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Randy Stensaas

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Member Since: Nov, 2009

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The debut novel by Owen Thomas, The Lion Trees, chronicles the humorous and dramatic unraveling of an American family. The two-volume novel has been enthusiastically rece..  
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Branding Day
By Randy Stensaas
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Max and me again. We just never go away. Anyway it that time of year when we get all the calves rounded up for branding. Anything involving Max and me can't go good.


               The day started pretty much like any other day. There was nothing special about it, except we were branding calves today.
                I had spent the night with Max, which is always exciting.   Not so much for me and Max but whenever we get together his mom gets real excited. High strung you might say. She really needs to learn to relax and you would think nobody ever listened to her, the way she talks to herself all the time. It’s a real shame.
                After a hearty breakfast we offered to help clean up. But she just ran us off almost like she wanted to get rid of us. I don’t know why. It was pretty normal breakfast. That is until Max’s sister, the Gargoyle, showed up. She came out complaining about the worms she had found in her bed. We had dug them up the day before for fishing later today. We didn’t have anything to keep them in, so we put them in the only cool dark place we could think of. Max put them in the Gargoyle’s bed, not thinking she would mind. But she is always complaining about little things like that.
                Anyway when she came out she had this bunch of poor mangled up worms in her hand. We told her that she had ruined them for fishing and now we would have to find some more. She told us no, we wouldn’t because we wouldn’t be able to fish in a cast anyway. At that point she threw the worms at us. We replied with what was at hand. Breakfast!
                Food was flying fast and furious and it was at this point that Max’s mom ran us off.
                Things were fairly dull around the place until the branding started. Of course we were on the lookout for Max’s sister. Couldn’t be too careful you know.
                When the branding started, Max and I were in the thick of it, or in the way depending on your point of view. It was our job to jump those poor little calves and wrestle them to the ground. As soon as the calf was branded we would get another.
                The dust was really flying there at one time so we waded in and jumped another one. This one put up a real fight. But we managed and when the dust cleared we discovered that we had Max’s sister down. I was kind of wondering about the words that were flying around as we tackled what we thought was a calf.
                We jumped off her and ran into the middle of the cows where she couldn’t get to us. But we would have to be extra careful now. She wouldn’t believe it was an accident.
                Max tackled the last calf of the day and he was a big one. I jumped in to help and the action really started. We all went down with that calf cleaning up the ground with us. Then the calf jumped up with me on his back and he was using Max for a floor mat.
                The calf bucked me off then kicked me in the belly about three times before I could fall down. As hard as he kicked me I thought he had kicked my belly button off. I was too scared to look so Max checked for me. It was still there. Whew.
                After the branding we were chasing the cows and calves out of the corral. There was this one that just refused to leave. We were running it around the corral and had it to the gate when Max’s sister stepped in the way. That calf ran right over her on his way out. The Gargoyle landed in a nice fresh cow pie and she made a nice sploshy sound when she landed. Max and I kept right on running behind that calf. To stop was to die. Behind us we could hear her but we weren’t stopping to check, we figured it was safer and time to go fishing.
                Besides the branding was over and there was no reason to stay around. Over all it was a dull day. Maybe something more exciting would happen next year.





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Reviewed by D. Kelly 12/18/2009
Life is never dull when cows are involved. Loved the part about the worms. Sounds like the Gargoyle got her just rewards.

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