Steve's Adventures in South America
I bought a one-way ticket to Venezuela and I'm not coming back until my tube of toothpaste runs out...

Hobbling Along

Lassoing the Calves

At 5:30 am I'm up with the cock crowing (no, not mine) and the dogs barking (no, not mine either) to milk some cows. Mikly milky! I never knew you could get so much out of a single cow! (And no, I'm not talking about her either!) There's a definite knack to it and for best results you're not to be shy either! The cow doesn't mind how hard you squeeze!

All the Amerindians strongly believe in little people, some good, most bad; mean little f*ckers with an attitude - think Child's Play. Paula and Zeta (Colette's Mum and Dad) are convinced they're around the ranch at night, which is why the dogs have been acting strange. It's an interesting topic for breakfast.

Yee Ha!

There's a rumour that some of Charlos cattle have been spotted in the next mountain over so Alfredo, Francis and Henry (the real Vaqueros on the ranch) saddle up and head out. They could be gone a day or two. That leaves Charlo, Ian and I to round up the Calves. I hooked a big one and they made me ride him - he's wild, he's furious and I'm thrown to the ground real quick with a hefty thump. Mental note: Arse pads required! I then hook a real large bull by mistake and it becomes a behemoth effort for us to tie him up and ground him so we can take the lasso off. He's big, he's strong, he's a fighter, it took ½ hour but net result:

Cowboys - 1 :: Big Bad Bull - 0

I'm hot, thirsty and covered in cow shit so it's off to the creek for a swim and wash in the midday sun.

Steve's Been Horse Hobbled!

After a pepper pot lunch Ian and I make a horse hobbler each under Charlo's supervision. This is an open ranch, it has no fences (except for the corral) meaning at any one time (e.g. during dinner) you can be surrounded by chickens, dogs, calves, cattle and horses. Now, to stop the horses from running away you put a pair of leather handcuffs on their front legs - a hobbler! Charlo is an excellent craftsman and is very fussy about getting the various stress points just right.

We have lasso practice until the boys come home with the goods! The corral fills up with cattle, most of them a lot more feisty than yesterday. The boys tend to their steeds leaving Ian and I to do the calf thing with twice as many cattle as usual. We trap most of the big boys in one half of the corral giving us more room to lasso the calves. It took us a bit of time but I thought we did a damn good job.

Over dinner I chat with Bushmasters about details of a Cowboy holiday they want to run next year - right here at Charlo & Colette's Happy Days Ranch. I think it's an excellent idea.

The way my right bum cheek / lower back feels, I think I hobbled my self coming off that calf! But if I do it again I'm sure I know what to do. Sit over the haunches and lean back / sit upright. My arse pains so much I have to sleep on my other side! But once asleep, I'm asleep. I'm only disturbed by rats squeaking in the corner of the hut. I'm not too bothered. I figure the scorpions will get them.

Posted by Steve Eynon