Kodi the Cowdog stories are a monthly series 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.
Looks like we have made it to another May. This is one of my favorite months because my birthday is on the 20th. Now I don’t need anything, but if you are wondering, I could always use more chewies, those little cigar shaped ones in particular.
Knowing my lifestyle, I am sure you are not surprised that we have been on the road quite a bit lately. Most of these were overnighters; we will wait until summer to take any long trips, and then those will be to the mountains to get away from the Texas heat. One recent trip was to the Chochtaw Resort in Oklahoma to a music concert. Two of my folks’ favorite entertainers, namely Michael Martin Murphey and Red Stegall, performed. Of course, I didn’t see the actual concert, but I have learned that a comfy hotel bed and some TV watching can make for a pretty good evening especially when one of my favorites is on, that being “Swamp People”. Anyway, my folks had a grand time, and the next morning we got to visit with the entertainers at breakfast since they were staying at the same hotel as us.
There was one downside to this outing and that was in the form of a LOUD train whistle. Mama and I were out walking before they left for the concert, and we didn’t notice the train tracks across the highway. All of a sudden that thing came barreling down the tracks blowing its whistle, and I nearly jumped out of my fur. Mama gave me a hug and let me know it wasn’t going to run us over, but I sure didn’t like that noise. For some reason loud sounds tend to bother me some. I wonder why that is. Now don’t get the idea I was scared because that was not the case at all. I mean, I am head of security around here, but wouldn’t you be a little startled if a train blowing a loud whistle came out of nowhere?
Another outing was to Salado to the Texas Brangus Breeders Association (TBBA) convention and sale. This was my second time to go to TenRoc Ranch where the events were held, and believe you me I remembered to stay out of the cactus when I was out getting some run time in with Mama. There were lots of people there, and my folks enjoyed getting to visit with friends from all over the state, and any friend of my folks is a friend of mine as well. You might say I took some walks on the ‘wild side’ since I saw so many different kinds of wildlife. Besides being a ranch and event center, this place is also a wildlife sanctuary sort of, and I ran across deer, elk, wild turkeys, black bucks, and a zebra just to name a few. That thing made me wonder, is a zebra white with black stripes or black with white stripes? Hmmmmm. A good question to think about.
You may remember my mentioning that a while back that Mr. P was not feeling so good. His back legs were kind of weak, and he couldn’t jump up on things. Well, he has rebounded to his old self again. The other afternoon my folks were in the yard checking to see if the recent cold snap had hurt the young, tender leaves on the trees when they exclaimed, “Would you look at that?” And when I looked, there was my best bud way up in top of a tree. Now it takes quite a bit of energy and strength to hoist that much ‘fluffiness’ up that high. I ran over there, and he looked down and said, “What? Haven’t you ever seen a cat in a tree before?”
When LB was still here she was always climbing trees, especially when I chased her. That was a game for her because she would get up where I couldn’t go and then sit there and talk trash down to me. I sure miss her and our chase games. But for ol’ fur ball to climb a tree, well that was a sight to behold. It must have worn him out too,because when he came down he headed to his food bowl and then to his favorite napping spot on the deck. Sure glad he is feeling good again.
Why is it that when you are moving cattle/calves there is always one rascal who just has to do the opposite from the rest of the herd? Is it an unwritten cow law or something? The other morning we were on our way back from our morning exercise routine when Daddy said to Mama that we needed to go ahead and move the pairs over to the next field for a few days, and since they were all together, now would be a good time. I got my orders and off I went. All but one little heifer headed in the right direction. She turned and headed the opposite way, and if you don’t fool much with cattle, you probably think, “What is the big deal; just go get her.” But when that happens, the calf will start bawling which upsets her mama, and then she turns back to get to her calf. Then the others hear the bawling and they try and do the same. It sort of turns into cow/calf chaos. Eventually, with my folks help, I managed to get everyone moving in the right direction, through the gate and on to the next field. Of course we still had quite a ways to go to get back to the house, and with all that extra running I sure was ready for a nap when we got home. I guess it was just another day in the life of a little Texas cowdog.
A couple of days later, Daddy said he was going to pen some pairs and move them to the house for a few weeks. I was napping on the deck and he told Mama to just let me sleep since he really didn’t need my help anyway. He took off in the truck and trailer, but it was a long time before he came back. So long in fact that mama was about ready to go and see if there was a problem. When he drove up and got out, he looked like he was worn out. He said, “Kodi is right; moving baby calves and their mamas is like herding unruly cats.” He told mama that he got the babies separated from their mamas because he wanted to load them first, but since they had never been in a trailer, they did not want to jump in. They ran over him and managed to get out through a very small opening and were running harem-scarem through the pasture. Their mamas were penned and were going crazy because their babies were loose. That was when he said he could have used my help to round them back up and pen them again. He managed to get them herded back to the pen and finally loaded for the trip to the house, but it was an exhausting bit of work getting it done. All turned out ok, but he was ready for a good rest that evening. He said that next time he will not leave me behind when there is work like that to be done. That is because I am a little cowdog and that is what I am here for.
By the way, what is up with this May weather? One day the AC will be running and the next my fur coat feels mighty good. It is like Mother Nature does not know what season it is supposed to be. Now, I actually like the cool over the hot any time, but I kind of wish it would get one way and stay for a while. And the wind has been blowing so hard that our yard looks like fall except the leaves are green not brown. Maybe the aliens have something to do with these weather extremes; what’s your thinking on that subject?
Well so long for now. I heard my name called so it must be time to go check on my girls. Never a down moment around this ranch.
Ps: I forgot to mention my new friend, Izzy. I had actually met her a few times before at some cattle events, but this time we got to spend the afternoon together. She is an Aussie like me but a standard, not a mini. Her mom was busy taking pictures the day of the Cavender’s cattle sale over at their Neches River Ranch so my mom said Izzy could stay with us that afternoon rather than have to stay in the truck. We got along great and mama took us for several walks as well as some off leash playtime. There was another dog that played with us too. His name was Duke but not the same Duke as last year. He was a Boykin Spaniel with the prettiest red hair, and man did he have lots of energy. All three of us ran and chased each other and had a grand time, but since it was kind of warm that afternoon it didn’t take much running around to tire us out. Izzy and I were both ready for a nap, and I bet he slept good too on his way back to Dallas. I love to make new friends and look forward to seeing them at future cattle sales.
About the Author:
Phyllis and her husband, Garry, are long time (40 plus 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 of cattle that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $10 plus $2 for shipping and handling.