Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

Mike Puhallo, photo rustled from his web site


Mike Puhallo

1953-2011

We mourn the loss of Mike Puhallo, popular poet, cowboy, artist, Kamloops Cowboy Festival organizer, and friend to so many. Mark McMillan, at the British Columbia Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS) sent the sad news:

Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep in the wee hours of June 24th [2011]. There will be a Celebration of Mike's Life at 1:00 pm, on Thursday, June 30th, at the Calvary Community Church in Kamloops. Bryn Theissen and Pastor Don will officiate. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the BC Cowboy Heritage Society Student Scholarship fund.

Find a link for the fund here.

A June 28, 2011 article here in the Kamloops Daily News comments, "Kamloops has lost a leading voice and an energetic hand close to its heart and western heritage." Find an obituary here.

In 2014, Mike Puhallo was honored in a painting displayed at the Downtown Kamloops Spring Festival.

Tanya Hamelock, Administrator of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, who shared a photo of painting, told us it is by local artist Ken Wells, and that, "... Ken chose to paint 'The Cowboy Poet' as the painting is aptly titled because Mike was such a legend here in the Thompson-Nicola Valley."

In 2012, the British Columbia Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS) established cowboy poetry scholarships in memory of Mike Puhallo.

The scholarships are available to both US and Canadian students "about to enter, or continue, a program of study at a post-secondary educational institution.." The deadline is December 31, annually. Find complete information and an application form here at the BCCHS site.

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.


Mike Puhallo was named
Top Male Poet, 2009
by the Academy of Western Artists

About Mike Puhallo
Poems
Books and CDs
 

Exploring Our Western Heritage Youth Education Program (separate page)

Back to Honored Guests
Back on home

About Mike Puhallo

Mike Puhallo is the president of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS). He is one of the most widely published cowboy poets in Canada. He has co-authored three books of cowboy poetry and cartoons with Wendy Liddle and Brian Brannon, and recently completed his fourth book with Wendy Liddle. Mike's poems have been published in numerous magazines and also found their way into his weekly newspaper column Mike's Meadow Muffins. This poet, humourist and rancher also writes for Canadian Cowboy Country magazine as their cowboy poetry editor.

Mike has been a working cowboy, a saddle bronc rider, a packer and horse trainer. He currently cowboys for neighboring ranchers, after ranching for years in partnership with his younger brother—as well as writing and painting western oils. Mike's poetry will reach out and touch western people where they live, through the experiences and feelings that are shared by those who live close to the land. The reason his poetry is so "real" is simple; this cowboy has "bin there an' done that."

Read about Mike's Exploring Our Western Heritage Youth Education Program, which includes some additional poetry here.

You can read Mike's weekly Meadow Muffins on the BCCHS Cowboy Poets' page and at Cowboylife.com.

 

In Fall, 2002 Mike received the Kamloops' Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, awarded in recognition of outstanding community service.  (He's the cowboy!)  Betty Hinton, Member of Parliament who presented the awards on behalf of the Queen, is at Mike's left.  Photo courtesy of Photography by Sharon.

Poems

Home From Winter Range
Ode to Robbie Burns
Louis Lebourdais, Smartest Man in the Cariboo
A Scene That's Best Unseen
Bawlin' Calves and Burnin' Hair
Valentine's Day on the Ranch
Jump Start Your Day

Spring Wake Up Call!

Little White Lies
IF He Could Read My Mind?
Economy of Summer 2003  
Drifters
Daybreak at Twilight Ranch
Doc Mason
Ode To Chee Witt
Scour Pills and Roses
Tales of the Cariboo Trail
Where Did All Them People Come From?
The Guy on the Radio Says It's Spring!
Life's Little Mysteries
Does This Mean the Drought is Over?
Hangin' On
Patience, Trust and A Little Luck
"If you got the money, Honey...I got the time"
A New Day
 Kinda Chilly Huh?
Home on the Range
Hi Finance
Face to Face
Steep Slopes and Green Horses
Heck It Could Have Been Worse!
Springtime in the Rockies
The Daily Chicken Run
Back in the Saddle
Last Week of Summer
Some Cows Want to Come Home, Some Don't
An Uptown Affair
Never Look Back  (separate page)
Balancing the Books
Whinny, (From The Valley of the Wild Horses)
A First Taste of Spring!
Branding Time 2006
Off to the Rodeo!

Bad Days Make Good Stories
It Ain't Easy Being Green
A Tale of Two Roans
The Upside of Fall
Lest We Forget
(separate page)
A New Year a New Day! (separate page)
Priorities
Old Trails

Signposts Along the River
Sold!
The Turkey Roundup
My Ponies
Rumors...
Young Horses, Cool Mornings
First Snow
White Bulls in the Snow
Cowpoke Déjà Vous
Living Green Without Even Trying!
Deadman Creek, Blizzard.
Everywhere But Here?
Full Moon
Natural Selection
Understanding the March Hare!
The Math Don’t Work!
Turn Out Time
Burning Daylight!
G. M. O.?
First Sign of Summer!
Canada
My Four-Legged Muse
That Ol’ Dumb-Ass Feeling
Cowboy for a Day
Walk Up, Run Down!
Some Cows
What are You Doing Hiding Here When All Your Buddies are in New York?

Happy Birthday BC
Ambushed
Unemployed Cow Dog in Winter
Spooked!
An Equine Economy

Horses Aren't That Gullible
Spring Tune Up!
The Highway Calls!
Soul Mates?
Suddenly Summer
Canada Day 2009

Hooked
Good Day for A Duck (or Cowboy)
Roping Lessons
Eddy's Bulls
View from the Saddle
First Day of Fall Roundup!
October Morning on Porcupine Ridge
Ask Not, Who Wrote This...
The Peruvian Gelding

Bug Humbugs
How To Make Money off the Cow Business
Signs of Spring
Un-Sprung
Just Words
No Feet, No Horse!
Happy Mother's Day
Tough
Father's Day
Making a Cow Horse (in four parts)
Considering a Change
Stir Crazy

Back in the Saddle (2010)
Crisp Enough?

Teamwork
Hunting Tracks
Prit Near Done
Chinook Arch


On Page 2:

Small Boys, Trains, and Outlaws

mpghost.jpg (39489 bytes)

Happy Anniversary

25th.jpg (39343 bytes)


Separate page:

Man in the Moon

 

Home From Winter Range

We gathered the winter range today,
and brought the cattle in.
The old cows still were fat as hogs,
but the two year olds were thin.
It’s sixteen miles of downhill road,
and the cows all know the way.
They’re tired of eating slough-grass,
and looking forward to some hay.

A cattle drive in January,
aint generally so nice.
But today the sun shone brightly,
on our world of snow and ice.
An easy day for horse and man,
because, as all cowboys know,
it aint too hard to chase a cow,
some place she wants to go!

© Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




Ode to Robbie Burns

Och Robbie, how your verse and rhyme,
Try a wit and tongue like mine.
Aye, even friends of Scottish blood,
Wallow in thy lyric mud.

While some poems flow,
with rhythm plain,
Your phrases writhe in bitter pain,
of a language hacked by a bard insane.

I must struggle to read,
This tangled tome,
Of how one wee beastie,
lost his home!

Yet, due the eloquence of simple truth,
Your words can never die.
For the best laid plans,
O’ mice and men,
do yet,
“Gang aft, agley”

© Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.





A Campfire tale from the Cariboo trail.
Told to me long ago by one of Louis' many descendants.



Louis Lebourdais, smartest man in the Cariboo.

Louis Lebourdais, that frenchman,
Was born in Gay Paris,
And he’s the smartest guy,
In the whole Cariboo
As you will plainly see!

Louis is a right dapper coachman,
He can’t think of a thing he may lack,
He drives the Cariboo Road,
Every week from Ashcroft,
To Quesnel Mouth and back.

The BX provides him good horses,
Thoroughbred crosses with good leg and bone,
and his coach is a shiny red concord,
Best rig any outfit could own!

Oh, he laughs and he sings to his horses,
As they trot down that dusty dirt track.
His six-up, keeeps those big wheels a hummin’,
and his traces never show slack!

A little rest at each turn-around
for family comfort, and awee bit of fun.
Old Louis he don’t ever get lonely,
With a wife at each end of the run!

© Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.





A Scene that's best Unseen

The story of,
Big Creeks "Peerless lady wing-shot"
Is sure to draw a smile.
As she relaxes in her bubble bath,
in fine Chilcotin style.
She demurely draws her daily bath,
then calmly loads her gun.
Then settles in the tub, out on the lawn,
to soak up suds and sun!
For sport she picks off swallows,
and  she don't  miss, Ol' Pard,
So, God help any stranger,
who should wander in the Yard.
This story is the blessed truth,
no word of lie I speak,
But her heart is pure, and her aim sure,
an' it would cost your life, to peek!

© Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



A true tale. One thing about folks out in the Chilcotin: they are about as
western as you can get with out fallin' in the ocean!


Bawlin' Calves and Burnin' Hair

Seems like winter finally fizzled out,
the hills are turning green.
But in shady spots on northern slopes,
some snow can still be seen.

It's branding time at twilight ranch
Cows are bawling everywhere.
Amid the bustle and confusion,
woodsmoke,
blends with burning hair.

Swift ropes and stout horses,
draw each young calf from the throng,
Sure hands take over, the job is done,
And it sure don't take too long.

Inoculated marked and neutered,
then turned loose to rejoin mom,
His ordeal forgotten in a bovine blink,
'though it might of smarted some.

© Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Valentine's Day on the Ranch


You might buy your darlin' chocolates,
wrapped in a bow or two.
Or a dozen pretty roses,
The choice is up to you.

You could take her out to dinner,
or go dancing for a change.
do what ever it takes to brighten her life,
in your home out on the range.

It's a matter of survival,
Because once calving's in full swing.
you'll have very little time for romance,
until the first green grass of Spring.

Don't take your Valentine for granted,
be sure to show her that you care.
So when you need her help at 2 A.M.
With luck she'll still be there!

© 2002, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



 

Ridin' Rhymes


I suppose most folks think I'm crazy,
and I... suppose, they ain't far wrong.
My father still hopes
I'll come to my senses
and get real job before too long.

But I just keep on writing,
these cowboy rhymes and tales,
tho' the poverty line looks like easy street,
compared to my book sales!

But I have lived on cowboy wages,
So I'm good at making do.
and I'm a lucky man 'cause I make a living,
doing the stuff I love to do!

So on the trails where past and present meet
come ride a while with me,
where cattle graze as in by-gone days,
In a West still wild and free!

© 2002, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



 

Jump Start Your Day


You know for a middle aged X-Bullrider, my little brother still runs pretty good.
We jumped the horses in the trailer,
and as I tied my mare in place,
my little Brother stood at the back door.
A late starter in this race.
At least it was a gentle grade...
I hollered, "Run! Gordy! Run!"
When the truck and trailer started moving,
'cause the brake had come undone.

I couldn't do a thing from where I was,
so I hung on for the ride.
The old rig had a pretty good head start
Before ol' Gordy hit his stride.

But, like I said the grade was gentle,
So he stopped that run-away.
And there's nothing like a little excitement,
to begin a cowboys day.

I suppose some day we'll get that E-brake fixed,
but now it's time to hit the road,
out looking for stray cattle and...
a flat place to unload.

© 2002, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Spring Wake Up Call!


My Mom called me just yesterday,
she said "I know you've been busy son,
But If you've got some time in the next few days,
There's some things that we need done.

"If you could plant a post or two,
and prune the fruit trees in the yard,
Your Dad keeps saying he'll get it done,
but you know it's getting hard..."

Now I haven't done any yard work here,
I aint pruned or dug a thing.
Because I've been waiting for my Mom to call,
That's the first real sign of Spring!

© 2003, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Little White Lies


He was five years old and still unbroke,
The Owner said
"He's been handled once or twice,
Been out on pasture much since he was three,
but..... his mother was real nice."

Well the big colt took the bit real well...
just a little nervous and head shy,
he barely flinched when I put the saddle on,
an' I begin to smell a lie.

So I let him stand in the round corral,
while I got the owner on the phone,
And after dancing 'round a little bit,
She confirmed what I should have known.

"Well, I had hired a kid to break him,
who lives just down the road,
But he must have mistreated my, Pretty Boy,
And that's why he got throwed!"

Now I've been starting colts since I was 12,
and I've seen my share of dirt,
Range colts and broncs are no big deal,
But them little lies, can get you hurt!

© 2003 Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


After 38 years of starting colts I suspect I don't bounce as well as I did,
but I've gotten way better at avoiding the need to.


 

IF He Could Read My Mind?


Will Rogers once said something about horses being the only critter on Earth
that seem to be designed with serving man in mind!


I rode the big sorrel colt again this morning,
A week into training and we ain't had a wreck.
Another three weeks he'll be gentle enough,
and I figure I will have earned my check.

You know it's been a dozen years,
since I started a colt, any older than three,
so this big five year old has been a bit of a test,
and a challenge of sorts for me.

One step at a time, building knowledge and trust,
He learns to respond to the bit and each cue.
Unraveling, five years of bad habits,
and figuring out, what I want him to do.

Yes the horse trainer takes all the credit,
failures are blamed on the pupil of course,
Fact is, the only true key to horse training,
Is the versatile mind of the horse.

© 2003 Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Economy of Summer 2003


We haven't seen a drop of rain
in a month or more,
the pastures are getting dry,
but the hay looks good ,
and in our garden patch
the corn's over six foot high.

There's a forest fire off to the south
the valley is full of haze,
It's the price we pay in this arid clime,
for these golden summer days.
The sunshine draws the tourists
to fish, ride and play,
or just lay on the beaches.
and scorch their hide all day.

Well, our timber aint worth cutting,
and you can't give a cow away,
So me, I'm praying for a drought,
so at least the tourists stay!

© 2003 Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Drifters

A cowboy song-writer friend, from Louisiana,
Stopped to visit for a time.
We swapped some lies and points of view,
on music craft and rhyme.

He'd been on the road for several months,
playng little halls and coffee bars,
One of them modern day drifters,
cowboys with guitars.

We sip coffee in the kitchen
and watch two bears cross my back yard,
He remarks that them was the first bears that he'd seen this trip,
and he'd been looking pretty hard.

Them bears are looking for wind-fall apples,
That singing cowboy is in search of a song,
they stare at each other through a thin pane of glass,
soon each will be moving along.

© 2003 Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

(Mike's visitor was our Special Western Music Guest Kerry Grombacher)


Daybreak At Twilight Ranch


A crisp and frosty, golden morning,
I cinch my saddle and swing on,
Horse, snorting, dancing, full of beans,
cold backed in the dawn.

A lot of miles to make today,
But, let's take the first few yards... real slow.
Let that bundle of nerves unwind a bit,
I don't need no rodeo.

I can forget the drought, the BSE,
My problems one and all,
With a good horse beneath my saddle,
gathering cattle in the fall.

© 2003 Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Doc Mason


The twists and turns in a cowboy's life
can't hardly be anticipated.
Doc Mason was my travelling pard,
before he got educated.

Bareback horses was his specialty,
while I preferred the saddle broncs.
'Though some claim we never rodeo'd half as hard,
as we worked the honky-tonks!

It took a while but my ol' Pard,
got his degree and become a vet.
While I went to raisin' cows and writin' rhymes,
and really still aint growed up yet.

Educated and respectable...
Doc Mason's done quite well.
And there's little sign left,
of his rowdy youth,
as far as most folks could tell.

But his sense of humour hasn't changed,
although he has toned it down a mite.
And after all those years of travelling broke,
he's still a little tight.

So when a client had a Pot-bellied Pig,
he wanted to have put down,
The wheels in my ol' pardner's head,
started spinning 'round and 'round.

He could nearly taste the sausage,
and smell that fresh cured bacon,
Then the client mentioned the funeral plans
his wife and kids was makin'.

My ol' pardner isn't easily spooked,
but it made the client sort of nervous,
When ol' Doc ask with grave concern,
If they planned an,
open casket service.

© 2003 Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Mike sent along this picture of him and Marlin Mason.  Mike says "He and I travelled 
together off and on for 20
years or so from High School Rodeo on up." 

 

Ode To Chee Witt

Sometime in late winter the Mountain Chickadee suddenly changes it's tune
from the familiar "chick-de de" to three long clear notes rising then
falling "deee - deee - deeee."



Well we've got January nearly whipped,
and it's almost Ground Hog Day!
With millions of folks staring into holes
just begging, to be led astray.

Ah! Them rodents are all liars,
It's easy enough to see.
That's why I get my winter weather tips,
from the Mountain Chickadee.

When Chee Witt sings her Chinook song,
Just three notes, clear and strong,
The warm days will out number the cold ones,
and winter won't last too long.

Of course that's a Chilcotin legend,
Don't help them folks back East, might be.
But today I heard the late winter song,
Of the Mountain Chickadee.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Scour Pills and Roses


Well! so it is, once again,
that romantic time of year.
Time to tally up the vet supplies,
'cause calving time is near.

Sulpha drugs and Penicillin,
Scour pills and a dozen roses.
Rubber gloves and Vaseline,
to rub on frostbit noses.

At least two dozen needles,
some iodine and suture string.
I make a list of the stuff we need
To get us through 'til spring.

So I gas up the pick-up
Off to town before everything closes.
for groceries and essential stuff,
like scour pills and a dozen roses.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem is included with our collection of Cowboy Love Poems

The following poems were written just preceding the 2004
 Kamloops Cowboy Festival

 

Tales Of the Cariboo Trail

It's been nearly two hundred years,
since David Stuart rode up from the South
On a moccasin trail ten thousand years old,
from the Okanagan's mouth.

It was the trade route of the Shuswaps,
that would become the Cariboo trail.
Life line of British Columbia
before the coming of the rail.

The fur brigades and cattle drives,
the miners in search of gold,
Followed the winding valley paths,
as did the Human Beings of old.

From Kamloops to the Columbia,
Before the coming of the rails,
It was the life line of British Columbia,
and that road has many tales.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Where Did All Them People Come From?



Ten years ago, in the sawdust,
of the Kamloops Bull Sale ring,
we gathered to spout some rhymes and lies,
and hear The Cowboy's Sweet-Heart sing.

That this thing would ever get so big,
who would have ever guessed ?
This weekend there's a thousand fans,
from every corner of the West.

They have gathered in the Old Cowtown,
With Songs to sing and lies to tell,
The Spirit of The West, it seems,
is still alive and well!

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The Guy on the Radio Says It's Spring!


The snow in the valley is prit near gone,
There's some green on the southern slope,
Spring, is a time of muddy boots,
new life and renewed hope.

The horses fed, I pause by the barn,
feeling much at ease,
as I drink the sounds and smells,
that ride the gentle southern breeze.

A subtle sound, seems out of place...
I soon locate the source,
of the drip and gurgle of running water,
A broken line in the stock tank of course.

My joyful bliss on this sweet spring morn,
has turned into a bummer,
I trade my cowboy hat for a baseball cap,
today I am the plumber!

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

The Graduate


The round pen is a classroom,
where we're taught, how to learn,
From the larger lessons life brings our way,
around every curve and turn.

The black filly danced and tossed her head,
At traffic speeding by,
Some drivers slow and shake their heads,
as if to ask me why?

I ride a green horse along the highway?
Why do I risk life and limb?
Why not choose a quiet trail,
Where the risk would be quite slim?

It's the trainer's job, to take that chance,
So the owner don't get throwed,
Because the only test, for a car-shy horse,
Is to ride her down the road.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Life's Little Mysteries


I gathered about twenty cows this morning,
And moved them through the gate,
To the back end of our summer range,
When I finished up it wasn't too late.
So I headed out cross country
Wandering through the pines
Because there's at least another forty head,
I still need to find.

I didn't find another cow today,
Though I covered a lot a ground,
I didn't come home empty handed,
a mystery I found.
On a jack pine ridge near Rocky Lake,
On a bed of needles there,
Was one old rusty horse shoe,
And the bleached skull of a bear.

These curiosities I carried home,
Found by chance or strange design,
The bear's life and death a mystery,
But the horse that threw that shoe...
was mine.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Does This Mean the Drought is Over?

I hear the Peace River country had some snow,
and we've had six weeks of rain,
If you're looking at the river level,
You'd swear it's June again.

We stopped haying back in August,
with 50 acres left to cut,
Now the trail down to that meadow,
is just one big muddy rut.

But the fall grass is looking good,
and most of the water holes are full,
and October meadow hay,
will feed a ten cent cow or bull.

Some day soon the sun will shine,
and we'll get finished haying,
And I'll not complain about the rain,
after five dry years of praying.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 


Hangin' On


We were going to wean our calves last week,
but the offer was too low.
We turned down the bid and turned out the herd,
for another week or so.

Selling cattle on the internet,
Can save a trip to town,
an' it sure cuts the cost of trucking,
When you turn the rascals down.

Cow business, in the cyber age,
the computer does it all,
We track bloodlines, births, weaning weights,
and market trends in Fall.

October's been warm, the grass is good.
There aint no sign of snow.
We can hold out until the weather turns.
Then them calves will have to go.

That computer thinks he's pretty smart,
He'll stay home safe and warm,
While brother and I, will end up hunting cows,
In the first early winter storm.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.






Patience, Trust and A Little Luck

There's a dozen old cowboy songs and poems,
about the Zebra Dun,
And this line backed gelding I'm working now,
just might be another one.
Six years old, he's plenty stout,
short coupled and built thick.
His back is bowed, his ears are pinned,
and he kinda wants to strike and kick.
It took a week to sack him out,
and he don't like my saddle much,
He'll still bog his head at each surprise,
and flinch at every touch.
Now he can't tell me were he's been,
or what kind of wrecks he's had,
But I'm guessing, what he's learned from man,
so far, has been all bad.
I rode him around the pen today,
at a quiet walk of course.
The Zebra Dun has begun his journey,
from bronc, to lady's horse.

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

How does that old song go?

 

"If you got the money, Honey...I got the time"


Little Brother has a pair of colts at the ranch,
He'd like me to come up there and ride,
But I'm waltzing each day with the big Zebra Dun,
And there's more on the line than my pride.
I've got three and a half weeks in on this jug head now,
and we still aint been out of the pen.
Today's the first day he never blew up,
although he still spooks a bit, now and then.
With patience and time,
nearly any young horse,
will learn to see things my way...
Eventually,
they all seem to figure it out,
that fussing and fighting don't pay.
Patience and time,
the owner's and mine,
and I hope that girl's pockets are deep,
I'll tame this old coyote and he'll be just fine,
But boys, it aint gonna be cheap!

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

A New Day

A field of bright diamonds,
sparkle and glow.
First rays of dawn,
crisp, new fallen snow.

A new day,
A new year,
A fresh page bright and clean,
Fresh snow on the meadow,
Not a track to be seen.


Happy New Year!

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Kinda Chilly Huh?


The packed snow creaks,

like pole gate hinges, beneath the cloven feet.

of cattle shrouded in a fog bank formed,

of exhaled breath and body heat.

After a half dozen mild winters,

I'm getting soft...

might be,

The thermometer's stuck

where it froze last week,

but it feels colder now to me.

Hay stacks and woodpiles dwindle fast,

When the deep Artic front digs in,

After the first ten days or so,

Your warmest coat's...

too thin.

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Home on the Range


The waters of Earth form a circle,
death and rebirth are life's theme.
"Where the graceful white swan goes gliding along ,
Like a maid in a heavenly dream. "

...

I recall when I was a boy,
That line from Home on The Range...
Seemed to me, to be out of place,
and sounded a little bit strange.

Because any swans I'd seen 'til then,
was in a picture book or zoo,
so singing their praises in a cowboy song,
just somehow didn't ring true.

At the time I was far to young,
to grasp, what once had been,
Great flocks of trumpeter swans
had graced many a Western scene.

This morning as I rode by the river,
beyond white diamond sand in the stream,
A dozen white swans, were gliding along,
Each one, a maid in a Heavenly dream.

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read the words to various versions of "Home on the Range" here.


 

Hi Finance

...when a Government figures farmers and ranchers need help they inevitably
respond by creating more civil service jobs...


It was three days too early,
For an April Fools Day prank,
when my cow's received a welfare check,
drawn on the local bank.

It came in a window envelope,
that probably cost a dime,
another fifty cents to mail it,
and that don't figure in the time...

That some one spent to tally up,
the amount of subsidy,
required to bring much needed aid
to them old cows and me.

The whole thing's got me baffled,
I must be kind of dense ,
Because I can't decide just what to buy,
with a cheque for eighteen cents!

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

PS ... No B.S., that is exactly what I received in the mail!

 

Face to Face

Yesterday I went over to help the neighbours brand a bunch of Fall
Calves, some were pretty big and just a little wild. I was working in the
run pushing calves up to the chute, things went pretty well until we got
down to the last few.


She used me for a launch pad,
when she made her first escape,
hoof prints on my back and shoulder,
but I got off with out a scrape.
She scrambled over the calf chute,
and out into the pen.
So we branded all the others,
then ran her in again.
Half way down the chute run,
She turned herself around,
lined up on the end gate
and once more she left the ground.
Young Darryl went to stop her
He leaped up with style a grace,
and in the air above the end gate,
met the heifer face to face.
Now he's a sorry sight to see,
'cause kissing cattle aint no fun,
A fat lip, bloody nose and busted glasses.
But he kept that heifer in the run!
 

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




Steep Slopes and Green Horses

Inspired in that instant when I kicked my feet out the stirrups as I cleared
the front of my saddle and noticed I was about 20 feet in the air 
with nothing but rocks and
pavement below.


Ponderosa Pine, against a clear blue sky
Golden wheatgrass and rocks below,
For one heart-beat at the apex of your trajectory,
time stands still you know!

No time for reflection,
On what made your pony stumble,
In that instant of pure clarity,
before you resume your downward tumble.

This aint no rodeo pen,
with its bed of soft turned dirt.
The landing strip's all broken rock

...

this is really going to hurt!


© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




Heck It Could Have Been Worse!

I remember checking out when my horse started to fall, I don't remember much
else until they loaded me in the ambulance.

They tell me I may have set a new altitude record for surviving a swan dive
into pavement.


They used a plate and several screws,
to put my right wrist back together.
But I'm in better shape than I might have been,
had my tail stayed in the leather.

Both my kids have cussed on me,
"Dad, you aint no super man,
you just to stick to well broke horses,
and write all the poems you can."

But It aint as if I got bucked off,
you know, I bailed out of that wreck,
and I'm pretty agile for a fat ol' man,
otherwise I would have broke my neck.

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Springtime in the Rockies

There are ripe strawberries in my garden,
My corn's nearly two foot high.
but I'm Alberta bound this weekend
I shake my head and wonder why.

It's flooding down in Pincher Creek,
there's a foot of Snow in the old Crows Nest.
And here I am heading East,
While all the geese are flying West!

I packed my slicker and my gumboots,
In the morning I'll be gone.
After I change the oil in my ol' pickup
and put my winter tires back on!

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The Daily Chicken Run


I set down my cup of coffee...
I could see the high grass quiver,
Once more they began the perilous dash,
from the rough ground by the river.

They hit the ground, and come up running,
zigzag then sprint a while,
fan out across the open ground,
regroup in single file.

Then slip safely into my garden,
eight pheasant chicks and a momma hen.
My courageous morning visitors.
last week there were ten.

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Back in the Saddle


He figures city life prit near killed him,
stuck in that apartment with nothing to do,
So he packed up his gear and moved back to the ranch,
Though last fall he turned eighty-two.

Gone is the pallor and softness,
The indecision that clouded his brain,
He sits easy on his old sorrel pony,
Dad is back in the saddle again!

He knows it will not last forever,
Time is relentless of course,
But Pop has decided that he ain't giving up,
While he can still climb on a horse.

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Mike tells:  Dad started cowboying for wages almost 70 years ago. He has done other stuff in his life but nothing that ever fit him quite so well as being a-horseback. When my Dad turned 80 he and Mom moved into one of them seniors apartments in town. It did not work! "Dad started cowboying for wages almost 70 years ago. He has done other stuff in his life but nothing that ever fit him quite so well as being a-horseback. 

Dad is out at Twilight Ranch, riding steady and helping with the chores,  He looks ten years younger than he did last winter. Mom is living in the apartment in town, they take turns visiting each other now and then. Dad has done other things in his life, working off the ranch as a fireman for 15 years, he has bought and sold and developed some properties. . But first, last, and always he has been a stockman.

This photo is my Dad, Steve, (L) and his best friend Gint Gehlrich (R).  As teenagers (early 1940's) they left Kamloops together and rode over 200 miles cross country to Dog Creek Ranch where they hired on as cowboys. They cowboyed and rodeoed together for years. Gint was a top notch saddle  bronc rider while Dad rode steers and bareback broncs. They each got married built up ranches of their own and remained lifelong friends. Gint passed away August 4, 2005.  After numerous attempts at retirement, Dad is back  in the saddle again.

 

Last Week of Summer


Corn on the cob, and home grown tomatoes,
the calves are big and fat,
We're on the downhill slope of Summer,
There's no denying that.
And the Summery part, was pretty brief,
after weeks and weeks of rain.
But cattle prices are on the rise,
and pro Hockey's back again!
Fires, floods and BSE,
All things in time will pass
As we slip into another Fall,
It's been a real good year for grass!

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Some Cows Want to Come Home, Some Don't


There's a touch of frost in the air,
and a little less time each day,
To say goodbye to summer,
and get the equipment put away,
Repair the washed out ditches,
fix each fence and pen,
we've only got about two weeks,
until it's round-up time again.

And we're in the saddle every morning,
'though our riding's often done by noon,
keeping the cattle off the fences,
so they don't come home too soon.

Come mid October it turns around,
and through the hills we'll roam,
searching near and far for the other cows,
That don't want to come home!

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

An Uptown Affair

I got an invite quite a while ago,
from some folks in Oregon,
To tell some poems at this shindig,
that they was putting on.

So I stuffed my war bag in the truck,
Was about all packed to go,
When the girl doing the arranging,
called up to let me know.

That the deal was in a Country club,
a real high tone affair,
"So I must warn you cowboy,
they don't allow no jeans in there."

...

Well, I don't want my attire,
to put them out of sorts,
So I threw in my old Bat Wing chaps,
and Santa Claus boxer shorts.

© 2005, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Merry Christmas from Mike, Linda and the kids

 

 

Balancing the Books

We got a welfare cheque for our cows last week,
It come out to about ten bucks a head.
CAIS Payment for Two Thousand Four,
was what the remittance slip said.

Well if you calculate the promised aid,
It don't add up some how,
The cost of writing and mailing the cheque,
ate up about ninety bucks a cow.

By the time the cash got filtered through,
All the layers of bureaucracy,
We got enough, to finally pay,
last year's accountant's fee!

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Whinny
(From The Valley of the Wild Horses)

Her mother was a gentle sort,
a dude mare in a string,
Who had a brief affair with an outlaw stud,
four years ago this Spring.

The filly is prit near broke to ride,
I started her last Fall you know,
Like most of them Nemiah Cayuses,
For her, trust comes real slow.

She aint one bit mean or nasty,
She's just got a nervous sort of mind,
that will snap with out much warning,
like a frayed piece of balin' twine.

The instincts of survival,
passed to her from her old Dad,
Might slow up the training process,
but she won't turn out too bad.

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

A First Taste of Spring!

I've only got three horses in right now,
Two youngsters and the old brood mare.
The page wire around their wintering ground,
Is showing some wear and tear.

They scorn their manger full of hay,
as on the fence they lean,
reaching...stretching...neck and wire,
straining for a taste of ...

Green!

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Branding Time 2006

Methods learned from them old vaqueros,
time has shown no need to change,
We rope and drag our calves to the branding fire.
It's spring on the northern Range.
Vaccinated castrated and branded,
The knife may sting, the iron is hot,
Good hands waste no time, He's back with mom,
almost as quick as he was caught.
Modern science and old traditions,
on a ranch they fit together,
As comfortably as a cowboy,
fits well worn saddle leather.
Them babies don't seem to notice,
that they are each a pioneer,
First generation of Chilcotin calves,
with a computer chip in their ear.

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Off to the Rodeo!

My old bronc saddle has been retired,
for a dozen years or so,
And while I don't ride bucking stock no more,
I still judge the odd rodeo.

When my pick-up hits the highway,
In the first grey light of dawn,
That old, "off to the Rodeo" feeling returns,
Even though,
I aint gonna get on.

The lure of the open road, is still there,
The freedom and cowboy pride.
Now and then,
I throw my old bronc saddle in,
and just take 'er along for the ride!

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Bad Days Make Good Stories

I put new shoes on the sorrel four year old ,
this morning before the sun got high.
then headed out for a half day ride.
beneath a perfect azure sky.

A sunny morning with a little breeze,
to keep the skeeters down.
A good traveling horse on a woodland trail,
a million miles from town.

Bad days make good stories,
That's what every cowboy knows,
But as I head out on a green broke mare,
I'm not craving one of those.

When everything goes like it should,
There aint that much to say,
But now and then, I kind of appreciate,
"A not-much-to-write-about day!"

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

It Aint Easy Being Green

Through the hottest part of summer,
tryng to keep my horse pasture green.
Caught between a rock and a hard place,
The price of copper and gasoline.

My little gas powered pasture pump,
just cost too much to run,
So when it broke down, I made the switch,
and bought an electric one.

Now electric pumps are cheap to buy,
and the price of power is stable,
But I had to take a second mortgage,
to buy a hundred yards of electric cable.

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

A Tale of Two Roans


They nicknamed the big roan gelding Ug,
He's roman nosed and plain,
His half sister has a pretty face,
long flowing tail and mane.

Under saddle, Ug's a pussy-cat,
though he's not been handled much,
Sister Page is a hell-cat
she'll resist at every touch.

Three weeks into training,
Page would still like to come unglued,
While Ug is broke and road wise
with a quiet attitude.

They share a dad, their moms are gentle,
though some might find it strange,
Pretty Page was a barnyard pet,
Ug grew up on the range.


© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

The Upside Of Fall
 

Just one more week, 'til weaning time,
Morning mist, bright autumn days.
Pine clad hills and golden aspen stands
Fall riding, gathering strays,

Spent the last half month,
Fixing busted fences, pipes and such,
Pouring cement, diggin' holes,
The kind of work I don't like much.

That's the nature of a little place,
Lot's of different stuff to do,
The kids grew up; moved to town,
So I'm; foreman, boss and crew!

With a good horse working under me,
I'm back to my carefree cowboy days,
 Pine clad hills and aspen stands,
Fall riding, gathering strays.
 
 
© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

A Chilcotin Halloween
 

 A dark shadow swallows up the moon,
Foggy fingers probing through the pines,
Icy claws rake your oilskin slicker,
Chills run down your spine.

A drum beat? Or your own heart?
A warrior's death song, rides the breeze,
As your pony seeks, the ink black trail,
Winding through the trees.

A whole village lost,  long ago,
The Chilcotin people don't come here.
You ridiculed their superstition,
You laughed away their fear.

They tried their best to warn you,
You've scoffed and called them fools.
Now you're alone in Graveyard Valley,
Where the Windego still rules.

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

Mike told us: Gang Ranch is one of Canada's oldest and largest ranches established by Jerome and Tad Harper, two brothers from West Virginia in the early 1860's At one time the Gang Ranch laid claim to about 2 1/2 million acres. It is a bit smaller today. Graveyard Valley is part of the ranch's high summer range running up into the coast mountains. It is said that an entire band of Chilcotins perished from small pox there one winter. The valley has provided a backdrop for a lot of bunkhouse ghost stories.

 

 

Priorities


We're stocking up for calving time.
'though we won't start for a week or two,
We turned the bulls out  six weeks later
Than what we used to do.

No more frozen ears and tails,
When it's thirty-five below,
Or searching all night for a newborn calf,
In a whiteout of drifting snow.

Holding calving off 'till springtime,
Has sure worked out for the best.
Now while I'm in Kamloops spinning rhymes,
Little brother can get some rest!


© 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Mike told us, "When we first started holding the Kamloops Cowboy Festival the second weekend in March, a lot of ranchers complained that they couldn't come because they were calving. Now it seems a whole bunch of them have just started calving later!"  

 


Old Trails
 
Charlie Russell  once wrote: 

"The West is dead my friend
But writers hold the seed,
And what they sow
will live and grow,
Again for those who read!
"

The West has surely changed a bit,
Since Ol' Charlie had his say,
Cowmen have had to modernize
 But they ain't been swept away.

The seeds Kid Russell talked about,
Surely fell on fertile ground.
And in music, books and poetry,
Charlie's West is still around.

 The essence of the West endures,
Though it's changed some now and then.
Old trails once ploughed under,
Are being ridden once again.

© 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Signposts Along The River


The geese are nesting late this year,
I haven’t seen any goslings yet,
Snow is still piled in the high country,
Deep as the national debt.

Pulled the snow tires off my rig last week,
Calves are branded, so it must be May.
Stopped a minute at the corner store,
Bought a card for Mothers Day.

Nature seems a tad behind,
Or maybe the calendar is out of tune.
But unless we get a warm spell quick,
There’ll be a surplus of water come June!


© 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Sold!

The paper is signed, the deed is done,
I’m just a cowboy once again.
No longer part of the business world,
Of ranchers and stockmen.

The sun shines somewhat brighter now,
The clouds have flown away,
Because cow work aint no stress at all,
On a working cowboys pay.

I’ve got a darn fine string of horses,
Don’t owe a dime to any one,
After thirty years of pain and poverty
I’m about to have some fun.

So tell that banker, Adios!
I’m just a cowboy now.
For the first time since,
 I was ten years old,
I don’t own… one…
dog-gone…
 COW!

© 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

This, like most of Mike's best poems, comes from his real life. After thirty years, his brother has bought out his part of the ranch they owned together. Mike told us, "As a young cow person all I ever really wanted to do was ride broncs, and when I got too old for that, raise and train horses ...Then somewhere along the line I decided owning cows would make me more respectable...I later figured out that it generally just makes you more poor...I bought my first 4-H calf when I was ten, and since then I have always been in the cow business to some degree. Now, after all these years I am finally bovine free!" Mike is looking forward to writing, painting, cowboying for a neighbor, helping the kids pay off their student loans, and, he adds, "...delivery on the first brand-new pick-up truck I ever bought in my life!"

 




 

The Turkey Roundup

 

I jumped my pony out of the stock truck,

Another day on the range was done…

Until I spotted Tracy’s border collie pup,

Out having a little fun.

They have a dozen free-range turkeys

 That are just about half growed

That pup had gathered up the flock,

And was trying to haze them to the road. 

Now I am hired to tend their cattle,

I aint no turkey Chickaroo,

But a disaster was plumb imminent!

So what else could I do?

Must have been a half a dozen cars,

Pulled off the road to stare.

And I suppose I looked a little silly,

Herding poultry on a sorrel mare,

Good thing my horse has a sense of humour,

 She handled the job just fine,

To tell the truth we penned them gobblers,

In what might be record time. 

 

 © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 



 

My Ponies

My roan colt still spooks a bit,
At each log truck passing by.
He’s long and lean and a little green,
But he’s sure got a lot of try.
His sisters are five and nine,
Good mares with lots of size,
Heart, bottom and speed to burn,
And darn sure plenty cow wise.
The reason I keep on cowboying,
As I’ve had to explain to my wife,
The ranch may be gone,
but I’m still riding on
The best string of horses
I’ve owned in my life!

 © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

 

Rumors...

My wife got a letter from a friend down South,
just the other day.
Expressing his condolences,
He heard that I had passed away.
I sent my old pard a note explaining
That I did not really die,
I just sold my cows and went back to cowboying,
This was his reply!

"If you owe no money to anyone, your horses are legged up and fit, you,
yourself are as fit as a fiddle, you fix no fences, bale or haul no hay, get
to cowboy for your pay on some other fellers outfit, and get to ride good
horses, make no mistake, my friend, you have DIED AND GONE TO
HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!"*


© 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

*Quote from Jay Snider, Oklahoma rancher and cowboy poet
 

In May 2007, after thirty years of joint ownership, Mike sold his part of the ranch to his brother. Back then he told us, "As a young cow person all I ever really wanted to do was ride broncs, and when I got too old for that, raise and train horses ...Then somewhere along the line I decided owning cows would make me more respectable...I later figured out that it generally just makes you more poor...I bought my first 4-H calf when I was ten, and since then I have always been in the cow business to some degree. Now, after all these years I am finally bovine free!..."

Mike manages the range for two neighboring ranches now.


 

Young Horses, Cool Mornings

You started with
One broke horse and a pen of colts.
That’s the old time cowboy way.
By Fall you’ve plumb forgotten,
How green they was in May.

On a cool and frosty morning,
They will snort and prance a bit,
Each gets rode ‘bout once a week,
So they’re full of beans and fit!

With a good cow horse under me,
At first light on a crisp autumn day,
I don’t mind if they dance and snort a bit,
I kind of feel the same way.

 © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

First Snow

Slip-sliding in the white stuff,
My horse ain't real impressed.
She plods a long, her head hung low,
Ears pointed east and west.

We are passing a lovely alpine meadow,
This from memory I know,
At the moment, I can't see a thing,
Beyond the veil of falling snow.

The leaves aren't off the alders, 
The ground ain't frozen yet,
And we wouldn't mind the weather,
If we weren't so doggone wet!

 © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


White Bulls in the Snow


Somewhere on the summer range,
Just where, I do not know,
Seven big old Charlais bulls,
Are hiding in the snow

I found one in an alder thicket,
Alone and on the fight,
He crashed of through the underbrush,
I tracked him until twilight.

It’s winter in the mountains,
It’s raining down below,
Cowboy Hell... might be, eternity
Hunting white bulls in the snow!

 © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




Cowpoke Déjà Vous

Writing cowboy humor,
Might seem harder than before,
‘cause there aint much about this business,
That’s funny anymore.

But all things being equal,
It’s darn near always been that way,
Between; droughts, floods and market slumps,
It didn’t hardly ever pay.

From the crack of dawn each morning,
To the rising of the moon,
My life is an endless rerun,
Of an old "Cowpokes" cartoon.

              © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dedicated to the memory of Ace Reid, the original cowboy cartoonist, no matter how bad a wreck I get in, I know ol’ Ace was there ahead of me and drew a picture about it!

 

Mike comments, "Yesterday, we spend all morning, wore out three horses, three dogs, and three cowboys, and wrecked one saddle, getting one Charlais bull out of a patch of brush, across a meadow and into the corral. When they went to load him up to haul him to the sale he busted out of the pen... he was back in that same brush patch before sundown."

 

 

Living Green Without Even Trying!

 

I put the stew pot on this morning,
As in the early morning haze,
Outside my kitchen window,
My saddle horses graze. 

I started with some 4-H beef,
The spuds and carrots are home grown,
Along with the peas, corn and onions,
and canned tomatoes all our own.

All the veggies in my stew,
Come from that garden right outside.
And the green refuse, now helps to fuel,
 The vehicles I ride.

  © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Mike adds, "I dug the last of the carrots yesterday, then turned the horses out to clean up.  I’d like to see the average urban tree hugger top that for 'living green!'"

 

 

Deadman Creek, Blizzard.

We picked up their trail around midday,
Fresh tracks in the new fallen snow.
Two hours more, we found the cows,
Then the wind commenced to blow.

Al and Tex were breaking trail,
Cows followed single file,
But the snow had drifted in so hard,
By dark, we’d scarcely made a mile.

Big Tex started playing out,
So I took the lead on Cinnamon,
The next eight hours was an icy blur...
I figured, we were done.

The storm blew out by midnight,
They found the road by two.
Three cows, two calves, two cowboys,
Those two brave horses pulled us through!

 © 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

We asked Mike about the inspiration for the poem, and he told us: 

Thirty years ago Al Boris and I got caught in a blizzard up on the Bonaparte Plateau... We could not see the trail or the cattle or each other. It was hard work breaking trail through the drifts. Shortly after dark Al's gelding played out and would not break trail anymore. I was riding a little Arab/ Mustang cross named Cinnamon, she was only about 14 hands high but she had more try than any other horse I've ever rode.

For hours the only thing I was really conscious of was the horse under me, the cold...and the wind. My little horse just kept pushing on as best she could and when we finally broke out to the road around 2 AM there was a rescue party there, getting ready to come looking for us. Our horses were so exhausted they could hardly even step up into the trailer to go home. I always figured Cinnamon's courage and endurance saved 9 lives that night.

... I was riding in the same area recently, looking for strays I guess that's what got me thinking about that trip. The weather wasn't as extreme and the logging roads have been extended a few more miles so my ride was much shorter.

Everywhere But Here?

The whole month of December,
The snow stayed on the trees.
Untouched by any trace of a thaw,
Or wandering southern breeze.

While the debate on global warming,
And climate change goes on.
I’m hoping we can get our share,
Before the woodpile’s gone.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Full Moon

Dark shadows in the timber,
Gray wraiths in the bright moonlight,
On icy crusts, and packed sled trails,
Running forty miles a night.

They chased mice and hares all summer,
Caught one crippled cow last fall.
In the deep powder snow of December,
They seldom ate at all.

From the bunchgrass to the timberline,
From river breaks to muskeg flat,
When snow gets deep and crusty,
The wolves start getting fat!

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Natural Selection

We dickered over coffee.
As cowboys often will,
But ol’ “Bones” said his price was firm,
At a hundred dollar bill.

We wandered out to the barn,
To choose which puppy I would take,

Look each one over carefully,
 judge what kind of dog they’ll make!

There’s a hundred old wives tales,
On how to choose a dog that’s tough,
By looking in their eye or mouth,
Or grabbing them by the scruff.

A good cow dog must be bold,
Smart and faithful as can be,
So I sat down and waited,
To see which puppy would choose me!

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

Understanding the March Hare!

The snow is gone from the pasture,
It’s finally Spring, I guess.
Winter’s clean white sheet has rotted away,
And left an awful mess.

Now I’ve got fence to fix and pens to clean,
Manure to haul away,
The round pen is finally fee of ice,
I should start the dun today.

...

But first I’ll wander by the river,
‘Though I feel a month behind,
I’ll savor the morning sunshine,
Stare at the swans and clear my mind.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

The Math Don’t Work!

Been working on my income tax.
 I should have it done today.
I don’t own any cows no more,
So I’ll probably have to pay.

Of course cowboy wages and poetry,
Don’t add up to a heck of a lot.
The cost of; horse shoes, feed and fuel,
Sure does shrink the pot.

I subtract the truck repairs and vet bills,
And that taxable income...
is gone!
I scratch my head and wonder,
What the heck we’re living on!  

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Turn Out Time

I’ve got new shoes on my ponies,
Cleaned and oiled my chaps and saddle,
Ready for another season,
On the mountain chasing cattle.

The cold spring delayed our turn out,
The grass is three weeks late,
The stack yards are all empty,
Now it’s time to crack the gate.

I hope them global warming guys,
Will leave the heat turned on,
So when the cows and me
Get to summer range,
The snow will all be gone!
 

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Burning Daylight!

Saddled and gone, before the dawn,
It’s just the cowboy’s way.
‘cause cows and horses don’t travel far,
In the hot part of the day.

Mother cows will hide their babies,
When they scatter out to graze,
So it’s best to catch them on the bed ground,
In the early morning haze.

These are simple facts of cowboy’s life,
Although some think me insane.
As I trot out before break of day,
In the dark, in the drizzling rain.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

G.M.O.?

The North Thompson River is running high,
And in its muddy torrent I see,
Stark evidence of a brand new threat,
A new environmental catastrophe.

I read a story a few years back,
About genetic modification,
That inserting fish genes into plants,
Was under experimentation.

It must have got into the cattle feed,
That much is plain to me,
Because I think I just saw
a school of cows,
Migrating out to sea!

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


First Sign of Summer!

A calendar, is just ink and paper.
When you live close to the land,
You learn to judge the seasons,
By the things you understand.

After a cold and dismal Spring,
I guess summer is on it's way,
While riding on a mountain trail,
I squished a horsefly yesterday.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Mike comments:  As ol' Pan Phillips used to say 'The two most important inventions in the
history of the west was chainsaws and bug-dope! "
 

Canada

A nation named for a village


A vast nation like no other,
Stretching from sea to sea to sea.
Between us and our only neighbor,
An undefended boundary.

A nation named for a village,
Shining for the world to see,
A vast nation of diverse people,
Living as one community!


Happy Kanada Day Everyone!
 

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

My Four Legged Muse!

I commute to work on horseback,
Spend my week days moving cattle,
And oft as not on weekends,
I’m still in my old saddle.

Unless I’m telling lies and rhymes,
At a festival or show,
If the hay is stacked and the fire wood cut,
Then riding I will go.

There are other things I could be doing,
There are always chores of course,
But I do my best thinking,
When I’m sitting on a horse!


© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

That Ol’ Dumb-Ass Feeling


I loaded my gelding,
In the old four by four.
Our days work is done,
Down the mountain we roar.

When under the truck,
There arose such a clatter,
I skid to a halt,
To see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering
Eyes should be found,
But the drive shaft, a laying,
Right there on the ground.

The U-joint is busted,
Much to my dismay,
A fifteen mile ride home,
Kind of stretched out the day.

When I got back to the ranch
I sure felt like a jerk,
When young Darryl asked,
“ wouldn’t the front wheel drive work?”

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Cowboy For a Day

“Isn’t this cowboy stuff just nostalgia,
From some bygone day?
When stockmen move their cattle,
Don’t they use quads today?”

The mention of them darn machines,
Kind of stung my cowboy pride,
So I threw out an invitation,
For him to come out for a ride.

So I spent a pleasant day a riding,
With this reporter from the Post,
And for an urban greenhorn,
He was a better hand than most.

He made up with pluck and try,
For the things he did not know.
And I think he saw a trail or two,
Where a quad just would not go!

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

 

Walk Up, Run Down!

I ran into forty Cows on the Bob Lake trail,
And they was headed down.
So I put my horse and dog in gear.
And turned them girls aroun’

I told those cows as best I could,
That it wasn’t time to come home yet.
But they scattered through the timber.
Kind of, playing hard to get.

I’m a brush poppin’ Jack-pine Cowboy,
On that, make no mistake,
They gave us a run but we got ‘er done,
Moved them back up to Bob Lake.

Riding home,
With me, the horse and the dog, all spent.
As the light begins to fail,
I hear the far off howl of a timber wolf,
And the clatter of hooves...
Down the Bob Lake Trail.


© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Some Cows

Some cows know where home is,
Some cows, darn sure don’t,
Some seem to wander aimlessly,
Some will follow a trail, some won’t.

Some have a strong herd instinct,
And keep their calf close by their side,
Some are loners, some are runners,
And some just want to hide.

Some will turn and fight your dog,
Some will even hit your horse,
Some cows are easy to round-up in the fall,
Some are not, of course.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


What are You Doing Hiding Here
When All Your Buddies are in New York?


I’m hunkered down in my saddle,
Tired, wet and cold,
The only tracks I’ve seen today,
Are probably three days old.

They claim rampaging bulls, wrecked the market,
On the TSO and old Wall Street.
I’m riding through this spruce swamp,
Searching through the snow and sleet.

For a fresh bed or track or any sign
That a bull had stopped to feed,
Wishin’ this old boy that I’m tracking,
Was part of that stampede.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 




Happy Birthday BC

As we celebrate 150 years since British Columbia’s birth as a crown colony, I think it is important to remember the two men most responsible for it’s conception: James Douglas and Donald McLean.


On nineteenth of November,
On a rainy west coast morn,
Douglas read the royal proclamation,
A new crown colony was born.

Beautiful British Columbia,
Best Place on Earth, you know,
Was the love child of the golden seed,
That James Douglas chose to sow.

We can argue about our conception,
But it was almost nine months to the day,
From when the Otter dropped her Anchor,
In San Francisco Bay...

With McLean’s two pickle jars of gold,
Gathered from interior streams.
The the spark that gave first life,
To one hundred and fifty years of dreams.
 

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Ambushed

Just three weeks left ‘til Christmas,
I don’t know how it comes to be,
That every year the Festive Season,
Kinda, sneaks right up on me!

It must be caused by global warming,
That stretches out the fall,
So Christmas, can leap out and ambush me,
When I ain't prepared at all!
 

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Unemployed Cow Dog in Winter

She races me from house to barn,
At the start of every day.
As I check the water and feed the horses,
She tries to help in her own way.

She dashes in to nip a hock,
Then snatches at a tail.
I scold her...
She tries to bait me into playing fetch,
With a grain pan or feed pail.

Five days a week all summer,
We ride at least twenty miles a day.
Now she’s telling me every way she can,
If we ain't going to work...
Let’s play!

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Lacy ( cowdog in training )


Lacy with Missy, Rosa and Dash. Lil is just out of the frame.


Lacy and one of her "I'm bored"  morning activities.

Spooked!


Too exhausted to run, too nervous to stand,
They bawl and mill about.
Wide eyed and spooky and out of breath,
Their tongues still hanging out.

There aint one of them that could tell you,
What caused the dam to burst?
Stampedes are kind of like that...
Herd instinct at its worst.

In time,
They will all settle down,
A few hours or maybe days.
Panic fades as hunger grows,
They’ll relax and begin to graze.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


PS. Compared to stock brokers and financial advisors, cows seem pretty darn smart!

An Equine Economy

A nation’s economy is like a horse,
It needs care and feed and rest,
To maintain strength and resilience,
To perform its very best.

A horse has to have enough to eat,
The same as any nation,
He needs industry to keep him sound,
To put the iron on his foundation.

Education and health care are essential,
Watch out for worms, ticks and fleas...
It don’t take too many parasites,
To bring a good mount to his knees!

Sometimes a pony needs a breather,
You got to let him rest of course,
There ain't nothing to be gained,
By whipping a worn out horse.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Horses Aren't That Gullible

March blew in, just like December,
An arctic lash, of drifting snow,
My horses greet the morning,
Butts upwind and heads held low.

As I pull on my boots and overcoat
I hear that guy on the radio,
Talking about a warming trend,

“Be here any day you know!”

Ashamed,
 I walk past the ponies in silence,
Bite my lip as I throw out their hay.
After two months of empty promises
They wouldn’t believe me anyway!
 

They used to hang on every whisper,
 Now they pin their ears and snort.
They got no use for a cowboy dumb enough,
 To believe a weather report.

© 2008, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Spring Tune Up!

I brought my ponies in this morning,
trimmed their feet,
and wormed them all.
Just a bit rambunctious...
 They’ve been turned out, since Fall.

Like me they, wintered well,
But with a little riding, we’ll be fit,
So I saddled up the grey mare,
and rode her ‘round a bit.

I rode the sorrel and the dun
Just one I left alone.
 I need a week of ridin’
Before I climb aboard the roan!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

The Highway Calls!

Hockey season is over!
So I suppose summer has begun.
It’s time to hit the rodeo trail,
And have a little fun.

I may be too old to ride them broncs,
But I still judge a few,
And swap lies with my ol’ partners,
When there ain't nothing better to do.

The cows still ain't on the range...
Things have been a little slow.
I’m tired of hanging round this place,
Waiting for the grass to grow!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


.
Soul Mates?

An old cowboy and a young cow-dog,
Have more in common,
Than you might think.

We both bark too much,
Don’t listen real good,
And we’re occasionally told,
We stink!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Suddenly Summer

Inconceivable...
On a morning like this
That just a couple of weeks ago,
The mountain pass and summer range,
Were still buried hip deep in snow.

A long...long winter, a very short spring...
But summer is here, no doubt.
The morning sky’s full of haze,
From a distant blaze,
And the horseflies are already out.

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Canada Day 2009
 

142 candles
 Make a lovely light,
Throughout our home and native land,
The dream’s still burning bright.

 A land where folks from many nations,
Could live in harmony,
Free from persecution,
Injustice, fear and tyranny.

We ain't got it perfect yet,
In many ways we’ve just begun,
To heal the wounds of history,
As many peoples become one.

Happy Birthday Canada,
Fly the Maple Leaf unfurled
Keep the candles burning bright,
As a beacon to the world!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Hooked

Each of us has our weakness,
Be it liquor, cards or dice,
Roulette wheels or tobacco,
We seem drawn towards some vice.

I can leave booze and weed alone,
I’ve never gone to Vegas yet.
But I can’t pass a chicken bingo cage,
Without laying down a bet.

Now you can’t bribe a chicken,
Or tell it where to go,
At a little fair last weekend,
I won three times in a row!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


PS: Chicken bingo is a lot like life;
The key to success is guessing where the crap will fall!


 

Good Day for A Duck (or Cowboy)

It’s been raining hard for a couple days,
Trails are slick, the creeks are high,
But my oilskin and my batwing chaps,
Keep...most of me... and my saddle dry.

My dog, looks like a drowned rat,
But she’s wearing a happy grin,
As she cuts off another wayward cow,
And chases it back in.

For some folks, riding on a day this,
Might seem like misery,
But me and the dog, and my ol’ horse,
Is happy as can be!

My old Stetson’s kind of soggy,
Other than that, I’m snug and dry,
And ever since it started raining,
I aint seen one darn horsefly.

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Roping Lessons

At a day care on a quiet street,
There are kids of every size,
I unload Clara from the truck,
They can’t believe their eyes.

For Clara is a wooden cow,
With a head to face each way,
She’ll help thirty giggling children,
Learn to throw a rope today.

I teach them each to hold the rope,
To swing it ‘round and let it go.
The enthusiasm is amazing,
They laugh and cheer at every throw.

The classic question, asked and answered,
A little girl smiled and said, “of course,
I can tell you’re a real cowboy,
You smell just like a horse.”

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



 

Eddy's Bulls

Two bulls from the reservation,
Wandered up our way.
No fences there to hold them in,
No big surprise, they'd stray.

Theses aint your average range bulls.
They were bred for the rodeo,
Some of their ancestors came from India,
Others from old Mexico.

Humps and horns and attitude,
I crossed their trail today,
They did not feel like being gathered.
So I let them have their way.

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

View from the Saddle

I stop to give my horse a rest,
We're done moving cows for the day.
From the crest of that ridge, on Bob Creek,
You can sure see a long, long way.

Across; hills, mountains and valleys,
To a distant snow capped range,
That's over a hundred miles away.
 It strikes me as kind of strange.

That I spend most of my days riding,
Among  Creation's very best.
Seeing nothing more than the east end,
Of a cow that's headed west!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

First Day of Fall Roundup!

(After six months of hiding cows in the forest,
now I have to go find them!)


As I stepped down from the saddle
To unlatch the slip wire gate,
My dog got so excited,
She heeled me... by mistake.

Fifty bawling cows and calves,
All looking for a way,
To skin down off this mountain,
‘Cause it snowed a bit today.

I pull the gate wide open,
They blow by me on the run...
Three hundred and fifty left to find,
Fall roundup has begun.

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



October Morning on Porcupine Ridge

The rosy fingers of dawn,
Sparkle on the frosted grass,
And reveal a fresh dusting of snow,
On the ridge and mountain pass.

Ice on the puddles along the trail,
The little ponds on the creek are froze,
The aspen leaves are swirling,
In each chilly gust that blows

The roan, jigs and dances impatiently,
Shod hoofs clatter on stone and icy clay,
Two dozen cows, still up on this mountain,
And winter ain't too far away!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Ask Not, Who Wrote This...


Edgar Allen Poe, once wrote,
Of a ghostly presence in the room,
An unseen hand that gripped his own,
As he penned his tales of doom.

By morning’s light, when the spell had passed,
Shaking hands would hold the page,
As disbelieving eyes, unwound strange tales,
Of terror, blood and rage!

You know that’s sort of how I feel,
After a sleepless autumn night.
There must of been,
Some ghostly boogie man,
Forcing me to write.

Like ol’ Edgar, I ponder as I read,
Unsure if I’m cursed or blessed,
I don’t really believe in ghosts...
But I think my computer is possessed!

Happy Halloween!


© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


The Peruvian Gelding

I got a call from a neighbor lady,
“Could you please bring your rope?
My gelding’s been running loose all summer
And I ain't got a hope.”

The little brute was halter broke.
He’d been hauled and shown a lot.
He would eat grain from her hand.
She just could not get him caught.

She tempted him with the bucket,
As I stepped out to the side,
Punched a hole in my old lariat,
And threw it high and wide.

He only took a jump or two,
Before he laid down and quit.
Them Llamas aint too hard to rope
But the buggers sure can spit!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 



Bug Humbugs

 It’s getting close to Christmas,
I aint got a tree just yet.
Pine beetle, budworm and tussock moth,
Got most of the good ones et.  

I found one lone survivor,
Didn’t have the heart to cut it down.
I fear this will be the year,
I finally buy a fake tree from town.

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Mike comments:

It's actually not too much of an exaggeration for the area we usually get our trees from; that one little stretch of the valley looks like a disaster area right now. Although most of the spruce and Douglas fir will recover in a year or so, the pine tees are all dead as a doornail. They are estimating that 80-90% of the pines in the interior of British Columbia could be gone by the time this pestilence runs it's course.

Nature is never static. Ten thousand years ago this area was all tundra and glacial till. Five thousand years ago it was primarily grassland and scrub hardwoods. Forests have come and gone before. Up until two hundred years ago the low elevation landscape was dominated by sage, bunchgrass and the odd big Douglas fir. Forest encroachment in the low elevation grasslands began about about the time of first contact primarily as a result of overgrazing and fire suppression.


 

How To Make Money off the Cow Business

I’ve seen more than half a century,
From the tractor seat and saddle,
My living and my lifestyle,
Tied hard and fast to cattle.

All those years of raising cows,
The good times and the wrecks,
Spooky colts, cranky cows,
Stuck trucks and rubber checks.

To spin them stories into rhyme,
Has become my stock in trade,
And unlike raising cows;
Sometimes I get paid!

© 2009, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

PS: I actually made a profit off a cow once, but that was when coyote pelts were worth $100.


 

Signs of Spring

My horse corral is a mud-hole,
The yard and garden are a mess,
The geese and swans are on river,
Winter’s prit near done, I guess.

On the south slope of Mount Suzuki,
I saw a robin yesterday.

(As soon as things dry out a bit,
I'll haul that pile away! )

On the subject of  manure...
The boys and girls who spread it best.
Are on their way to Kamloops,
For our annual cowboy poetry fest!

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

PS: The 14th Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival runs from March 11-14, 2010 and attracts some of the world's leading experts in the artistic applications of male bovine and equine defecation.


Un-Sprung

According to the calendar,
this is the week that spring gets sprung,
when green things commence to grow,
and most critters have their young/ 

Horse, shedding hair everywhere,
birds singing in the trees,
the fragrance of thawing manure piles,
perfumes the morning breeze.

While all nature seems to celebrate,
the fact that spring has now begun,
I’m chained to this computer,
trying to get my taxes done!

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

Just Words

Words, are about as durable,
As campfire smoke,
Scattered by breezes
As quick as they’re spoke.

Yet, when captured like dewdrops...
On cobweb of rhyme,
Some words,
Turn to diamonds,
Preserved for all time.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 

No Feet, No Horse!

I threw a saddle on Mystify today,
And went out for a little ride,
She pranced along on four sound feet,
And filled my heart with pride.

It was just about this time last year
That red dun filly showed up lame,
A badly split and deformed hoof,
I feared she’d never be sound again.

Each week I rasped and sealed the crack,
With epoxy and resin glue,
Trimmed her toes up good and short,
And snapped on a rubber shoe.

“No feet, no horse” I can’t argue that,
But I stuck hard to the plan.
With rasp and glue I brought her through,
’cause she was just too pretty to can.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

My mother is a lady,
She stood just five foot two.
But she could calve out heifers,
And run the baler too.

From her I learned my letters,
and to tie my shoes of course,
and “ A light hand on the bridle,
Will make a better horse.”

She raised cows, kids and horses,
Kept the house and helped make hay.
And the lessons mother taught me,
Still hold true today!

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Tough

In a meadow by a babbling brook,
As morning turned to day.
He pondered his situation,
As on the ground he lay.

His pelvis broke, his horse run off,
He endured the waves of pain.
Trying to focus on the positive,
At least it did not look like rain.

As the sun sank in the west,
The light began to fade away.
“First day off I’ve had in years,”
He reflected as he lay.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Father's Day

Trying to think up what to draw,
On a card for Father's Day,
Putt... putt...
Bang!
You could hear the ol' John Deere fire up,
From over a mile away!

I was a ten year old prisoner,
On a perfect summer day.
Putt... putt...Bang!
Trapped there in a classroom,
While my Dad was cutting hay!

I don't suppose that card survived,
But in my mind's eye it's still clear.
Putt... putt...Bang!
It's my stick-man Dad,
Cutting hay with the ol' John Deere  

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Making a Cow Horse

I started out at day break,
To teach that filly to load,
She kind of has a mind of her own...
By eight we were on the road.

After fifteen miles of ruts and potholes,
Into cow camp we did rattle,
Threw a saddle on the filly,
And rode out to hunt some cattle.

The little dun has been to school,
She reins and handles well,
But her education had some gaps,
As the day’s events would tell.

 

Now my wife has often cussed on me,
For riding out alone,
But a colt don’t really learn a lot,
‘til they’re out here on their own.

We cross creeks, bogs and logs,
Rocks and shadows everywhere,
And in that nervous filly’s mind,
Each one conceals a bear!

Two hours out, she’s settled down,
Taking things in stride,
When we finally encounters,
The reason for our ride.

 

The cattle moved off at a trot,
I convinced Misty to trail behind,
As I try to build her confidence,
And sooth her fragile mind.

My dog is working pretty good,
So I don’t ask much of the filly,
Just follow the cows down the trail,
And don’t do nothing silly.

My dog sneaks in to heel a calf,
His momma wheels around,
And with an angry blood curding bawl,
Charges at the hound.

...

Things got kind of interesting,
Because my pony was real sure,
That fire breathing, Angus demon,
Was coming straight for her!

 

A perfect three-point landing,
Off side knee, left wrist and nose.
But not everything was broken,
Just two out of three of those.

Four miles... is a ways to walk,
When you got a busted knee.
But if there was a better alternative.
It did not occur to me.

The filly waited patiently,
I would have got back on her if I could,
You know she's a real fast learner,
`cause she darn sure loaded good.

Through the days ordeal,
A line kept running through my head,
"Hearts and bones were made for breakin'"
Just like Zarzyski and Russell said.
 

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Mike wrote these weekly "Meadow Muffin" poems over four weeks. Of the last installment, he wrote, "OK this really was not the ending I wanted to write for this series...I have my left wrist and my right kneecap pinned...Obviously this wreck was not on the same ride as the story I started out to tell. I had four weeks more work on Misty when she spooked and bucked me off Friday, July 2...Her training is coming very well, I just pushed her a little too hard in a situation she was not comfortable with.

"Believe it or not it was harder to drive with a broken knee than it was to walk. My cell phone would not work until I got down off the mountain, so I had to get me, my dog and the horse down to the ranch before I could call for help. (Usually there are a bunch of loggers and miners working up there who I can contact by radio, but they all took the long weekend off for Canada Day.) My wife was not at all impressed when I phoned and told her I needed a ride to the hospital.

It's been a tough few months for Puhallos. Mike's rancher brother, Gordon, broke his pelvis in a horse wreck (and it was about twelve hours before he was found by a neighboring rancher). But Mike says there is also good news, "My nephew Alan Puhallo just won the Wild Horse Race at the Williams Lake Stampede this past weekend; his team is in the lead for the Canadian Championship heading into Calgary."

 

Considering a Change

I got an email from Miss Terri,
(Editor of Canadian Cowboy Mag)
Asking if I’d had a wreck?
Or was my last poem just a gag?

I replied...
“You know I don’t write fiction...
My horse training is on hold.
It’s just a little setback,
My saddle won’t be sold.”

But that idea of writing fiction,
Is looking better all the time.
It might be a tad less painful,
Than living every line!

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



 

Stir Crazy

The Doc says it will be August,
Before I can crawl back on a horse,
With a busted wing and knee,
I know he’s right of course!

I was born a restless soul,
A leaf upon the ocean.
From dawn to dusk, as a general rule,
If I’m conscious, I’m in motion.

Now I aint supposed to walk or ride,
And to compound the boredom factor,
About the only thing I can legally drive,
Is my old garden tractor!

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 


 

Back in the Saddle

I’ve been ten days in the saddle,
Trying to make up for lost time.
Hunting strays, cold trailing cows,
Starting out six weeks behind.

From spring range to the alpine,
They scattered far and wide.
It’s a cowboy’s kind of therapy,
Just saddle up and ride!

With a knee brace and hockey tape,
I am fine once I’m astride.
I’m still pretty gimpy on the ground,
But I don’t limp when I ride.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Mike adds: It is absolutely amazing, that in ten days of riding I have also managed to un-shrink all the jeans my wife shrunk while I was laid up!

See Mike's poem above, Making a Cow Horse, for the story of the wreck.

 

 

Crisp Enough?

I camped high on summer range,
Just a couple of nights ago,
I awoke to frost on the windshield,
The mountains dusted with snow.

The crisp morning air amplifies,
The call of wild geese overhead.
I just hope it froze hard enough,
To make all them horseflies dead!

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Teamwork

Big Rosa swings her head and stares.
There’s something down in the trees.
And horses are keen to snap of a twig,
Or a whisper of scent on the breeze.

Down in the timber, we hit a fresh trail,
And Lacy gets her nose to the ground.
In hardly minute we are back on the trail,
With a half dozen cows that they found.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Mike comments: I ran into a hunter last week who asked me, “How the heck can you find the cattle in the fall when they are scattered through 200 square miles of wilderness?” I told him he should ask the horse or the dog...Because I was really just along for the ride, they were the ones that actually did all the cow hunting.

 

 

Hunting Tracks

The fall gather is prit near over,
I got most the cattle in.
The wind has changes her direction,
And my coat starts feelin’ thin.

A dozen cows and calves to find,
And six bulls holed up somewhere,
The mercury is falling fast,
The smell of winter is in the air.

I’ll head for home this evening,
Dig out the winter clothes I’m lackin’,
I’ll fort up ‘till this storm blows out,
And leaves me some snow for trackin’.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Prit Near Done

All the cows are off the mountain.
I’ve just got one bull left to find.
Before I turn the horses loose.
Now I’ve got other things on my mind...

After seven months in the saddle,
Huntin’ cows and fighting flies,
It’s time to shift into my winter job,
Spinning tales and writing lies.

© 2010, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.