Julie Carter

Welcome to the West as I see it

Within these pages, you will find the end result of a lot of living and laughing, finally put between book covers to share with the world. A laugh is never a better laugh than when it can be shared and shared again.

I hope you choose to own a copy of my book, Cowgirl Sass and Savvy. It is a selection of some of the first stories individually published in a syndicated column by the same name that I have written weekly since 2002. They offer you a peek into ranch and cowboy life that isn't what you see as you drive by or what you read in the glossy slick magazines selling cowboy clothes, furniture and adventures.

And most of all, I hope the stories bring you, at the very least, a smile and a good laugh. No better gift could I offer you.

I also offer you a glimpse of this rural area as I see it through my camera lens. Shop the Mercantile page for posters that I have combined my photography with words I have written. Also there are calendars showcasing some of my favorite photos from this year. A link to my landscape photography website will let you browse through what I see when I travel down the dirt roads of the West.

Julie's Weblog

March 7, 2010

Good neighbors

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 2:58 pm

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

He would let his neighbors fix the water gaps or the fence lines between them, never interfering or offering advice on the projects.

His neighborliness extended to letting his neighbors come get their bulls if they happened to get to his side of the fence and he always offered to let them stay just long enough to get his cows bred up.

One time a rogue bear tore up a good bit of the common fence line be-tween he and a neighbor. Neal told his neighbor it would be OK for him to come hunt the bear as soon as he, the neighbor, got the fences fixed. It’s the least he could offer in the way of gratefulness.

Neal never caused any problems when his cows would find a way over to the neighbor’s pasture. Frequently he would let them stay awhile, even after he’d been notified of their location. It was his way of not causing any problems.

One time he had a set of fairly waspy longhorn-cross heifers. One of them found her way to a neighbor’s herd and made it her job to lead off those cattle at a dead run when the cowboy tried to ride through them.

That got old fast and so the cowboy called Neal and asked if he’d consider putting “heifer retrieval” on his to-do list. Neal told him to put the heifer in the water lot, call him and he’d come with a trailer to get her.

The wild and crazy heifer was not at all impressed by a horse or a cowboy. If she spotted one, she’d take off like a bottle rocket and any cattle in the vicinity would scatter like quail. Heifers like that need to be grateful that not all cowboys are still wearing guns.

One day the cowboy arrived to find the longhorn entertaining herself by licking off her new calf. She was enough distracted that the cowboy got the water lot gate shut on her.

She was immediately on the hook but wouldn’t jump the fence and leave the calf.

Neal got his phone call with the suggestion that he really needed to come get that pair so the other cattle could get to water.

Way down in the afternoon he appeared with a trailer. He mentioned how happy he was that his heifer had fared so well on the good grass and was proud that she was such a good mother. The cowboy was proud to see her leave.

Another neighbor ran a few sheep. Sometimes he even ran sheep that had lambs. One year everybody around him had all their lambs worked, sheep sheared, everything counted and back to summer grass. Fred still didn’t have his first lamb.

Neighbors being neighbors, their community discussion centered on his bucks. They all were worried that perhaps Fred had a problem with bucks that shot blanks.

In the discussion, it finally occurred to Fred that he had forgotten to put the bucks out with the ewes that year. No more mystery.

Neighboring brings out the best in ranchers. One such rancher down Tucumcari way was known to be one of the tighter humans around. His ranch was fairly irregular in shape, garnering him quite a few neighbors with common fence lines.

One time he got a wedding invitation from one of those neighbors. He was just going to simply wish the guy well, but his wife insisted they had to give him something for a wedding present.

Troy offered that he would just give him that water gap between them. Use or lose.

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