Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Head ’em up, move ’em out

by Julie Carter

A cowboy on the move isn’t always about cows, horses and the trail ahead. Moving camp is a tedious but often necessary part of cowboy living.
The relocation process is not usually accompanied with fond memories especially if it involves a bride and more belongings than just a saddle and slicker.
The first requirement for this sojourn are trailers that come in assorted sizes, age and condition. Cleanliness is subject to their history but we are talking horse and livestock trailers here so you get the idea.
It all started when the officially “retired” cowboy couple decided to sell their place and move a little closer to the roping action, also known as “town.” The only good in this plan was the idea. It pretty much went downhill from there.
It wasn’t their first move. In fact, about the 25th if anyone was counting and she was. Her job was always to pack the house up and his was to tackle the periphery. Because his tendency was to save everything in case he needed it, his part of the move was monumental and often an emotional challenge for them both.
While she emptied the house of dishes, clothes, linens, keepsakes and such, he packed up his office, barn, tack and tool rooms. Broken things that needed repair but were “too good to throw away” along with teenage used tires once again made it into the moving trailer.
She did have a short surge of hope of downsizing when he walked all the way from the barn to tell her he had actually thrown away a calendar from 1995 even though it had never been used.
One of the moves this pair made was just across the road to another house they had built. While the cowboy left for the day to go check water on a ranch a ways off, she moved the breakable stuff across the way to the new house and hired a couple gorillas to move the heavy stuff. It did startle him a little when he came home and walked into the empty house, but after 20 years or so, he was about over it. And for her? Easiest move ever.
Horse trailer moving is an art in itself. The household bedding is used to pad and buffer the furniture from scratches and dents. If it happens to be raining or snowing, everything arrives wet and those cowboy helpers will track every bit of it in and out of the old and new house.  The bride will recognize that by the time you’ve fed this crew pizza, sandwiches and beer, she’d have been money ahead to call the movers.
A legendary cowboy mover referred to in all moving stories was Joe Dan Marshall. He moved often and suspiciously that fell simultaneously with the day the rent was due. According to those that knew him well, he had a couch with a 350 engine in it and pull rope starter like a lawn mower.
The barn has been raised at the new headquarters. However, showing the wisdom earned over 30-plus years of marriage, the tack room sports His and Her doors. Designed by the head cowboy, he determined he would not have to go around her when she was saddling and she can tie her horse by her door. Well, that is when he gets her door fixed and it opens properly. New doesn’t always mean functional.
Along with his tendency to save every last thing from his Boy Scout uniform forward, she has the inclination to gift unsuspecting friends with items she will no longer need. Now with a new barn and pens, at the top of her give-away list is a pink post driver. This thoughtful gift was bestowed to her by her hero following her comment about “every set of corrals they had was falling down.” Her appreciation was boundless.

Julie, of transient gypsy blood, can be reached for comment at

No comments: