Saturday, January 07, 2012


When Jeff first started working at his current job, his coworkers were fascinated with his 'former life' in Colorado. All the stuff that seemed so normal to us was, apparently, very interesting. What?! You haven't skated around a dead steer with your honey? Oh. Back to my story. Jeff's coworkers loved to hear his stories, both of the farm he worked on in high school, and of his Uncle's ranch in Gateway, Colorado. They began to refer to these impromptu story times as 'On The Ranch With Jeff,' or OTRW Jeff for short. I have written about quite a few of our mutual tales from the farm (here), but not much about the ranch. My goal is to pester him  politely ask him to rehash the stories for me so I can record them for posterity. First, some background:

Jeff's Uncle lived and worked on a ranch in Gateway, Colorado, that had been in his family for several generations. Gateway is (was?*) a tiny little community so small that every graduate received a handmade quilt upon their graduation. (There were usually only one or two graduates, maybe three.) The ranch was 1500 acres, situated in a valley and running up to the mountain top. They had about 325 head of cattle. Jeff spent several months living and working on the ranch. He lived with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin Amber.

And now on to the story (sorry...this post is getting out of hand!) Jeff had a new wrist-rocket style sling shot that he was dying to try out. He had found a handful of nuts (as in nuts and bolts) that fit quite nicely in his slingshot. He and his cousin were standing around outside the farm house while the chickens milled about. He saw a white chicken along the ditch bank and decided to take a shot at it. He hit what he was aiming for, and the chicken fell into the ditch. Jeff saw the mortified look on his cousins face and knew that he was in trouble. He was sure the chicken was dead. He ran to the ditch and reached in to grab the chicken. At the moment he reached in that chicken came to, flapping like crazy. It came flying out and scared Jeff half to death. I'm not sure who was more relieved in the end, Jeff or the chicken!

*I think Gateway has grown considerable since we moved, and for certain it has become much for commercialized. The owner of the Discovery channel decided he liked the area and began buying out everyone in sight. He said he wanted to keep the natural character of the place, then proceeded to build a big resort, a huge mansion complete with helicopter pad, and a car museum, among other things. 

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