August 19, 2012. I decided to forgo a food shopping excursion and packed up and headed out! I was going to take highway 97 back, but at the last second I changed my mind and went up the Bickleton Highway. After about 3 miles the highway veered left but I went strait on an obvious road easement, one I had also seen on the Metzger Map. I was hoping to tie into Willis Road. After a mile or so there was a very funky gate. We went through that but after another half mile there as another fence with no gate so we turned back. Of course Taboona knew all along that this was a waste of time!
I walked her back and we scraped the spring strut getting back on the pavement but no major damage. After another mile or so I noticed a fellow had pulled over and was waiting with his camera. I liked this person already simply by observing the whole scene unfolding. There was a wide pullout across from where he was waiting so we pulled in there for a much deserved rest. It was here we met Bob Jarrard, I liked his demeanor and he obviously liked Taboona. He commenced to tell me a little of his history with horses and x girl friends with horses and how he restored old cars now for cash and was on his way to look at a Knuckle Head Harley Davidson motor cycle. We exchanged address and he invited me to come and visit his place (off Woodland Road) sometime. Who knows if we had not taken the dead end (road / right of way), we might not have met Bob?
As soon as we got to Willis Road we took a right we went about a mile we pulled up under a big Locus tree. There were four of five trees here probably left over from an old homestead? In the ever moving shade of this fine old tree I soaked Taboona’s Timothy hay cubes and applied some bacon grease to Taboona’s weird facial disease that we first noticed when we were at Ekone. This was not ring worm and was a bit of a mystery but my friend Sandy Ayers was correct in her assessment that salty bacon grease might help! Also I noticed that Taboona’s rear ankles were a little swollen but usually by morning this “puffiness” goes back down to normal?
As I have all the time in the world to watch her back feet while she moves along I noticed one day how her hind feet move. How her right hock moves in a “U” shape pattern unlike here left hock that goes strait up and strait back down. As if there is a “hitch” in her right hip joint? My, where is your horse chiropractor when you need him/her?
While we were resting and passing the hottest part of the day here, a small pick up truck suddenly stops in a cloud of dust and a youngish man with sunglasses steps out and introduces himself as Dusty, and says, “I haven’t seen anything like this for years” (referring to horse and cart) We had a pleasant conversation and I was interested in his divided mind (as I can relate). He had recently left his place in Southern Oregon near Bogg Hot Springs where he and his family had operated a large cattle operation for many years. How he simply could not afford to live there and the days in the saddle were so long he seldom saw his family, yet he sorely missed the life style of a working cowboy! The real clincher as his story unfolded was his father was in jail and the ranch had to be sold to pay off the debts his father had incurred! But they held onto 400 acres with a 100 gallon a minute, fresh water spring! After we talked for some time sharing several stories about our lives. I was happy that not all was lost for Dusty and that his family had held on to the Spring, somehow that seemed to give a Hope for this hard working, salt of the earth, sort of man!
I took the beer that Dusty offered me but could not drink it for some reason it hurt my stomach? After questioning him about range management and getting the low down; how the cattle simply followed the water moving down in elevation as the springs dried up and the older cattle knew where the next spring was and the rest followed and how ever year the range came in with thick grass. It made perfect sense; besides range management was not why they lost the Ranch! I watered the locus tree with his beer, even though I am sure it did not need it. I was certainly impressed with the caliber of people I was meeting on the small back roads of the County.