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Kountry Life Memories

Poor Mans Way of Working Cattle
Dad worked 40 years in a slaughter house skinning cattle. He had grown up on a farm during the depression and wanted a place of his own. Somehow he managed to scrape together enough money to buy 180 acres in 1956. Dad would go to the bank on a regular basis and borrow money to buy a load of what he called Louisiana, or Loozeeanna, calves to keep on pasture for a year before selling them. He would hopefully have enough to pay back the bank and have a little left over for profit.

We didn't have much money for fancy working pens or squeeze chutes. Our corral consisted of woven wire strung around post oak trees. The method used was to rope or physically subdue the animal and then give it shots, castrate it or doctor whatever ailed it. Since we had poor facilities, Dad's first rule was to never let go. I have seen a large animal drag my Dad through cockleburrs, stickers and neck high weeds but he would hold on until it was subdued.

I had joined the Navy right out of high school and had been discharged in 1965 when I was 21 years old. Shortly after I had returned from the Navy, Dad bought about 20 head of 'Loozeeanna' calves that he need to work. We went to the 'corral' to work them. At the rear of the woven wire enclosure was a shed that was used both to store hay and to shelter the livestock. Directly in front of the shed was a home made feed trough made of used 2 x 6's and sheet iron for a bottom. It was about 2 feet tall and was used to feed the cattle in the winter or when penned for some reason.

We proceeded to work the calves giving shots to all and castrating the young bulls. I grabbed a particularily wild and rangy bull with short horns and proceeded to attempt to take it down for his shots and surgery. The critter would not cooperate and proceeded to run wildly with me hanging on to his horns. I was attempting to gain control of him when he left the confines of the shed and attempted to jump the feed trough. When I hit the feed trough with him, I somehow wound up between his hooves and the feed trough. When the young bull stepped in my face, I committed the unpardonable sin of letting go. I came up with stars and bright lights flashing in my head. I was also bent over spitting out pieces of my teeth. Dad walked up and said 'Boy, I thought you were a better hand than that'.

When I look back on those days, it makes me grateful for what I have now. I am especially grateful I don't have to try to work 'Loozeeanna' calves ever again!

Glyndal Cowan, from OK, entered 2002-05-24

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