12. Getting a Count - ©  Anne B. Wilson 2010

Songnote:  Counting cattle out in the pasture is a challenging skill few people
master, and a critical responsibility of the cowboy taking care of summer grazing
cattle.  It takes an acute eye and incredible memory to accurately count these
milling animals, and the cowboy's greatest hope is that they'll just hold still for a


We're riding out at 6 a. m. to try to get a count
Of the cattle in our pastures from north down to the south
We have to catch 'em early before the heat of day
Makes 'em drift down to the draws for the water and the shade

Please don't be movin, cattle
Just stand there still and nice
Oh quit your driftin cattle
So I don't count you twice

We see 'em on the hilltops west and start to head that way
And count the ones we're passin by a'hopin that they'll stay
By the time we reach the ridgetop west we pretty much agree
That the little bunches that we've passed add up to fifty-three

And now we hit the main herd as the sun begins to rise
They're strung out nice and stayin calm against the western sky
So we each raise up our fingers -- we're tappin in the air
To count each nose as we pass by and hope our tally's fair CHORUS

At the end we gather up to talk and share each rider's sum
And they turn out to be matching:  a hundred sixty-one
Then addin back the lightning kill and takin out two strays
We sure are glad to figure out we got our count this day

Then we head on through the next gate where we'll do it all again
Til the cattle go to timber so we trail back to the pens
We've got a few to doctor and two strays to sort on out
But overall, a good day's work, we're glad to get a count.     CHORUS
Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky
Volume 1 Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills
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