Monday, April 30, 2007

Sleepin' Under a Tarp

Eleven hundred steers were taken on a thirty day trip; few old cows were taken. Of course, the covered chuck wagon with the groceries and 50 gallons of water was brought along. No one ever slept in the wagon. Every man had a tarp under which he slept. Sometimes he would raise up in the morning from beneath four inches of snow; however, they were never sick because they were in open all the time. One member of the bunch traveled at least a day ahead of the herd and returned at night to camp. On the next morning, he would instruct the cook where would water at lunch time that day. Immediately following breakfast, the chuck wagon was driven ahead to the designated place, and dinner was awaiting the men with the herd when they arrived.
From Fred Scott transcripts

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Small Dugout and a Big Corral

You made your own tools then, if you were like us and hadn’t brought any machinery with you. Louis got timber from the Canyon and made a planter and put a pipe on it and I went along behind him and dropped the grain in the row. Two or three years after arrival, Louis traded a span of mules for some mixed cattle, and about a year or so later he traded the cattle’s increase for the digging of a well at the dugout. Up until then, they had hauled water 3 miles and had hauled wood for fuel from the canyon. Our dugout was about half way between the JJ and the JA Ranches, and the boys could not make the whole distance in a day driving anything, so they used our corral and stopped over a lot of the time. My brother had made a good corral from pickets. We took cattle during the winter months to feed for Goodnight, the Dyers and others, so we had to have a good, big corral.
Marie Barbier Hess Interview Nov 22, 1956

Monday, April 16, 2007

Daily rides

On daily rides, the puncher watched the bog holes to see that no cattle mired down. The fences in his locality had to be kept up, and all long-eared calves were to be marked and branded. A running iron and hobble ropes were carried on the saddle. When a long eared calf was found, he was hobbled, a fire was built, the iron heated, and the branding was done.
(long-eared calf=an unmarked calf
Running iron=a short iron with which any brand could be formed)
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Boxes to sit on were a luxury

The cooking was done over a fire place, in the rear of the dugout—the fireplace facing one as he descended the steps. The crude bed was made of hackberry logs built against the wall. The mattress was made of feed sacks sewn together, and then stuffed with hay. It was a mighty good bed after sleeping for weeks on the ground. Every cowboy furnished his own bedding. A puncher’s clothes were kept in an oil cloth bag, known as a war bag. It had a side opening; the clothes laid in it flat and the whole thing was used for a pillow. There was little furniture in a camp other than the bed. A box on the wall served as a cabinet. Boxes to sit on were a luxury—a fellow sat cross-legged on the floor when he ate, holding his plate on his knees.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Monday, April 2, 2007

Cookie's menu

Meals in a camp consisted of sour dough bread, beans, steak, rice potatoes, onions, dried fruit, oatmeal, coffee, and a lick. Lick was homemade syrup flavored with vanilla or an orange and was a favorite dish with all the punchers. The sour dough bread was cooked in a Dutch oven, which was placed in a bed of live coals. The lid had to be heated too, so that the bread would cook and brown evenly. A whole oven full had to be cooked at a baking or the bread would not rise. Groceries were furnished to the boys from the commissary at headquarters. It is interesting to remember that oatmeal came in large barrels. I always cooked an oven full of biscuits and ate as long as they lasted, then cooked a new batch. Often I fed them to my saddle ponies. I would take a biscuit and catch nearly any horse I rode. If I didn’t have a biscuit, I would fool them with a white rock.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian