August 26, 2005
Remember with me back to 1962; to a younger and gentler day in our lives. Some things in life are just more memorable than others. I have written hundreds of stories that I witnessed. They lay in all stages of my memories. This one stands out. What a pleasure to just have been there.
We woke up that morning to an extremely cold winter day in 1962 on the Ulmer Hereford Ranch near Morgan Mill, Texas. The outside was a postcard of beauty. During the night the heavens had placed six inches of the most beautiful snow ever seen by me in Texas. It was a very still morning with temperatures dipping into the mid-twenties. Things of beauty can also be deadly though.
The past week we had moved 175 pregnant angora nannies to a large shed next to a harvested peanut field. After the peanuts are dug, combined and the vines are baled, there is still an enormous amount of vines and peanuts left that goats can get fat on. That was the purpose of their being here, along with the fact of the big shed for shelter from the winter and kidding next month. The reason for these nannies was for replacement of about 10% of the 1500 wethers culled each year.
These wether hair goats made more percentage wise than anything on the ranch. They would shear $10-12 a piece and this was in the ‘60s.
I asked you little girls, “Would you like to go feed with me this morning?” You both screamed out your yes. We all ate a big breakfast. Mama bundled you both up and we took off. We loaded up peanut hay and cubes for the cattle. Everything needs protein when it’s cold and this was the highest. We stopped close to the shed and were instantly mobbed. If there’s anything in the world that goats love, it’s peanut hay. I threw a couple of bales off, broke them and started throwing them blocks. You girls and me got side tracked though. Always inside the bales are many, many cured peanuts. The vines are baled and in time, the bales build up a very high heat for a certain many days and then it cures. These by far are the best peanuts ever. I was sitting on a bale exposing the peanuts and you girls would grab the peanut vine and about half the time a goat would grab it from you. A couple of times, it ended in a chase. You never won. I never heard so much squealing in my life. Goats were all over us and even over the pick-up. You were having a ball.
After filling up on peanuts, we had put out all the hay and left for the Northeast pasture to feed the cattle. Other men fed the other pastures. We slipped and slid to the pack of the pasture where the cattle were behind a hill next to a lot of timber. We fed them the cubes. You girls ate a few of those, of course. You were both a big part of everything that we did that morning, from fighting goats for peanuts to feeding a pasture full of cattle, even eating a bite with them. We loaded up and left, we were through.
We were following our own tracks out when all of a sudden I saw some deer tracks. I stopped and we got out. I explained to you that a buck deer had crossed our tracks since we had come along here. It was a big one and I pointed out a print of his dew claws behind the foot print that showed it to be a buck. I asked you, “Do you want to track this deer?” You both squealed like little magpies. We took off on his trail just jabbering. We didn’t have a chance to see the buck but you were both excited and having fun. We followed his winding trail through timber and over a hill for about a half mile. There was a dead fall behind the hill and after getting to about thirty yards of it, a big buck came to its feet and lazily loped off. I quickly pointed him out to you. You were both squealing again and jumping up and down and that deer wasn’t a bit scared of us. He just loped off. He had a big wide rack and I could count 8 points at least.
When we finally got home that afternoon, Mama had a nice hot meal ready and boy, were we hungry. It was fun hearing you both tell your mama about your experiences that day.
What a wonderful day it was. Just two little girls, Barbi 9 and Jo 6 hanging out with their 30 year old cowboy dad. Life is good.
Happy birthday, Barbi