By Baxter Black
On the edge of common sense
I don’t own a stick of it, but it’s mine.
I know it better than anyone,
Every ledge, edge, hedge, boulder, rock and stone.
I know the highest point in each pasture.
I know where the cows hide.
I know the first tank dam that fills every year.
I’m the only one who can start the water truck when it freezes.
I know where the only pasture gate is in two miles of fence between the Canary and the Beacon.
I know whether to take a jacket when we saddle up.
You could drop me down in the middle of this ten-section piece blindfolded on a good horse and I’ll find my way home.
I know where you can stick your gooseneck in sand up to your wheel wells.
I know how long to leave the generator going to fill up a ten thousand gallon tank.
I know how many 400 lb calves will fit in a 20’ trailer.
I know the combination to every lock on the place.
I can remember when the canyon was a rivulet.
I can remember which calf goes with which cow.
I can remember when the man who owns the ranch lived here.
I carry a runnin’ iron for calves born after the brandin’. We have four brands on the place.
I carry pliers in the saddle bag to fix the fences that the illegal immigrants cut through.
I don’t drink enough water.
I don’t use sunblock when I should.
I’ve lost several ropes over the years. I wonder where they go?
I wear out my boot soles but not the heels.
I’ve got leggins, chinks and bat wings depending on the weather.
My hat holds water.
My gloves last about 3 months, if I don’t lose’m.
I know which horses to trust and which ones to watch.
I have relived Charlie Russell’s painting “Bronc to Breakfast” more times than I can count.
I can braid, rivet, hammer, shape, tape, tear, shoe, clip, cut, bob, whistle, dig, tip, snip, snap, and call the welder when I need to.
I’m indispensible and I’m the first one they let go when the ranch changes hands.
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: