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Poem I wrote about putting in a trough

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leanin' H

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2007
Reaction score
Western Utah Desert
I been fighting water all through June and hauling water a lot to keep up with the needs of our cows. And while a tank of water gravity fills the trough, I’ve had some time to put together the story of installing a water trough high in Otts canyon only about 1/4 mile from the top of the mnt. This happened in the early 90’s and the crew was myself, Dad, Uncle Parry and my cousins husband Phil. It took a heck of a bunch of work. And packing that 8 foot trough up a shale covered canyon through the oaks was a trick for sure. Wish I had pictures. I’ll let the words try and paint the story.

When we started on this project, there was only a patch of damp earth.
But we figured with a little bit of labor, we might get enough to quench an old cow’s thirst.

So packed a couple shovels in, the next time we rode up there.
Almost to the cone of the mountain, up in that thin, dry desert air.

And after we had dug a while, we had water runnin everywhere.
It was runnin down our faces, and was flood irrigating our hair.

Our hatbands were soaked clear through and our snap shirts wringing wet,
And we were questioning our logic, cause, no water, we’d found yet.

But we just kept on with our digging, and a few more hours in,
We had water seeping into our hole, maybe up to a horn toad’s chin.

But we figured if we packed up a trough, and a little poly pipe, we could gather up that little seep, and see if we just might,

Have a little water, in a spot some had never been.
A little cowboy oasis, in that draw out of the wind.

So we got an old fiberglass trough, it was one that was nice and light, and we tied it on a pack horse and it’s was quite the sight.

But we packed it up Otts canyon through the shale slides and the oaks.
And we had a roll of black poly pipe and a few pine poles and cedar posts.

When we got back to that little seep, the hole we dug was more than full.
And laying there in the shade of a cherry, was happy Angus bull.

We went to work and soon we had, that trough on level ground, we’d made by cutting the high side of a ridge off, and buildin up the side that was down.

Then we planted the posts and added the pine rail, and plumbed in our water line. And when the water first fell into that old trough, well folks, that sure was fine.

You know, that little water trough has watered quite a few bovine. Deer have found it and chuckars too, and a coyote from time to time.

It lasted up there near twenty years, and when it was finally old and worn,
The BLM flew in a new steel trough and when I see it now, I’m still torn.

Cause I took great pride in that first old trough, and the work it took to place it there.
Three days of damn hard labor, and a lot of sweat in our hair.

If you counted up the wildlife, the birds and lizards and things
That had benefited from that little old tough, your Ol calculator would zing.

And every time I pull up to that place, and my horse sinks his nose in deep,
I’m grateful to be a rancher, and I’ll always try and keep,

Taking care of this land I love, where the bunch grass and mahogany grows.
And a seep with clean pure water, is hiding right under your nose.

A lot of things, are like that in life, good things, sometimes take a little diggin.
And you’ll sure enough miss some wonderful stuff, if you don’t look at where they are hidden.

Water in this Ol desert country,
Has a value that you just can’t measure.
And just that little old trickle from that little old seep, is a memory I will always treasure.

Darrell Holden
June 2022

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