From Kodi- “That’s Ranchlife”

Kodi the Cowdog

Kodi staying alert and guarding the ranch

Hi Y’all! Kodi here, head of security and all-around best pal at the Clem Ranch. It sure is a different June than this time last year when the drought already had us in its nasty grip. Mother Nature has been good to us lately, and we have been getting lots of rain, and all the ponds are overflowing. That is a good sight to see especially for my girls. They will have clean, fresh water to drink all summer long, and I will have plenty to run and splash in.

Now I haven’t gotten the swimming thing down just yet, but I sure do love to run along the edges of the ponds and splash in the cool water. When it rains and there are lots of puddles in the pasture, man oh man do I have fun in those. You know I just have to run sometimes, and when there is water to splash in well, that’s even better. I hit every puddle I come to going just as fast as my wiggly butt will take me and then head to the next one I see. Of course, when we get back to the house you know what’s coming my way, a bath of course. That’s ok though because by then I am ready for a little rest.

Since I am a little cowdog and have gotten pretty good at working with those critters, I have come to the conclusion that they do not always use good sense and can have a “mob” mentality after what happened the other afternoon. Now I do speak their language of “MOOOOOOO”, but even knowing that, nothing made sense about what they did. All started out great but went drastically downhill in a hurry. It was one of those days here in East Texas that made you want to be outside. There was sunshine, a blue, clear sky and a soft breeze blowing; it was that kind of day.

Well, Mama decided to go for a walk since we had been out of town for a couple of days and hadn’t gotten in our usual exercise routine. She called for me to see if I wanted to go, and of course I jumped at the chance. I knew that meant I would get to run and play and get in all the creeks and ponds we went by and bark at everything that moved. She and I took off leaving Daddy reading the paper and enjoying a cup of coffee out on the deck. Mama walked, and I ran and played until we noticed a group of cows and calves were following close behind. We were crossing a narrow dam when all those cows in that field came stampeding right up behind us. They were jumping and kicking and slipping and sliding. Mama yelled, and I ran toward them to try and get them to stop so they would not run us over. They stopped, but they all had that wild-eyed look on their faces. Mama called for me to come close to her, and we got off to the side of the dam as best we could to let them pass. They ran and jumped and bawled and bellowed and headed on to another field like the devil was behind them with a whip. I thought they were acting kind of crazy myself and for what reason. The grass was just as green where they had come from as it was where they were going.

Mama and I kept on with our walk for a ways and then headed back home. She told Daddy about the mob trying to run us over, and he asked if the new baby calf was in the bunch. She said we didn’t notice a new little one, so we all went and got in the Mule to find him since his mama was 2 fields over by then. The little fellow was by the big pond so we drove up close to him, and my folks got out and managed to catch him and get him in the back of the Mule to take him to his mama. Now he was only a few hours old but strong as could be, and he fought like a tiger trying to get away. I kept thinking, “Geeze kid, chill out; we’re only trying to help”.

About the time they got him loaded we noticed his mama had come all the way back and was staring at all of this from across the pond with a none too happy look in her eyes. All of a sudden she jumped in the water and started swimming across. She was fighting mad by this time and the little fellow was kicking and fighting like crazy and bellowing, too. (Tell PETA that no animals were harmed during this incident, just people). You would have thought that ol’ mama cow would realize we were the good guys and were just trying to get her calf back to her, but I do not think she appreciated the help. Daddy Told Mama, “DRIVE”, and off we went trying to avoid the hussy and keep her from getting in the Mule with us. Mama drove, and Daddy fought with that baby trying to keep him in the back all the while the cow was doing her best to stop all of this. She was mad as an old, wet hen and let us know it. I decided to keep very quiet and make myself as small a target as I could because I did not want her to remember that I had any part in this fiasco. I mean, I do have to work these cows on occasion, and I did not want her to take out her anger on me the next time I am in the area of her back feet. Finally, we got the calf and the mad mama to where the rest of the herd was and let them get back together. Whew! What a ride!

By then Daddy’s clothes were, well let’s just say he couldn’t ride up front or go into the house until he had stripped down to his skivvies. He got out of the Mule limping since that baby had kicked him everywhere possible, and Mama was limping because she had stepped in a hole and turned her ankle. I was the only one not covered in mud and muck and walking properly. How can such a nice day take such a nasty turn? Some days it just does not pay to take a walk in the sunshine. Well, I guess that’s life when you are in the cattle business, but a thought came to me that sometimes sleeping baby calves are best left alone where their mamas are close by.

And to top the day off, the crazy red birds are back! Our house has storm windows, and you can see your reflection in them. Many a time I have strolled by while on patrol duty and wondered who that cutie was, and then realized it was my pretty face staring right back at me. Now if I have got it figured out, why can’t those goofy birds do the same? They take the expression “bird-brained” to a whole new level. Here’s why.

Those red birds are aggressive by nature; they may look pretty, but they have a fighting side especially when it comes to defending their territory. When they see their reflection in the windows they think another bird is trying to invade their space and they are ready to go to war. They peck and peck and peck at those windows for hours and hours. Now wouldn’t you think that after a while they would realize that it is just a mirror image that they’re fighting with and not another bird? But noooooooo! They just keep on pecking. It drives me bonkers! I can be on the other side of the window barking at them, and they act like I am not even there. It is like something takes over their birdbrain, and they cannot think of anything but fighting that image in the window. I woke Mr. P up to complain about the noise, but he said they weren’t bothering him and dozed back off. I thought birds were supposed to be a cat’s field of expertise, but apparently not, at least not Mr. P’s. This pecking ritual will go on for several weeks, and then they will stop and get on with raising their young. I keep thinking they will wise up and see how silly this “pretend” fighting is, but until then I guess I will just have to put up with the noise.

Oh, I forgot to mention my new friend. The other day I heard an unusual noise coming from afar, and I got to wondering what it could be. It was loud and nothing like I had ever heard before. I decided to investigate and discovered it was coming from the neighboring field, so I headed over in that direction. Next to the fence was a strange looking critter that had not ever been there before, so I moseyed up to make his acquaintance. I decided to stay on my side of the fence to be on the safe side. He was smaller than a horse, had a stripe down his back and the biggest, longest ears you had ever seen. He was making a noise that was hard to describe; almost a kind of a braying or something.

Anyway, I introduced myself and said, “Hi, I’m your neighbor, Kodi. I’m known as the little cowdog with a wiggly butt and head of security around these parts.”

He looked down at me and said he was Mr. Donkey and was glad to meet me. He said he was a pasture pet and was there to keep stray dogs and coyotes from bothering his owner’s cows. He seemed nice enough and then I got to thinking that he might be good to have around because of those huge ears of his. Those things could probably pick up signals from outer space, and he might be able to detect when the aliens were in this area.

Now I know that mama said the alien under the bush was a big snapping turtle and the thing that went poof when I touched it with my paw was a big red balloon, but I am still not convinced. To be on the safe side it would be good to have an early detection system in place. Mr.Donkey’s ears might be just what I needed. I did not mention the aliens to him just then, and thought I would save that conversation for another time. There was no need to alarm him.

I told him goodbye because I heard Daddy calling my name, and that meant it was time to go check on my girls. That also meant a ride in the Mule and some treats. He keeps some in his pocket, and I always get one or two. All I have to do is cock my head sideways and look at him with my big brown eyes, and he reaches for the good stuff. It really was not hard to train him because who wouldn’t give a cutie like me whatever I wanted?

So long and happy trails to ya,

Kodi, The Little Cowdog with the Wiggly Butt

P.S. You can read my first column if you click here.

This monthly series is based on a book titled, “Letters from Kodi, The Little Cowdog With The Wiggly Butt”. The book is written by Brangus producer and IBBA member Phyllis Clem, through the eyes of Kodi, a miniature Australian Shepherd. Kodi attends all the Brangus events the Clems go to so you may have had the opportunity to meet her. She is very friendly, and since she has trouble holding her licker you may have been on the receiving end of a hand washing.

Hope you enjoy this series full of Kodi’s adventures!

About the Author:

Phyllis and her husband, Garry, are long time, 40+ years, Brangus breeders who live in East Texas near Jacksonville. Their herd consists of donor and donor type females and they strive to produce the highest quality cattle they can. When they have free time they enjoy playing golf, watching professional bull riding, traveling and spending time with family and friends. 

The book is available by contacting Phyllis at 903-726-3463 or The cost is $10 plus $2 for shipping and handling.

One comment on “From Kodi- “That’s Ranchlife”

  1. […] You can read my first column and second column if you missed […]

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