Hank's "Ranch Life" Series, Part 1

Friday, May 25, 2012 | By John R. Erickson


     It's me again, Hank the Cowdog.  So you want to know about ranching?  Well, you came to the right place. 

     I happen to be pretty muchly an expert on the subject and I probably know more about this ranch than anybody in the whole world, and we're talking about humans, dogs, cats, whatever, but especially cats. 

     Cats think they know everything about everything but they don't.  Cats know everything about nothing.

     Or nothing about everything.

     They're pretty dumb, is what I'm saying, so if you want to know about ranching, don't ask a cat.

     Where were we?  Oh yes, I was fixing to tell you about this ranch.  For starters, it's my home.  It’s located in the tippy‑tip‑top of the Texas Panhandle.  Wolf Creek runs through the place.  Most of our country is flat to rolling, although we've got some pretty deep canyons up north.

     Oh, did I mentioned that I'm Head of Ranch Security?  That's correct, and it's one of the most important jobs in the whole entire world, because if it weren't for me...well, just think about it.  There might not even be a ranch.  It might have been carried off long ago by monsters and goblins, those same scary guys I bark at in the middle of the night.

     So there you are.  A ranch without a Head of Ranch Security would be like...I don't know what, but it wouldn't be much.

     Okay, back to the subject.  This ranch is my home.  It's also the home of Drover, Pete the You‑Know‑What, Little Alfred, Baby Molly, a bunch of cattle, some chickens, thirteen head of horses, and a lot of wild animals.

     Oh, and did I mention Loper and Sally May?  Probably better, seeing as how they think this ranch belongs to them.  Their names are on the deed in the court house, don't you see, and they pay the taxes on the place, and what the heck, if they want to be­lieve that it's their ranch, that's okay with me.

     Loper and Sally May live in a house at ranch headquarters, the center of our ranch operation.  Ranch headquarters covers four or five acres and that’s where you find the corrals (also called shipping pens), the machine shed, the feed barn, and the saddle shed.  We park our stock trailers behind the machine shed and keep the horses in the horse pasture. 

     Ranch headquarters is where you’ll find the Security Division’s Vast Office Complex.  That’s where I hang out when I’m not out on patrol or conducting an investigation.  It consists of two big overhead storage tanks, one for diesel and one for gasoline, mounted on a steel frame. 

     Drover and I sleep on gunny sack beds beneath the tanks…although I must point out that I spend very little time sleeping.  Why?  Too much work.  Hey, running this ranch is a killer-job, and we’re talking about eighteen hours a day.  No holidays around here, no days off to go see your kinfolks, no overtime pay, just work and more work.  No ordinary dog could stand up to the crushing responsibility.

( . . . to be continued . . . )

Tags: Hank the Cowdog books, Ranching, Cattle, Panhandle
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