It’s that time of year again. The guests have all gone home, the nights are getting colder and the leaves are changing. And, the cows are headed home.
Every fall, Randy Sue spends a week or so finding her cows on the open range and bringing them back to Drowsy Water. With luck, the whole herd comes home looking healthy after a summer eating green mountain grasses.
Lucky for me, I was invited to help on one big round-up day. I’ve done one a time or two, and I have to say that there is something in my soul that just sings when I am out in the backcountry on a horse searching for and moving cows. And this time of year is so beautiful it makes you cry. The mountains are just drenched in color. Golds, greens and reds dance against the intense blue of our Colorado sky. No place is better.
We started our search northeast of Drowsy Water Ranch. Ken dropped off three cowgirls just off the highway to Walden (Highway 125). Randy Sue, Ellen, and I unloaded our horses and the search began. We fanned out and regrouped, fanned out and regrouped, searching for our cows. We continued on, fanning out and regrouping, until at last, we came to a clearing and viola! they were just waiting to be shown the way home.
When we found them, they were near what we call sheep camp. We had a ways to go to get back to the ranch and so we started pushing. Cows don’t move very fast but that is okay; all the better for us to enjoy the views.
I forgot to mention two very important characters in our day. Duke and Aspen, the border collies, are nothing short of the best help you could hire. Duke, especially, is incredible. He probably could have brought the cows home by himself if we could just communicate where they needed to go.
Since we share the open range with other herds, our cows mix and mingle with whoever is out there. We had a few strangers mixed in with the herd we brought in. One guy stuck out like a sore thumb.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Hmm, I didn’t know Drowsy Water raised longhorns.” Well, we don’t. We raise black angus. This handsome longhorn bull was just mixed in with our cows and, frankly, I think I saw what our cows saw in him. I had a crush on him myself.
He kept bellowing, too. Don’t know if you’ve herd a bull make their mating call, but the sound is magical. He was handsome and sounded good. Not to mention those horns-I could make some “mind-in-the-gutter” comments about those things, but I won’t, this is a family ranch. See why I had a crush on him? He was like a singing Brad Pitt of the bovine world.
Okay, enough with the bull, we had work to do. On we moved those doggies, slow and steady,
Until finally, we were home.