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Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada
About Tim Juhlin




Cowboy Thinkin'

I am sittin' here a thinkin'
as the cattle are a stinkin'
that the taxes in this land are mighty high.
Us cowboys work for low wages
and we camp out in the sages
and the lack of money makes it hard gettin' by.

Our cooky sings a good tune
especially as we reach noon
cause beans and wieners are in the pot to eat
In the evenings we are singing
and the coffee cups a tingling
with a touch of Johnny Walker just so neat.

It just ain't for the money
and I sure don't please my honey
workin' out here with the coyotes and the cows.
It's the wonder of the blue sky
and the clouds a rollin' by
that keeps me livin' in the here and now.

But I see her on some weekends
and try to make amends
for low wages and a quiet wrangling life.
Then we header for the barn dance
kick our heals, two step and prance
and forget about life's struggles and strife.

Then after lots of huggin'
and some good cowgirl lovin'
I header up the trail with some tears.
But this is better for your ticker
than life as a city slicker
so I sit here feeding barley to my steers.

They say next year it'll be better
and if so I'll get her
a new pickup from the folks down Ranchland way.
So I sit here a thinkin'
that it's the city that's a stinkin'
And I wonder if I'll find them wayward steers.

I am sittin' here a thinkin'
as the cattle are a stinkin'
that the taxes in this land are mighty high.
Yet I reckon this picture
don't get much richer
and can't be taxed, yet they may try.

So I'm sitting here a thinkin'
as the gophers I'm a plinkin'
go to meet their maker in the sky.
That the life I am a livin'
has been to me God given
and with or without taxes I'll get by.

2002 Tim A. Juhlin 



The John Ware Epic

The sun was a setting, and it was a getting
 cold on the western plain
Pressing down the trail, before the northern gale
 my eyes were teared and strained

The dogies were moaning and I was a groaning
with fingers as cold as ice.
Then along came a wolf pack up from the south track
 cattle's fate, a throw of the dice

Then out of the west came guns blazing their best
 my partner all feisty and lean
With a laugh and smile he spared me a trial
 a better partner I've not yet seen.

I reckon you saved me shooten from the fir tree
scaren those wolves to the east
But let's keep a movin those cattle trails grooven
until we reach the river, then feast.

We arrived at the river and I started to quiver
 for a fire was there ablazen
What a sight I did see, a man, but not like me
and my partners eyes were  aglazen

With a dog by his side and a very dark hide
 stood a smiling Cowboy, John Ware
With beans in the pot and some deer he had shot
 he invited us to eat, as we stared.

And so we met and I say without regret
of Albertans he was the best
That wrangler, that wrestler, dog lover, coyote chaser
John Ware, friend of the West.

With stories a-plenty, yes well over twenty
 let's embark on his life for a while
Born in the south a slave destined for an early grave
 he endured many a trial.

Working for Murphy Blandon riding in the Texas sun
he was trained in cowboy ways
Riding and roping he was best at coping
 with colts and lonely strays

Back in 1877 John's first drive towards heaven
 to Montana and northern prairie land
With 80 horses and 15 men and John's big grin
driving a 2900 herd cattle band.

Breathen dust and biting sand as a dragman
 pushing that herd north
Three months of fight with many a sleepless night
 pushing for all they were worth.

The bets were calling, many riders had fallen
when John stepped up on the horse
The ride was wild the horse beguiled
 but John would stay the course

With horse contorting and no thought of aborting
 they galloped to the rivers edge
With a cowboy yee haa and a horse hee haw
 they fell from a 10-foot ledge

Submerged in the stream with a horse short of steam
 they surfaced with John in control
Walking out of the water the horse looking for fodder
 John's smile an ace in the hole!

Chasing coyotes near Claresholm over the prairie they would roam
with dogs in British style they drove.
Once John roped a wolf while on his horse from real close
 he was a man, something to behold.

With strength of a horse and laughter of course
 he roamed the Alberta Plains
A horse trainer supreme with an eye for a team
 'fast racer' was one of his claims

Horses he knew and loved and he rode without gloves
 and won many a race on the prairie.
Arms around the horse neck, feet at the flank you can bet
 like greased lightning the horse did not tarry.

His style unique and always at his peak
 he would help anyone crying out
There was many a time that he was so inclined
 to help a friend, he was very devout.

It happened one day that it poured In Noah's way
till John's neighbor was surrounded by creek
With no time to consider he jumped on his critter
swimming out to the land of the bleak.

Forcin' the cattle to the creek before the river did peak
he saved the herd from a watery death
His friend never to forget the black man wet with sweat
John Ware gave that family new breath.

John set out to find the Lost Lemon mine
just west of the mighty Bar U
They heard of Gold nuggets the size of walnuts
many said it was true.

A legend was told of a curse on the gold
 For those finding the Lost Lemon Mine
Now ghosts did bother this cowboy father
so John's ambition was not so inclined.

As my partner told of Lemon crazed for gold
 the fear in John did build
A restless sleep, up before light could creep
 John jumped when the wind willed.

Morning came very early with his hair very curlie
and thoughts of Black Jack's ghost
The one day search over, John jumped on old Rover
 and set home without eating his toast.

On his very first date he was not late
To Mildred Lewis he did go.
Out for a ride, with her by his side
The chicken was eaten slow

A storm came in and they lost their grin
Flying the democrat home
Lightening did strike killing four horse types
Then John pulled the wagon alone

Married in Calgary in '92, of kids they had two
And lived on Upper Sheep Creek
Moved north of Brooks they took a look
And at the grass, a very good peek.

The Red Deer River breaks are all it takes
To capture the Cowboy's heart
The grass short but rich, raising cattle his niche
For this Cowboy of western parts.

An 1892 gymkana an inspiration for Canada
John wrestled a fat steer down.
Now this was done in the full sun 
without protection of rodeo clown.

Calgary watched this display and started to say
 Let's set up a competition.
The Calgary Stampede, leader of the western creed
was born from this great revelation.

John Ware, George Lane were in the 1893 game
 and a Montana cowboy named Todd.
John's horse with bridle won the saddle
with skill given Him by God.

Rope, throw, and tie was what they had to try,
  and he did it in 51 seconds.
The record was set, and now we do get
a stampede each year that beckons.

At the Sheep Creek roundup of 1899 some men were so inclined
 to call John their Captain "the old man"
At fiftyish John got in a tustle but it was just a cowboy wrestle
with John Dempsy of Irish clan.

Down the trail the wrestle did sail
 into the creek with a splash
With neither harmed and a smile charmed
 they shook on their western clash.

In 1895 bicycles on the prairie which people started to carry
 but some were not so led
Asked if He would buy did get the reply
 "when the last hoss is dead" !

Along the cowboy trail he lived out life's tail
 as wrangler and a special bird
Working for other he had his druthers
 to build up his own cattle herd

In 1903 Turtle Mountain fell and it was heard very well
 from the 'Pass to Okotoks'
Just after, a storm came in killing cattle kin
 affecting many cowboy folks.

John lost cattle and on his saddle
 started a roundup with other fellars
The losses weren't as bad but one thing was sad
 a friend fell breaking his collar

Now John was strong and happened upon
a survey stake a-glint.
To the partner he bent and then he lent
a perfectly formed splint.

Yes he bent steel like wire let us sing like a choir
for that Black Cowboy one of the best
That wrangler, that wrestler, dog lover, coyote chaser
John Ware, friend of the West.

It was in 1905 the province of Alberta came alive
 and John met a sudden death
It happened very fast that he breathed his last
with no time for a final request

Never thrown from a horse and on his gentle Flaxie of course
a badger hole they did find.
Flaxie fell on her master, John to life everafter
 he never moved from his abrupt recline

The badger hole did him in and the body moved by kin
 to the Baptist Church in Calgary
The Funeral was large with Reverend Patterson in charge
 he was buried in the Union Cemetery

His memory will live on, maybe someday with a song
to honour this Alberta Pioneer
He rode many a horse some with saddles of course
 and trailed many an Alberta steer.

Well now the story has been set and I say without regret
 of Albertan's he was the best
That wrangler, that wrestler, dog lover, coyote chaser
John Ware, friend of the West.

2002 Tim A. Juhlin 

John Ware was born about 1845 and died in 1905. He was a Western Canadian pioneer, steer wrestler, and a respected rancher.  Here are two of many web sites with more information about him:


Nice to Own

Nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer

Fence to mend and cattle to move

But it's the cowboy way and I approve

Random campers debase the land

Like to tag them with my brand

Trappers are ok, loggers too

Don't much approve of motor-cross fools

It's nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer

Snowed hard for about 20 hours

Yet it's supposed to be April showers

The grader arrived about 2 days late

Snow mostly gone now, ain't that great

That calf's cold today, looks like scours

Dam this snow where's them spring flowers

Tag that ear, electrolytes there

Man I get tired of this circus fair

It's nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer.

The sun's so bright and the land so green

Best crop in 10 years that I've seen

Gotta fix that fence and the mower's down

Tomorrow I'll move those steers to town.

Wolf got a steer up Beaver Creek

Those wolves are crafty and very sleek

We'll have to carry our heaters a while

Till we lay low that lobo child

Skies are blue, the gophers are fat

The winds always blowing this way and that

It's nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer.

Black forests of Douglas Fir

Excite me in a prehistoric stir

Poplar leaves turn to gold

The rut will start as in days of old

I'll make my rounds, check the steers

Then move on up into the alpine tier.

Land spread out far and wide

Plenty of spots for elk to hide

When the 5 point bellows a warning call

I will tether my horse, sneak and crawl

It's nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer.

Skies are black, looks like snow

Winter's upon us the east wind will blow

Move those cattle make them jive

Late this year our homeward drive

Snow's too deep, buy round bales

Must keep on feeding, they look frail

Big chinook comes rolling through

Same as last year, right on cue

It's nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer.

Ranchin' the Porcupine Hills, a life inspired

Yet why am I so damn tired?

It's nice to own some land out here

Laze around and drink a beer.

2003 Tim A. Juhlin 

Tim told us "I was traveling along the east side of the Porcupine Hills on a sunny day looking at all the Ranch houses and thinking about all the work involved to keep a "Ponderosa up and running," and how the work matched the season. For instance the watering bowl always needs repair at 35 degrees below zero etc. So I came up with "Nice to Own."  It reflects a few of the activities of a western rancher in the heart of elk country."


About Tim Juhlin:

I am a forester, husband (25 years), dad, Grandpa (2 grandchildren), hunter, youth and Lay leader in our Church and am studying for a masters degree in Christian Studies.  I live in the Crowsnest Pass darn close to Pincher Creek where they have the annual poetry competition. I do a lot of hunting and fishing. I worked on a farm up near Rocky Mountain House as a teenager where I learned a little of the Ranching kind of life, and of course living here in the Rockies on the edge of the best ranchland in the world I am exposed to the vicissitudes of cattle markets and life.



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