Naming Pastures

In ranch country I find that most outfits name their pastures. It helps communicate from one “agricultural worker” (cowpuncher) to another whereabouts things are happening. Instead of “You meet us five miles down the road, and turn right across the cattleguard to the long narrow pasture” it’s just simpler to say “meet us in the Costilla.” (It’s called costilla, the Spanish word for rib bone because it is long and narrow, like a rib bone.) This naming can get pretty descriptive, and border on poetic, like; “Persimmon Hill”, or “Frog bottom”, or the “Willow Crossing.” Then, names can have historical references like the “Mexican hole” pasture, named in honor of a now unknown Mexican boy who long ago rode off into a deep hole in the creek and drowned. Of course that was long before my time. It was back when Moby Dick was a minnow. Then there are descriptive terms like “Pecan Flats”, the “Headquarter’s Trap”, the “Old Horse Trap.” Then some are named for their shape liked the “Costilla”, while some are named for their function, like the “Bull Trap”, the “Calving Pasture”, or for the crop grown there, such as the “Clover Patch”. But I guess my all-time favorite was a small area we used to keep cows in during artificial insemination season. We just called it the “A.I. Trap”. We still do, even though we now use all natural service by bulls. One time we had a young man building fence there. He announced that he had finished the “I.U.D. Trap”. I asked him to explain, and finally figured out that he meant the “A.I. Trap”. I laughed when he said “Well, I knew it had something to do with sex!”

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