Ranch Ethics Thursday

June 30 was my birthday. And as part of my gift, my lovely bride sent my Maui Jim’s sunglasses in for repair. Maui Jim’s evidently has impeccable customer service. They returned a brand new pair of the titanium Kapalua’s. I was just hoping to get my sunglasses back. Maybe with the lenses replaced. But they sent a brand new pair, and a new case with cleaning cloth.

I had them about an hour.

We went to Barnes & Noble as part of the celebration. I know, boring, but that’s what I like to do. Anyway, I was reading something and had set my glasses down for a couple of minutes. Now they’re gone.

What does this have to do with Ranch Ethics?

I’m getting there. I was furious. FURIOUS! Why the hell would anybody want to be a good person when everybody around you are complete trash. And evidently you get more out of life ( like a sweet new pair of Maui Jim’s sunglasses ) when you’re a thieving asshole. OK, the vulgarity is a little much, but I was still a little put off by this whole thing… Until Thursday.

Thursday morning kicked in the same old routine. Up and at ’em – feed – hook up and load saddles and gear – load horses and head south. As soon as I arrived, Morgan and I made the feeding rounds and then headed to where we store the portable pens. They’re a set of heavy duty panels engineered to be pulled like a bumper pull trailer. They can hold close to forty or fifty head and can be set up by one or two men in about fifteen minutes.

Anyway, I was curious as to where we were headed.


Well, that was Five-O’s country and I thought we had cleaned it all out several months ago. (The Five-O’s are J.M.’s five children.)

Morgan informed me that we were not working our cattle but a neighbor’s cattle who had ventured on to that Berclair country. Fair enough. We got hooked up and headed out.

As we pulled up to the middle trap, there were three or four head in there with the same amount of calves, none of which appeared to be Five-O’s cows. (There were still seven in the pasture that belonged to Five-O’s) That’s about what I expected. However, we just got a count and kept on truckin’.

“Where we headed?” I asked Morgan.

“Down to that back trap. Those are probably Cartright cattle. We’ll just set those trap gates and deal with them next week. I think there are a couple more of them in here.”

So off to the back we went. When we pulled up to that back trap I didn’t see a couple of strays. I saw sixteen head of good looking tiger striped cows, at least 8-10 calves and one bull. What the …!?!?

“Who do these belong to?” I asked Dad wondering who had the ‘Lazy-P’ brand.

“Mike Powers. I’ve been calling him for a couple of days and I think they’re working cattle across the creek today. So, we’ll just try and get these penned and head over there. Hopefully we can catch him ’cause I’m not sure where he wants ’em.”

It all boils down to the fact that it’s HOT. And DRY. South Texas looks pretty rough right now. Since Five-O’s had pulled nearly all of their cattle off of this place, it was one of the few around that had plenty of grass. Couple that with the fact that it’s bordered on one side by the Blanco Creek, which is dry as a bone, and you have cattle looking for grass and water. So they start pushing on the water gaps down in the creek bottoms and it doesn’t take long for them to end up in our set of rolling pens. 😉

Dad and I got the pens set up and long story short, we also got the cattle penned. A phone call from J.M. let us know it was lunch time. They were headed into town to the Taqueria. We stopped by the Powers place and spoke with Mike’s brother, Norman. (by the way – How do you make a deer blind?……………………………. You poke it in the eye.)

I know, but Norman thought it was hilarious. But he was the one that told it.

After lunch we headed to the ranch to get a couple ranch rigs to load the cattle in. We hooked up and one by one our little three rig convoy eased through that infamous narrow green cattle guard and headed for Berclair.

I guess it was about half way when I asked Dad why it always seemed like we got horseback and went to pen our cattle, load them and bring them back whenever they got onto someone else’s place. And anytime someone else’s cattle got on our place, we always hand delivered them.

He just grinned. He said he didn’t know why it always ends up like that. But his grin and demeanor said otherwise. He was perfectly happy doin’ it. Of course it would be nice if people brought our cattle in. But we don’t have any control over that. So why do we always take care of everyone else’s cows.

Because it’s the right thing to do. That’s why.

Thanks for the lesson Morgan. One among thousands.

Then on my way home, another of my influencers (by the way – who influences you – who do you influence) drove it all home.

Don’t pray for an easier life. For more money. More happy times. A healthy wife.

Pray that the Message – His Message – may prosper. Pray that you can help deliver it. Trust me, when my glasses got stolen, I was not wanting the message to prosper. 😉 I was wanting to strangle somebody with that super cool and bendy titanium frame that those glasses were made out of.

If you want to listen to Gregg Matte talk more about this click here.

It’s worth a listen.

This also reminded me of a book that my friend Stan Sigman gave me a little while back. Here it is on Amazon:

It’s a great read. And it tries to help everyone understand why in the world you’d take care of everybody else’s cows even when nobody takes care of yours. It’s called Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West

Well, Morgan, Mick, Dick and I got Mr. Powers’ cattle loaded and delivered.


Because it’s the right thing to do. Be an example of His Message.


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