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I was just finishing up watering the cow this morning when Dad drove up. “Want to come and check the water at the Noonday with me? I need to see if the bull is there.”

“Sure.” I had my shit kicker boots on because to water the cow you have to enter the pen. I did have my nicer sweat pants on because I was only planning on watering the cow and the garden. I hadn’t had breakfast either.

Off we went. The bull was not at the tanks. Why would it be so helpful? That meant we counted cows and headed over to the other side of the mountain pass to check the other side. There are really two sets of mountains here (this is the nearby range, not the far ranch). The bull wasn’t at the water tank on the other side of the mountains, either. This side is fairly steep, but don’t despair. What follows are Dad’s comments as we searched.

“I made a half-ass road to get up this hill.”


“I’m not sure if the road goes to the right or left of this tree.”

DOES IT MATTER??? If you can’t see it, what is the point???

“I’m going to build out this road on the end to go all the way down to the arroyo. I won’t be able to drive back up it, but I can get the truck down it.”

That should give you an idea of just how steep some of these hills are. One way–because sliding down is always easier if you can see what you’re going to hit.

Up on the next ridge:

“I’ll drive as close to the edge as possible so you can see down into the canyon better.”

Gosh, Dad. Favors like that simply aren’t necessary. I’ll just walk.

“I don’t know where that bull is. I’ve never gone over the top of this hill with the truck. I wonder if we can make it. It looks clear.”

Not that we could see OVER the top. Noooo, that doesn’t happen until we actually top it and the truck points DOWN. I thought it didn’t go too badly, though. Not until we had to go back UP the downside. Going down the truck didn’t slip. Going up was all about grinding rocks and slipping sideways. Even Dad said, ‘Shit” twice. That was followed by:

“I used to enjoy riding up here in the truck. Now that I’m old I feel every bump and every rock.”

That’s not because you’re old, Dad. I can feel them too because there is nothing but bumps, rocks and banging into the door and window as you try to hold on.

“Oh Shit,” Dad said again. “I just went over fresh cow shit with the back wheel. Now the bumper and tire is going to be full of cow shit. I’m going to have to wash the truck.”

Whatever, Dad.

We did not find the bull. So we’ll have to go back out again when it cools off. Cows and bulls sit under trees in the midday heat, which makes them impossible to see. They are merely dark shadows in the shadows off in the distance. Sometimes you get lucky and they are along the dry riverbeds where we take the truck, but it’s not worth driving out there much past 11. We looked for over two hours. We counted cows three times because we overcounted at one spot and had to go back to verify the actual number at the first tank after double checking the ones in the sandy riverbed.

When we got home, since I’d already showered first thing in the morning (fool) and then hiked about looking for a bull, I gave El Paso his bath. Then I took another shower. If we go out again tonight, I’ll be taking a third. It’s not that I have to be pristine all the time, but I was hot, sticky and smelled like cows and dog. It’s also impossible to get a comb through your hair after driving around for two hours looking for a sneaky bull.

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Posted: September 13, 2017
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:, , ,


  1. Forgot one. As we were driving out on the main road that borders the one range, Dad said: “There’s a car behind me so I’m going to have to drive normal speed. We aren’t going to find that bull on this side anyway.”

    “I’ll look just in case,” I said.

    “That’s why I brought you along.”

    “What? It isn’t my sterling conversation?” I asked.

    Dad snorted.

    Comment by Maria — September 13, 2017 @ 2:44 pm

  2. HaHaHa! I still say you should do a book of your ranch/parent blogs. You’d be the next Erma Bombeck, with a Southwest Ranch flavor! Did the bull ever turn up? How quickly did El Paso go out and roll in cow dung after his bath? What kind of mischief has your mother been up to while you and your dad have been cow/bull hunting?

    Comment by Dee/dragons3 — September 13, 2017 @ 3:07 pm

  3. No bull.
    El Paso is gated off from the cow poop at the moment. He could get over there, but not in the head of midday. He did immediately roll in the gravel and sand, but he’s still cleaner than he was. Marginally, maybe, but cleaner. He enjoyed his bath, I don’t care what he says!

    Mom had to finish watering the garden since I was on bull duty. Then she went in and made peanut butter (from actual peanuts) and did some laundry. I’m making stuff halibut tonight so she doesn’t have to cook. I just finished putting the crab stuffing together. We’ll both work on the coleslaw and I’ll saute up some slices of sweet potatoes. I didn’t get to reupholster the chair. Move that to the next day…

    Comment by Maria — September 13, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

  4. Um, what was a car doing behind you? Was he lost? Did he make it up the mountain?

    Definitely write that book.

    Comment by Margaret Lake — September 13, 2017 @ 5:00 pm

  5. Don’t worry, we were on the road that borders that plot of land. The cars belonged there!

    Comment by Maria — September 13, 2017 @ 8:33 pm

  6. Evening Bull report: Still missing.

    Comment by Maria — September 13, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

  7. Morning Bull Report: Found Bull!!! Calf got out into the neighbor’s area. So, we’ll be hunting that little dude down next.

    Comment by Maria — September 14, 2017 @ 11:27 am

  8. I am with Dee and Margaret, Write a book. Your dad is a comedian and doesn’t know it,and if you told him he would never believe you. I hope you save all these treasures from your trips to N.M.definetly book worthy.
    At least you didn’t have to wash the truck.

    Comment by tibet — September 14, 2017 @ 4:02 pm

  9. Write a book? Who in the world has time to write a book? When we got back from hunting the calf (did not find it yet) I had to take the dog to the vet to get his rabies shot as he was due. Thank God he was a little angel.

    Dad would probably be insulted if someone told him he was funny. Cows are serious business to that man. Today, when the calf got out, he said, “This is when cows aren’t any fun.” Gee, Dad. It’s been such a blast.

    Comment by Maria — September 14, 2017 @ 5:01 pm

  10. Where do I put in my pre-order for your book? It won’t be hard, just compile the blog entries.

    Comment by Elisabeth — September 14, 2017 @ 5:30 pm

  11. Love this story! I’m with Elisabeth… when can I pre-order? Seriously! Just compile the blog entries. 😀

    Comment by Irene Squib — September 28, 2017 @ 10:15 pm

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