Posted 12/23/14 (Tue)
And a Merry Christmas to you and yours!
To most people, Christmas is a time for family and friends. A time to give thanks and a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. Oh, many people complain that Christmas is now too commercial, but dang, it’s fun to sit and watch grandkids rip open gifts and scream with delight when they find the “shark teeth” they had wanted for a year were under the tree!
For many ranchers, it is the Christmas cow sale. I guess every sales ring in the Dakotas has a bred cow sale during the holidays. The family can come to town and exchange those boots that don’t quite fit and that hat that is the wrong color, and buy a trailer-load of cows to take home before the New Year. And a good time is had by all.
Now, speaking of good times, we preg-checked cows the other day. I guess it was one of the more miserable days of December. I think the high was around 12 above. The southeast wind was whipping new snow around and the vet hadn’t told me he wanted a space heater. We told him to cowboy up.
And dang it was cold. But, thanks to a couple of younger hands, they managed somewhat of a solution. We had a thermos of hot coffee to take the chill out of your bones. They also had contributed a bottle of something called “Fireball.” Now Fireball is an alcoholic beverage that warms your body and soul from the inside. I think it would also be pretty darn good on pancakes, but Shirley nixed that idea pretty quick.
I suppose the Fireball contributed to the good time we had in spite of miserable conditions.
I’ve told you before we are a sharing family. We are like the Indians that greeted the Pilgrims. We share. What’s ours is yours, and by coincidence, what is yours is ours. So we borrowed a neighbor’s corral to work the cattle in. Because he had a loading chute we could load some cows out to take to another ranch. We don’t have a loading chute. I borrowed one last spring, but I think I told you; someone wrecked it in the dark of night.
Well, this neighbor that was kind enough to lend us his corral also has a couple of Shetland ponies. We assured him the ponies would not bother us. He could just leave them in the corral.
The easiest place to set that bottle of warming elixir was on the Ritchie water tank, near the chute. I had thrown the lid away, confident that by the time we were done with the cows, the lid would not be needed. As we neared the end of the job, someone let out a holler. A holler that sounded surprised and somewhat upset. He pointed
We looked over and that little spotted pony was licking the top of our warmer! I quickly grabbed the bottle before he could spill it, and then out of curiosity, offered the pony another shot. He curled his lips, and quickly sucked on that bottle. He loved it. But trust me gentle readers, I did not give him enough to hurt him.
But, the curious thing was, much like the relatives that helped that day, once that pony tasted that cinnamon flavored whiskey, we couldn’t get rid of him.