Sunday, November 08, 2015

Back to San Antone

As I was finishing breakfast on Tuesday the phone rang. It was an Alamosa, Colorado number that I didn’t recognize at first. When I answered it was Andrew Abeyta telling me that the sheep were on the way to San Antonio Mountain from Mogote at that very moment. He said “They’ll be there by noon. The trailer will be on the west side of 285 and on the north side of San Antone.” I tossed it around for about three seconds and said, “I’ll be there.”

I threw together a cheese, salami and apple lunch, poured myself a roadie of coffee and set off, figuring an hour to get there. As I headed north on 285 and came abreast of the mountain I began looking for signs of Andrew, Victor and the sheep. Just across from Victor’s usual site between two hills on the Taos Plateau I saw a shimmering object that I thought was trailer, but no sheep. I proceeded to the Colorado border and still no sheep. I went back to find the trailer and this time found a rutted path to the shoulder of Mount San Antonio, took it toward the mountain and found Andrew setting up the trailer for Cuba.

I parked the Pilot out of the picture and walked to the trailer. He greeted me and predicted, “Cuba should be coming over the hill anytime.” I followed him over the rise and we scanned the horizon for the herder and sheep. After five minutes or so Andrew exclaimed. “There he is. He’s wearing an orange hat.” And, indeed, a single figure and 365 wooly bulges spread across the llano.

The figures came closer and closer as Cuba trailed the sheep around the hill below us. Andrew brought a trough and filled it with salt. “The sheep will really want this after walking eight miles.” The moment they arrived they attacked the salt then wandered down to the pond below for refreshment. Andrew told me, “In the winter they don’t drink much. Maybe every two days. Besides they eat snow. When it’s hot they need a lot of water. Having water already here saves a lot of money. Otherwise I have to bring it every day.”

While the sheep drank their fill, Andrew and Cuba went about setting up the propane generator and connecting electrical to the campo before driving down to the pond so Cuba could be sure every sheep was accounted for.


Blacks Crossing said...

A tough, tough life out there moving sheep from point A to point B and beyond, accentuated by your photographs of the trailer setup and the sheep butts that appear at first blush to be rocks on the horizon. An amazing thing Cuba and Andrew are doing, and that you are documenting. Thanks again for having the gumption to grab that salami and chesse sandwich, and roadie coffee to make the trek. To our and the rest of New Mexico's benefit.

John Farnsworth said...

Book! Book! Book!

Blacks Crossing said...

Way to go, John! Book, book, book is right!