© words & music by Annie Wilson
from CD Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky

Album note:  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 little while.

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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


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.