On the way home from the farm Uncle Harvey Taylor told Dan and I that he wanted us to go with the milk cows up to the milk cow camp on the Arroyo Seco. He told us to be ready at five o'clock the next morning and he would take us up and get us started. I told mother that I was being sent up with the cows and that I would need a lunch for the next day. The milk truck would be by for my bed and camp.

The next morning Uncle Harvey drove us up to the old Riqueña ranch house where our horses were saddled and waiting. We drove the herd of about 30 milk cows out the east lane and across the track just as the sun was peeping over the wave mountain by the lake. As the cows moved on to the flat into the sea of waving gramma grass they began to eagerly eat the sweet grass. We had to move back and forth across the rear of the herd in order to keep them moving at a slow pace to the south towards the arroyo seco. The flat stretched out before us broken only by the high banks of the canal in the distance. Finally we came to the canal and the cows drank eagerly of the cold muddy water. After drinking their fill, we drove them up over the south bank and onto another long flat. Dan and I curiously went to look into an old abandond well. As we approached the well we were hit by an awful smell of something dead. We forced ourselves to look in and saw that it was a pile of rotting hides and guts. We could not stand to look very long and backed off to our waiting horses. As we approached our horses they smelled that dead smell that we brought with us. Snorting they backed off suspiciously. We finally mounted and rode up to where Elijio was trying to move the cows on. Elijio was the workman in charge of the cows at that time. We were his helpers going along to help him drive and milk the cows.

It began to get quite hot around noon and the sun seemed to be burning down on us as we moved slowly along. Suddenly I saw Dan jump off his horse and hurriedly take down his pants. He was slapping the back of his pants that were smoking . When I went over to him he showed me a bad burn on his seat. He had put his box of matches in his hind pocket where they had ignited from heat and the friction while riding . Before he could get off and remove his pants, he had received a bad burn.. We put Dan?s handkerchief over the burn and carefully put his pants in place. I told Dan to go back home and get his burn tended to because it was quite serious. Dan returned to the farm to find his father so that he could take him home.

Elijio and I moved the cows slowly on towards our destination. About mid afternoon the thunderhead clouds began to roll up and soon it began to rain with bright flashes of lightning and loud claps of rolling thunder. The cows would not move into the driving rain. They simply turned their tail to the driving rain with their heads down so their ears would not fill with water. We were on an open flat about fifty yards from the road that went on up to the arroyo seco. Elijio and I sat our horses with our backs to the rain. Hoping to keep our saddles as dry as we could. We had put on our jackets but they were soon soaked through and I could feel the cold water running down my back. It seemed to me that misearable rain would never stop. Later in the afternoon the rain slackened to a drizzle. We moved the cows closer to the road so we would not miss the milk truck when it came by. Soon the truck came along and unloaded our milk buckets, strainers,and ten gallon milk cans. They also brought our beds and a little lunch. The truck hurried on to reach the cow camp before dark. Elijio and I ate our lunch trying to shield it from the soaking rain.

After eating our lunch at least I felt better and somewhat strengthened. We poured the water out of the milk buckets and began to milk the cows. After each cow we would stand up with our stool in one hand and the bucket of milk in the other and go to the can and strain the milk into the can. Finally about an hour after dark we finished the milking. The cows stood quietly chewing their cuds. As we moved among them, finding those that hadn?t been milked sometimes pushing one out of the way to get to another. I thought that I was a pretty good milker but my hands got plenty tired milking all of those cows. Elijio was a tireless milker and he sang softly as he milked. As we finished the milking the cows began to lay down for the night. We rinsed the milk buckets and the the straining cloth with the water from the can of water that they left us. When we went to get our beds my quilt was soaking wet. Elijios bedroll was rolled up in a canvas, so his was not so wet. I took my soggy quilt and laid on one corner and pulled the bottom up over me, then rolled up in the quilt. I used my wet pants as a pillow and put my hat over my face and was soon sound asleep.

The next thing I knew Elijio shook my shoulder and said, "Ya es hora ya salio el carro" -- "It is time the big dipper is coming up." I unrolled myself and put on my wet pants and jacket. The sky was full of beautiful bright stars and I could see the big dipper coming up in the northeastern sky. We milked each cow getting her up from her night bed. She usually stretched, arching her back and wetting the ground with her urin as she let down her milk. We had just finished milking in the growing light of the dawn when the milk truck came along. We loaded all of the cans of milk and equipment into the truck. I asked Uncle Jay, who was driving the truck, to please bring me a dry bed and a canvas for a tent that evening when he came back to camp.

We ate the rest of our lunch for breakfast. My sandwiches really tasted good with a big cup of warm milk. We moved the cows letting them feed along on the grass as they moved along. We welcomed the warm sun. I really enjoyed the coming of the new day. Our clothes soon dried out and it seemed the whole world was bright and changed from the rain and darkness from the night before. Everything was fresh and green and the glistening drops of water still glistened on the leaves of the occasional bush and weeds along the way. I marveled in the change in my feelings from the misery of the wet night before to the joy and happiness of the bright sunshiny day.

The cows seem to move along easier this bright day. About noon we came over the edge and looked down into the Arroyo Seco to see three or four different herds of milk cows feeding on the lush grass. Down along the stream in the shade of the big sycamore trees we could see the scattered camps. The smoke was rising straight up from the different camp fires. We were arriving just when they were cooking their dinner. As we came into the camp my cousin Bud Taylor showed us where they had left our camp stacked against a big tree with a big canvas tied over it. Elijio was a good cook and soon had some potatoes and onions cooking in a big skillet and some rice simmering in a dutch oven. While the food was cooking he was rolling out some flower tortillas that he cooked on a round tin from the top of an old fifty gallon drum.

Soon we were eating a delicious hot dinner, sopa de arroz, potatoes and onions with some delicious chile con queso. Those fresh flower tortillas just hit the spot with that delicious meal. I remember that particular meal because I was plenty hungry after almost two days and a night with just a few sandwiches. In the evenings and the early mornings after milking the cows we would sit around and drink Yerba Aniz Tea. I learned to love that Aniz taste especially with plenty sugar and milk in it.

After dinner we hurriedly tied a rope between two trees and spread a big canvass over it. Staking it down at the corners and stretching it to make a tent. We could see the fluffy dark thunder clouds rolling up into the blue sky. They soon covered the sun and darkened the world around us. We knew it was going to rain. We had just gotten all of our camp and beds under the canvas when the big drops of rain began to sound on the tent. Elijio quickly gathered some dry wood and climbed under the tent with it. I still remember how good it felt to lean back against the grub box and look out and see the rain pouring down without even getting one drop on me. I decided that I loved the rain. After that day I always went prepared with a poncho or a canvass to be protected from the rain.

After about a half an hour the rain stopped and the sun came out. I went out and went down to watch the water rising in the creek. What a beautiful world with the rain drops glistening in the sun and the wonderful smell of the fresh rain.

After exploring around the camp and talking to my cousins Bud and Eldon Elijio came and said it was time to gather the cows and milk them. The whole camp was stirring and getting ready the buckets and stools for the purpose of milking the cows, for this is what we were up there to do.

It was growing dark by the time we got through milking and our buckets and strainer were washed and hanging on the low bushes upside down. Uncle Jay had come with our cans and our camp equipment in plenty of time for our milking.

After a leisurely supper of left overs and hot yerba aniz tea. I was glad to climb into my warm dry bedroll. Four o'clock in the morning would come all to soon. On that camp I learned set my mental alarm and wake up at four o'clock to get up and start milking. At first glimmer of light in the east the coyotes began to yip out on the big flat. I could hear the occasional bark of the foxes up the canyon where the white oak and the pine trees grew. I thought to myself, that would be a good place to go exploring during the leisure hours of the day. While leaning my head on the flank of the the cow I would squeeze downward with all my strength enjoying the sound of the streams of milk going into the bucket. Soon the sounds became muffled as the foam formed on the top of the milk. My thoughts would turn to home and realized that nobody would be up at this hour. I remembered my dog scrappy and made a mental note to bring him back with me to the camp when I went home for Sunday.

A couple of years before I had found a little skinny scrawny little pup cowering in a corner of the mill porch. I talked him into letting me pick him up. I carried him home and made a little home in a box for him. I brought him some warm bread and milk and watched while he ate until his little stomach was bulging out. When it came time for me to go down to Laselle's to help him milk I put a little string harness on that little scrawny pup. He soon learned to lead on a leash and came trotting along beside me. As I saw his little skinny ribs and his pot belly I laughingly quoted the Mexican saying, "No gordo, pero panson." When I got down to Laselle's I proudly showed him my new little pup. He picked him up and looked in his ears and we saw that both his ears were full of ticks. Big ticks and little ticks lined his beg ears. LaSelle suggested that we put some creolina in his ears to kill the ticks. We held that poor little pup and poured that strong screw worm medicine in his ears. We put him down and stepped back out of the way while he shook his head violently throwing ticks and medicine in every direction. He began to yelp and cry because of the burn and sting of that strong medicine. After we finished milking I slowly led that little pup home at arms length because of the strong smell of the medicine. I fed him and put him in his box. He was still trembling from the pain.

That little pup survived and his ears healed up. He grew sleek and fat. I would take him down to LaSelle's regularly to show him off. LaSelle had a little pup that he called Jeff. Taylor Abegg had gotten two little pups and called them Mutt and Jeff his mother insisted that he give one away. He gave Jeff to LaSelle. We thought that it would be a good idea to teach our pups to be good fighters. We got them together and rubbed their noses together until they both started growling and we turned them loose to fight. They would really go after it. Even though my pup was smaller and short haired while Jeff was heavier and long haired, he would not give up but fight ferociously. We named him Scrappy because of his willingness to scrap and fight.

As the three dogs grew up they became very good friends and would fight together against any other dogs that we set them on. They especially hated the Romney dogs that lived across the street from LaSelle's home. If those dogs came out into the street under the wire by the irrigation ditch Jeff and Scrappy would rush out into the street and take them on. Soon the Romney dogs didn't dare to come out into the street. If they came out cautiously they would keep a lookout and when they would see our dogs coming after them they would run and go under that wire into their lot and turn around and growel and bark with all their furry. They felt safe behind the fence.

Whenever any stray dogs would come around our place Scrappy would run and jump on them and put them to flight. On the street if any other dogs were around all I had to do was Say, "Ssssssssick-em!". Scrappy would jump any dog and fight ferociously no matter how big they were. He usually won because he would not give up.

One day some calves wandered into our lot off the street. I set Scrappy on them to drive them out. He would run and bite them on the hamstring and really make them run. The last one, he grabbed it on the ham string and hung on. Scrappys weight stopped the poor calf bellowing loudly it sank to the ground. I ran out and dragged Scrappy off scolding him and slapping him to make him turn loose. The calf got up and ran out of the lot never to return.

I have written about Scrappy to set the stage for what happened one day at the cow camp. One day my cousin Eldon Robinson and I were riding the High Mesas southeast of the camp. We were riding along among the big pine trees. The mesa was covered with high grass and wild flowers blooming profusely all over the mesa. We were riding slowly along enjoying the beautiful new country and the fresh scenery all around us. Scrappy was following obediently behind my horse. Suddenly Scrappy silently rushed forward in pursuit of a little white tailed spotted faun. He caught the faun by the ham string and shook it violently. I jumped off swiftly ran to the rescue but I was to late. The little faun?s hind leg was badly broken at the hock. The faun was bleeding piteously as I gathered him into my arms The mother came bounding into the clearing bleating an answer to her baby faun. Scrappy rushed after the doe. She simply turned and bounded away with her white flag of a tail disappearing among the trees and bushes. Scrappy came back excitedly looking every where. He didn't see which way the doe went because of the tall grass. I was crying softly. I don't remember from excitement or sadness for the plight of that poor little faun. I carried him carefully back to camp.

When we got back to camp I realized that I could not possibly bind up his leg or relieve his suffering. I borrowed a .22 rifle and relieved his pain and misery with a shot in the back of his head. I cut his throat and bled him carefully. I removed the skin carefully so that it could be tanned and preserved with the hair on. I rubbed the little hide with salt so that it would not spoil before I got it to the tannery. My next trip home I took it to Don Porfirio Flores who was head of the tannery and asked him to tan it with the hair on. I kept that pretty little soft hide with the little white spots on it for many years. It later adorned the club house of the Winged Four on the shelf where we had an ancient pendulum clock.

The next day after milking and breakfast. My cousin Bud and I rode over the high ridge and down into the Cieneguita canyon. We went up the canyon trail aways then took the trail up the steep incline on to the Llanos Cristianos. We rode into the wide expanse of the beautiful Llanos covered with thick high gramma grass. What a beautiful sight. This unbroken plain stretched to the south until it met the arch of the blue sky. There was not a tree on the whole Llano just the undulating heads of the tall grass. To the east the mountains sloped up to the pine covered ridges. To the west the high gunsight mountain was blue in the distance. Our horses walked eagerly with high grass swishing against their legs as they walked. A Meadow Lark flew by with its characteristic flight. With the beating of wings for a couple of seconds then gliding for the same amount of time, flutter and glide, flutter and glide. It flew swiftly ahead and landed in the tall grass. Then we could hear its warbling song singing, "Tortillas con chicharos." I listened again carefully and again came the warbling song, "Tortillas con chicharos." I do not remember who told me that the Meadow Larks song said that Spanish phrase.

As we traveled ahead we could see the Meadowlark jumping to catch the grasshoppers that were clinging too the stems of the high grass. Flipping its wide stubby tail it would run from one to the other. We could see the dark bow tie at its throat above the broad yellow breast. With a whir of his round wings he flew swiftly away only to settle down in the tall grass ahead. There we were two ten year old care free cowboys riding over the beautiful prairie. The only thing I wore for a cowboy was my pocket knife and a leather scabbard on my belt and my straw hat that I had tried shape into a cowboy hat. Instead of boots I wore shop shoes made of heavy green leather. We called them clod hoppers. I was happy to have those for I had earned them by gleaning wheat. Still we were cowboys riding our horses and exploring new country. Walking our horses along suddenly they shied back and to one side as a covey of quail exploded out of the grass in front of us. They quickly scattered flying swiftly in every direction. As they landed we could hear them calling one to another so that they could get together again. We could hear their plaintive call that seem to say, "Pa Tras! Pa Tras! Pa Tras! Pa Tras!"

We came to a little low swell with a little clear stream of water in it that came trickling down in a little draw on the east slope. All around this little trickle of water we could see clumps of bright green Yerba Aniz with bright yellow flowers on the top. We got off our horses and began to gather the aromatic herb. We would break off the stems at the bottom a few at a time. Being careful not to break off the grass with the herb stems. Soon we each had an arm full and we tied it on the back of our saddle with our saddle strings. We suddenly realized that the sky was dark and the sun was hid behind those big dark fluffy thunderheads. We mounted our horses and started back at a fast Gait.

As we approached the rim of the Llanos a loud clap of thunder boomed into the canyon. To our surprise we heard some loud booming gobbles coming from the canyon below. My heart stood still as I realized that there were some big wild turkeys down in the canyon. We descended down the steep trail looking anxiously to see the turkeys. We never did see them. We hurried along the trail over the ridge down to our camp in the next canyon.

When we got back to camp Ramoncito was there having come to take my place at the camp. Our care free time at the cow camp was over and we had to go back to school. Ramoncito was a small slight older man that had worked on the Riqueña for many years. He was a Ponce of the Ponce family that lived in Old Casas Grandes.

The next morning I rolled up my bed and tied it with a rope that it came tied with. I went out to eat a fresh flower tortilla still warm off the grill, with a glass of warm milk fresh from the cow that tasted sweet from the sweet grass that the cows had been eating. This combination had been a favorite of mine especially in the evening after a longs days work. I would have a hot tortilla and a warm cup of foamy milk to hold my hunger until I could get home for supper. My cousins and I rode the milk truck home that Saturday morning after spending over a month milking cows and spending our carefree days riding around that beautiful country.

When we got to the cheese factory Uncle Jay formed in line to deliver the milk. In our turn Uncle Jay drove up to the window got out and began to lift the cans and push them through the window where they were received. Each can was weighed and the amount put down under the name of the owner of the can. We could hear the man knock off each lid and pour out the milk into the big long cheese vat. Then he would pass it on to the washer. The man who washed the cans washed them thoroughly with a long handled brush in very hot detergent water. Then he would place the can upside down over a hot stream of steam and steam it thoroughly then pass it out the exit window. After unloading all of the cans Uncle Jay drove on to the exit platform and loaded all of the cans, telling us to match up the lids with each can.

Eldon took his bedroll and walked east across the street to his home. Uncle Jay drove past the mill and dropped me off at my home. I was greeted warmly first by Scrappy, then by my family. It was very good to be home.

These early experiences helped me in my growing up years. I had worked taking the place of a hired man helping our family in those hard times when money was very scarce.

We love you all and hope you will enjoy the bit of history from 75 years ago.