Springtime in the Cariboo


It was springtime in the Cariboo and calving had begun
Calves lay on the side hill with hay up to their chin
I check the cows each hour to see if more’s to come
But the most excitement happened one morning when I took Mom.

It was about 3 a.m., a bright and frosty morn
Clear and cool and light outside with no sign of a storm
Now, we had this old tomcat that followed us everywhere —
The field, the barn, the tractor cab — it didn’t seem to care
Now on this fateful morn he was walking close to Mom
But things started happening when the old cow saw him come

We had this old black Angus cow that was gentle as a lamb
But when she had her newborn calf, she became the Son of Sam
Now I knew she could be snorty and I knew she could be mean
But at protecting her small baby, I thought she was a queen

Now she always did like Betty, and she wasn’t mean to me
But the sight of that old tomcat just drove her up the tree
Now the old cat, it came closer, and the old cow pawed the ground
And then she made a lunge for it and the old cat ran to Mom.

I hollered: “Hey! Come back here!” but the old cow wouldn’t come
Now Mom stood for a moment and the old cow was getting close
She decided to get out of there or she was going to be toast
So on that frosty hillside in the moonlit morning chills
Was Mom, the cow, and that old cat — all heading for the hills.

Now the old cow’s gone to market and the tomcat ran away
We often sit and laugh about what happened there that day
Now I don’t have a stopwatch but I knew Mom set a pace
I think she’d have beat Ben Johnson if she’d had him in that race.

Now people say move to town — I say there’s not a chance’
Cause where could you have this much fun — except
at home out on the ranch!

Photo courtesy of Istockphoto?/ Ryerson Clark?/photo ilustration Taner Young Publishing

Springtime in the Cariboo, excerpted from Springtime in the Cariboo and other Cowboy Poetry, by Frank Gleeson.