Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Trew: Book spurs memories of ol' saddle houses

Down on the Parsell Ranch on the Canadian River we had a large wooden barn with a hallway running between stalls, feed bins and milk stanchions. We hung our saddles from ropes tied to the rafters and our saddle blankets rested over a long pipe held up by barbed wire to keep the rats from chewing on the gear. We were constantly hunting cats, especially mamas with kittens, to help with the rats. The local coyotes seemed to appreciate our cat-hunting efforts. My favorite saddle house was on the ranch in New Mexico. It had a concrete floor, was built of rocks, had a low tin roof and a tin-clad tight door. The feed bins were located on the other end of the long shed so we had few mice problems. We learned to feed the barn cats inside the saddle house and leave them shut inside until the next morning. There were eight wooden saddle racks, and many had the initials of old previous cowboys who had worked on the ranch once owned by Jules Bivins. There was a coal oil lantern hanging by the door if you left that early in the morning. You could smell leather when the door was open, and a work bench held all the tools for replacing horse shoes and trimming horse's feet. An exposed two-by-four overhead held a rusty collection of worn-out horseshoes of every size and design. Here at the Trew Ranch, our wooden saddle racks are 60 years old as I built them myself right after we bought the place...more

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