A Cowboy’s Faith: Assistance makes task doable

buchmanhead“Going to spring grass with cattle has always been a major ordeal.”

Many things attribute to smoothness of operations, and likewise complications that can arise making the task much more difficult than intended and it could have been.

Anytime anyone’s working with livestock, there’s always something going to happen. Somebody will get kicked, run over, stomped on. Cattle get out, run off, always something.

Poor facilities and lack of assistance have been two big challenges. Fortunately, both have found some relief through the decades.

Necessity has demanded construction of pens and purchase of helpful equipment.

Likewise, there’s been added assistance. Not always so much who it is, but more importantly, a person in the right place at exactly the right time, when help’s needed.

There really wasn’t anything funny about it then. Actually, more than little disgruntlement, stomping, raving and something said that later wish hadn’t been. But, now we can’t help but grin about certain occurrences that happened in early years going to grass.

Of course, we only had a few cattle, but no facilities, and no money to hire anybody to help.

Generally two of us did it after Dad passed, unless we could coax a neighbor or renter to assist.

Fortunately, a feed bucket worked to coax the whitefaces into the tiny corral.

Yet, loose barbed wire fence never worked too well to retain even the gentle cattle under stress. If a critter lunged away in fright, it was out, making the already long day longer.

No chute or solid corner post to dally onto, but every critter had to be roped on foot and man handled around. Plenty of cuts, scrapes, bruises, and soreness for days after.

Now considered essential immunizations weren’t thought as important then. So, we didn’t have to poke as many needles, and make ’em wilder.

Veterinary assistance was sometimes sought for operations procedures, and Doc always grudging came, aware of what was ahead. One thing learned: don’t ever say anything about the bill. Doc would look us straight in the eye: “Would you rather have the cattle die?”

Going to grass is work, but lots easier with improved facilities and plenty of help.

Reminds us of Hebrews 2:18: “He is able to help and provide assistance.”  Thus, Second Corinthians 8:19: “We are eager to help one another.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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