Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The Big Die-Up
Read about the Big Die-Up in the blizzardy winter of 1885-87!
FIVE Coveted Redneck Points(tm) to the first person to tell me what common Cow Country phrase "the Big Die-Up" is a play off of!
I hereby christen this'n the Big Burn-Up.
Just to let you know, I'm changing my screen name. Some people got hold of my contact info I didn't want to.
That winter is one of my favorite examples of mis-use of data(book count versus head-count), stupidity of cows, and the inane control of foriegn investors ( an example of what the UAE might have done).
It was imortalized as a chapter in James A. Mitchner's book,"Centennial"
This is the winter responsible for white-face herfords taking over the range. The English money that invested in the cattle business insisted that their ranches in America import winter hardy cattle (not that it would have made any difference, the long horns were as winter hardy as any bovine). This was also the death of the open range. The damn herfords were so valuable that they needed to be accounted for, which ment controlled, which ment fences. It wasn't the farmers that put up barbed wire fences like in a Charlton Heston movie, it were the foriegn owned ranches, which in the 1880's ment most of Western America. This also marked the beginning of the American Rancher as opposed to the American Cowboy.
The longhorns that winter drifted with the wind behind them until they found a wall, a bluff, or a fence and there they died by the hundreds up against it.
If they had been bison they would have put their head into the wind and walked into it untill they found shelter from it.
These winters continued for three straight years 85-86-87. In 1887 the East coast of the U.S. was devasted. The only way that Washington D.C. could communicate to NYC was via the Trans-Atlantic cable through London. Trains were trapped in the snow everywhere and snow was up to the second story windows in New York City.
SOL, thanks for stoppin' by and updating us. I thought of you last night while I was sippin' Dickel, smokin' a $5 ceegar and doin' a freelance book-editin' job out on my front "porch"! The pages are a bloody mess now -- it took some hard whiskey to get me through it. Just what the hell is it about, oh, use of commas, say, that people don't understand? :-)