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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Uncle Dan chapter 7 Things were a Changing

Watching over Cattle

The post war recovery slowly was kicking in with the auto workers, builders, and other manufactures supplying everything we had to do without during the war.

During the war when I was fifteen, I had a job in a cannery running the machinery but the end of the war changed that and I was no longer hire able.

While not there yet I was inching closer to being eighteen and looking forward to hunting for a job. Because of so many military men and people out of work from the defense plants closing the government was enforcing a law that had been in place during the war that you had to be eighteen in order to work except for a few jobs.

My Uncle Dan couldn't keep up the chicken fighting business due to his roosters getting killed and money lost wagering on them so he sold his fighting flock.

We still had chickens for eating and eggs but they were not of the game species. He had a Rhode Island rooster that was huge and proud. He would throw back his head and try to jar the earth with his crowing.

As a side track let me interject something that I really enjoyed. Now to fully understand this you must remember how quiet it was on the ranch. We had no telephone, radio or any of these noise makers. Most of us never heard of the word television for it was still in the development stage.

Chickens Singing
courtesy photobucket
In this quiet environment something that gave me a lot of pleasure was while sitting and often sweating due to the 100+ degree heat I would listen to the hens singing. They could sing beautifully. The change up in their voice was delightful and you felt at peace when they sang and could believe all was at peace in the world.

Then the cows started to go dry and it wasn't worth the effort to try to sell the small amount of cream we got. The hogs were grown and sold for meat about the time the potatoes were used up and things were changing for us.

The rancher was a smart man and always thinking ahead, he leased a large acreage from the government and moved his cattle on it. This area had been a naval supply depot with hundreds of structures for storage.

There were many military personnel with all of their needs such as gyms, mess halls being met on base. After the war all of the buildings were tore down and salvaged for building materials were in short supple. The huge trusses were almost like new being only about eight years old and much of the materials were used in new buildings.

Now it was a place where the streets were still there but everything was gone. Hundreds of acres with grass growing everywhere there wasn't a cement slab or foundation. The rancher had to have someone on the premises to control the cattle.
Old Cook Shack
He moved a roundup cook shack on the property and the next thing I knew I had a job keeping watch over that herd he brought in.

There were two other areas also on the former base. One where the county had built the county jail to keep prisoners who were to serve a year or less. And the housing the navy brass lived in during the war.  They were nice homes that the higher up jail employees now lived in them.

The cattle were to be kept away from those areas. This required us to set up an electric fence to keep them from wandering.
Navy Mess Hall
courtesy google search
On occasion the navy brass would be required to visit and they would leave all the gates open and we would have to round up the cattle who had strayed. I must say those navy guys were egotistical so and so-s who didn't respect anyone or anything that was not navy.

I received about a hundred dollars a month and was happy about that. My Uncle's family had grown to one boy and five girls so he decided his nephew (my cousin) should come and stay with me in the cook shack since he no longer earned his keep.

To be continued in next segment.


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