Baxter Black: THE VALDEZ
August 7, 2018
Lately there has been dissension at the rancho. I have overheard murmurings in the barnyard, in particular regarding my stock trailer. The grumbling animals enlisted my teenage daughter to present their complaints.
In my defense let me describe my trailer. I felt like it was a real bargain when I bought it. Let's see, in 1986. It's an eighteen foot Hale, '92 model with a bumper hitch. Upon purchasing it from a reputable Hereford breeder who guaranteed it would haul up to eight full grown cows, I made a few minor repairs.
Three of the wheel bearings needed replacing but the left front still spun good. We welded a jack on the tongue, built a new wooden panel for the end gate, put plywood over the rotting floor and bought inner tubes for the two new recaps that didn't have any tread left.
I'm still working on the wiring and have got a good coat of primer on the front panel which covers about six square feet in the shape of Utah. The greenish primer almost matched the original scour yellow.
Recently I put down a rubber mat on the slick plywood after a horse came loose in transit and slid from front to back goin' up a steep grade. Every improvement an investment, I always say.
Jennifer's list of complaints seem trifling. The horses, she claims, are embarrassed to be seen unloading. She suggested I repaint it. Trying to get along, I pulled it down to the sand blasting guy for an estimate. He recommended against it. Apparently he was afraid it would cause structural damage. To remove that much rust would weaken the steel. Admittedly there has been some erosion where the sheet metal sides attach to the frame. This complaint was brought up by the cows. They worried about sliding a foot through the four inch gap that circles the trailer. I have always looked on that gap as good drainage to prevent manure buildup. I take it the boys at the sale barn agree since they've named my trailer the Valdez.
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The dogs only asked that they be allowed to stay in the cab of the pickup instead of shut up in the trailer when I go into the sale. That way if they see any other dogs they can duck below the dash. I thought leavin' them in the trailer would keep other dogs from peein' on the tires. But they said no self-respecting dog would even consider it.
Perhaps my daughter has her own motives. I've noticed she won't even tie her horse to the trailer at a ropin' or horse show. I offered to paint her name on the side. Give her some pride of ownership. She said no thanks. I've always admired her modesty.
Bein' a good ranch boss I'm considering their grievances but I've good reason to avoid any hasty decisions. The Valdez is perfectly suited to my pickup. It's a '89 Ford with good tires and a fully functional left side mirror. Besides, the annual registration for the trailer is only thirteen dollars.