Sheep Ranching

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Judy Pearson brought three eggs over easy, hash browns, toast, and a huge sausage patty from the kitchen and put it in front of me. I looked at the clock: 6 AM in the Sage Diner. “That ought to keep me together till noon,” I said turning on my practiced charm.

She winked at me. “I hope so, Mr. Davis. If you need a snack you can always drop by if you’re still in town.” The site of Judy walking away tweaked my interest for a minute, but she went to school with my daughter and I’ve known her since she was three. Not quite enough to jumpstart my libido. I peppered the hell out of everything on my plate and start digging in. If I was lucky, I’d be through most of this before my meeting started.

I was slathering my last two pieces of toast with strawberry jam when my potential partner showed up. She was taller than average, maybe 6 feet, and her body looked strong. Her outfit was similar to mine: checkered Western shirt, worn jeans, brown cowboy boots, and a broad brim hat. As she stretched her hand out, her blue eyes were sincere in their greeting and her smile deep with wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. “You must be Bill Davis.”

“And you’re Betty Sinclair. Welcome to town.” She sat down opposite to me, and I lifted my hand to signal Judy for another cup of coffee. “A pleasure to meet you in the flesh. Did you have a good trip from Kansas City?”

“Yeah, not bad. Driving across the plains is still boring as hell.”

“Damn straight. You ready to get back in the saddle again?”

“Sure, Bill. 10 years is too long to be cooped up in the city. Good to get back to the mountains. You ready to take your flock to the upper pastures?”

“I figure we can be on the trail in a couple of days, just need to get some supplies here in town and get our gear organized. I got two horses for you to choose from, and if you don’t like either one I got a couple of buddies who owe me a favor we can visit tomorrow. The dogs all seem to be in good shape, vet checked them out yesterday. Got the flock shorn last week so they’re ready.”

“From what you showed me it looks like you’ve got a nice flock of Suffolk, my favorite breed. You’re also in a part of Wyoming the strip-miners don’t have a hard on for yet, so they’re not going to screw up your pasturage anytime soon.”

“That’s how you got pushed out, wasn’t it?”

“Shit, yes. Between the damned strip miners and the damned legislature I got fucked royally. At least I wasn’t stupid enough to blow their payout completely in Kansas City. Too bad your boy and your girl can’t help you out.”

“This is Johnny’s third deployment, and I don’t know where the hell he is. His wife Brenda will go nuts without him, and little Billy doesn’t know his dad. Wish the Marines would take better care of their families. The only good thing is they can share housing with my girl Jill and her three little ones. God only knows Jill can’t support a family by herself working at McDonald’s. Don’t know why she had to marry a damned useless idiot who dumped her.”

Betty took a sip of her coffee. I took a couple of bites of my toast and jam and asked, “You got any kids?” I asked.

“Not yet. When guys find out I castrate sheep, they usually aren’t interested in a date.”

“Good thing I’m not looking for a date either. You hungry?”

“Nope. Don’t eat much in the morning except on the trail. You’re doin’ the cooking, right?”

“Yep. I’m used to taking care of myself. Long as you’re not greedy about simple things like body heat on a cold night, we’ll probably get along fine.”

“Yeah.” I finished my toast and she sipped her coffee. When I was done I settled at the cash register and we piled into my pickup to head out to the ranch.

My great-grandfather staked out a homestead in northern Wyoming just after the Indians left, near a small tributary of the Yellowstone and surrounded by mountains. There was enough grazing in the Valley and feels to grow hay to keep the flocks through winter, and the high pastures were more than enough in the summer. We did pretty well over the years, but lately times have been hard, between the weather and the economy. I’ve had to cut down the size of my flock twice in the past five years, and rather than do that again I decided to sell half interest in my animals. My kids would’ve been happy to pitch in, but life led them other directions and they didn’t have any money, so I asked Betty if she wanted to make an investment.

We met on the Internet, and was lucky to find her. I check her out and she was legit in every way. The deal was pretty simple: she bought in for half with the option of selling it all back in six months if she didn’t like the looks of things. She would come and live on the ranch, able to build a small house for herself if she decided to stay.

The sheep look ridiculous freshly sheared of their wool, with slight ridges that marked where the clippers traveled. The lambs were close to weaning, so I was eager to get them out and started on fresh grass. Betty checked them over and said, “You need to get your little guys Van Escort taken care of before we go. They’re going to start raising hell before too long when their juices start flowing. We don’t need a bunch of horny little rams running around. Better get all their tails docked, too.”

“Yeah, I know. I got by without calling the vet this lambing season, and it’s a damn good thing: I couldn’t afford him more than once. He could only stay long enough to check the dogs the other day, says he can probably come by tomorrow and if not we gotta wait until he’s free.”

“Hell’s bells, why don’t you do it yourself?”

“My foreman used to take care of that for me. Chet died last winter, rest his soul. Don’t have anybody else to help me.”

“I could do it in my sleep. Let’s get it done now. You got a clean bucket anywhere near?”

“I’ll get a bowl from the house.”

“Sounds good.” I went to the house to get a big metal mixing bowl. I’ve seen it done since I was a boy, but it always made me nervous. When I got back, Betty had her work knife out, sharpening it on a stone before squirting disinfectant on it. “Just hold them up facing me by their little back legs, they won’t give you no problems. Couple of minutes and it’s all done.”

“Great.” We got all my lambs in a little pen, and got to work. Betty could have taught my vet tail docking, between the clamp and the knife the little ewes were scampering back to the flock when we set them down. I picked up the first little ram and she had something added to her task. After taking the tail off, Betty freaked me out by castrating the old-fashioned way: she used her teeth for the final separation. No wonder she never had any gentleman callers.

I got brave and asked, “Having fun?” A short laugh escaped her lips and she gave me a look. There was a glimmer in her eye I didn’t trust. “What’s it taste like?”

She stood up and spat. “My uncle Frank used to tell me you had to have a taste for shit to do this. It’s not far off.”

Three hours later we had enough Rocky Mountain oysters to make the little restaurant in town happy. The lambs seemed none the worse for wear without the excess body parts. We inspected our gear and she made friends with my horse Jasmine, who would be her mount for the summer herding season.

To call Betty attractive would be a stretch, but I wasn’t looking for a date. Her face was pretty plain, and she had a long, thin scar on her nose. I’m a grizzled middle aged man, tough as leather and wiry, no magazine cover myself. It was clear she loved sheep ranching as much as I did, and if the summer went well I’d have a partner who would keep me in the business.

The ride out to the pastures went smoothly, and Betty handled the dogs and the flock as well as I did. I drove enough supplies out in my pickup to keep this up there for the relatively short time the upper pastors were open. There was enough food and other supplies for three months. At the end of a simple track, I’d park it and we would set up camp on a small hillock near the river. If we were lucky, I’d only have to come back for firewood, since kindling is sparse up there.

She was also expert at setting up a base camp, helping me pitch a tent and gather firewood. We got the fire going quickly, and were ready for summer in the mountains.

We were sitting under a starry sky that moonless first night, with the mountains looming darkly all around. The sheep were settling down and the dogs played with us for a while before settling down for their slumber. “It feels like I never left,” Betty said. “It feels like I never lived in Kansas City. When you’re out here it feels like you’ve always been out here and always will be.”

“What did you do in Kansas City?”

“Worked as a nurse in a fancy retirement home. Regular hours, a few emergencies, a few deaths. Everybody was pretty nice, but the pay was pretty crappy. I could barely meet my expenses. You?”

“Oh I’ve been to cities. High school class trip to Denver. Did a hitch in the Army in Germany.”

“Wow, they’ve got some mountains over there, don’t they?”

“Oh yeah, I used to like to spend my leave in the Black Forest and down by the Austrian border. Even went to Berchtesgaden once. Such a beautiful place for such shitty people. Been to Cheyenne a few times, checking out the kids. That’s where my grandkids live.”

“I haven’t been around a lot of small children. What’s it like, being Grandpa?”

I looked aside so she couldn’t see my eyes tear up. “I love this country, I love the mountains with all my heart. It’s harder to leave them kids. When I’m gone, I always count the days till I can see them again.”

There was a long, awkward silence, and I sipped a tin cup of water. Betty sat on a blanket her legs pulled up, her arms draped over her knees. Her long black curly hair was loose and went down her back past her shoulder blades. Before long, I crawled into my sleeping bag inside the tent. She wasn’t far behind me.

The animals woke us up before dawn. I got the fire going again and we Van Escort Bayan made coffee. There is nothing like beef jerky for breakfast. We moved the flock part way up the mountain and kept a sharp eye out for wolves, clutching our rifles close. There were a couple of hints of movement in the distance, but nothing definite. Betty shot a rabbit in the late afternoon, so we had fresh meat for dinner.

A couple of days later, I had to run back to the ranch on a rainy morning because there was less firewood in the area than I expected. Coming back, I heard my dogs barking their heads off in the distance just as I was getting ready to unload the truckbed. So I grabbed my rifle and leaped on my horse Jess, galloping fast to see what was up. When I could see over the hill I noticed Betty with her gun pointed at two young men who aimed rifles back at her. The dogs were between them, growling with their hackles raised, and the sheep were spread out behind them, uneasy. All were sitting on horses, so I maneuvered to flank the strangers and stayed down below the ridge. As I got closer, I heard Betty say: “Shit, I don’t care if I only get one of you, you ain’t making off with my sheep. If you’re gonna shoot me, just try.”

I recognized the boys, two assholes my boy went to school with. One was trying to reason with her: “Look ma’am, these aren’t your sheep, they belong to Bill Davis and he owes us. Just ride away and everything’ll be fine. Insurance will cover the investment, you’ll get your money back, and you can go back to the city no worse for wear. Please ma’am, don’t make us hurt you.”

Two quick squeezes of my trigger and the boys were rolling on the ground in pain. Betty barked a command to keep the dogs from pouncing on them, and hopped down to kick their dropped weapons out of reach. I rode up quickly, dismounting to kick each one in the ass cheek I’d plugged them in, then looked at Betty: “You OK?”

She looked at me and smiled, relieved. “Yeah. Thanks for the help.”

“Anytime. I’ll cover them while you call the sheriff.” Turning around, I saw the boys on the ground were still lost in their misery. “Morning, boys. Logan Tracy and Harry Harris, what the fuck are you doin’ out here? Actually I know, just wondered when you’d get tired of pulling shit in town. Who’s back at the truck, Stacy Billis? Maybe that Freitag girl who hangs around with you all the time, hoping one of you will throw her a bone? Well, you can tell your story to the sheriff, and if I ever catch you shitheads out here again, I won’t be nice enough just to shoot you in the ass and call the law. You just lie there until the chopper gets here.”

It took the sheriff’s chopper 20 minutes to arrive, and by then the fools were back on their feet, glaring at me. The sheriff ducked as he got out, and walked up to Betty and I. “Mornin’ Bill. Hear you had a little trouble?”

“Yeah, couple of trespassers trying some sheepnapping. You see their truck out there anywhere?”

“Yeah, other side of the next mountain. Freitag girl won’t make it back to the main road before Floyd gets her.” He tipped his hat when he saw Betty. “Pardon me, ma’am, my name is Jeff Kinder, I’m the sheriff. Me and Bill go way back. I go back a ways with these boys, too. Logan, Harry, fancy meetin’ you boys out here. Looks like you both got shot in the ass.”

“Probably shot each other,” Betty said, her lip curled. “Saved me some ammo.”

Jeff laughed and put the idiots in handcuffs. “This time you get a chopper ride, guys. Hope it’s not too uncomfortable, those back seats don’t have much padding. Sorry about that.” They glared and snarled a little, and winced out loud as they were forced into the flying machine. “You wanna press charges, Bill?” I nodded. “I’ll send you the .pdf form so you don’t have to come back into town and fill it out in my office. Send it back electronically, and we’ll get things moving.”

“Thanks, Jeff.” The bird took off and the dogs relaxed. “Thank you, Betty. Sorry you had to run into those bums.”

“Shit, I seen critters like this before. Heard ’em coming a mile off, and the dogs didn’t like ’em. Didn’t buy their line for one second.” We held our hats while the helicopter took off and things returned to normal. Out of the blue, she said, “Nice shooting.”


“What’s your range?”

“I can put a bullet in a coyote’s eyeball at a thousand yards, standing still.”

“Not bad. How long you known these assholes?”

“Since they was in diapers. Tried to push Johnny and Jill around till somebody beat the crap out of them. Been making trouble since High School, got a record already. They won’t be out on bail soon.”

“Good. Thanks for the backup.”


The rest of the week passed fairly quietly: we made small talk and revised our strategy, going for the more remote pastures, keeping a closer eye out for predators and other trespassers. The dogs did beautifully and we gave them all our affection. Saturday came and when I woke up my body told me it was time to go down to the river and scrape Escort Van some grime from my tough old skin. The water was cold, fresh snow melt from the mountains, and it felt good to get cleaned up. A fresh shave helped as well.

I was washing my hair when another horse came up. “How’s the water?” Betty asked me from the saddle.

“It’ll wake your ass up, no question.” She laughed and dismounted, pulling a small pouch out of her saddlebags. Unconcerned about modesty, she stripped down quickly and waded in, shivering initially. I stayed where I was, with water up to my waist. Like I said, Betty was rather ordinary by any stretch of the imagination, but the sight of that much skin and nice floppy tits got my attention and produced the standard reaction.

It wasn’t long before she was soaped from head to toe, the suds glistening in the morning light. Her breasts jiggled as she washed her hair and I wondered if I could beat off under the water without her noticing. I wasn’t brave enough to try that. A quick dive, and she came up all wet, her nipples standing up hard. Shaking her head, she looked at me. “You haven’t moved for a while, Bill.”

“Yeah. A bit distracted.”

She smiled sweetly. “Thanks.”

I waited a little, and continued, “You’re welcome. First time in a long time. Don’t be offended if I point this thing at you.” Taking a breath, I waded toward the shore, the water only up to my knees. The water glistening off her skin, pearly white except for her neck, face, arms, and hands, kept me hard. “No pressure. Would you be…”

“…interested? I’m not a virgin, but don’t remember the last time somebody I liked pointed something like that at me.” She bit her lip and played with the end of her wet hair. “Could be…”

“…interested.” There was a gleam in her eye, and a slight smile on her face. I moved toward her and touched her shoulders lightly. She quivered and looked down before looking up again. I rubbed her upper arms and slid down to her breasts. A big sigh escaped her lips as my thumbs orbited her small nipples. My cock started pulsing, and I pulled her close quickly, kissing her hard and making as much contact with her skin as my body would allow.

Her tongue found my mouth as her hand found my pecker. Something in the back of my mind screamed danger, remembering what she did to the young rams, but that turned me on even more. I wormed my hand between her legs and found her unique wetness, playing with the folds until I discovered where the bud was. My middle finger slipped in and she gasped, “My God, this feels so good. More.”

“You’re a dangerous woman, Betty. I like danger.”

“Not too much, sweetheart. Can’t be makin’ babies, tough enough takin’ care of myself as it is.”

I added my third and fourth fingers, and that seemed to take her up a notch. My hand was certainly a bit rough even though it was in the water a long time, but she didn’t care. Her hand stroked me again and again, her wet skin a bit tough as well, and she flattened it to cup my balls, making them tingle. I pumped my hand, and she bucked against it wanting more. All four fingers went in, my thumb working her clitoris, and her head went back with her eyes rolled up.

Her screams echoed from the mountains, frightening the flock and making the dogs bark in the distance. Her free hand grabbed my wrist, holding it in place while her body shuddered, keeping my hand buried there in an iron grip. The hand on my sack tightened a little too much, but not enough to make me go soft. Her head came down to rest my shoulder as she panted in recovery.

“Damn,” she said softly. “Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. Where the hell did you learn how to do that?”

“I was married for 25 years and I believed in giving the love of my life what she wanted.”

Her blue eyes gazed deep into mine, slight tears creeping from the corners. She was speechless, and took a couple of deep breaths as she released the source of her pleasure. “What ever you want Bill, anything. Anything at all.”

“Lick my balls.”


“Really, really.”

Her eyes opened wide. “Damn, you like to live dangerously. I might forget.”

“You might. But you probably want me to do this again,” I said, slipping my fingers easily back into her chute. She gasped and shuttered. “There’s a big rock over here I can lean against.”

Her eyes opened wide again, and then she smiled playfully. I brought her over to a huge boulder at the edge of the water and leaned against it, bending back slightly, my cock bouncing in anticipation. She knelt on the sandy bottom and started licking my thigh as she stroked me again. Before long, her tongue was all over my nuts, making them quiver with delight.

Then she sucked one of them into her mouth, the sharp cave of testicle destruction. Her tongue played all around as she sucked it, teasing it with her teeth as she stroked my cock hard, drawing wet liquid anticipation. Then she went to the other one, acting as if she were going to bite it off while jerking me. Then she let my nut go, and returned to giving both of them the best tongue bath they ever had. It wasn’t long until thick, ropey strands of my white goo spattered her shoulder and back, a few drops shooting out into the languid mountain stream.

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