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March 9, 2009
Award-winning poet, radio host, and humorist Andy Nelson of Pinedale, Wyoming, introduces these photos representing his father's trade:
As we write poetry and reminisce about our workmates (friends, horses, etc.), we forget about mechanical advantages that allow us to apply our trades. For instance, a mobile horse shoeing station complete with a portable forge made out of the guts of an abandoned water heater. The pictures are of Dad’s shoeing rigs (circa 1957), a darn sight more primitive than what we use today, but nonetheless an important part of making a living as a farrier. Hail the lowly shoeing rig… partner, friend, and confidante.
My Shoeing Rig
My horse shoeing truck, is part primer gray,
And it is a wonder to behold;
I often wonder, will it start today,
And what’s smoking on the manifold.
But the truth be known, I sure like that rig,
It’s manly and not at all cute;
It gets me on time, to each shoeing gig,
Otherwise, it ain’t worth a hoot.
It fits me just right, the old rattle trap,
My butt is molded to the seats;
The grill is smashed in, the hood sports a gap,
That blows smoke when it over heats.
The old battery, well, it ain’t “batt-ing”
And the air-intake needs a breather;
The generator, well, it ain’t “gen-ing”
And the pistons, ain’t… working either!
The radio has, but one good speaker,
That squawks out an AM tuner;
The seat is propped up, with one old sneaker,
And it rides like a prairie schooner.
The A/C works fine, when going to town,
And it runs on 240 power;
240 that is, with two windows down,
At over forty mile an hour.
There’s mud on the floor, a sack on the shift,
And a cup holder screwed to the dash;
Rocks in the ashtray, an old birthday gift,
And a check I’m still needing to cash.
The tailgate is off, the cab light burned out,
And the paint is all gone from the bed;
There’s dust in the vents, and trash strewn about,
And bloodstains from the last time I bled.
As a real looker, she ain’t worth her sand,
In fact she is mighty low tech;
My GE nippers, my anvil and stand,
Book higher than this poor old wreck.
The new nails I store, in an old ammo can,
And my tools in a green army box;
A spare tire in the back, from a dodge minivan,
With some horse shoes and old dirty socks.
She’s held together, with duct tape and wire,
And runs mainly on diesel and luck;
With the money I make, as a shoer for hire,
I sure can’t afford a new truck.
So onward we go, just staying the course,© 2009, Andy Nelson
Though some days I doubt she will make ‘er;
And I’ve always said, if she were a horse,
Not even the canner would take ‘er.
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
June, 1957 (Note: That is an oxen he is shoeing)
Andy has shared other Picture the West photos:
photos of three generations of farriers here
photos of his family's next generation of farriers here
a 1950s family photo here
a 2005 sunset photo from his place in Pinedale, here
a contemporary photo from his brother Jim's ranch here.
Read some of Andy Nelson's poetry here.
Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.
March 2, 2009
California's Paulette Tcherkassky shared photos with captions from a day in her life at her Whistle Stop Ranch in California:
Here we are at our Whistle Stop Ranch in Acton, California. Our friends, Maria & J.T. were helping with the expansion of our horse area. Unfortunately, it seemed that the only time J.T. was available was if it would involve bad weather. Thankfully, it was only raining!
But then the rain turned into snow! Strange thing was, the snow seemed warmer than the rain. The weather can chance quickly here in Acton.
Me. Keeping warm and dry, even though the raincoat zipper was broken!
Success! Happy ponies in their expanded quarters.
Our views out back:
Paulette invites people to the Whistle Stop Ranch Fall Cowboy Roundup, October 17, 2009. Read more here.
Paulette Tcherkassky "is a fine artist and graphic artist who creates custom, hand-painted Western- themed neckties worn by the best-dressed gentlemen. Many of her 'one-of-a-kind' neckties have become popular collectors' items."
Michael Tcherkassky "is a popular cowboy singer who has appeared at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Gathering, Conejo Cowboy Festival, Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering and many other prestigious Western events."
Share your photos for Picture the West.
Send your views of the West.
We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you.
If you have a photo and story to share, email us.
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See past weeks' photos starting with the most recent, here.
See an index of all past weeks' photos here.
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