The Wild West is a genre of Westerns that were set in the American frontier west of the Mississippi River, especially California. The stories are based on tales from many different perspectives and experiences about Americans who settled there during Manifest Destiny or after it became too late to stop them.
The “Who were the first cowboys?” is a question that has been asked for years. The answer to this question, is that there are many different answers. One of the most common answers, is that they were Native Americans who used horses and cattle to hunt buffalo. Read more in detail here: who were the first cowboys.
The cowboy clan has been slowly moving toward cultural diversity, and it hasn’t always been pleasant. When I rented a ranch from a cheapskate owner, it was bordered on the rear by two additional cheapskate owners, each waiting for the others to replace the awful fence that separated us. (I believe they were concerned about reducing their carrying capacity.)
Lee Pitts is a columnist for The and Paso Robles Press who can be reached at [email protected]
As a knowledgeable barb wire collector, I can tell you that the original wire stretched on the old fence was of the Kettleson Half Hitch genus and species, patented in 1878, and that portion of it was repaired and replaced with a more recent form, Wright #2, patented in 1894. On the original cedar poles, the only other wire was a patch job with the “Japanese Suicide, Scars, Scabs, and Stitches” brand.
Because of the high rates we were obtaining for calves at the time (not), the three owners agreed to each contribute one cowboy to the work, with the expense split evenly. (The estimated cost was more than their forefathers had spent for their whole ranches!)
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
We all came on horseback on fence-fixing day since that was the only way to get to the faulty fence. It was a collision of civilizations, and a conflict was virtually inevitable. A Texas cowpuncher was there, with his trousers crammed into extremely tall boots and gigantic batwing chaps that were extensively scarred by South Texas scrub, and I was there as a proud representative of the vaquero culture. A six-gun was clearly displayed and lying in a pommel bag on his horse, which terrified me since I had arrived to the fence-fixin’ unarmed. Until the third ranch representative came, the two of us twiddled our thumbs. Because it took him 30 minutes to dress his horse, it seemed that the Great Basin buckaroo was late. I’d never seen so many ropes or knots in my life! He was dressed in a flat-brimmed hat and what he termed “packer boots,” which were lace-up cowboy boots that I felt negated the point of boots since cowboys don’t tie laces.
In typical cowboy form, none of us were thrilled to be mending fences. Instead of fixing fence, every cowboy worth his salt would rather herd sheep, chop hay, wallow in muck, or be dragged by a horse.
On the first post hole we excavated, squabbles erupted almost immediately. Or maybe you attempted to dig. Each of us had packed what he thought was required gear. My horse Gentleman and I trailed an additional horse that was hauling a gas powered auger, a can of fuel, wire stretchers, tee posts, and a post pounder behind us. A digger bar and a sardine can were provided by the Texan, who was uninterested in anything mechanical, while a roll of sheep fence was brought by the Great Basin buckaroo.
We should’ve taken a jackhammer along with us. I put up the two-man auger and the Texas cotton picker, then pulled the rope while holding on tight. We got three inches of dirt under our feet before striking solid bedrock and breaking the pin that connected the auger to the motor. The Texan then grabbed his digging club and began pounding away at the rock. He knelt down and retrieved a sardine can full of dirt after 20 minutes of backbreaking labour. “Don’t you halfwits know nuthin,” the Great Basin buckaroo mocked at us poor specimens of the cowboy persuasion? You don’t dig postholes like these in the dirt; you construct them.”
Then he told us about “rock jacks,” which I had seen in Nevada, the Dakotas, and eastern Oregon on my travels. (In Oregon, there’s even a champion rock jack tournament!) The buckaroo built many baskets out of his roll of sheep fence, each approximately a yard broad and a yard high. Then he explained that we’d build a post in the centre of the basket and fill it with softball-sized pebbles, which would serve as our post. At least, that was the idea. That broken-down fence, to the best of my knowledge, remains that way to this day since none of us could locate a sufficient rock to place in the rock jack.
As an example:
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