by Barry Denton

View From the Backside

Springtime

by Barry Denton

After a long winter, spring is normally a welcome sight. For one thing you get to warm up outside and can get some work done without wearing three layers of clothes.

The horses are not as fresh as they were when you got on them this winter. With the onset of warm weather they are being used, which just might keep you from getting bucked off.

As we all know, the ground gets harder every year. If you are lucky enough to get a little spring rain the wild flowers start coming on. The wind will commence blowing across the plains and hopefully that will bring you those long awaited showers.

It will also be time to gather soon, not only will you be gathering cattle, but you will be gathering with folks that you have not seen for most of the winter. It is always good to keep the lines of communication open with your neighbors in case trouble should arise.

I never quite understood city folks as many of them live in the same building and never know their neighbors across the hall. If you are a city slicker reading this, right now may be the best time to knock on your neighbor’s door and find out who you are living next to.

When you live in a rural setting, with many miles between your neighbors you are pretty much forced to communicate with them whether you want to or not. Helping each other is what this world should be about.

I might have a little different view on springtime as I was always convinced it was named after the herd bulls. These large lumbering creatures that amble along most of the year develop springs in their legs as soon as the warm weather hits.

All of the sudden your herd bulls will begin breeding all their cows. As soon as they are done with that, they spring right over to the neighbors (which are normally miles away) and do some breeding there too.

There is no reason to get upset about this as the neighbor’s bulls will be over to see the remainder of your cows soon enough. However, when bulls get to traveling too much they need to get hauled to the sale.

Last spring we had a neighbor’s bull here after roundup so we called him to let him know. He assured us he would be over the next day to pick him up. We stuck him in a high steel corral, fed him, and waited for the next day. First thing in the morning the neighbor arrives with his stock trailer to pick up the bull.

One thing you don’t realize if you are city folks, is that range bulls do not like to be in corrals. Our corrals are made from steel pipe and railroad ties that are about 6ft. high. They are good solid corrals designed to hold cattle.

We needed to haze this bull out of the corral, into the lane and then out the loading shoot. Since the bull was a little “snuffy” at us, I suggested to my neighbor that we go get a couple of horses to move him.

Of course, my neighbor wanted to give it a try on foot first because that is how he moved this gentle bull at home. I was not for it, but did not want my macho to be out done by the neighbor who was much older than me.

We went ahead and got the trailer in position. Then we opened the gates into the lane. The bull was standing headed into the lane, only about 15 feet from it. The bull did see the open gate right ahead of him; however he was much more interested in the two cowboys afoot trying to haze him down the lane with hardwood canes.

I have always wondered why people think they can move a two thousand pound critter with a wooden cane. I am now convinced that the cane is for the cowboy after he tried to move the bull with it.

Within a split second the bull was hazing us out of the corral. Both of us, who are beyond middle age, leapt over those six foot corrals like kids.

I am thoroughly convinced that bulls should be used to train Olympic athletes. The trouble is that the bull jumped the six foot corral fence with us. Now the three of us are in the adjacent corral.

These two cowboys went ahead and jumped the next six foot fence. The bull must have got bored and did not follow us the second time. He was convinced that he had made his point.

Once again I suggested that perhaps we ought to go and get a horse. For some reason my neighbor agreed with me this time. The bull was easy to load horseback and soon my neighbor was on his way.

It is never a bad thing to help your neighbor whether he is miles away or across the hall. Spring time on the ranch gives you many opportunities to do just that. If you stop and think about the story of the bull you will realize that cowboys and cowgirls can develop springs in their legs when needed. Springtime is any time you need to get away from a charging bull!