Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

Cedaredge, Colorado
About Slim Farnsworth
Slim Farnsworth's web site



Old Fences and Old Cowboys

Why do we mend fence?
A young'un asked his pa.
It jist don't make no sense,
Beat all I ever saw.

That fence is old and tattered,
Weathered, beat and bruised,
Looks a little battered,
All these years that its been used.

Seems t' me as if,
We jist might be ahead,
T' knock this fence out in a jiff,
Put a new 'un up instead.

A new un'd sure look nice,
Out here in this meadow,
Yeah it might cost a scary price,
But it'd cast a perty shadow.

With these final words,
The boy looked at his pa,
Said mendin' fence is for the birds,
A new 'un leaves folks in awe.

Pa looked at his son,
Then shook his head a bit,
Said listen good now youn'un,
Let's take and have a sit.

That fence is old and tattered,
Weathered, beat and bruised,
Looks a little battered,
All these years that it's been used.

But let me tell y' somethin',
'Bout fences and cowboys alike,
The outside look ain't nothin',
Ain't no two of 'em alike.

There's somethin' 'bout old fences,
They've somehow earned their keep,
They'll be around from this day hence,
Ain't no need t' call 'em cheap.

They're alot like worn out cowboys,
The scars all tell a tale,
A young man once a ploughboy,
'Till his dreams one day took sail.

A fence can tell a story,
Of days, long since gone by,
A wanderin' cow chasin' her tail,
A cowboy wonderin' why.

That leanin' fence post,
Sure has some grit,
Outstandin' most,
That seemed much more fit.

That post may be weathered,
And look pretty tough,
Worn where a horse teathered,
It's jagged and rough.

Cowboys is like fences,
Each one has its tales,
Scarred from old fences,
And weathered from the gales.

The point I'm tryin' t' make son,
That fence is worth the while,
It's earned the chance, t' make a stake,
On this ranch for a while.

It may be old and tattered,
Weathered, beat and bruised,
Looks a little battered,
It sure had been abused.

It ain't about the money,
But that old fence 'il stay,
It sounds a little funny,
But you'll understand someday.

Let's get back t' work son,
There's fence still left t' mend,
Hustle up, lets get it done,
Ranch house is jist around the bend.

Twenty-five years since,
That young boy's all but grown,
Out a mendin' fences,
On a place he calls his own.

A young lad looks up at him,
A question in his eyes,
Pa says, What y ' thinkin' young'un?
The lad replied t' his surprise.

Why do we mend fence,
The young'un asked his pa,
It jist don't make no sense,
Beat all I ever saw.

Pa jist looked around,
Then got a silly grin,
Funny how things come around,
This here's a place I've been.

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

Slim told us: This poem was written with my granddad in mind, sort of about one of those lessons they teach y' without every really saying anything.


The Big City Cattle Buyer

We was movin' cattle,
Down a dry and dusty road,
When I beheld a stranger,
That not one cowhand knowed.

He said, "I'm from the city,
And own some land not far from here,
I notice that you country folks,
Have cattle always near.

I'd like t' buy a calf from you,
I really need a cow,
Just name your price I'll pay with cash,
Can I pick 'im out right now?"

He wandered out among the herd,
And picked hisself one out,
A nifty little red 'un,
With a slightly wetted snout.

"I like this one, I surely do,"
That's what the fella said,
"He's short and stout, and awful cute,
I think I'll name him Ted."

"Well here's your money cowboy,
But before I up and go,
There's a couple things 'bout raisin' cows,
I think I ought t' know."

I said, "friend, I'll gladly tell y',
All the facts y' wish t' know,
But before I do, I'd be obliged,
If you'd let my cowdog go."

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


Slim told us:  I wrote this poem to highlight the ignorance that city folk sometimes manifest. It ain't their fault they jist don't know any better. Besides, if they knew better, they wouldn't do things like this and cowboys like me wouldn't get an occasional good laugh. No offense meant to you urbanite types, I'm sure I'd be ignorant or your stretch of range. 





We was settin' in the Crawford Store,
Jist t' pass the time,
Chewin' on the fat,
With no reason and no rhyme.

Along come this here stranger,
He was lookin' kinda lost,
He wanted some directions,
And he wondered what they'd cost.

Well, they won't cost y' nothin' friend,
Whereabouts y' bound?
We can't have y' lost,
And jist roamin' all around.

He said, "I'm looking for the place,
Where, the Rockies touch the sky.
And they raise the perfect grapes,
To make a wine uniquely dry."

Aww, yer lookin' fer the vineyard,
Put yer ears on friend,
Make sure you take notes,
So's I ain't talkin' to the wind.

Now, y' head outta town, on ol' route 2,
Headed east fer a spell or so,
'Till y' come to a sign on an ol' red barn,
Say's Tommy's Trash and Tow.

When y' see that sign, yer gettin' close,
T' the place where y' need t' turn,
Take a left by the red hay shed,
Across from the Ash Creek burn.

Now y' take that left and follow the road,
Headed north fer a spell or so,
'Till y' come to the place where y' cross the creek,
With nowheres else t' go.

Now y' cross the creek, and go up the hill,
'Till y' come to a big ol' rock,
Take a right, and drive fer a while,
'Till y' start t' see'in stock.

When y' get t' the field, with the old John Deere,
Pardner, yer nearly there,
Take a left by the red calvin' shed,
And watch fer and old bay mare.

When y' see the mare, y' take a left,
And head up over the ridge,
You'll drop in the bottom and find the place,
On the other side of the bridge.

Well there y' are, I think that's it,
You'll find it right where I said,
It's easy t' find and hard t' miss,
Jist watch fer that red calvin' shed.

Well he took off with a puzzled look,
And headed on his way,
Surprise, surprise, he was right back here,
A little later that day.

"How do you get to the vineyard?"
He asked us once again.
Somehow he got lost,
Took a left at a red grain bin.

OK, friend, I'll tell y' once more,
This time put on yer ears,
It really ain't all that difficult.
Did y' get to the field with the steers?

He said, "Now just a minute.
I'm not from around here.
Is there an easier way to get there?
With directions that don't have a steer."

Weeelll, I reckon a fella could go,
Down the highway and turn at the light.
Head down county road nine,
And at the vineyard sign turn right.

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

Slim comments, "I lived in Crawford, Colorado for a number of years and would often find myself, especially in the winter, down at the Crawford Store. It was a small general store with a hotel, and all the old-timers would set down there after feeding cows in the morning and engage in your typical coffee shop communion. There was a donation can to cover the cost of the coffee, cause old man Ware supplied it free of charge, all you could drink. Everyone just kinda pitched in. One day in the summer everyone got rained out in the middle of haying, and we were all settin' there discussing the state of the union so to speak, when a fella came through the door that was obviously not from them parts. He asked for directions to Paonia which was about 12 miles by way of the back road, or 20 on the state highway. One of them old timers piped up and said, 'No problem mister." That old codger sent that fella south 60 miles to Gunnison over Black Mesa, then east about 20 miles then back north another 60 miles on a round trip about the longest way you could take to get to Paonia. A total of probably at least 120 miles or better, half of it on gravel roads. After that experience I got the idea to write a poem about rural directions in all their glory, as well as to immortalize the ornery nature of those old cowboys."


The Toast

To all of those who came before,
The keepers of the trail,
The bold, the reckless underdogs,
Who always did prevail.

To the men who lived by lariats,
The forsaken saddle tramps,
The midnight hour, and dust ridden flour,
And the old man we called gramps.

To those who do, what's needin' done,
Who weather through the rain,
Who take a stand, with calloused hand,
And pay no heed to pain.

To those that see the job t' finish,
And ride hard throughout the day,
Ain't no job done, until it's all done,
They won't strike fer higher pay.

To those who tend the edgy herd,
With moonlight serenade,
And spend their nights, 'neath Northern lights,
They know they've got it made.

To the homeless range bound refugees,
Who bed down on sagebrush shore,
To the men of grit, who never quit,
They don't see theirselves as poor.

They chose this life, it suited 'em,
Though some may think it coy,
To their ghost, I propose a toast,
They call themselves, COWBOY.

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


Slim comments: The inspiration: the one line just came to me one night, "to their ghost, I propose a toast." I sat down and wrote the rest of the poem, a toast to the folks that built the west, a west that is slowly giving way to retiree's and folks of wealth, carving out a new west, where real cowboys aren't welcome, and the land and equipment is more than they could ever afford. So these bold underdogs are trapped. They can either work for a man of prominence who doesn't understand them, or give up the way of life they've known. I propose a toast. That pretty much says it all.


The Tale of Bat Macaw

He was a buckaroo, I tell y’ boy,
As cowboy as ponies and snuss,
Bad hombre t’ the bone, tuffer’in granite stone,
Bigger n’ a Rio Grande caboose.

When it come t’ swingin’ a reata,
He was the best, I ever saw,
Bullseye, deadeye, The Mister Guarantee hisself,
That’s what they called Ol’ Bat Macaw.

When it comes t’ ropers, I’ve knowed a few,
Ol’ Bat was a’top of his game,
He could rope t’ the right, in the dark or the light,
And could make the best ropers seem lame.

Bat swung a rope, with the greatest of ease,
Like it was attached to his arm,
Rope over his shoulder, or stradlin’ a boulder,
There weren’t no critter safe on the farm.

Why he roped a pheasant, right from midair,
While a’facin’ the other way,
Threw that rope o’er his back, and pulled up the slack,
Bat Macaw was the best you could say.

Now ol’ Bat was a man prone t’ bettin’,
A small wager now and again,
So when a heeler professed, t’ be ropin’s best,
Bat declared, “here’s five Franklins; I’m in.”

Now the rules of the contest was simple,
First t’ head and dally ‘d win,
Bat’s time was first, that heeler cussed with his lips pursed,
An’ Bat flashed him an ornery grin.

Perhaps one more chance would better yer luck,
C’mon cowboy, waddya say?
I’ll give 3 t’ 1 odds, and a cash payment clause,
Bat Macaw’s always been known t’ pay.

Now ‘course with these odds, i’d only be fair,
Why cowpuncher, you understand,
This time we’ll rope blind I reckon surely we’ll find,
The top roper in all o’ the land.

Blind folds was issued, and placed over eyes,
Neither one could see light or day,
To the poor heeler’s surprise, with blindfolded eyes,
Ol’ Bat set the new record I’d say.

Now Bat won the contest hands down that day,
But truth of the matter be told,
Investigation would find, ol’ Bat was born blind,
And the heeler’s good money got stole.

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


Slim comments: This poem was the product of an over-active imagination and a cowboy with too much time on his hands. I started the poem and wasn't real sure where it was going. I came up with the concept of this amazing roper who could do anything with a loop, then I started thinking Pecos Bill with a rope. Something wasn't quite there yet, so what if a Pecos Bill type roper could beat some buckaroo? A blind roper though, that would be something, hope you enjoy.

The Pack String Ballet

Well now there’s poetry in motion,
And there’s fine art t’ please the eye,
There’s sunsets on the Rockies,
And there’s stars up in the sky.

But when yer talkin’ elegance,
Like athletic fluid form,
There ain’t nothin’ like a pack string wreck,
To create the perfect storm.

It was on the side of Mosley Ridge,
Where the steep trail climbs the hill,
When the fallin’ leaves of autumn,
Was given way t’ winter’s chill.

Dad was leadin’ three along,
And I was stringin’ two,
When the trailin’ mule on Dad’s bunch stopped,
Like mules will often do.

I guess he thought a break was due,
So he up and stopped a spell,
He failed t’ let the old man know,
So Dad thought all was well.

Now the thing t’ know ‘bout pack strings,
They’s got t’ keep in time,
And the timin’ has a hiccup,
When yer mule stops on a dime.

Now envision if y’ will my friend,
This picture that I sees,
A trail ‘bout like a cow’s face,
Hemmed in tight with aspen trees.

The old man hunkered, sinkin’ spur,
The trailin’ mule on break,
The lead pack hoss a pullin’ hard,
Left no room for give or take.

Now I’d turned back t’ check my string,
And when I spun around,
That middle hoss was getting’ stretched,
‘Twixt high and lower ground..

Well the middle hoss decided,
That his best bet was t’ go,
But I reckon he forgot about,
That mule he had in tow.

About that time, the rope lost slack,
But that mule weren’t set t’ go,
He set back hard, as if t’ say,
Hold on fellas, NO!

Picture if y’ will my friends,
A dog that’s outta chain,
That hits the end and does a flip,
That’s the best way to explain—

What happened on the mountain,
When the apocalypse began,
As the panniers went a flyin’,
Slingin’ grub, hooch, and snoose can.

It was pandelerium; t’ say the least,
Like some horror filled ballet,
But I’ll try t’ illustrate for you,
What happened there that day.

When the mule set back, the middle hoss,
He back flipped off the trail,
And the rope up to the lead hoss,
Come off with half his tail.

The mule’s rope for a moment there,
Had gained a little slack,
But the creek bound middle pony,
Quickly got it back.

So the mule was jerked plumb off his feet,
And then he seemed t’ fly,
For there weren’t no ground beneath him,
And to the naked eye—

He almost looked like Pegasus,
Without the wings of course,
But his fall was broken slightly,
By that poor old middle horse.

Now picture if you will my friends,
This mule atop a horse,
And imagine what it looked like,
As they continued on their course.

Rollin’, tumblin’, kickin’, fartin’,
Changin’ places now and then,
Headed for the very bottom,
Raisin’ hell like fightin’ hens.

Right before they reached the bottom,
Was a drop, 10 feet or so,
And they fought for top position,
Like some equine dosie-doe.

When that ol’ hoss went airborn,
With a flair of skill and grace,
He pulled off a swan dive,
‘Fore the water met his face.

The mule he weren’t so lucky,
He was spread out far and wide,
But it didn’t take him long,
T’ realize he couldn’t glide.

Now I know you’ve seen a fat man,
When he does a belly flop,
So just try t’ visualize this mule,
As he takes a ten foot drop.

It was like a gully buster rain,
Why I swear that creek went dry,
And I know it might sound awful,
But I laughed until I cried.

If there’s a moral to this story,
And usually there is,
I guess I’d tell you what it were,
But I I don’t know what it is.

But if I had to pick one,
I reckon it would be,
The best seat to catch the ballet,
Is somewheres up a tree.

© 2012, Slim Farnsworth and the West Elko Cowboy Company
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read Slim Farnsworth's

Interlude  in the 2009 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur


Special Delivery in the 2008 Christmas Art Spur


If This Old Trail Could Speak in our Art Spur project


About Slim Farnsworth:

From Slim Farnsworth, 2009:

Slim Farnsworth is rapidly becoming a household name in the world of cowboy poetry. Slim paints a vivid picture of the West and the ornery characters who live there. His stories range from rural directions to CPR on mangy old heifers. If you want to laugh 'till yer innards hurt, you've found the right place. Contact Slim today to book your show.

Slim was born and raised in the mountains of western Colorado. He spent his childhood working the family ranch with his granddad, and building roads with his dad.

Slim understands the cowboy in all their gritty glory. From the lowliest saddle tramp, to the ranch owner. His vivid descriptions and colorful antics bring the West to life.

Slim currently resides in Cedaredge, Colorado with his wife Virginia and their five dogs. Slim works full time as an EMT and dedicates the rest of his time to entertaining the hard-working folks of the West.

Visit Slim's web site:



Cows Are People Too (CD)


Seventeen tracks of cowboy poetry, including "Directions," "The Big City Cattle Buyer," "The End of the Trail," "Little Green Men at the Bar T Ranch," "Bovine CPR," "The Toast," "Cowboy Math," and more.

Available for $18 postpaid from:

West Elk Cowboy Company
199 SW 12th Street
Cedaredge, CO 81413



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