The air this morning was cool, like sipping from a fresh mountain stream every time I filled my lungs. The trees have exploded with colours, and everywhere you look, sunset tones and hues are splashed over every little growing thing, as if fall chased them down out of the sky to where we can touch them, filling us up for the long white winter months to come.
We gathered at the North Ranch, horses dancing in place as we saddled up and turned our gaze out to the pasture where the herd was scattered far and wide – peacefully munching on grass… clueless to what was coming.
I was just a bit nervous on my new partner. She’s only five and a bit of city girl, untried in dealing with cows and the bush. And she was nervous with all these new horses snuffling around her. But we pulled up our big girl boots and off we went to chase cows.
Cattle drivin’ is something we do from spring til fall, pushing cows up the range to the fresh green grasses and slopes where they stop for a moment, explore just a little, and slowly munch their way back down. We could truck them up, and sometimes do when they come down a little too fast. Or we could use quads – but who wants all that noise and gas when you can walk up a trail where it’s just you, your horse and the herd?
Sometimes it gets a little scary when the cows get frisky and charge into the bush away from the herd. They seem to know where all the weak spots are, brush where they can disappear quick. You have to depend on your horse to get you there fast enough, while branches slap at your face and trees get in the way. It’s always interesting when you pit your mind against them wily old things – and it sure makes you feel like a cowboy.
But most often its quiet. And its peaceful. The cows trudge their way up the road, and all you must do is watch, under a wide open sky with all of creation before your gaze.
It’s not a bad life. No, not at all. There are some things that make ranching worth it – and this is one of them!