STEENS MOUNTAIN COW CAMP by Tom Swearingen

steens

STEENS MOUNTAIN COW CAMP
by Tom Swearingen

We’ve been working out of cow camp
Up at Cucamonga Creek
On a late summer gather
For now going on a week

My wife and I are helping out
A friend named Tim O’Crowley
He and his wife Susan run
The cattle in this valley

Each day some dif’rent work to do
Maybe ailing cows to tend
‘Course rounding up the strays and
There’s a fence or two to mend

Diamond Valley lies before us
On spectacular display
A big ‘ol slice of heaven
On a bright September day

Southeast Oregon high desert
Where the Kigers still run free
Among the sage and paintbrush
And the quaking Aspen tree

Looking southward up the canyon
Miles of rimrock walls our right
To our left windswept mesas
Not another soul in sight

Steens Mountain in the near distance
Just flat takes our breath away
Beauty on the summer range
Makes our work feel more like play

More than once I’ve heard Tim share a
Thought that I now know is true
Cowboying is easier
When it comes with a great view

© 2014, Tom Swearingen, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Tom Swearingen told us about the inspiration for this poem: “… my wife Carla and I spent a wonderful week helping Tim and Susan O’Crowley gather several dozen remnant pairs and a handful of bulls off summer range at the base of the Steens Mountains in Diamond Valley, Southeastern Oregon.

“This is Oregon’s buckaroo country. Nearest ‘town,’ Diamond, population 5. This land is also home range to the Kiger Mustangs. In exchange for a place to operate their Steens Mountain Guest Ranch, Tim and Susan look after 600 Red Angus cows and their calves for the Otleys, a local cattle family. Their lease is three canyons wide and 25 miles long running right up to the breathtaking Steens Mountain Wilderness Area.”

Tom Swearingen shared related photos in a 2014 Picture the West.

Tom Swearingen is a part of California’s upcoming Monterey Cowboy Festival, November 3, 2018, along with Paul Zarzyski, Corb Lund, Waddie Mitchell, Andy Hedges, Almeda Bradshaw, Mike Beck, Ernie Sites, CowBop, The Carolyn Sills Combo, John Pardi, Juni Fisher, Joni Harms, the Midlands, and The Hasslers.

Tom Swearingen’s most recent CD is “Rhyme ´Em Cowboy!” Find more about it and him at his site, oregoncowboypoet.com.

This photo is by Susan O’Crowley.

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