Getter Done Gals


Thursday, March 4, 2010


Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

Dan and Donnie were working on the Tierra Verde Ranch one exceptionally wet spring. It had rained repeatedly. Deep mud prevailed and the ground was saturated to the hilt.
The duo had an old pickup they used to get around the ranch for feeding or whatever else needed doing. This relic had four-wheel drive, big tires, a good strong engine and a back window that was broken out.
Because of the rain and the fact that it could go most anywhere, the truck was christened Noah.
Cold, wet spring weather motivated them to acquire a new back window for Noah, which required an entire day of their time to install. The new window had a sliding glass opening which was just perfect for the special needs of cowboys, including but not limited to spitting and reaching the cooler strategically placed within reach.
The boss was gone one Saturday so Dan and Donnie decided to go to the Stephenville Horse Sale.
They didn't have any business going since individually or combined, they could not come up with $10. Nevertheless, they loaded Noah with their cooler and headed out.
When they arrived, they visited with friends, watched the sale and got caught up on the news.
On the way home, they had to pass the Ranch House Restaurant, where they noted that the parking lot was crowded with pickups. They figured it was just some of the sale barn crowd and so they decided to stop and continue the day's good time. But when they got inside, they discovered the crowd belonged to a wedding reception.
Nobody threw them out and there was food, beverage and pretty girls all dolled up in the wedding attire. Being the suave and debonair type of cowboys, they got one gal sorted out and soon had her agreeing to go with them for a ride in Noah.
The girl was a bridesmaid - fancied up in a full length formal gown that is required for such an affair. They took off in Noah with the girl in the middle, a cowboy on each side and the cooler just through the sliding window.
They were all getting along just fine. The roads were slick and the rain still falling when they came to a creek where water was rushing over the top of the road crossing.
Dan stopped the truck and a consultation was held. Donnie told Dan he had complete faith in Noah and to just take off.
Dan launched Noah into the creek and the rushing water promptly took them off the crossing and floating down the creek. Dan could feel the wheels touching bottom occasionally. It felt like the water wasn't too deep, so he didn't worry.
Eventually the girl became concerned that they might go too far down the creek. Dan climbed out Noah's sliding window, dropped a catch rope over the trailer ball and snared a big oak on the bank.
That stopped the truck from going any further. Dan sat down on the bank and watched the truck. At some point, Donnie thought Dan needed help, so he climbed out the window and joined in the sitting and watching.
Some later, the bridesmaid yelled at them from the truck. "Hey, did you guys forget something?"
Dan grabbed the rope and hand-over-hand, worked his way to the truck bed. There he rescued the cooler and brought it to the creek bank. He and Donnie had a few cool ones pondering the situation.
At some point, possibly near the end of the beer supply, it became apparent they were going to need some equipment to rescue Noah. They told the girl to stay with the truck while they went to get a tractor.
The general philosophy of "all's well that ends well" applied here. The truck was rescued, the occupant was safe and no harm was done.
However, Dan reports that that was one of the maddest women he has ever seen.
Julie can be reached for comment at


Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter
Like the roads across the West, winter has gone on forever. For those of us living here in the usually balmy Southwest, we are like spoiled children whining and sighing over the extended length of an extraordinary snow season that ushered out October and has every intention of using up February.
The roads are rutted in mud created in those few warmer days between storms. Everything that could conceivably break has done so, be it a pipeline, a vehicle, a storm door or the drain on the washing machine. Cold inevitably brings on streaks of "breaking" luck.
In spite of the discomfort and inconvenience, a rancher won't ever turn down moisture or a live baby calf.
The horses are haired up like bears and the cattle are eyeballing the portable hand warmers that a few well-outfitted cowboys got for Christmas and thought they'd never use.
Electric and gas bills, feed bills, firewood bills ... the meters spin and the check book balance plunges.
The little woman looks for every opportunity to not have to gear up for ice breaking and outdoor chores. Cabin fever, while only a temporary inconvenience, is sometimes preferable to freezing one's back pockets off.
In her solitude she is bombarded with thoughts that she jots on paper in some hope of making sense of her fleeting flashes of philosophy.
Deep thoughts along the lines of: Is there a resemblance between our lives and the creation of tater tots?
Most everyone generally loves tater tots. They are dependable, easy to cook and a familiar source of sustenance. Like our friends, they are crusty on the outside, tender on the inside and seasoned to preference.
And while I'm always happy to find them in cafes, stored in my freezer and in dishes cooked up for the cattle working crews, I've never devoted much deep thought to wondering how they became that perfect little cylindrical shape that makes them uniquely identifiable.
Hang with me here.
Potatoes are pulled from their earthen womb looking dirty and misshapen. They are handled down an assembly line where they are pressure washed, sorted for size and then peeled, sliced and diced according to the plans for their end use.
The scraps from this process - the bits and shreds that are left from the slices and cuts - are made into tater tots. They are cleaned, seasoned and pressure-shaped along yet another assembly line. We accept them in that form without question. They are what they are.
The tater tots depend on me to bring them from the freezer to the table in a cooking plan of some sort. However, I appreciate them more now that I know how they came to be.
The same philosophy is surely applicable with people.
As with tater tots, I have accepted the people in my life at face value. I have found those that endured to be dependable, encouraging, nurturing and great a comfort to me because their substance never changes.
In taking the time to look beneath the shredded crust - perhaps a bit freezer burned and toasted by life's heat - I believe that inside, their substance will be as presented and their imperfections will mirror mine. After all, we all started in the same place.
Maybe they too will have buried deep the bruises of being cast off from the prime of the crop only to be pressure-washed by society and recreated into a unique version of the same thing.
And maybe, just maybe, if they should happen to recognize the same in me, our friendships will be enriched with a new level of appreciation.
After all, a lot happened along life's assembly line to bring us to where we are today.
Julie can be reached for comment at .


By Julie Carter/ Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

There he was, standing in all his glory, and his underwear, with his glow-in-the-dark white skin glaring in the late afternoon sun.
His spindly cowboy legs were still in his boots and his hat and sunglasses were in their places.
He was holding his clothes in his right hand and a set of broken bridle reins in the other.
His wife had been doing chores at home. That was the deal.
With 23 head of horses on the place, give or take a few depending if anyone had hauled any off to the sale, or drug a few home, there was never any shortage of work to be done - feeding or riding.
Each afternoon she takes on the feeding duty while he saddles up a young, green horse to put some miles on before sunset.
It is a good life for them, but it also keeps any dull moments from finding their way to the ranch.
The wife looked up from her work when a pretty bay Hancock filly came in a high lope up the road, still wearing a saddle but without the reins on the headstall and worse yet, without her rider.
Trying not to let fear overcome her, the wife ignored the alarms going off in her heart and in her head. She and the ever-present dog jumped on the Polaris Ranger and zoomed off to find the missing cowboy on the mountain.
Calling his name as she searched the hillsides, she soon heard him holler back at her. As she drove up on the scene, her first words were, "What in the hell are you doing?"
This, by the way, is a phrase of standard dialogue if you are married to a cowboy and one that both parties will use with wild abandon.
There is no good answer to that question in a situation like this, but the cowboy gave it his best effort.
"The filly spooked and when she jumped, I hung a spur in her accidentally," he said "She really went to bucking, and was really getting with it. Then all of a sudden, a rein snapped."
"I tried to pull her around with the other rein to get her stopped," he said. "But it broke, too. Then she was really getting with it and well, she just flat bucked me off."
His wife was obviously concerned for him, as he wasn't a kid anymore and those hard landings take their toll. However, she was somewhat more concerned about why he was standing there on the hillside half naked.
Asking about the obvious seemed called for. "So why are you walking home naked?"
"She bucked me off in a prickly pear cactus," he said as he turned to reveal millions of cactus spears sticking in the backside of his body.
It took his wife and daughter the better part of six hours to tweeze the cactus spines out of his back, arm, leg, head and other assorted assaulted spots.
The pain finally did subside.
However, the humiliation of his plight over those broken bridle reins will last for as long as anyone remembers the story. I'm just doing my part.
Julie can be reached for comment at