SEASONS by Rodney Nelson

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SEASONS
by Rodney Nelson

They claim we have four seasons,
Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring,
But I guess it’s just a theory
And doesn’t mean a thing.

The frost never really leaves us
‘Cause it’s always in our minds.
The ground is barely warming up
When we crawl off our behinds

To begin the yearly ritual
Like the grooming of the fields,
For any moment wasted
Affects the average yields.

With the calving and the fencing
And the fixing every day,
Before we even know it
We’re a sweating, making hay.

We’ve barely shucked the long johns
When the fireworks report.
The Fourth is now upon us
And the summer’s getting short.

The pace gets ever frantic
With the harvest coming on.
One day you see a school bus
And you know the summer’s gone.

You have to get the work done,
You have to beat the frost.
If you cheat the growing season
You’ll have to bear the cost.

It’s hard to get the hay hauled
‘Cause we’re seeing way less sun.
It’s time to get all winterized
And get the weaning done.

Let’s say you haven’t weakened
And you’ve maintained the pace,
There’s a chance you might be ready
When the snow beats on your face.

So I doubt there are four seasons
There are only two, I fear,
There’s the one we’re getting ready
And the one when winter’s here.

But I’ll say this for winter,
For all its frigid blasts,
It’s the season we’ve been working for
And the only one that lasts!

…Rodney Nelson, used with permission.

North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion Rodney Nelson includes this poem in his new book, Up Sims Creek: The Third Trip. The book includes 100 selections from his popular”Up Sims Creek” column in Farm and Ranch Guide. The columns include poems and prose and are full of vivid, mostly humorous accounts of rural life. He has written 610 columns to date and has now collected the first 300 in three books.

The cover of the new book depicts the store on Sims’ Main Street. It and the book’s illustrations are by North Dakota farmer and rancher Scott Nelson, whose drawings appear in Rodney’s other books, including his heartwarming Wilbur’s Christmas Gift book.

Rodney and Scott are both known for their lack of marketing enthusiasm. Rodney writes in his current column, “A lot of people ask or assume Scott and I are related. We are not related but both of us were blessed with a name we could spell easily by the time we reached third grade.

“Scott and I do share the same marketing skills. If asked what Scott would charge for a painting or a sketch he would likely roll his eyes and ask why anyone would want one…

“I have often left on a book selling trip with high expectations of making lots of sales. After driving considerable distances to some town, I typically look for some place that would be willing to sell them. Usually, after a couple laps around Main Street, I decide I should probably try some other town.”

So to help readers find his books, here’s another quote from the column, “The first 100 trips is $13, the second and third books are $20 each. I still have plenty copies Wilbur’s Christmas Gift available so for $10. All are postpaid to make it easy.” Contact him at 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520.

Rodney Nelson returns to the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering January 28 – February 2, 2019. Check out their YouTube channel for performances by Rodney Nelson and much, much more.

The lineup includes 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, and Paul Zarzyski. Find more at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.

Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about his earlier books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but please request permission for any additional uses.)

COWBOY LAUNDRY by Rodney Nelson

rrn2g

COWBOY LAUNDRY
by Rodney Nelson

Brides-to-be have much to learn,
there’s more to marriage than joy—
especially if the mate she’s found
is a sure-nuff country boy.

She’s no doubt optimistic—
oblivious to her fate…
The dangers that will come to pass
she can’t anticipate.

She dreams of newborn colts and calves,
anticipation makes her grin—
But ranch life quickly dims these myths
and reality sets in.

There’s calves to work, cows to feed,
meals are often late.
Unpaid bills, and drought and dirt
are things she learns to hate.

It starts when “hubby” saunters in,
a guy she’s never seen unclean—
He’s reeking and he’s filthy,
and she thinks it’s kinda mean…

When he piles his duds upon the floor
and gives her a big squeeze,
says “I need clean clothes in the morning,
so wash these up, if you please.”

She’s gotta pick them off the floor,
though the thought makes her kinda sick,
She thinks she sees them crawling,
so she jabs ’em with a stick!

She’s gotta get them to the washer,
though it fills her heart with dread—
She shuts her eyes and throws ’em in…
lightness fills her head!

But like a dose of smelling salts,
the odor jolts this lass,
It’s made up of sweat, of grease, or crud—
and stuff that once was grass!

There’s pine-tar too, and branding smoke,
horse sweat and a drained abscess,
Diesel fuel and scouring calves,
and a shot of KRS.

But the task is still unfinished,
as she is well aware,
there’s one more chore, for on the floor,
lies her hubby’s underwear!

She’s seen some Hitchcock movies,
storms have caused her awful fright,
But nothing she has seen before
has prepared her for this sight!

An older, wiser ranchwife
would read them like a book—
she’d know he’d oiled the windmill,
and with another look…

She could see old Brownie had thrown him
by the telltale gumbo mud—
And he’d repaired another prolapse
’cause the front was stained with blood.

There are countless other stories
that a cowboy’s briefs could share
Like if he had been eating chili
or had a real bad scare!

But the new bride lacks the knowledge,
and in her frenzied state,
She grabs them with a plier
and shows them to her mate.

“Don’t jump to conclusions, Hon,
you know what that stain means…
I wasn’t careful where I sat
and it soaked on through my jeans.”

She just can’t quite believe it,
and she’s plum filled up with doubt—
She says “If what you say is true, my dear,
you wore this pair inside out!”

Oh, it won’t be long ’til scenes like this
will be common to the bride—
and countless other problems
she’ll learn to take in stride.

Yes, she’ll see her share of troubles
that the coming years will bring—
But if she can handle COWBOY LAUNDRY,
she can handle anything!

© 1995, Rodney Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Of all the poems that have appeared on the ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup CDs from CowboyPoetry.com, this one by Rodney Nelson, North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion, receives the most radio play. Rodney’s long-suffering wife has been the subject of some of his other poems and perhaps inspired this one.

He comments on his photo, “This is my favorite rodeo photo. I was trying to smile for the photographer but I missed it a bit. That is my wedding shirt, so it was taken after 1980, but I’m not sure what year.” See this photo along with others in a Picture the West feature at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/photowk64.htm#rn.

Rodney Nelson writes the popular “Up Sims Creek” column in Farm and Ranch Guide and he’s just released a second volume of columns, Up Sims Creek – 100 More Trips. Find more about the new collection here.

Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about more of his books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com.

>>>We’ll be on a (rare) break, May 8-23. There will be scheduled posts, but we won’t be able to fill orders or to respond quickly to email. <<<

GOOD CLEAN FUN by Rodney Nelson

haakongoodclean

GOOD CLEAN FUN
by Rodney Nelson

I remember making hay with Dad,
We’d put it up in stacks—
Dad used to use a stackframe,
and filled it to the max.

Then sometimes, but not often,
he’d say “Rodney, you’ve the knack.
Grab a fork—I’ll lift you up,
and you top off the stack.”

Reluctantly, I’d take the fork.
He’d lift me up on top—
I’d stack that hay to 30 feet,
before he’d finally stop.

Then he’d drive up really close,
I could see him down beneath
As I stepped out on the pushoff
on the end of the stacker teeth.

He’d back up a little ways,
I hoped he’d try no tricks
But giving me rides on that farmhand,
was how he got his kicks!

Wasn’t long and I’d get mad.
I’d had these rides before—
He’d slide the pushoff almost in,
Then he’d run it out once more!

“Come on, Dad, let me down,
this really isn’t fair”
Then he’d point the teeth toward the ground
and leave me dangling in the air!

I could hear him laughing down below,
in hopeless choking mirth.
and I’d wonder if I’d ever again
put my feet upon the earth!

It was no use to argue,
Dad wouldn’t quite ’till he was done,
But I always, always wondered,
How could this be so fun?!

Well, our yard light burned out last year,
and since I’d run that farmhand all my life,
I knew we could fix it in a minute
if I could convince the wife!

Wasn’t easy to convince her,
she said a housewife was her role,
Though mad she was, she climbed aboard,
Took a ride to the top of the pole.

I said, “Sweetheart, I’m so proud of you”
when she fixed the light—
“And you’re especially lovely when you’re angry,
You really are a sight.”

“Let me down, you worthless cur,”
She was having a full-fledged fit—
I couldn’t pass up a chance like this,
So I drove around a bit!

GOOD, CLEAN FUN—I said to myself
as she called me a hopeless sap,
My grin got even wider
as I made another lap!

“Honey, just enjoy yourself
and isn’t it a fright—
It’s the first time that I’ve carried you,
since our wedding night!”

I finally shut the tractor off
Let her sit up there a while,
Promised her I’d let her down,
if she would only smile!

Oh it was fun—but there’s a problem,
I can see it now, I can …
It’s gonna’ take some might sweet talkin’
when that light burns out again!

© 1989, Rodney Nelson
This poem and photo should not be reposted or republished without permission.

North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion Rodney Nelson recites this audience favorite in a video from the 2008 Western Folklife Center National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Rodney’s daughter-in-law Sara Nelson shared photos of Rodney’s grandson Haakon in a past Picture the West at CowboyPoetry.com.

The photos were taken in August, 2014. Haakon was out in the hay field watching his father make some square bales and the baler popped out this little bale that was just his size. He was two at the time.

Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about his books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com. He writes the popular “Up Sims Creek”
column in Farm & Ranch Guide.

COWBOY LAUNDRY by Rodney Nelson

rrn2g

COWBOY LAUNDRY
by Rodney Nelson

Brides-to-be have much to learn,
there’s more to marriage than joy—
especially if the mate she’s found
is a sure-nuff country boy.

She’s no doubt optimistic—
oblivious to her fate…
The dangers that will come to pass
she can’t anticipate.

She dreams of newborn colts and calves,
anticipation makes her grin—
But ranch life quickly dims these myths
and reality sets in.

There’s calves to work, cows to feed,
meals are often late.
Unpaid bills, and drought and dirt
are things she learns to hate.

It starts when “hubby” saunters in,
a guy she’s never seen unclean—
He’s reeking and he’s filthy,
and she thinks it’s kinda mean…

When he piles his duds upon the floor
and gives her a big squeeze,
says “I need clean clothes in the morning,
so wash these up, if you please.”

She’s gotta pick them off the floor,
though the thought makes her kinda sick,
She thinks she sees them crawling,
so she jabs ’em with a stick!

She’s gotta get them to the washer,
though it fills her heart with dread—
She shuts her eyes and throws ’em in…
lightness fills her head!

But like a dose of smelling salts,
the odor jolts this lass,
It’s made up of sweat, of grease, or crud—
and stuff that once was grass!

There’s pine-tar too, and branding smoke,
horse sweat and a drained abscess,
Diesel fuel and scouring calves,
and a shot of KRS.

But the task is still unfinished,
as she is well aware,
there’s one more chore, for on the floor,
lies her hubby’s underwear!

She’s seen some Hitchcock movies,
storms have caused her awful fright,
But nothing she has seen before
has prepared her for this sight!

An older, wiser ranchwife
would read them like a book—
she’d know he’d oiled the windmill,
and with another look…

She could see old Brownie had thrown him
by the telltale gumbo mud—
And he’d repaired another prolapse
’cause the front was stained with blood.

There are countless other stories
that a cowboy’s briefs could share
Like if he had been eating chili
or had a real bad scare!

But the new bride lacks the knowledge,
and in her frenzied state,
She grabs them with a plier
and shows them to her mate.

“Don’t jump to conclusions, Hon,
you know what that stain means…
I wasn’t careful where I sat
and it soaked on through my jeans.”

She just can’t quite believe it,
and she’s plum filled up with doubt—
She says “If what you say is true, my dear,
you wore this pair inside out!”

Oh, it won’t be long ’til scenes like this
will be common to the bride—
and countless other problems
she’ll learn to take in stride.

Yes, she’ll see her share of troubles
that the coming years will bring—
But if she can handle COWBOY LAUNDRY,
she can handle anything!

© 1995, Rodney Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Of all the poems that have appeared on the ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup CDs from CowboyPoetry.com, this one by Rodney Nelson, North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion, receives the most radio play. Rodney’s long-suffering wife has been the subject of some of his other poems and perhaps inspired this one.

He comments on his photo, “This is my favorite rodeo photo. I was trying to smile for the photographer but I missed it a bit. That is my wedding shirt, so it was taken after 1980, but I’m not sure what year.” See this photo along with others in a Picture the West feature at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/photowk64.htm#rn.

Rodney Nelson writes the popular “Up Sims Creek” column in Farm and Ranch Guide and he’s just released a second volume of columns, Up Sims Creek – 100 More Trips. Find more about the new collection here.

Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about more of his books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com.

GOOD CLEAN FUN by Rodney Nelson

 

haakon
GOOD CLEAN FUN
by Rodney Nelson

I remember making hay with Dad,
We’d put it up in stacks—
Dad used to use a stackframe,
and filled it to the max.

Then sometimes, but not often,
he’d say “Rodney, you’ve the knack.
Grab a fork—I’ll lift you up,
and you top off the stack.”

Reluctantly, I’d take the fork.
He’d lift me up on top—
I’d stack that hay to 30 feet,
before he’d finally stop.

Then he’d drive up really close,
I could see him down beneath
As I stepped out on the pushoff
on the end of the stacker teeth.

He’d back up a little ways,
I hoped he’d try no tricks
But giving me rides on that farmhand,
was how he got his kicks!

Wasn’t long and I’d get mad.
I’d had these rides before—
He’d slide the pushoff almost in,
Then he’d run it out once more!

“Come on, Dad, let me down,
this really isn’t fair”
Then he’d point the teeth toward the ground
and leave me dangling in the air!

I could hear him laughing down below,
in hopeless choking mirth.
and I’d wonder if I’d ever again
put my feet upon the earth!

It was no use to argue,
Dad wouldn’t quite ’till he was done,
But I always, always wondered,
How could this be so fun?!

Well, our yard light burned out last year,
and since I’d run that farmhand all my life,
I knew we could fix it in a minute
if I could convince the wife!

Wasn’t easy to convince her,
she said a housewife was her role,
Though mad she was, she climbed aboard,
Took a ride to the top of the pole.

I said, “Sweetheart, I’m so proud of you”
when she fixed the light—
“And you’re especially lovely when you’re angry,
You really are a sight.”

“Let me down, you worthless cur,”
She was having a full-fledged fit—
I couldn’t pass up a chance like this,
So I drove around a bit!

GOOD, CLEAN FUN—I said to myself
as she called me a hopeless sap,
My grin got even wider
as I made another lap!

“Honey, just enjoy yourself
and isn’t it a fright—
It’s the first time that I’ve carried you,
since our wedding night!”

I finally shut the tractor off
Let her sit up there a while,
Promised her I’d let her down,
if she would only smile!

Oh it was fun—but there’s a problem,
I can see it now, I can …
It’s gonna’ take some might sweet talkin’
when that light burns out again!

© 1989, Rodney Nelson
Maybe we’ll make this “hay week.”

North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion Rodney Nelson recites this audience favorite in a video from the 2008 Western Folklife Center National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Rodney’s daughter-in-law Sara Nelson shared photos of Rodney’s grandson Haakon in a past Picture the West at CowboyPoetry.com.

The photos were taken in August, 2014. Haakon was out in the hay field watching his father make some square bales and the baler popped out this little bale that was just his size. He was two at the time.

Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about his books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com. He writes the popular “Up Sims Creek” column in Farm and Ranch Guide.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but please request permission for any additional uses.)