This was first published June 19, 2011.
About 3 am, I felt yukky. About 4 am, Vernon awoke to get ready to ride and gather our steers (who sell tomorrow on Northern Livestock Video Auction). About 4:45, he and Brandon left and I remained on the couch. Miserable and, now, guilty as well. I fell back asleep at 6 and awoke at 7:30, feeling fine. I ate a little and decided I was going to live. The guilt was hovering around me. I should be out there helping. This is our Payday… these steers are what we work for every year. Though the auction is tomorrow and the buyer has a window of time to ship them, the BLM wants them off the allotment by tomorrow… so despite the indications of rain in the forecast… we ride. Or they rode and I stayed home. Finally I couldn’t stand it. I gathered my chaps and slicker, wrapped Lucas’ paw, and loaded him and Elsa into my Durango. Cool weather… lots of mud puddles… rain in the forecast… and the chance of meeting my crew on the way in… it was the perfect opportunity for Lucas to actually WORK like he loves!
Soon after I started, the slicker came off my saddle and onto my back. Then I remembered I should have oiled it last time I used it. Well, it worked fairly well… the storm was mainly a steady drizzle, only occasionally did Panama have to sidestep down the lane, his butt to the heavy rain. The grey sky only made the Indian paintbrush that much more brilliant. Patches of the flower would shame Crayola… and it *never* transfers well to film.
I had set a limit on how far out I’d ride… I didn’t need to kill Lucas. Sure enough, I could see the guys coming with the steers, but they were still miles away. I guided Panama to the lee of a hill and let him graze. I’d peek over the top, check on their progress, then return to the protection of the ridgeline. Finally, they caught up to us, and Lucas and Elsa eagerly helped the herd along.
My guilt by now was replaced by a chill and various wet spots seeping through my slicker… now, why did I feel guilty? I could be home by my woodstove… duh. But watching the scenery and Lucas working made it worthwhile…
And steers travel fast… Soon we were crossing the Nowood…
Steam lifted off the steers backs as we penned them. We pitched a little hay and headed for dry clothes and a warm house… two of the Greatest Inventions in my book.Find me here!