Wildfire impact tugs at the heart of a cowboy

Texas wildfire (Texas A&M Forest Service photo.)
"Just A Scoopful" - Jerry Nine
“Just A Scoopful” – Jerry Nine

There are very few things that make an ol’ rancher or cowboy cry. One would definitely be the loss of a child or his spouse.

Another would probably be having to put down his saddlehorse or his favorite dog. This past week some of us revisited a scene that would make you sick and probably bring a tear to your eye.

We saw miles of burnt pasture where you could not find one blade of grass and only some stubs of what was sagebrush and dead cows and calves all along the way while trying to find something that survived. Some cows had both eyes burned to where they couldn’t see. And utters were burned so that even if the cow lives she will never raise another calf.

Some cows bawled for their calves, and some calves bawled for their mothers. All in all that’s not a pretty sight, but even in all this mess you know you need to thank God as it could have been worse. Several neighbors told me they barely got out of their houses in time as they were engulfed in flames.

I did read that two people lost their lives in Texas. A few days ago it was reported there were 1,075,000 acres burned in Texas and 115,000 acres in Oklahoma. Farmers and ranchers are the most giving people in a disaster like this with lots of hay pouring in. I say the same thing to all these ranchers who experienced this tragedy these past few days that I said a few years ago to the workers at the sale barn after a long tiring year, and that saying is, “Only the tough survive.”

Pray for rain, please, for all this area soon as this desert-looking country needs it.

Some of you probably think I am rude to my sisters, but if I was nice to them they would think something was wrong. After these grass fires I was helping my older sister move some of her cows. She said, “I will go out there with you this afternoon as I have some good ideas of what to do.”

I said, “I’m sure you will have plenty of ideas, but I doubt you can say good ones.”

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the view of High Plains Journal. Jerry Nine, Woodward, Oklahoma, is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Slapout, Oklahoma.