Cowdog College: Intro to Vocab I
May 1, 2012 § 10 Comments
While talking with a non-rancher/agriculture pal the other day: I noticed their eyes begin to glaze over, a bit of drool coming out of their mouth, and when I started speaking English again–they snapped out of it.
Made me realize that a lot of things get talked about on the ranch that normal people know nothing about. I figured it was time for a bit of a beginning course on some of the more used words, phrases, and their meanings.
By no means is this a comprehensive list–nor does it apply to all ranches. I have found in speaking with agriculture people–we all seem to have our own words for different things, and some words have multiple meanings.
Also, alphabetizing things makes my head hurt. If you’re that organized–you probably don’t have: cows, kids, horses, or pets. Or: know the alphabet.
So, if you’d like to know what I mean when I say: “Take yer outfit across the coulee, past the thermo-sink, up past the Green-T, and unload yer canner”… Read on!
Cow: A female bovine, that has had at least one calf.
Calf: Baby heifer or bull.
Cattle: Everything. Bulls, cows, calves, steers, heifers, and sometimes the neighbors’.
Bull: Intact (he still has his Man-Berries) male bovine. Bull calves often (always in our case) become steers.
Steer: A neutered male calf/adult. What is primarily sold to become delicious beef.
Heifer: A female calf/adult that has not birthed a calf. Often crazy. Packs of heifers can be likened to Junior High Girls with no supervision.
Canner: The Father-In-Law’s term for any horse.
“G#@amn It!”: Can be a formal name, greeting, dejected exclamation, or tamer version of other curses. My MIL famously declared while working cattle once: “My name is not G#@amn It”. Awesome.
Gate Stretcher: Used to increase leverage to pull a wire gate closed. Primarily used so cows can open gates by them selves.
Outfit: A pickup, four-wheeler, motorcycle, tractor, or what you are wearing. Most of the time it’s a vehicle.
Grandpa’s CRP, Jerry’s CRP, The Eagle’s Nest Pasture, The Bauer Place, The Stubble Field, The CRP, The Pasture on The West of The County Road Just North of Grandpa’s: A pasture north of Grandpa Earl’s house. Any one of these names is regarded as proper identification.
FIL: Father-In-Law. Has forgotten more about cattle and ranching than I will ever remember. Best to be agreed with at all times. It’s just easier.
Thermo-Sink: A water source for cattle, buried in the ground designed not to freeze. Nearly always frozen.
“Monkey Ass!”: Invented by my FIL. Not sure what it means. Is fun to say.
Coulee: Can vary in size from a small ditch, to a vast impassable chasm. Mostly filled with water/alkali sinkholes. Cows enjoy hiding in them.
Green-T: A junction in our water system with a pressure gauge. It has a green cover. Makes sense. If you ever drive by this, and do not check water pressure, you will rue the day.
MIL: Mother-In-Law. Has also forgotten more about cattle and ranching than I will ever remember. Amazing horse-woman, and more prone to flattery than my FIL.
“GO!!!—WHOA!!!!”: A cattle handling term. It means go fast and stop at the same time.
Paul’s Gate: The gate Paul opened when he was supposed to close it. Cows escaped. See: G#@amn it!
Paul’s Gate II: The gate Paul backed the outfit into when attempting to unload square bales into the barn. See: Monkey Ass!
Motorsickle: The FIL‘s motorcycle. Or any motorcycle. He appears to be incapable of saying the word: “cycle”.
Shop Foreman: Maggie. An approximately 187 year old dog that oversees the shop. AKA: Mag, Big Mag, Big M.
“Dinger-Butt”: Any part, nut, bolt, screw, washer, tine, gas tank, tire–Hell–anything that applies to a piece of equipment being worked on. According to my FIL.
The Most Current Instruction: A generally known ranch rule. When working cattle with the MIL and FIL, the latest instruction is the one you follow–until you get a new one. Can be contradicting.
Yearlings: General term for the heifers we keep. Herd like cats. Can crawl through any fence, and often end up standing in feeders. Somehow.
Thus concludes the first ever lesson of Cowdog College.
Go forth, and know the difference between your dinger-butt and your monkey ass.