cap-rock areas peering into the canyons trying to find the steers. After
three days I was convinced the young southern steers had drifted before the storm
and dropped off the tall cap-rock, falling into the canyon below. I rehearsed
my lines of how to explain to my banker how I had literally lost a pot load of
steers to the storm.
On the afternoon of that third day the sun came out
and I walked to the head of the deepest canyon in the pasture with a drop off
of more than 100 feet. I peeped over the edge expecting to see a pile of cattle
at the bottom frozen to death.
They were there all right, just as I expected,
but were lying in wild plum bushes in the sun chewing their cuds and enjoying
the warm sun. After making my count I thanked all concerned and walked back to
my truck. The cattle were smarter than I thought. They had found a trail off a
point, trudged back up the canyon out of the wind, found grass and water and didn't
need me at all.
May 18, 2010 Column © Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.