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1/14/2005

The Good Life

A lot of people may have the image in there heads of Gray’s Ranch looking like the classic rustic ranch with lots of nice buildings and The Cowboy driving around in a new diesel pickup. Too bad that ain’t true… If you’ve ever seen a Cowpokes cartoon, with it’s run down fences, beat up pickup and Cowboys with well worn clothes on their backs then you have a purty good idée of life around my place. 
 
I’ve been strugglin’ lately with a broken down pickup. Lost all the forward gears in the transmission. So, I’ve been drivin’ my car and an even more beat up pickup around to feed cattle. We have a lot of ice on the back roads right now and a fella has ta be careful or he’ll end up in the ditch, like I did yesterday. Called a neighbor out to help me. He had one of those front assist four-wheel drive tractors. Would you believe, the ice on the sand road was so slippery that all four wheels weren’t enough to get traction as he just sat there and spun his tires. We finally worked around and pulled the pickup out backwards where we had a little better chance of keeping the tires from slipping.  
 
The temperature was down near zero this morn which meant chopping ice from the stock tank. That was to be expected, but I wasn’t too happy to find that the windmill had frozen up over night. The wind must have just turned the mill just slowly enough to pump small amounts of water allowing the exposed pipe to freeze solid. Only one remedy. I piled up a few empty feed sacks on the north side of the pipe and lit a fire. Ya have to be careful not to heat things up to quickly. I was with my dad once when the fire got warm too fast and split the pipe. So, I usually start the fire back a ways and as things warm up I move the fire in close. After about 5 or 10 minutes the pump rod slipped free. I turned on the mill and as the wheel caught the wind fresh water once again flowed into the tank. 
 
One thing about Kansas the weather is always changin’ on us. They say by next week the high temperatures will be in the 40’s and maybe 50’s. I’ve learned not to trust the weatherman, but I’m rootin’ for ‘im! 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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