Friday, June 4, 2010

Go to my happy place.

Wednesday morning it was hot and muggy. I wanted to stay in the house and sit directly in front of the air conditioner vent, but when Luke asked if I wanted to ride along and play rancher with him, trying to be the good wife I am, I gladly accepted.

Our family has a lease place about 7 miles away from the house that we refer to as "The Brown," even though I don't know why. My guess is that at some point, it was owned by someone with that last name. If we purchase a piece of property, we almost always refer to it by the previous owners last name. For example, the land right across the street used to be owned by the Donaldson family, so we call it, "The Donaldson." My parents' own about 200 acres that we refer to as "The Livingston." So... anyway... we are driving to The Brown.

The reason we had to go to The Brown was because we had a cow that is close to calving that was in a pasture (in the back forty, I might add) with other cows who were short bred. It was inconvenient to check her way back in the middle of nowhere, and it would be hard to bring her up to the pens if she were to have any calving trouble. So, with the help of *the* most talented cowherd manager ever, Frank, we set out to pen the group of cows, and cut out the recip we needed.

Truth be told, we all love The Brown. Its a huge place with beautiful lakes and plenty of grass, but if you aren't familiar with it, you can easily get lost. We had a few gaps to open (for our city friends, "gaps" are makeshift gates made from fence materials) along the way, and then we found the cow we needed.

I'm not going to lie to you and say I'm a good penner, because I'm not. We had 2 vehicles: Frank (super penner) drives a truck, and Luke and I were riding in my grandpa Gene's truck that we borrowed. We located the group of cows and then started trying to gently move them. I don't know why I get so nervous, but I immediately did. Luke must've looked over and saw that I was gripping the door with my right hand and sitting on my left, with my eyes closed and my head down. I told him, "I'm going to my happy place."

You might think... "Catherine, you're crazy, what do you have to worry about when penning?" Well... I can think of a few things, but in this situation, the main thing I was worried about was........ driving the car off into an unknown lake.


Before you think I'm insane, let me tell you that the grass at the Brown was almost as high as the truck. We were penning together and driving pretty fast, and I would open my eyes to look for Frank's truck, and I'd only see the top of it moving about 50 mph. We could only see the grass/weeds directly in front of us. Now, I know for a fact there are bodies of water on The Brown. I also know for a fact that as we're driving fast penning, we've all pretty much lost track of where exactly these ponds are.

So I'm nervous and thinking, "How much longer? How far are we from the pens? Go to my happy place."

Well, before long, we turn the cows into the lane, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. The lane is the greatest invention ever for penning, because once the cows get in the lane, you're home free and they just walk down the lane to the pens.

We get the cows into the pen, and just when I think all is well with the world and anything I have to worry about is gone, I see Frank running back towards his truck. I say, "Hey, what's going on?"

Frank yells...

"Snake! Maybe a rattlesnake!"

Oh. My. Gosh.

Go to my happy place.

Frank "took care" of the snake, which turned out to be a less-exciting Water Mocassin.

Now all is well. We're almost done, we just have to get the cows back to their pasture. It's Luke and I's job to turn the cows once they reach their gate at the end of the lane.

This is no problem for me, as one of my defining rancher moments and quite possibly one of the best moments of my life happened about 4 years ago, when my dad dropped me off in a similar situation to stand, on foot, by myself, and turn a group of about 75 recip cows at a 90 degree angle to cross a creek. I can distinctly remember seeing the cows running towards me, full blast. My dad was behind them pushing them.

My hands were sweaty, and I was terrified, but it was no time to "go to my happy place," so I started waving my hands and yelling "Hup! Ho!" and sure enough, just when I thought I was going to get trampled, the first cow in the group looked to the left and made the turn. The rest followed. I felt like Queen of the Ranch that day.

Anyways... I got off track with that excellent story.

We got the cows back to the pasture and we have safely separated the soon-to-calve recip.

As fun as all this sounds... I'm not sure I'll be accompanying Luke too many more times to The Brown.... at least not until some of that tall grass is gone OR I get a scuba suit.


  1. Whoo Hooo! You go Catherine! It will be fun to go back and re-read this blog in a dry year. You'll be like... you're kidding, the grass was really that high and we had WATER to fall into?! heehee

  2. Hey, just was snooping on RHD and saw the old-new news. Congrats on your new job!! I think the classiness of the show circuit just went up ALOT OF notches!!!

  3. You crack me up Catherine! Glad you survived ;)

  4. This cracks me up!! It is so detailed I felt like I was sitting in the back seat with you!! Great blog, you two always keep in interesting!!

  5. Save your money on the scuba suit... your Grandpa Sloan got ahold of Charles/DJ and guess where DJ's been shreading the past couple days? The Brown. =) When he told me where he was at I just starting laughing.