foil pickle plan
by Delbert Trew
the early days when a cowboy "sold his saddle" it meant he was down
and out, finished, disgraced or maybe doing time in jail. In short,
he was no longer a cowboy.
When it was said "He sacked his saddle" it meant there was no hope
and he was ready for his funeral.
ranches, roundup chuck wagons, trail drives and ranch camps usually
fed "beans and beef" two or more meals a day year around. For one
reason, this menu was the most economical food for the owners to provide.
Another reason was almost anyone could cook a pot of beans and fry
some meat. Cowboys and ranch employees were not often known for the
ability to cook.
any variance from this boring menu was appreciated and enjoyed to
the fullest by cowboys as the following story from the book "The Chisholm
Trail" by Don Worcester relates:
In 1879, a herd of cattle, which started in Snyder
en route to South Dakota, stopped just north of Dodge City, Kan.,
to replenish the supplies in the chuck wagon. While purchasing the
goods, the cook saw small wooden kegs of pickles for sale and added
a keg to the supplies. He thought adding a pickle to each cowboy's
plate at mealtime would be a good thing.
His plan backfired when he reached the herd and the "tired-of-beans-and-beef'
crew discovered the keg of pickles. They opened the top and devoured
the entire keg in one sitting. It did not say if the pickles were
sweet or sour.
interesting article found in the Autumn Issue of The Windmiller's
Gazette newsletter, written and published by T. Lindsay Baker of Rio
Vista, tells about the numbers of windmills installed on early day
For example, the famed XIT Ranch had at one time 325 windmills in
service. The Spade Ranch had 57 windmills and the Stinson Ranch in
Colorado had 26 working windmills. Obviously, in order to keep track,
repair or even find a certain windmill, each had to be identified.
At first, most windmills were numbered on the ranch maps as they were
drilled and the mills installed. As time passed, most mills received
proper names as well.
Baker also wrote that because of the thinly settled and remote locations
of many of the ranch camps where employees lived, certain windmills
were used as U.S. mail drops for the camp residents. Weatherproof
mailboxes were installed on the windmill towers and letters or packages
would be addressed to the recipient, at Windmill No. 23, followed
by the ranch name, town and state. Local mail carriers were familiar
with the area and its residents and dropped the mail accordingly.
The article provided a few of the proper names attached to the windmills
by local residents, taken from nearby terrain descriptions, an amusing
incident happening at the mill and even using a president's name.
Some of my favorites are, Little Dandy Well, Dipping V at Well, F.D.
Roosevelt Mill, Saddle Ridge Mill and I would love to hear the story
behind Cripple Goose Well.
Thanks, Lindsay, for preserving and publishing these interesting historical
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" >
May 2, 2007 Column
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