Our (Least) Favorite Things #14-Ranch Animals

You can read other favorites in Andi’s Attic >>

Thank you, Lizzy D., for the idea for this delightful post about some “least” favorite animals.

14. Our (Least) Favorite Ranch Animal

February 1888

February is always lovely. The grass turns bright green from all of the winter rains, foals are beginning to drop, and calves begin to frolic. I love to sit out on the back porch rocking seven-month-old Jared and enjoying the afternoon sun. Watching foals trot around in the padlock is one of my favorite springtime activities. I figured it was a great time to think about my favorite ranch animal. I love almost all of the animals on Memory Creek Ranch, so it’s hard to decide my favorite, even though everybody in my family (including Riley) will always insist . . . horses, of course!

I will have to get back to my journal about my favorite ranch animal, however. I ended up in a funny (well, maybe not really funny) conversation with both of my sisters. Kate was visiting from San Francisco, and she and Melinda rode out for a visit. I welcomed their visit because it interrupted my sewing chores. Yes, chores. Some women consider sewing a lovely craft. I considered grooming horses a lovely craft. Ah, but I digress . . .

Kate, Melinda, and I talked about the cousins and how life was in the city, and how did Kate like running Aunt Rebecca’s house since her passing. Then our conversation moved into our favorite and least favorites. Oh, how fun. What about our favorite ranch animals (since this thought was on my mind before they drove in), but neither sister wanted to remember favorite animals. No, indeed. Melinda posed the question, “What is our least favorite ranch animal?” Say what? Their least favorite ranch animal? Well, I reckon that makes sense, since they are both city dwellers now.

“Well, if you ask me,” I said, trying to get into the spirit of the moment, “I know Chad’s least favorite ranch animal.”

“Sheep!” Melinda and Kate chorused, dissolving into laughter. I was forced to agree with them after last year’s experience with my little lamb, Jasper. I didn’t go into details, because nobody but Riley and I know what happened to the poor fella. It’s a Memory Creek secret.

Kate’s (Least) Favorite Ranch Animal

Kate made no bones about it. She doesn’t like any ranch animals, not even horses. “I am and always have been a city girl. Why else would I have run away and tried to stay with Aunt Rebecca all those years ago?” She shivered.

“But what’s your very least favorite?” I asked.

“Cattle, hand’s down,” she said at once. “They’re dusty, loud, smelly, and stubborn animals. And slimy.” She scowled at my open mouth. “They are slimy. Their noses are. And they stick their tongues into your nostrils and–”

“That’s true,” Melinda added with a shudder.

“Bulls are the worst,” Kate said quickly. “They’re so scary!” She proceeded to tell us a story she’d heard about a bull who’d run down a two-year-old child from a neighboring ranch. It happened when she was still a girl. “You were just a baby, Andi,” she said. “I never forgot that story. The poor baby was outside with his mother and they had a bull locked in the padlock a good distance away. The bull must have gotten pretty angry at his confinement, for he charged out of the padlock, breaking the fence. He charged toward the baby and ran him over before the mother had a chance to save him.

I gasped. I had never heard this story before, but Melinda nodded. She remembered it but only vaguely.

“Thankfully the baby survived, but he was scarred for life,” Kate finished. The mother packed her bags that very day and left. The baby’s father sold his ranch and they headed back to the city.

I shivered a little when Kate finished her story and squeezed baby Jared harder. I would never, ever let him out of my sight when I was anywhere near a bull–Circle C or Memory Creek. But in spite of the story, I liked bulls. Prince Reginald was beautiful and threw perfect calves. And he never got out and I always obeyed my mother’s and Chad’s restrictions to never go near the bulls.

Melinda’s (Least) Favorite Ranch Animal

“What about you, Melinda?” I asked. She had been a ranch girl for longer than Kate, so maybe she liked most of them.

Melinda had to think for a minute. “Spiders,” she said at long last. “They’re awful. Creepy, crawly spiders who hide and jump out to scare you.” She shuddered.

Spiders? Really? Hmm. I doubted for a little bit whether a spider should count as a ranch animal, but I decided to let it pass since spiders truly are on a ranch. So I agreed quickly. I didn’t want Melinda to bring up old stories about jars of spiders and . . . me and leaving them in Melinda’s room. Not good memories.

“I could also say sheep,” Melinda went on.

Kate and I giggled. She sounded like Chad.

“What?” I asked. “Since when have you had sheep on the Circle C long enough to like them or not like them?”

Melinda reddened. “I just know they are my least favorite, after spiders. And you’re giggling because you think I sound like Chad. But I agree with our brothers. They’re filthy animals. And they bite.”

“They bite?” I shook my head. “How do you know? Did one bite you?”

“No, but I heard about Zeke Hollister. He got bit in the legs and the arms by more than one of those fleabags.”

“Of course he did,” I argued. “He was silly to try to salt the sheep by holding it in his hands and keeping salt in his pockets.” I shook my head. “The sheep bit him all up trying to get at the salt. He should have thrown it on the ground like always.” I started laughing. “It’s his own fault and not the sheep’s.”

Kate sighed. “Oh, all right. I’ll give you that. But I still don’t like those vermin. Now, it’s your turn.”

Andi’s (Least) Favorite Ranch Animal

I knew my least favorite, easy. “Roosters. Especially Henry the Eighth. He pecked me, or at least tried to peck me so many times when I was little. Do you know how many eggs I lost because of that chicken?”

“At least a dozen.” Melinda smiled.

“Probably a dozen a month,” Kate added.

“How would you know?” I challenged.

“Because Henry the Sixth did the same thing to me when I was small.” She turned to Melinda. “He was extra mean so Father butchered him before he could peck my eyes out. He tasted terrible, even in stew.”

Melinda and I roared our laughter. I had no idea there had been Henrys one through seven before Henry the Eighth pestered me. I’d never fully counted the eggs nor had kept a running count of times Henry made me lose eggs. Mother had been upset about the eggs once, when I got the eggs on me, and not the ground.

EYEING HENRY THE EIGHTH

“At least we enjoyed the chicken pie after Henry went after Chad.” I said. “He was not as tough as you seemed to indicate Henry the Sixth was.”

Kate and Melinda laughed.

Melinda and Kate left a little before supper. As I worked on supper, I looked out the window. In front of the barn stood our rooster, strutting around looking as if he hadn’t a care in the world. His hens and the chicks were clucking and cheeping and scratching the ground. The whole family looked contented. He must have heard our conversation and decided to come out and show he was not at all like Henry the Eighth. Maybe it’s because I was not fool enough to name him Henry the Ninth, Tenth, or Eleventh. Oh, no. Our rooster’s name is Alexander the Great, and he’s as calm as a summer’s day.

For now.

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

24 thoughts on “Our (Least) Favorite Things #14-Ranch Animals

  1. Mrs m, Can you not drag Pictures into the Reply thing? or is something wrong with my device? I want you to see a picture I made for our fav. things but i can’t.

    Like

    1. No you can’t. It is not possible to post an image in the reply box. You must first upload it to a hosting site and then paste the image’s URL into the reply box. I am not sure if you can use Google photos to try this. But you can email it to me.

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    1. I guess it depends on if you are from the city or are from the country. Country ranchers and farmers take the livestock butchering as just another part of life. And . . . until you have been attacked by a rooster that digs its spur into your leg and you have to go to the hospital to have a tetanus shot and it gets infected and you have to be on antibiotics, you will not understand the pleasure one takes in getting rid of such a horrible animal. 🐓

      Liked by 1 person

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