Sun Dublan
Ranch Work 

When Uncle Loren Taylor and his fence crew finished fencing the ranch Dad told me that it was ready to build a house for the ranch cowboy to live in. I contracted the Adobes to be made with a couple of the boys that had been making Adobes for the mill. There names  were Emilio Hernandez  and Agustin Saldivar. I took them out and showed them where we wanted to build the house. They set up there little camp began to dig the dirt for the adobes. I could see that they were having a hard time digging up the dirt so I went to the farm on the flat and brought a plow on the wagon and with our little team of mules Chata and Mischief  we ploughed up enough dirt to make all of the adobes we would need. We hauled the water in 50 gallon drums from the lake. I bought the straw and took it out to them and they started to make adobes. Back then the regular size adobe was 12 inches wide by 18 inches long by 4 inches thick. Now days to get that kind of adobes you would have to order them special. Now they make them 8 inches wide by 14 inches long by 3 inches thick. The big adobes make a much better wall for stability and insulation.

I went out one day to see how the  boys were doing on the adobes. They were in their little camp preparing to cook a Jack Rabbit someone had given them. I suggested that they didn't want to eat a Jack Rabbit and they asked, "why". I told them to skin the rabbit and they would see why. They skinned out the rabbit and found several grub worms embedded in its loin. They through the rabbit away in disgust. They saw a big Blue Heron walking along the shore and asked me to shoot it for their meat. I shot the Heron and they retrieved it and skinned it and put it on to boil in a five gallon can they had for that purpose. The next day when I went out again they still had that old bird boiling in their can. I asked why they were still boiling it and they said that they tried to eat it but it was so tough that they couldn't  eat it so they were boiling it to see if that would make it more eatable. They were accusing each other of not knowing how to cook by saying, "My Comadre hasn't learned to cook yet." From then on we playfully called them "Los Comadres". I went out and killed a Cotton Tail Rabbit for them to eat and solved their Problem of some good meat. I would take them a Cotton Tail about every other day which they really appreciated.

We hauled the dirt for the roof from a special clay bank that is called "Barrial" that packs hard and the water doesn't penetrate. We installed the windows and the doors and the house was ready for occupation.

When Glen Whetten finished drilling the well for the house we bought a little Pumping Jack and installed a 3 inch windmill cylinder and installed the pipe and the sucker rods. We installed the pumping jack on a platform about six feet off the ground so as to be out of the way of the animals. When Uncle Harvey Taylor bought a bunch of cattle from the Salazar brothers a young man from the Salazar ranch came to help drive the cattle up. He heard about the new Ranch and applied for the Job of taking care of it. His name was Carlos Quintana. He had been raised on the Salazar Ranch where he and his brother worked for many years and he knew cattle and how to take care of them. He was especially good with a rope and had been roping all of his working life, He had just recently married Lupe Alvarez and they moved into the new house on the ranch and went to work. We built the corrals and fenced the little horse pasture around the house area..

Carlos asked me to come out and help him doctor the cattle for screw worms and pink eye. He could not do the big heavy cows alone. That is where I learned to rope. When I was a boy I was fascinated with learning to twirl the rope did a fare job of that but I never had much chance to practice roping animals.

Don Panchito Peña had given me a six strand rawhide Riata that was only inch in diameter but it had just the right weight and was strong enough to hold a big fat cow. I learned to dally it around the horn and let it slide a little so as to ease the pull and not snap my Riata. Carlos used the Chavinda which was a rope made in the south of Mexico out of a special cactus fiber. Those Chavindas were what the Charros used to show their skill at twirling and handling the rope,. for which they are famous. When my Riata wore out I switched to the Chavinda. I had to use a thin buckskin glove because when you dally with a Chavinda it is necessary to let it slide a few feet so as not to break the rope with a solid jerk. I burned my hand a few times before I learned how to do it right. Those Chavindas were just right for roping the head or for catching both hind feet. They were strong enough to hold those big fat cows stretched out when snubbed up close while we doctored the cow.

In the summer time the heat of the sun and the reflection from the lake caused many of the cows to get Pink Eye. This disease started by making the eye water and turn pink. If not doctored many times the eye would become cloudy and the eye ball would come to a point and rupture. After that cancer would set in. Before the screw worm campaign we would let the screw worms eat out the cancer then kill the screw worms and generally the cow could get well but after the screw worm campaign the cancer would slowly kill the cow. If we could catch the pink eye in time and doctor it with pink eye medicine we could usually clear up the eye and prevent the cancer.

About this time LaSelle Taylor, Chato Bluth and I were into roping in the rodeos held here in Nvo. Casas Grandes. I told them about our Pink Eye problem and they were very happy to come and help us rope the cows with pink eye and doctor them. We would corner a little bunch of cattle down against the lake then cut out the ones with Pink Eye one by one and take turns roping them and then while two doctored the cow two would hold the bunch until we were through then go and find another little group of Cattle. We took care of a lot of cows and had a lot of good practice roping which we enjoyed very much.

Chato had a pretty bay horse with a white blaze in his face that he brought out to the ranch to rope on. LaSelle liked to ride Coral one of the good rope horses we had on the ranch. I liked to ride my horse Indio that I had broke and trained. He had a very good light reign and was very good on the end of rope. One day while we were roping down by the lake Chato took his turn after a fast heifer and was just going to rope her when she turned off and his horse turned right with her. As the horse turned his front hoof hit a rock about as big as your fist. Their was a loud crack and Chato's horse nearly went down with a broken front leg. Chato got off and found that the leg was broken just above the ankle and was flopping around loose. With a heavy heart Chato took his saddle off and borrowed my pistol and shot his beautiful horse to relieve him from his great pain and suffering. That ended our roping for that day we all felt very bad about that good bay horse.

Another problem that developed for Carlos and I was that our neighbors the Carrillos had some big corriente bulls. The bulls were Brahma cross and had big horns sticking up in Brahma style and they could jump the fence with ease. After the round up we separated the heifers and put them in the heifer pasture by themselves. These bulls would jump the fence over into the heifer pasture. We did not want the heifers bred so young and especially we didn't want them bred by those big ugly bulls.

Carlos and I went over to get them out. When we first approached the bull he would shake his head and threaten to charge. We continued to worry him and soon he started to run. Not out of the pasture but down toward the Lake. Carlos and I had practiced throwing a big turned loop over the animals shoulder to land with the top part of the loop across the shoulders of the animal and the bottom part of the loop would whirl under and catch the two front feet. I was riding Indio that day and I ran up past the rear end of the bull and threw that turned loop over the bulls shoulder catching his two front feet. I dallied hard and turned Indio of at a full run and turned that bull for a loop. Indio turned and sat back on the rope and held the bull on his back until Carlos could slap his rope on the bulls two hind feet. We snubbed up close and had our horses hold the bull while we got off to give the bull a good scare. I hit him on the nose a few times with a Mesquite limb then shot into the base of his horns with my pistol. We both got back on our horses loosened the ropes and got ready to get out of the way of the bull in case he charged. That bull Jumped up and took off fast with his tail in the air straight back to his own pasture and jumped the fence. One down and two to go. After doing the other two bulls the same way we were not bothered any more with them jumping into our heifer pasture.

Another problem was the wild mares of the Ejido. When the Carrillos rented all of the Ejido land south of the ranch they fenced the pasture and wanted to get rid of all of the wild mares that had accumulated in the Ejido pasture. They made some big drives and caught a lot of the mares by driving them up a canyon into a natural boxed place with only one entrance. Some of the mares were so wild that they would not go into their natural trap. Next they tried to corner them against our south fence. When the mares and their offspring saw they were being cornered they went over and through our fence into our pasture.

Carlos reported to me about the mares so we decided to go rope them and put them in the corral. We saddled up and got ready to go have some fun. I was riding Massai because he was very fast and loved to work on the end of a rope. Carlos was riding Cariño who was not very fast but one of the best we had on the end of a rope.

We went up into the southeast corner where the mares were waiting to go back into their favorite hills. Carlos waited down along the fence line to intercept them as I drove them down the fence line. I started them down the fence at a trot through the washes and rough places in the corner. As soon as they came into the level ground they broke into a run. I came out of the last wash and let Massai out. He took off so fast that it felt like the back of my saddle was slapping me in the seat of my pants. We very soon overtook the mares who began to ring their tails in panic trying to out run Massai. As I saw Carlos come out to intercept us I easily put my rope on the big mare in the rear. Carlos  threw  a beautiful loop on the lead mare. When my mare felt the rope tighten on her neck she began to squeal and buck.  Massai sat back on the rope and brought her to a stop. She hung back on the rope until she began to sway back and forth and fell on her side gasping for air. I gave the slack she needed to breathe until she got up and broke away again only to be brought to a whirling stop again. She started to hang back again but decided that she didn't like to be choked down. Soon both Carlos and I had our mares leading reluctantly toward the corral. The rest of the bunch followed behind because they were the offspring of the mares.

We got in the van and went to tell the Carrillos to come and get their mares. The Cowboy at the Carrillo ranch said that he would tell the owners of the mares to come and get them.

Back at the ranch we decided to teach the mares to respect the rope. We went into the corral on foot with our ropes to have some fun. As the mare wildly ran past us we would whirl a loop onto the two front feet of the nearest mare and sit back on the rope and turn those mares fizzle end up. After throwing each one two or three times they would not run any more so we had to quit our sport. The mares now would always respect the rope and would not run when they could see the rope.

THE FAMILY INVOLVEMENT

Right from the start Naoma and our children were involved in the ranch work. Naoma had ridden the range and worked with her father on their ranch in Oaxaca, Sonora before we were married. When Dad Haynie left the Ranch in Oaxaca he gave us a bunch of horses. Among them were Chanate, Coffee, the Mule Chihuhua, Chango, and Palomino. Naoma loved to ride and loved ranch work so whenever possible she would bring all of the older kids that were old enough to ride and we would all go out to ride the range and doctor the cattle. Especially when it was time to round up and brand they were all mounted on good horses and did the work of a cowboy in the gathering and holding the cattle while we cut out the mother cows with their calves. Naoma was constantly keeping the kids on the alert telling them to watch the cows and head them before they had a chance to break out of the herd. That was the hardest job for the kids to hold the cattle in the hot sun down by the lake hour after hour while the cutting was going on.

All of our kids learned to love the horses and to ride very well. The girls as well as the boys. As I remember Susann was the only one that ever got thrown off her horse. She thought the horse was going to go around the Mesquite one way but suddenly turned and went around the other way and our little Susie took a bad tumble. Years later she told us that she always hurt in her back and hips when she rode and thought that it was part of riding. I guess that is why she didn't enjoy it as much as the rest of the family. In spite of that Susie became a good help on the ranch. I remember we gave her a nice Sorrel horse with a blaze in his face for her very own. She loved riding him . One day Uncle Harvey Taylor saw him and said that he wanted him for his special rope horse. I had been raised all my life with the idea that Uncle Harvey's wish was my command so I gave him the horse. I told him that it belonged to Susie but he said that he needed him more than Susie did. I felt very bad about it and I know Susie was hurt. I hope she has forgiven me.

Mary,  Jenene and Claudia each became very good with horses and could handle even the most spirited of the horses and do any of the ranch work. The boys, Kiko, Sam, Tracy, Karl and  Anthony, as they grew up doing the ranch work, each had his turn being the main stay and help through the years of ranch work. Our working on the ranch together was fun for all of us and it really helped unite our family  Each one of the kids felt that their contribution was valued that they were helping run the ranch. They were always much better than any hired help that we could get.

After cutting the dry cows out and leaving only the mother cows and their calves the big job was to take them to the corral. The calves had never been in the corral and the cows hadn't been in since last year and they were anxious to get back to their feeding grounds. When you try to put 150 mother  cows and their calves into a corral when they don't want to go then you really have a job. For years it would take about ten good cowboys mounted on good horses to corral the pairs after cutting.

For the round up day I would hire five men to help us. We had some good friends up in Colonia Madero that were good cowboys and loved to come and help us.  We would go by for them before daylight and go on to the ranch and Carlos would have the horses in the corral ready to be saddled. We had plenty of good horses and saddles so everyone was well mounted and we would be riding out before sun up. We would ride together to the south end of the ranch then fan out and drive all of the cattle down to the lake. By noon we would have them cut out, divided and put into the corral to begin the work. We would cut out the cows and leave only the calves in the corral to be worked.

For the Heifers we would brand them, Vaccinate them with a triple vaccine, dehorn them and cut a swallow fork in the right ear. The steer calves would be branded Vaccinated dehorned and castrated, but no ear mark. The steer calves would all be shipped to the US and the buyers preferred not to have them ear marked.

The roper on a good steady horse would catch a calf by the two hind feet and drag him out of the bunch and two strong boys would tail it down on it's right side. One would jump astride the calf and hold the left front foot while the other would get down behind the calf and brace both feet on the bottom leg of the calf and hold back on the top leg with both hands and release the rope so the roper could catch another calf for the next pair of holders. Then the brander would brand the calf. One of the girls was usually given the job to vaccinate. She would inject 5 cc of the vaccine under the skin usually under the front leg that was being held. Another of the girls would doctor the calf's eyes if needed. The castration and the earmark were both done by the same person with a sharp knife. The dehorner came last  so that  the calf could be released before too much blood could spurt on the holders.

For years we always had a blood bath until we learned to cut and dehorn in the waning of the moon. We went to talk to Don Tomas Azumendi about sheep once when we thought about looking into raising sheep. He gave us his history of herding sheep in the US for many years until he could buy his own flock and come to Mexico. His advice was castrate the lambs in the waning of the moon or else they will bleed to death. The next round up we put the round up time right in the middle of the waning of the moon and the animals hardly bled  at all. After that our roundups were no problem at all as far as blood was concerned and the calves didn't lose hardly any blood. Before we had used lots of blood stopper and still bathed the corrals with blood. One year we forgot to schedule our roundup in the waning of the moon and when we started to dehorn and cut the blood started spurting all over us and we stopped after the first two calves and waited for the waning of the moon.

One year the calves were extra big and the holders were having a hard time so I put Carlos on the roping horse and went to work throwing them down and holding them. Near the end of the day I was tired and tailed down a big calf. I jumped down on him holding him down with my weight across his body holding his left front leg. I was lying across him with my feet stretched out on the ground. Suddenly he swung his head around and hit me in the lower back. I felt a sharp pain in my back but held on until the calf was finished then I had difficulty getting to the van. The next few days I seemed to get along pretty well and we started on a trip to Utah by way of Mesa. When we got to Mesa we went to stay with Naoma's cousin Marion Peterson.

I was in plenty of pain by then and Marion laid me on the floor a couple of days to see if the pain would subside. Marion was a specialist in back surgery so after a couple of days he put me in the hospital. He operated on my back and removed a piece of the ruptured disk. After a few days Naoma drove us home and took over teaching my Seminary classes for about a month. I was soon back to my regular work and have not had any trouble from the operation.

Kiko came back from his training course in a vet school with a lot of very good ideas that revolutionized our ranch work. He told me of a calf squeeze chute that would catch the calf and squeeze it and then swivel down and lay it on it's side holding the calf ready to brand and do all of the other work with the calf conveniently on a table as it were. I went to Rodolfo Macias' shop and told him what we needed and supervised the making of our calf chute that we used for many years. We still have it up at the ranch in Pacheco.

Kiko also did some very good operations on cancer eye cows that healed up the cows eye and we were able to sell every one of the cows that he operated on. He also learned to do C sections on the cows that could not have a natural birth with their calves.  

Kiko advised us to start using Artificial Insemination to upgrade the cattle. He figured out the way to handle the cattle by putting a lane from the corral all the way around the lake with gates at intervals for the cattle to go down to water. This provided a way to handle one cow at a time or even the whole herd if we wanted to with one or two cowboys. From then on we used only the family to round up the cattle and put them in the corral. We built a cutting chute in the corral so we could cut three ways and divide the cattle any way we wanted to. We did Artificial Inseminating a few years which entailed a lot of work and constant watching for the cows to come into heat. Also we had to go to Chihuahua City to refill our Semen tanks with liquid Nitrogen. Finally we decided that it wasn't worth the trouble and we had accomplished our purpose and gotten some very good stock.

After that each round up all of the family that were here and even grandchildren that came for the round up would do all of the work. We would drive the cattle down to the lake and close the outside gates of the lane then easily drive the cattle through the lane into the corral. Some times some of the calves would go through the lane fence but after putting the cattle in the corral we would go rope the calves and put them in the trailer and haul them back to the corral. At Noon Naoma would arrive with a very welcome hot dinner for all of us. I remember looking forward to those good hot dinners. Many times I heard some of the kids say I wish Mom would get here I'm hungry. It made a welcome break and prepared us to go back to finish up with the branding work.

Some of our fondest memories are of all of the family working together on the ranch. Even though some times we had to work in disagreeable weather. It only served to unite us more. Like the time when we were required to dip the cattle. The dipping vat had been built in the new meat packing plant in Nvo. Casas Grandes. We started very early in the morning and gathered the cattle and drove them in and got them through the dipping vat. We were driving them back to the ranch in the evening after working all day. The sky became dark and it began to rain. Wow!! It really came down and the cattle didn't want to go into the driving rain instead they kept turning to drift with the wind and the rain. I remember that all of us were wet and cold trying to get the cattle to move along toward the ranch. I remember seeing Susie wet and shivering with cold bravely trying to push the cows with her horse. We finally got the cattle through the ranch gate and ran our horses to the ranch house. We all piled into the van and hurried home to a warm shower and a good hot supper.   

We worked together on the ranch and we also played together on the ranch. Many times in August and September when the lakes were filling up with fresh water we would all go out to the ranch. We would get our horses out of the corral and ride them down to the lake. After riding around and looking at the cattle we would all come back and get our  swimming suits on. We would take off the saddles and ride our horses out into the lake. We would ride out deeper and deeper until our horses were swimming then we would let them turn back and race back to our camp by the lake. After repeating this until the horses began to tire we would all come back and build a fire and fry the hamburgers and make the herb tea. We all enjoyed this fun together. After the swim the hamburgers tasted very good washed down with the warm herb tea. Some times we would stay over night.  We always camped on the Bermuda grass near the lake as a precaution against the Rattle Snakes.

It seems that when it would rain hard in the mountains some of the big Rattlers would be washed down with the flood water and end up in the lake where they could finally swim out. Many times we encountered those big snakes coming out of the lake. Instead of crawling away from us they would rattle and come straight toward us. I guess they were plenty riled up after being washed down from their mountain home.

We lost quite  number of good horses from Snake bite. We bought a beautiful, young Palomino Stallion  from D.S. Brown. He was enjoying his freedom on the ranch. I went out to check on him because I had not seen him for a couple of days. When I found him he was down by the lake trying to drink but couldn't. His head was so swollen that he couldn't drink. We could see where a snake had bitten him on the jaw. We tried to bathe the affected parts with coal oil but he was too far gone. The next morning he was dead.

One day most of the family were riding along in the tall grass when I saw the Pinto hit a Big Rattle Snake with his front hoof as he was walking along. We got off and killed the snake. I noticed two blood spot at the edge of the pinto's hoof, so we went and doctored him with coal oil. He seemed to be all right for a few days then his upper leg began to swell and he began to limp on it. We thought for sure that he would get over it but about two weeks later we found him dead up in the pasture.

We gave Anthony a pretty black three year old colt so that he could train him to his own liking. He was doing a good job and the  colt was learning fast and promised to be a very good cow horse. One Saturday we went out so that Anthony could work his colt and Yagui our Cowboy at the time said that he had found him dead from snake bite.

There  were others, one was Claudius' Pinto that he had out on the ranch. Well I won't dwell on the others. 

Our memories of the ranch are mixed with our memories of  family togetherness. Not just our family but Uncle Donn's family as well. Because of the length of this narrative I will not be able to include that side of the story. That will have to be another time and another story.

3/6/2003 Webmaster: Troy Bowman