Publication Date: April 2011
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I have been in love with the working ranch cowboy for my whole life. As a girl, I sat beside my dad in coffee shops and feed stores, listening to livestock men cuss the weather, examine cattle prices, and make deals. I held the halter rope while he shod the remudas of large ranches as well as reset the shoes on people’s family pets. I begged to go when he trotted off into desert mornings with crews of men on horseback. And I dreamed of living on a cow camp, of the kind of ranch romance that Texas rancher Tom Moorhouse talks about with his drawling, twanging long a sounds.” from the author’s preface From the Texas panhandle to the mountains of Arizona, Amy Auker has lived the cowboy lifeas wife, as mother, as cook, as ranch hand, as writer. In fine-grained detail she captures the prairie light, the traffic on small farm-to-market roads, the vacant stillness of shipping pens when fall works are over. But she also captures the unmistakable westernness of the people and creatures around her: the son who must get back on the horse that just bucked him off, the husband who gives great gifts, the animals whose names and temperaments are as recognizable as family. Auker understands those who live in the sway of nature’s moods far off the main roads, and she commends them to us in luminous prose backlit by her own hard-earned experience.
Amy Hale Auker writes essays, poems, and fiction while working for day wages on an Arizona ranch. Twenty years on commercial cattle operations in Texas cooking for cowboys, homeschooling children, and taking long walks have given her material for writing about a way of life that is alive and well in the heart of the American west. She lives in Prescott, Arizona.