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Sunday, December 15, 2013

RANCHO REYES Chapter 5 Something New

Snow Storm
The weather had been warm and comfortable up until now; in fact it was very unusual for it to be so mild this late in the season.

Juan began to notice the cattle begin to come together instead of being scattered all over.  
The stubble they were feeding on was beginning to freeze at night and they were looking at the protective barrier where they could get out of the northern wind as it was picking up.  This bit of protection was over a thousand feet long and there was a feeding trough for hay as long as it lasted.

He decided he better load the troughs with hay for the signs were clear that there was a storm heading their way and it would be difficult to feed them in the mist of the storm.  He knew they would empty out what he had placed in the feeding troughs but if he fed them good now they would have a better chance of making it through the winter.

He finished all his chores just about the time the storm hit.  As the weather got colder and the evening approached, he was thinking the man that built this cabin really knew what he was doing.  It backed up to a high mound that blocked off the wind and it was warm as toast from the fireplace.

The horse blanket protected the horse from freezing and he was protected from rain and hail.  It was going to be a pleasant winter with only a couple of hours work each day at most.

The snow was beginning to fall and the sound of the wind would change as the current of air would increase and then slow down.  As he was looking at the fire and listening to the changing harmony of the wind he heard an additional and different sound.  

At first he thought he was just imagining it but then there were two of them although they were of a different pitch.  The wind made it difficult to distinguish between the sounds.  Suddenly he realized the noise was the sound of horses.  He put his guns and his coat on and opened the door.

image courtesy
He could barely make out the form of a horse.  The noises were coming from this new horse and his horse answering back to him.  He went out and led his horse into the barn and rubbed him down and covered him with an extra horse blanket.

Then it occurred that this other horse must be an Indian pony and there might be an Indian out there who was injured.  All in all he wasn’t too fond of Indians but the idea of one being hurt made him decide to see if he could find him.

He knew he only had a short time because the snow was beginning to fall and would cover up any tracks there might be out there.  Saddling his horse he began to ride in an ever widening circle.  Soon he discovered the pony’s track and back tracked until he came upon a small young Indian.

Picking him up and throwing him across his saddle he quickly headed for his cabin. The storm was getting worse by the minute.  He was glad he had hung a lantern on the eave of the barn and he was thankful when he spotted that faint glimmer of light.  

Lifting the man from the saddle, he took him into the cabin where he laid him on the floor.  One thing he needed to do was to put his horse away for he didn’t want to leave him out in the cold any longer than necessary.

When he returned he removed the outer blanket the man had wrapped around himself.  It was then Juan saw the man had a broken leg.  Finding two pieces of kindling that would work for a splint.

He realized the man’s clothes were soaking wet and he was shivering.  In the dim light he had to figure out how to remove his clothes.  They were sticking to him for they were made of buckskin.  

Juan pulled the top off and then cut the pants leg where the leg was broken, removed the pants and laid him on the bed.  Then he grabbed a blanket and placed it over him and proceeded to set the broken leg.  After getting the bone in place he put the splint on the leg and tied it securely.  

He wondered if there was any coffee left for he was in need of something to drink as he was parched.

As he sat in his chair he found himself looking at the small man, something didn’t seem right.  He hadn’t really looked at the man when he was naked, because he could hardly see with the dim grease lamp he was using.  Lighting the coal oil lamp which wasn’t used much for he didn’t have but five gallons of coal oil to last the next three months he held the light over the man.  

As he pulled the blanket off, he was shocked to discover a full grown woman albeit a young one.  He couldn’t help but stare at her naked body until she squirmed and moaned.  Quickly he covered her up and wondered why he hadn’t realized she wasn’t a man.

All during the night He sat up with her and opened the snake bite whisky jug and gave her a thimble full every hour until morning  The storm hadn’t let up at all and was probably worse.  He dozed off as the light began to chase away the darkness.

Filling two buckets with snow he applied some of it on the leg while she was still not awake for he knew it would be hard to bear the pain after she woke up.  During the night her top had dried and he rubbed it until it soften up, then he removed the blanket and managed to slip it back on her.

He left the bottom off for he had to figure out how to deal with her elimination needs.

The best he could come up with was to use one of the buckets in the corner.

To be Continued. 


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