Wednesday, July 25, 2012

flying the Mattea

The home ranch had a far 2,000 acre field called the Mattea, it consisted of a lot of ridges and draws.  It was good feed but a tough gather, as the trap (holding field) in the corner ran opposite all those ridges and draws. And once you were in the holding field you were still a long way from the home corrals.

You had to be saddled and on your way long before daylight, and trail an extra horse as well to cover that country.  When you finally got the cattle trailed back to the home corrals, you had spent more than a few very long days in the saddle. It was hard on cattle, dogs, horses, and cowhands.

Then the light dawned for the Cowman...we can gather it with a helicopter...! He penciled it out every which way, and it did work, at least on paper.  Off to the Captain (his dad) he went, after a protracted discussion, he was given the go ahead.  
Then to find a pilot willing to take on this little job...eventual he did find a pilot that was pretty hard up and had done one small the sucker, err, pilot signed on.

not my photo...not my burros..

I love to go up in whirly birds, and don't understand what is so upsetting about hanging out with one foot on the skid so I can get the full thrill. But the Cowman was not about to let me go up for this gather.  Truth be told he knew that field like the back of his hand, so it was he who got to direct things from the air. Dang, I love flying in those things.

We rode out early a horseback to meet them at the holding field. By the time we got the gates set they were driving in the cattle.  whomp, whomp, whomp...
Don't you just love the sound of whirly birds?!! 

Everything went well, except the next time we gathered that field with a helicopter, we had to go a might farther afield to find a pilot that was that hard up...I mean that experienced in gathering cattle.


  1. I feel saddle sore from riding on your range. ;) The sound of choppers were a way of life round here for many years as army or police hovered over the town and surrounding countryside. We often had one land in the fields below us, returning the local police officers from weapons training.

  2. GM: There is a crop dusting service just up the road from me now and they are very good about getting me up at 0 dark thirty to listen to them fly...

  3. I'd adore to have a ride in a helicopter but no way I'd be hanging out the door!

  4. The ones used to hunt the excess of feral hogs down south are known as pork choppers.

    Never got my R/W rating. I considered it, adding it on to my fixed wing commercial was going to be cheaper than starting from scratch. But it takes a lot of hours to actually get a job using it, and it was still a big cost. Still, went up a few times and had a ball.

  5. The best part about being in hospital with Laughingboy is seeing the rescue helicopters land... they're huge! Such powerful beings, happily only landing near the smoking shed. Such majesty, how I'd dearly love to hijack one.