From Belgium to HerePosted Thursday, December 1, 2011, at 1:36 PM
Cowboys are somewhat mythical figures that have almost always been around. There is a special something that makes a man/woman want to be a "Cowboy"
I grew up around cowboys, and really never thought much about it. My Aunt and Uncle had a ranch past Grandview. Looking back, I think they probably had some pretty good cowboys working for them. I remember lots of stuff, but not wrecks, and stupid things. My Uncle Bill was a quiet man, and I remember him telling me, "Do enough to get it done, and no more, and be quiet" "Don't get in the way or your day might be over, .... do you want your day to be over?" I remember lots of teasing... mostly I remember so much fun, I so loved being there. When we trailed cattle, the 'youngest had to open and shut gates' I could always open the gate, but shutting was nearly impossible at times. Sometimes, I'd say "I can't!" He'd say "See you on the way back by" and they'd leave. I shut the gate.... sometimes after a long long time, in my mind... thinking, "they can't leave me!!!!!" But the lesson learned was, I actually could shut the gate. Looking back, I know he knew I could too, or he wouldn't have done it,...and I'm betting he would have come back..... eventually.
I've learned that a good genuine cowboy knows more about cattle than most/(any?) big rancher/corporation does. They don't just "ride the range" and look like a cowboy. Yes, they do that, and they rope and ride, and can do rope tricks, and throw fancy loops to be envied.
There are such simple things like being able to see in a cow/calf's eye that they just don't feel good. Or maybe by the way it walks, or doesn't walk.
He can give horses, cows, calves, and more, IV medication. Not in a vet office, (in perfect conditions) but out in the field. Because he has to. He can pull a calf, out in the "field" (literally), make sure it's breathing, and help Mama live. He knows the doses, and the wide range of medicines that should be administered and when. And what should not be given. And he knows how to make sure all this happens, while keeping me safe!
He can talk genetics and the history of specific DNA. Gads... literally, my mind reels at times.
What I couldn't really believe at first, was after being thru a herd of pairs, he can tell you which one is which one's calf/mama. And he can tell you the type of calf she had last year, and if he knew her, each year. And whether or not she had good calves or not. He can tell her breeding, and where she was bought, or born. Not to mention the brands, ear marks etc, that she might carry. The ear tags have #'s, but he detests the cowboys that can only tell you "The black cow with a purple tag" Be specific for heck sake! I've started looking at them more as individuals, but I''ll never really be able to distinguish them like a truly good cowboy can.
Anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.... In the last few years, I've met a few other good cowboys. Some that call on Wayne from time to time for advice, and a couple that we met together.
One is recently, and I'm sorry to say that right at this moment, I can only remember his first name. Charles.
Charles is about my age, and he is from Belgium. He tells stories of growing up there, watching western movies ... (Mike, you know the ones) and telling his family, "I'm going to go to America, to that ranch, and be a Cowboy" He grew up riding horses, English. I suppose that was a far fetched dream, but at the age of 17, he had the opportunity to do just that. He came and spent some time on the "Spanish Ranch" and a few others on his "list" of ranches/to do list. He has stories of hard knocks that he learned. I hope to describe some of them later. He went back to Belgium, after about a year. But he could not forget and let go of this dream he had. So, again, he had an opportunity and he came back when I believe he was about 20. He calls America his "home" now, though he visits Belgium from time to time.
I met him the first time something over a month ago, at the San Jacinto Ranch in Nevada. I'm kind of shy, so I really didn't talk to him much, but he had a horse that I kind of liked...so I got some pictures.
I kind of have a thing for Buckskins. And this one was so nicely behaved.... due to a good cowboy, that he caught my eye.
While I'm at it, I'll show you some of the
San Jacinto Ranch
Lots of these big ranches have RV hook ups, so a person can take their own "home" to live in.
Of course my Marshmallow, eating oats. You can always tell when I'm riding her, she will be wearing pink!
This is just a 'shell' of a building. Can you imagine my Grandkids there?
The San Jacinto has some Historic Value itself. This used to be ..hmmmmmmmmm.... Stage Stop???? I will have to check into that. But it is in itself a Signature Rock of sorts. Lots of names on this wall. Including Kelly Dennis, another great Cowboy
Kelly Dennis. Our good friend, and History in himself
Meeting room/Break room, in the bunk house.
Good horses.... gosh I love photos like this
Charles, from Belgium, on his Buckskin. left
Belgium Charles on dark horse. Another thing about a good cowboy, is they don't make just one horse do all the work. It's hard work, and only fair to let them have breaks. I've seen some just ride them into the ground.
Wayne and Charles, can you tell it's cold?
Charles talks with a deep brogue. I love listening to him. He's soft spoken, and not bragging. He talks about the amazing places/ranches he dreamed/lived to live his dream. He talks about the mean owners/cowbosses, but always said he came away with a great lesson. While in the states, he has become a phenomenal braider. There is a lot of quiet time, and that's what he learned to pass the time.
A big gentle man.
Wayne and Kelly
Charles actually has a Facebook account, though we haven't contacted yet, I hope to. I want to know more about his life, on so many ranches.....and I plan to share.
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I am interested in this Community, County, and the beautiful state of Idaho. Most of my photos will be in Idaho, but from time to time, they will be my vacations aay from Idaho. You'll see lots of my Children and Grand children, along with others in my family. Of course there will be horses and horse related things, and things I photo'd horseback.