Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “buffalo”

Colorado Ranch Photos

Colorado Ranch Photos

Here are some pictures that my wife took with her camera that I gave her for Christmas, so I want to be credited with providing my loyal readers with these Colorado ranch photos.  All were taken on our ranch or a neighboring ranch.  As soon as you click on the link, a slide show will start.  Enjoy!

“Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam”

First, the well-known song, Home, Home on the Range, includes the phrase “where the buffalo roam.”  I need some help here.  Is the plural of buffalo buffaloes?  Or is it plain old buffalo?  Maybe we should use bison because I believe the answer to that is bison, not bisons.  Nevertheless, since whoever, I mean whomever wrote the song said “where the buffalo roam” in the plural sense, I should shut up, as was frequently suggested to me by my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Platz, who assigned me a special desk in the hall.  (I like to think that I was allowed the privilege of leaving the classroom to sit in my special desk in the hall so the other children would not bother me as I diligently prepared my schoolwork.)  It was Mrs. Platz who pointed out to me with exquisite sensitivity that I don’t know much about proper grammar or many other things.   So I’m probably wrong about saying buffaloes, but I don’t plan to change.

It was Mrs. Platz who picked my career for me.  I felt compelled to stick up for the downtrodden.  When she was picking on one of my classmates, which was often, I would advocate for the student.  For example, if she said, “Gary, didn’t I tell you to stay in your seat?”  I might chime in, “Mrs. Platz, you didn’t say we couldn’t sharpen our pencils and Gary here was fixin to sharpen his so he could do his work better and you could read it more easily.”  Then she would say, “Look you little smart aleck, go out in the hall to your desk and stay out of this classroom.”  In that way, Gary was off the hook and grateful to me.  So when it came time to elect president of the class, yours truly was picked for the job by those indebted to me for protecting them from old Fat Platz.  Well, like I said, Mrs. P picked my career.  Actually, she just predicted it.  I went to her retirement reception at Minne Lusa Elementary School and she politely feigned interest in what I was doing at that point.  I told her that I was in law school.  She was not surprised.  “I figgered you for a lawyer,” she said.  She said it in a way that I didn’t feel proud.  It was an accusation.  Still, she seemed real sincere.  She said she knew that would happen and she was right.

So let’s get back to buffalo(es).   Where my trophy wife, Miss Sugar, and I live, the pasture is full of Buffalo Grass.  I believe it has been there since God put it there.  We don’t have buffalo(es), but other livestock eats it too.  However, this is an area where buffalo(es) used to roam and Indians, now known as Native Americans, used to hunt them.  There are teepee rings about two miles from our place because, back in them days, Indians set up their summer encampment right in our neighborhood.  The teepee rings are rocks arranged in a circle to hold down the bottom edges of the teepees.   Some folks spell it tipi, but I doubt them buffalo hunting Indians spelled it at all.

There are other signs left from those encampments.  There are old fire pits ringed with rocks in the centers of the teepee rings.  Fortunately, here in the Rocky Mountains there are plenty of rocks readily available for such purposes.

Back to buffalo(es), I can tell you another interesting historical fact about them.  There is a “buffalo jump” on the neighboring Roberts Ranch.  The buffalo jump is a cliff over which the Indians stampeded a herd.  Don’t tell PETA or the Humane Society, but the buffalo(es) were killed in that manner.  There are old bones at the bottom of the cliff.  Mr. Roberts gives a good tour for the school kids at Livermore Elementary School.

The buffalo do not roam freely anymore, but at Park Creek Ranch, which is on the other side of Roberts Ranch, which I mentioned in my Buffalo Bob post, they have those buffalo heifers fenced in.  I like looking at them.  Still, I hesitate to herd them and I sure would not want to run them off a cliff.

(Miss Sugar took the picture of the one at the top of this post.  It is one of the heifers at Park Creek Ranch.)

Where the Buffalo(es) Roam

For those of you who did not read my blog yesterday, Bison Bob, please do so as a prerequisite for reading this.  I’d hate to have anyone fall behind the rest of the class.

First, the well-known song, Home, Home on the Range, includes the phrase “where the buffalo roam.”  I need some help here.  Is the plural of buffalo buffaloes?  Or is it plain old buffalo?  Maybe we should use bison because I believe the answer to that is bison, not bisons.  Nevertheless, since whoever, I mean whomever wrote the song said “where the buffalo roam” in the plural sense, I should shut up, as was frequently suggested to me by my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Platz, who assigned me a special desk in the hall.  (I like to think that I was allowed the privilege of leaving the classroom to sit in my special desk in the hall so the other children would not bother me as I diligently prepared my schoolwork.)  It was Mrs. Platz who pointed out to me with exquisite sensitivity that I don’t know much about proper grammar or many other things.   So I’m probably wrong about saying buffaloes, but I don’t plan to change.

It was Mrs. Platz who picked my career for me.  I felt compelled to stick up for the downtrodden.  When she was picking on one of my classmates, which was often, I would advocate for the student.  For example, if she said, “Gary, didn’t I tell you to stay in your seat?”  I might chime in, “Mrs. Platz, you didn’t say we couldn’t sharpen our pencils and Gary here was fixin to sharpen his so he could do his work better and you could read it more easily.”  Then she would say, “Look you little smart aleck, go out in the hall to your desk and stay out of this classroom.”  In that way, Gary was off the hook and grateful to me.  So when it came time to elect president of the class, yours truly was picked for the job by those indebted to me for protecting them from old Fat Platz.  Well, like I said, Mrs. P picked my career.  Actually, she just predicted it.  I went to her retirement reception at Minne Lusa Elementary School and she politely feigned interest in what I was doing at that point.  I told her that I was in law school.  She was not surprised.  “I figgered you for a lawyer,” she said.  She said it in a way that I didn’t feel proud.  It was an accusation.  Still, she seemed real sincere.  She said she knew that would happen and she was right.

So let’s get back to buffalo(es).   Where my trophy wife, Miss Sugar, and I live, the pasture is full of Buffalo Grass.  I believe it has been there since God put it there.  We don’t have buffalo(es), but other livestock eats it too.  However, this is an area where buffalo(es) used to roam and Indians, now known as Native Americans, used to hunt them.  There are teepee rings about two miles from our place because, back in them days, Indians set up their summer encampment right in our neighborhood.  The teepee rings are rocks arranged in a circle to hold down the bottom edges of the teepees.  Some folks spell it tipi, but I doubt them buffalo hunting Indians spelled it at all.  

There are other signs left from those encampments.  There are old fire pits ringed with rocks.  Fortunately, here in the Rocky Mountains there are plenty of rocks readily available for such purposes.

Back to buffalo(es), I can tell you another interesting historical fact about them.  There is a “buffalo jump” on the Roberts Ranch.  The buffalo jump is a cliff over which the Indians stampeded a herd.  Don’t tell PETA or the Humane Society, but the buffalo(es) were killed in that manner.  There are old bones at the bottom of the cliff.  Mr. Roberts gives a good tour for the school kids at Livermore Elementary School. 

The buffalo do not roam freely anymore, but at Park Creek Ranch, they have those heifers fenced in.  I like looking at them.  Still, I hesitate to herd them and I sure would not want to run them off a cliff.

That’s about all I’m gonna write today.  Tomorrow I plan to write about “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play.”

Bison Bob

Not counting on television or maybe at a zoo, I saw my first buffalo on Uncle Bob’s ranch in western Nebraska.  I loved going to Bull Canyon Ranch because it was so dang big.  It was traditionally a cattle ranch, but Uncle Bob was a free thinker and he figgered he would branch out.  What he done, you probably guessed from the first sentence, was to add buffaloes to the ranch population.

At this point I better educate the more ignorant amongst us.  The critters are properly called American Bison by scientists and such.  I am not a scientist, so I call them buffalo like Buffalo Bill Cody and Buffalo Bob on Howdy Doody done.  Now this educating can only go so far.  If you don’t know who they are, just quit reading now cuz you are in over your head.

The mascot for the University of Colorado is Ralphie the buffalo and the athletic teams are the Colorado Buffaloes or Buffs.  I know there are scientists at that school but, apparently, they looked the other way and did not call themselves bison.

Bison, aka buffaloes, are more independent creatures than are cows, bigger too.  I have rounded up and herded cows on occasion, many times on twenty mile cattle drives.  It is pretty fun.  I have worked at brandings and the unmentionable collateral process of turning baby bulls into baby steers.  (Are you keepin up or must I explain how bulls become steers?)   I consider myself a cowboy.  But that’s where I draw the line.  I ain’t a buffaloboy or bisonboy.  I don’t herd buffaloes.  I don’t rope buffaloes.  I don’t brand buffaloes.  And I don’t castrate buffaloes.

I’ll tell you why.   Buffaloes are bigger, tougher and meaner than cows.  They require stronger fencing.  They can do what one tried to do to Uncle Bob.

Bull Canyon Ranch has (guess what?) a canyon.  It is what is known as a box canyon, which means there is only one way in and out.  So Uncle Bob fenced across that one opening.  He used tall sturdy fence, which turned out to be a pretty good idea.

I wasn’t there at the time, but Cousin Tom reported to me what happened, which was that after Uncle Bob (well, Tom didn’t call his father Uncle Bob) and his help got that first group of buffaloes into their new home in the box canyon, one of the critters was ungrateful about the free rent arrangement and decided to leave.  The way he went about it was to rush the fence and crash into it while Uncle Bob was looking the other way.  Tom said the buffalo was going after his dad and the fence just happened to be in the way.  As a country lawyer, I sometimes have to deal with legal issues that involve motive.  In this case, I’m not too sure about the charging buffalo’s motive.  I’m just glad Uncle Bob could build a good fence.

These photos were taken by Miss Sugar last summer when our neighbors got a dozen two-year-old buffalo heifers.   Their fences are not as sturdy as Uncle Bob’s.  They could use a nice box canyon.

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