Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • The first time we met Nancy and Howard, Peter and I had gone to their ranch to see the herd of bison we had read about. We were introduced to all the horses, including Pedro, the palomino and the ass named Oliver; we listened to them share a little bit about ranching and the 60 years they raised animals in Rutland, mostly cattle and then bison. We sought out the ranch to see the sacred animals and were taught how it should be cooked!

    Their home is a large, luxurious log cabin, filled with the objects that reflect their life and history. Animal skins hang over the loft railing, and Nancy has a story for where each one came from, including the wolf pelt. There are heads on the walls - wild boar, deer, elk, and a huge bison head of Pet, their first hand-raised bison.

    Howard tells us a story about how he hand-raised Pet after his mother rejected him and then the big young'un turned around and gored Howard in the butt. They knew they couldn't keep him in the barn much longer; eventually they had to reintroduce him into the herd. Pet became the biggest animal in the herd and ergo, the head bull. From rejected runt to supreme ruler!

    Six cats prowl around and come and go through a pet door and twirl through our legs, leaving hair in different colors on my pants - red, black, white, calico. Six cats. That's a lot of cats, but it's a huge place and you don't feel surrounded. Nancy nurses the baby rabbits and birds that the cats bring to her; she has a kind pat and word for each creature within her reach. It was tough at first for me to reconcile the mounted trophies with the animal lovers I have grown to appreciate. Who isn't a bit of a paradox when you get right down to the core? Even when we think we know someone, we can be surprised by the odd juxtaposition of their aspects.

    The ranch is the kind of place that I wouldn't think I would be comfortable in, but I am. This is their world, and they share it with those of us who drop in to see them, get hugs, and, for us, listen to the stories. It's worth the trip out there, and our visit is well appreciated by Nancy who tends to Howard with his dementia. But even through his confusion and his wild moods, his stories about the bison and the ranch are vivid; it's as if he is telling us about last week not 20 years ago. It's a place he loves to revisit and we are grateful to go along on his trip down memory lane.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.