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From time to time, we like to put our stories in writing, so we created this blog. We invite you to read about the many riding, hunting and traveling adventures of our cast and crew, and even our sponsors!  

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DP AND THE PEE DEE COWBOY HEAD TO CAMDEN
By David Grant

Hay Folks! A great time in historic Camden where we attended the Equus Film Festival. Thanks to Lisa Dierson and Julianne Neal for including Horse Tales in their line up. We are heading back soon! Folks this show will air in a few weeks.!!!

Oh and DP has a special ""neigh out""" to the "ever thoughtful" Bruce Anderson for cleaning up his """deposit""" on 'MANE' street!!!! Folks we got a lot of stares when we rode around downtown.
DP says he will be back and he wants to meet that pretty filly in the poster!!!

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OFF TO DAUFUSKIE - IN THE PEE DEE COWBOY'S NOBLE STEED'S OWN WORDS

By David Grant


Hay “Neigh”-bors! El Cabblo Grande coming at you this morning. Most of you know me by barn name “DP.” I am the Pee Dee Cowboy’s 8-year-old grulla Marsh Tacky stallion. I am the reason he is the Pee Dee Cowboy.

So why I am writing to you this morning? Well me and the boys in the pasture got together and told the old Pee Dee Cowboy we thought folks wanted a different perspective to some of his yarns. Perhaps we get the stories straight from the “horse’s mouth!” So here we go, folks. Trot along with me and all my colts and cousins and we will share with you what it was like going back to Daufuskie Island. The last time we were there for the Marsh Tacky Beach Races, my oldest daughter, Southern Breeze, stole the show when her saddle cinch came loose and her rider, Wylie Bell, took a pretty bad tumble. We have included a great picture of the PDC trying to slow Breezy down. Folks you will come to the same conclusion we did: What was the Pee Dee Cowboy thinking when he was running down the beach and Breezy almost ran him over! Man that was the talk of the corral for months! We will sum it up by quoting my son, Southern Gambler, “Boys, we all know the PDC ain’t the smartest cowboy in the west, but he sure loves us so we need to be thankful.”

Me and the gang knew something was up several weeks before leaving for Daufuskie Island when the PDC came down to the barn and hooked up to the war wagon. The war wagon is the PDC’s hunting trailer named after one of his favorite John Wayne movies, “War Wagon.” We were getting ready for our normal ritual when he is going hunting – running like wildfire to the other end of the pasture pooting and scooting just to annoy him! Snicker … oops I meant nicker! This time, however, he just got the war wagon and left. “What’s up?” we wondered. What’s up was a ROAD TRIP, including a boat/barge ride! Geez, does the man never quit thinking up things for us to do? Well I reckon when you are the State Heritage Horse you must fight the good fight. It is never boring around our barn thanks to the PDC’s never ending quest to stave off his monthly adrenaline fix.

We all figured out pretty quick this was no ordinary adventure. Too much planning was going on. We didn’t even hunt for a while! Even the Pee Dee Game dogs were scratching their heads trying to figure out what was going on. Last time we saw this much activity, we ended up in Arkansas! And man that was a trip to tell the grand-colts and grand-fillies.

So it was the night before the big trip and throughout the farm all was quite as a Christmas mouse until about 3 a.m. We heard the bamming and slamming of horse trailers coming down the dirt road. We quickly made plans for our get-away! Horse Crap! The PDC had shut the gates going out into the big pasture. Darn does the man not trust us?

First to arrive was Leighton and Wylie Bell with Sweet Home Alabama, a distant cousin on my sire’s side. They had so much stuff packed into their two horse-trailer that Bama could hardly move, but he was comfortable in his little red trailer. Good thing he wasn’t going anywhere for a while.

Next was Ashley ‘Wrangler’ Jones with my trouble making and VERY distant cousin Postel. We still had not figured it all out yet. Why were we leaving so early? We did not have the Pee Dee Game dogs so we were not hunting. What’s up?

To add to the mystery we saw water skies being packed up with guns, flags, whips, a lot of hay and grain. Were we on a top secret CIA mission? Man that would be cool. I heard that my great-grand sire used to ride the beaches of Hilton Head looking for Japanese patrol boats. We figured it could not be any tougher than galloping at break-neck speed through the swamps after wild boar or deer, so we all hopped right into the war wagon ready to do battle, or whatever the heck that adventure seeking yahoo the Pee Dee Cowboy had brewing. Simpson, my oldest son and quite the thrill seeker himself, snorted, “Hay guys! You got to love that old PDC, he keeps us on our hooves!”

Southern Spirit and Southern Gambler, two of my other sons and more laid back, just snorted and said, “Careful what you say, big brother.”

Three hours later we arrived at a boat landing. We all snorted at Simpson, “OK big boy, what do you think is going to happen here?”

It took our cowboys a good hour to unpack their gear. They let us out to snip a little grass here and there around the landing. We sure got a lot stares by the local people! We were starting to relax when we heard distant rumbling of some type boat – or something! That something was menacing looking: a green barge with what looked like jaws on the front of it. It floated up to the landing and dropped those jaws, and the PDC said, “Let’s go!”

Go? Go where? Not us, big boy, not on that THING! Don’t even try tempting us with hay or a treat. Wouldn’t you know it that trouble making cousin Postel was already on the darn barge! He nickered, “Come on guys the water is just right.” Yea right we thought! There he goes getting us in trouble like always. Never thinking; just doing!

Stay tuned for more stories, as we will share with you what it was like spending three enchanting days on Daufuskie Island with Team Marsh Tacky.

 









DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, HERE WE COME!
By David Grant


Hay Folks. Got a great adventure for you this morning. Team Marsh Tacky loaded up our remuda of Marsh Tackies and headed down to Bluffton, S.C. We were not chasing any old boar hogs or ripping any buck deer. Nope, we were double dipping!

The Pee Dee Cowboy keeps reinventing himself! SNICKER. No, seriously folks, quite by accident I have discovered under all this redneck Riviera persona of mine that I really love taking and directing photo shoots. If you are laughing, go ahead and join the club. The line is long and growing.

This old cowboy can clean up a bit, and contrary to popular opinion can be quite articulate at times – especially if my lovely bride is around! Word was last month that the old PDC was seen shagging at Circle Fountain. And yes, I had on cowboy boots. So much for tradition! Some amazed old time shaggers were standing on the sidelines wondering where in the world those moves came from. Shagging ain’t much different from two-stepping, kind of like dodging cow piles in the pasture when a bull is after you! You just move! Lol.

I wandered off the trail there, partners! Back to the double dipping jargon. The PDC has a television show “Horse Tales” and also has a website dedicated to promoting and displaying our state horse, the Marsh Tacky. From needing material to produce both of those products, the term “extreme photo shoot” was conceived. To date we have done four shoots. Folks those four shoots are stories in themselves. From the secret sand dunes of South Carolina to the banks of the Great Pee Dee River and now on the shores of one our most intriguing coastal islands – Daufuskie. Folks, we have traversed this old state to bring you some world-class photos and stories. The old PDC bucket list has many more in it!

If you are wondering why an extreme shoot on Daufuskie Island, well the thought come from needing a cover shot for my lifelong dream to write a children’s book about how my beloved Marsh Tackies got to our great state. OK, so you folks out there who know me are laughing again. Well folks, I am going to quote a lyric from a great song by Toby Keith: “Look at me know I am singing in your radio!” So one day you just may see my book “On a Ship Far Away” on the New York Times bestseller list! LOL. Now that would make all my old teachers roll over and snicker. I will quote one of my teacher’s last comments to me. “David,” she said, “you have a great personality and vivid imagination but I don’t think you will even get out of high school.” I didn’t! My time limit expired!

 

The extreme shoot for Daufuskie was a long time in developing with many a hurdle to clear. Organization and planning ain’t one of my cowboy attributes. So much had to be worked out. First and foremost, how the heck to get six horses over to an island with no road connecting it to the main land. I had thought about swimming the horses over on low tide from Hilton Head across Calibogue Sound. I scrapped that after I was told it was a mile across and sharks lurked in those waters in the fall! Now that would be a tall tale! I can see it now! PEE DEE COWBOY LAST SEEN IN MOUTH OF JAWS. STORY TO BE CONTINUED!

Nope, we opted to something “tamer,” or so we thought, a barge ride! We were thinking we would back our truck and trailer onto the barge like we did for the Marsh Tacky Beach Races that had been held on Daufuskie in March. WRONG! We loaded the horses right onto that barge with nothing but a hay bale to entice them to stay aboard and not jump over the side and go for a swim! As usual our Tackies handled it just fine. We humans were the stressed out ones. Folks, that barge ride over was one of the most exhilarating hours in my life. I just can’t do justice to the thoughts flying through my mind as we rode in that barge holding onto my precious Marsh Tackies and dreaming of times 500 years ago when they actually swam to get over to this enchanted island. Once we got there we just dropped the landing gear of that barge and our Tackies walked right of the barge like they were going home! And they were!

Time and word constraints won’t allow me to share everything that happened during our three-day adventure on Daufuskie.

PDC Post Script: What do you get when you cross an aging adrenaline junkie cowboy and one young adventure-seeking cowgirl who believes anything the PDC says? And oh yes, two other ingredients: a pair of trick skis and my beloved Marsh Tacky Simpson. To find out the answer to what the old PDC conjured up on the shores of Daufuskie, catch the second episode of a two-part show on the Daufuskie Island trip.

 

 

MORE ISLAND ADVENTURES, TOLD STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
By David Grant


Hay Folks! All good things must come to an end, so here is the final version of the Daufuskie Island adventure. I sure hope you enjoyed last month, which was written by my Marsh Tacky stallion, DP. Geez! If he asked me once, he asked me a 1,000 times how did our readers like his first story. He even replaced on his stall front the time-tattered copy of Walter Farley’s epic novel, “The Black Stallion,” with the newspaper clipping of his island adventure! Oh yes! He made me laminate him and the boys a copy. Our barn looks like a political stump meeting with all the posters nailed to the barn doors. So sit back and pour yourself a cup of hot java and let’s stroll over to Daufuskie Island for DP’s recap of three hard-working days on the island.

As you recall, none us Tackies were too enthused about getting on that menacing looking green thing called a barge. Like I said last month, old cuz Postel just jumped right onto it. Of course, me and the boys knew he has a hay problem and when he saw that bale of coastal Bermuda all laid out and waiting, he – well heck – you know what happened from the pictures.

We were all loaded up as snug as could be, and Team Marsh Tacky headed out for what we do well: Seeking adventures anywhere there is a “where” to go!

Man, the trip over was so nostalgic. I have heard the Pee Dee Cowboy tell our story a million times, but hay folks, this time you could sense the passion, the sense of urgency. The stories I have heard so many times had such a sense of … well heck for lack of better words … realness. As the waves lapped against the sides of that barge and the old PDC was getting fired up in his story telling, I could feel myself slipping into a time long ago!

A time when my great-great grand-sire, the original El Caballo Grande, was on a battered Spanish vessel. His long magnificent mane and tail flowing in the stiff breeze as the ship sailed into an uncharted, enchanted harbor! I was totally into my dream. I could vividly see Grande and his mares tethered to the deck of that ship almost starved to death from the long voyage. I could see and hear his life-giving piercing neighing proclaiming land was in sight. Giving instant hope to all aboard!

Then bam, we hit land! Geez, talk about a rude awakening. I went from an enchanting dream to the stark reality of being on a barge fast approaching shore and with no landing deck in site. I glanced over at Southern Spirit my easiest going son and asked, “Wonder how they plan to get us off this thing.”

He just snorted and went to the back of the line.

The captain dropped the gate of that old barge, and all we could see was MARSH! I overheard Postel mumble something about, “Hay DP, didn’t you hear the part of the story the PDC was telling about how they got our ancestors off the ships back in the day? They just pushed them overboard in very deep shark infested waters!”



Folks, we showed that crowd a new dance called the “Marsh Tacky Shuffle” as we scooted nimbly off the barge onto tarps and blankets placed like the red carpet of Hollywood over the sharp oyster shells covering the marshy shores of the island so that we didn’t cut our feet. At least the PDC thought of that!

Our accommodations were actually pretty neat once Team Marsh Tacky pulled all the weird weeds out of our paddocks. I’ve seen some pretty nasty briar beds in the swamps of the Pee Dee, but we ain’t never seen a weed with that many “stickers” on it. I overheard my cousin, Sweet Home Alabama, nicker, “I bet this island crowd smokes that weed. It really ‘sticks’ in their minds!”

I just sighed. It was going to be a long three days with this crowd.

And then there was the parrot. Yes, I said a parrot! Just like in the Jimmy Buffet songs, a parrot! He was in cage right next to us. Cool, I thought. Let me tell you, I can still hear him squawking, “You’re tacky! You’re tacky.” If I heard one more time I was going to wring his neck. AHH! But vengeance is mine, saith us Tackies! Just look closely at the Pee Dee Cowboys hat. Check out the feather in his hat. I rest my case! I just love that guy, the old PDC.

Folks there were not a dull moment. First day we were up before the chickens. Yes, they had chickens right next to that dang parrot! They had us Tackies tacked up and on the way to the southern most part of the island, Bloody Point, way before any rooster thought about crowing. When we rode across a very high dollar golf course in the middle of the night, it felt like I was back in high school when me and the boys would slip out in the middle of the night to see all the fillies down at neighbor’s barn!



Whoa!! Folks, ain’t enough words to share my thoughts when we rode over those sand dunes at the sight we saw. Freaking awesome. The sun was just starting to peak through the clouds; the wind was howling; the waves were crashing on shore. Folks I lost it! I almost fell to my knees. Was I seeing things, too much “brandy” in my oats last night? I saw “HIM” heard “HIM.” I thought I glimpsed the sails of a ship. EL CABALLO GRANDE? IS THAT YOU!?

YEEHAW! Yeap, only one person I know can say that that loud that early in the morning, the PDC. I snapped out of the dream in an instant. What in the devil is he up to? I went from an illusion to confusion in an instant! Such is life with Team Marsh Tacky …

First up was trying getting all of us Tackies lined up for single photos then group photos. I admit I purposely would not tilt my ears forward to give them a good picture. Just call it equi-vengance, or for you folks who can’t decipher our horsey lingo, that means we were being uncooperative on purpose. They finally got me to tilt my ears when that dang PDC cracked his whip and said next on your rump, chump! I smiled, nickered and tilted my ears all in one motion! Gee, some cowboys are just plain testy!

Next up they pulled out guns. Yep that’s what I said: guns. Gee PDC, I did not mean to be hard to deal with. Put that gun up.

He just smiled, hopped up on Simpson and took off like the mad man he is. I looked over at my son Southern Gambler and was getting ready to say something smart when I heard the most God awful scream I ever heard. Then leaping over some driftwood with guns a waving and whip a cracking was that crazed boss of mine, the PDC.



For the next hour you would have thought we were filming one of those spaghetti westerns from long ago. That crowd posed in every imaginable position known to man with those darn guns. Man they were really getting into it. Humans!!! After it was all said and done it was pretty fun seeing those guys act like kids again. All we could hear is “Hay shoot this shot or try this!!”



We over-heard the PDC say take the saddles off! We thought we were getting a break. Wrong! Driftwood shots! I heard the PDC tell Wylie Bell bring DP (me) over here. Well let me tell you my ears were forward walking over to a pile of driftwood that was arranged in weird formations from centuries of being washed and pushed from the tide.

After about 10 minutes that crowd finally got it into their head none of my crowd was into leaping into and through driftwood just so they could get some “timeless” photos.

Wouldn’t you just know it. Postel! Darn that wild cousin of mine! YEEHAW was all I heard as he went flying by singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” or something like that. I mumbled, “I’m going to hide that brandy bottle tonight.”



Sour oats!! Geez folks, I am past the word limit! Going to have to go back on my word. This ain’t the last version of my story. One more to go!









EIGHT SECONDS 
By David Grant

Folks the PDC is guilty of murder in the first degree, high aggravated assault to boot. Hold on there partners, don’t be jumping off my wagon train just yet! I am guilty of murdering the English language. I have assaulted words with intent of disfiguring them so badly, even spell-check cannot identify them. Friends I have a good yarn to spin. So get out your cowboy dictionary and read on! I am going to do the very best this old cowboy can do with spell-check and home-boy editing. So sit back, sip that Java and enjoy this yarn about one of the darnest 8 seconds in my illustrious and highly combustible hunting career.

Sometimes things happen so fast it takes days to recount what happened. This was the case on this now in-famous hunt. No names will be used to protect the innocent and more important not to point out the guilty. On this hunt too many will be one of the many catch phrases. Too many dogs, too many riders, way too many green horses. Now that it is over and we are safe way to much LIVE ACTION. I will give you a peek into some words you will read and try to decipher. Bucking. Shucking. Cussing. Praying. Fussing. Rodeoing. Racing. Chasing. Baying. Neighing. Just to name a few.

The hunt started out innocent enough. The plantation owner had called the old pig exterminator himself. He stated in an urgent message the pigs were back in town! So the old Pee Dee Cowboy knew a good hunt was in store for a larger than normal gathering of Team Marsh Tacky members. For some reason not many people turn down invites anymore. Go figure!

Stay with me folks this is a long tale! We had our normal prayer and safety talk but ‘alas’ that was the last normal thing we all saw for over an hour. We had brought a new dog along to try out. She had grown up with horses so we didn’t pay her much attention. Come to think of it, she was minding her own business under my truck. Acting kind of shy come to think of it! You will read a lot of coming to think of it as this story unfolds! We all stepped onto our horses and like in a Remo Williams film let the adventure begin.

An old friend had come along for the first time in months and his dogs were ‘FRESH’. As in fresh I mean rearing to go! So one of said friend's ‘fresh’ dogs got the wild idea she was going to warm up on equine not swine! The equine she chose was not fond of that idea as you will read as we continue this epic ‘adventure’.

Close your eyes just for a second and imagine this scene. We had 10 horses and riders and at least 15 dogs. JUST TOO MANY. The dog of the hour started barking and nipping at a unsuspecting horse. That horse started bucking and I must say the rider ‘a first timer with Team Marsh Tacky’ did one heck of a job staying on. The horse had his head down and was doing some serious bucking. Then the really good live action cranked up! Another horse started bucking and swapping ends and that rider was doing some fancy riding and ‘trying’ to get out of everyone's way. Then another horse that was not mounted started rearing, kicking and bawling ‘a panicked neighing’. Folks this was scary even for a grizzled veteran like myself.

Ok here we go, back to the new dog under the truck minding her own business. Somewhere back in time she must have read Jack London’s call of the wild. Because she came out from under that truck like a rocket, latched onto a FORMER buddie's green horse and folks it was on like Donkey Kong! WOW! I am just getting warmed up. Run to the java pot quick!

The new dog grabbed that horse and I have never seen or heard anything like it in all my life. She was over here, then over there, she was bucking, she was rearing, she was neighing, all at the same time! We ran in ‘BAD IDEA’ mode and tried to grab her or the dog or both. Did I say bad idea? I will say it again not a bad idea it was STUPID! She almost ran us over. Finally she broke camp and away she went! New dog still hanging on. She somehow was doing all of the afore mentioned actions in one fluid motion. Pretty impressive, but we try to raise hunting not bucking horses.

Ok, while all this was happening ‘somehow’ out of the corner of my eye. I saw that all the horses I had mentioned were still bucking. All of the cowboys were in different stages of dismounting, some voluntary, some not so voluntary! Some pretty fancy riding and dismounting. All this in a matter of maybe 8 seconds. If my Go-Pro had been on, I could have put all of the reality shows out of business. In the words of turtle man that was sure nuff some live action. There was not the need for fake scripting for this WILD WEST show it was happening fast and furious. Come to think of it! It was almost like I was in dream and I couldn’t escape.

Whew! I have cold sweat breaking out just recounting what happened. Then the ‘former buddy's green horse' broke camp! In cowboy jargon, she hauled butt! Folks I would have used the slang word for butt! ‘Butt’ ‘pun intended’ this is the Bible belt! She left there running flat out and with a string of ‘used to be hog dogs’ in tow. Former friend and owner of said horse was already riding at break neck speed after them. Without thinking ‘do I ever’? I ‘commandeered’ the nearest horse; it wasn’t mine but belonged to another former buddy - and owner of the GUILTY canine. Away I went like a flash! Some fancy riding was needed to ride like the wind with no hands, so I could turn on my Go-Pro. Enough bragging, the scene is still UGLY! Ain’t no Merle Norman make-up goanna cover up this wreck!

Here is how it was playing out. At least 7 shell shocked former friends and guest staring down the road. Watching the hunt master and all the dogs and two cowboys riding furiously to stop the run-away horse. My former best friend and his grandson were gaining ground on said run-away and the PDC was hollering to try and bring the Pee Dee game dogs back under control. They were in a high state of arousal to say the least! WOW! Allow me to take a sip of my bravo javo before I continue!

For those of you out there in the Pee Dee that have ever had the privilege ‘or should I say the misfortune’ to hunt with the PEE DEE COWBOY you can imagine the high state of arousal I was in. Folks I was in a high state of arousal but I was under control. Believe it or not a sense of calm was over me. This is Divine because before I was saved I would have come unglued and killed several dogs and maybe some more carnage! JUST KIDDING! God is great, read on and you will see!

I reined in my borrowed steed with a sliding stop that would have impressed even a veteran reining horse trainer. Last I saw of former best friend he was doing some very fancy riding. He was able to ride up beside of his run-away horse and start to slow her down. Folks, former best friend is older than me. Not by much! Jeez he can really ride! Come to think of it, I witnessed a few techniques I didn’t know the old boy had in him!

Thinking that former best friend had that situation under control. ‘Yes contrary to popular opinion the PDC can think’ I turned my thoughts and action to trying to get the game dogs back. I had to try and salvage a hunt for my friends and guest. By that time most of the rodeoing was over. The hunting party was starting to show up in one’s and two’s. Looking kind of, well kind of shocked, astounded, and mesmerized you could burn up a Webster trying find the right word. These were some experienced cowboys and one cowgirl and they looked quite bemused.

I almost called the hunt, notice I said almost. Quitters never win and winners never quit and I will add my favorite and original quote. It ain’t how you start it is how you finish.



As I rode my trusty steed ‘oops failed to mention’ somehow while all this was going on the owner of the commandeered horse rode me down and ‘insisted’ we switch back! Imagine that! Folks you should have seen that fancy riding. We literally exchanged horses on the run in a matter of seconds. Now that would have even impressed Steven Spielberg!

Folks this epic adventure may be twisting and turning a bit for ya! But I’m a telling you it was unfolding just as I am describing! A good cowboy story teller does not have to add black to his coffee, so hang on partners, I ain’t done yet!

The run-away horse was caught and I was heading back toward the scene of the crime. About that same time all the hunting party and dogs kind of just showed up in the middle of the road. That road was lined with huge Spanish moss covered oaks. The moss was hanging almost down to the ground, creating an epic scene! Just like out of an old western movie where after the gun battle the victor stand in awe of what just happened. Trembling with fear, adrenaline pumping over-time, not knowing how he came out alive! ‘Hay’ folks goanna ask you again! Shut your eyes and just imagine that scene. I felt like I was riding into the final seconds of the shoot-out of the OK corral! There was no smoking gun just a tense sense of relief and awe from what we just saw!

Believe it or not the only injury was a pretty good cut for the run-away horse!

Dilemma, we are short one horse! Enter one first class cowboy whose name I can’t mention. He drawled like only he can do! Ya’ll go ahead and hunt and I will doctor the horse and come on with the 4-wheeler ‘which we keep for such problems as we just had’. Folks quoting the words from a Willie Nelson song! COWBOYS ARE SPECIAL THEY AIN’T EASY TO LOVE! But I am a telling you if we could elect the above cowboy President, our great country would be back on the right track as fast as horse apples hit the dusty trail.

OK it is time for this cowboy to rein in this yarn. Hunting we did go and at first it was mighty slow for in which direction those little piggy’s did go, we didn’t know. But as you all know a sixth sense upon this cowboy did the good Lord bestow and that is figuring out which direction them old boogers would go. AHH! A poet I am not and I know it! LOL!

Folks the hunt started with a wreck but ended with some mighty fine South Carolina wild Boars harvested by a determined Team Marsh Tacky. Nothing is more exciting and nothing could be finer than hunting in the swamps of our beloved South Carolina! It is truly not how you start it is how you finish! Until next time keep your reins low and your hands quiet and may the good Lord bless you and your family! RIDE ON!
For more hunting stories, please visit
http://www.carolinamarshtacky.com/.

 



 

 
EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF - A CHILDHOOD STORY
By David Grant


Hay folks in this foray into the writing arena, the ol’ Pee Dee Cowboy won’t be wrestling any Wild Boars or thundering down a long forgotten logging road or even saving some Damsel in distress! No my loyal readers allow me to take you back in time when the old PDC was barely a teenager. Back in the Day as my friend Dan E. Locekemy would say! 

Yours truly grew up in Dillon County in the rural Mayberry type town of Latta S.C. Our address was actually a sleepy little community called Oak Grove! Hold on their partners, the sleepy part may be true today but not back then! AAhh, but that will be a separate article itself one day.

Long before I-95 was the hustling/bustling hub of our community. No cell phones, no computers, no fancy games to play other than capture the flag or a pick up football or softball game. Nope, if it was daylight and not raining, mom would see to it that you were outside and out her way. ‘Outside where I grew up’ encompassed a lot of country. A place where on Saturdays or after school we would dis-appear until dark. Riding horses with friends or hunting, just whatever suited our fancy that day. AHH! Back in the day! We would be gone all day and Mom would think nothing of it. Imagine That! Back in the day.


 
Folks, I have so many stories I could write about during those ‘formative’ years of mine that it would take a novel just to cover them. Allow me to share one about my wonderful Mom. I have written about my wife being a Saint to put up with me. Well if my wife is a Saint my Mom would rank right up there with Mother Theresa or Even the Pope!

Mom bore 8 children and raised 6 of them into adulthood. Well let’s clarify something before we get any further down the trail. I am the baby and the jury is still out on number 8 her ‘BABY’ and the adulthood cliché. Folks ain’t it kind of ironic and miraculous how your mind remembers things about your parents in such a different perspective now that you have grown older. Mom wore a lot hats and could and would switch them so fast that you would not even notice! Matter of fact you will be reading here in a few paragraphs how she wore the hat of a wrangler, a tree climber and a bullfighter all at the same time. Read on folks this is going be good.

Folks ain’t they a lot of things you did ‘BACK IN THE DAY’ that you would as soon forget? Well here comes one of the many from one of your favorite cowboys.

Meanwhile BACK ON THE FARM! When I say farm what we had was a 5 acre plus ‘ranchette’ chickens, cows, Dad’s garden and our family’s wholesale chicken business. Last but not least my first two equines. Charley a Shetland pony and Star a ‘fast’ quarter horse mix. Green acres if you may! This little farm wasn’t in Hooterville, but  had you been a watching us!! You would have figured out those Grants are Hoots! Thinking back our neighbors probably called us other no telling what. You can believe this!  Mom would have had no problem driving a truck around like the Beverly Hillbillies had on their long running sit-com. Heck she could of drove or sat on the back of that old jalopy. Mom could get it done!! Thinking back on how she juggled all her responsibilities just makes me miss her even more. “Hold on their Mom I am coming your way”! Just not yet! You know folks I just bet when Mom gets word I have rode my last trail, she will have a starched pair of jeans and shirt just a waiting for me. Mom kept us all so clean that you would have thought us to be poster children for Ivory soap! Nope, she kept ivory soap ‘and lots of it’ around for my mouth! Folks I could blow bubbles with-out a straw! That the Good Lord has a sense of humor is being lived out in my life! From where I have been and where I am now and where I plan on going is a true testament to what can and will happen when a Mom prays constantly for her children! So for all you Mom’s out there that have children that seem beyond help! PRAY WITH-OUT CEASING. MY MOM DID! 



BACK ON THE FARM! To save on money and time dad would string up one strand of electric fence wire so ‘his precious cows’ could graze over our ‘vast’ acreage. This worked really well in his mind, but only when his delegated work force would plug in the ‘electric’ part of the fence! LOL. This was a very serene setting, white house sitting back off the road with big oaks and pecan trees, and live lawn mowers in the front yard. Yep! never was a dull moment back in the day.

Arriving home from school one day Mom was outside waiting for me and my sister. What was the big deal about this? Well two things that you could bank on, one was Mom having supper waiting on us and the other was her watching the 7:00 p.m. news to see what was happening in Vietnam. Two of my brothers were there for one LONG year. For our Mom to be outside ‘dressed’ and with the old tan pick-up truck running and the doors wide open!! Wow even this young cow-boy knew ‘sumpton’ was up! Turned out a lot of something’s were gone! Like in 10 or so of Dads ‘precious’ bovines and my 2 equines!

Here we go folks! We! Me, Mom and one very un-willing sister! Out the drive-way we went licekety split. Mom looked over me and said “where are they”? Did I mention I was a not to confident 13 year old at the time. With my head in my hands I stammered “how the heck should I know mom”! All we could think of was what Dad would do when he got home from work and his cows had ‘MOOOVED’ OUT OF THE PASTURE! So for the lack of a better plan we hung a right and started driving around. Trying to think like 10 cows and 2 horses and what they would do when suddenly liberated.

Mmm! Talking about reality show material! Here we are in a single cab Ford 150. Mom, 16 year old sister and me. And had you seen us, you would have thought only 2 people were in that old truck, cause I would duck down when-ever we passed another vehicle! Yep a true hero in the making folks!

Somehow or another we rode past Mr. Oscar Hatchels’ farm. I just happened to glance way back in his pasture and thought I saw a horse! That’s strange I thought he ain’t got horses! Talk about a brain lapse! “Wait a minute Mom”, I stammered and boy let me tell you back in the day I could really stammer my grammar. Still do come to think of it.

Mom asked me “what now”? “Well I reckon we will just mosey on into Mr. Oscar’s pasture and get them critters”, I said in my best John Wayne drawl. So here we go the 3 amigos with only a few pieces of rope and a feed bucket. We did plan well enough ahead to bring along some feed. You could lead them crazy blankty blank cows of Dads to hell and back with a bucket of feed.
Things were looking up; we saw our elusive escapes grazing peaceably out in the pasture. I rattled the feed bucket and sure nuff they came a-running! “Hey Mom I didn’t know dad bought a Bull”! “He didn’t Davy” as she affectionately called me at times of duress such as this! Folks this old Bull sure enough was a Bull he had the gear hanging from his head and very ample gear hanging from other places this good old boy ain’t gonna say! He so was proud and ‘VERY’ protective of his 10 sweet new heifers that had suddenly moseyed into his bovine harem! That old Bull was a snorting and bellowing and kicking up dirt! 

He was a pawing the ground like one them ’Fighting Bulls’ that you would see in Spain! “WHERE is a good matador when you need one” mom chuckled! MOM! always able to crack a one liner no matter the situation.

“WHAT we going to do Davy?” mom screamed as that old Bull charged down on us like old Teddy Roosevelt and his rough riders did at San Juan Hill. In my best retreat voice I hollered “EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF”! Words that have haunted me since the inception of the Pee Dee Cowboy moniker. I can see it just like it was yesterday Mom grabbing both of us and pushing us toward the grove of trees that was nearby! Up those trees we crazy ‘Grants’ went like squirrels! Folks did I mention reality show material! Can you imagine the looks on our faces as we gawked at each other hanging/dangling precious few feet away one from angry Bull? Mom once again trying to give her young Cowboy a chance to ‘COWBOY UP’ looked over at me and said “what are we going to do Davy”? “Well” I said “we better give our souls to the Lord because our posterior antinomies belong to that Bull yonder”! AHH the first sermon I preached and it was from limbs of a tree. 

Good things come to those who wait. We waited there for about an hour but it seemed a lot longer! Then I heard that old ‘familiar sound’ of Dad’s chicken truck. Old # 9! Folks this Cowboy could count on one finger the times I wanted to hear that work truck coming my way but today was a different story! No sooner than we heard the ‘swoosh’ of Dad locking down the air brakes on  # 9,than that old Bull must have had a Vision cause he kicked up his heels and pooted and off he went with his new found harem!

What a sight Dad saw when he walked up to us and peered up into the overhanging branches and eye-balled part of his ‘crazy’ family! In his best ‘and out of character for my usually stoic Dad’ He mimicked John Wayne’s voice. “What you pilgrims doing up that tree”? My Mom queen of the one liners came right back at him! “We are doing research for the Family Chanel as to the best way to spend quality time with your kids after school”, and then she hoped down and walked to old #9 like nothing had ever happened! Leaving me and Sis just hanging around in that old tree!!! 

Until next time keep your reins low and your hands quiet and may the Good Lord bless you and your family. Keep looking up never know what you may see in a tree!

Pee Dee Cowboy postscripts:
1. We did get our cows back the next day. Dad and Mr. Oscar had no problem.
2. I the PDC rode Star back that day bareback, leading Charley along like I was a real cowboy.
3. Notice I never mentioned my sister’s name. She may be guilty of murder when see reads this. I was a bad little brother.
4. To this day I will not own cows!
5. Oak Grove was called Dodge City back in the day for good reason, on Saturdays most of the local cowboys would ride their Horses to the local watering hole ‘ the dairy bar’ and after a many a mint julep would commence to living out their dreams of being real cowboys at the Long Branch Salon.
6. Mom would never let me ride down to the dairy bar! Go figure! I LOVE YOU MOM!!!






 






IT'S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE...  
HOG HUNTING WITH THE PEE DEE COWBOY BRINGS A NEW DIMENSION TO RIDING

By Marsha Hewitt, SC Dept. of Agriculture


Hog hunting on horseback isn't for everybody. It's not for casual riders, or notives, and it's sure not for sissies.
 

 

The terrain is rough, the woods are thick and the action is fast. The pace goes from a standstill to full gallop within seconds, and trails are scarce. You find your horse tearing through tree branches, vines, briars, stump holes, standing water, deep mud and streams….all within minutes. You barely have time to brace for a steep drop-off before your horse charges through the swamp, leaps a ditch, and flies up the hill in pursuit of the dogs.

While there is some similarity to foxhunting, hog hunting is considerably rougher. The horses are mostly Marsh Tackies, bred for generations to trudge through the thick swamp without flinching. The only thing that excites them is a dog baying, which signals there’s a hog about to be caught.

Nobody works harder at this sport than David Grant, the Pee Dee Cowboy. We met at his barn early on a Saturday morning with some experienced hunters. These are all super-nice folks who happen to love tearing through the woods in pursuit of those nasty feral hogs that are ravaging the country side.

We mounted up and ambled down the trail, with most of us just enjoying the beautiful woods while David and his right-hand man, Ashley Jones, did the tracking. Their talk was constantly of hogs: where they had been, which direction they had gone, and where they might be lying up. “There’s plenty of sign, but that tells us where they’ve been, not where they are now,” David explained.


The dogs are mixed breeds: part bulldog, part Airedale, with some boxer or cur thrown in. They are tough, stoic dogs, with names like Hoss, Jewel, Green Eyes, and Big Dog. They are known as a quiet pack, which means they don’t bark until they actually spot a hog, or have one bayed up--that is, run to ground. Each dog wears a tracking collar.

Hogs like to feed at sunup, then they bed down in a cool spot for the day. The dogs have to track them to their lair deep in the woods. Rousing a big ole hog out of a sound sleep doesn’t put piggy in a good mood, but it sure sets the dogs on fire.

Our first indication of hog activity was at the edge of a huge corn field. From deep within the rows came a single yip from one of the dogs. The horses galloped down a corn row and we stopped deep in the field to listen. Sure enough, several more barks indicated a pig at bay. Two of the hunters ran in on foot to dispatch it.

One hog down, we resumed the hunt. We followed sign, dodged vines and slapped mosquitoes. David kept jumping off his horse to follow a track or encourage a dog. Eventually he decided to try an area on the other side of a big dike. The sides fell away abruptly for some 30 or 40 feet, almost straight down. One skinny little path—barely wide enough for a deer—was our only way down.

I just had time to brace against my saddle horn—thankful for that western saddle!—before my horse eagerly plunged down the precipitous slope. Far ahead of us the dogs started to bark, so our horses hit the bottom of the dike and immediately punched in another gear. My horse leaped like a deer over what looked like a crate buried in the undergrowth, visible only as he cleared it.

No time to worry about that as the horses hit racing speed. I could hear shouting and barking up ahead. My horse surged around a turn and screeched to a halt in a small clearing scattered with old farm equipment. The dogs had bayed a hog—of all places—under an abandoned tractor trailer. The hog couldn’t go anywhere and the men couldn’t get to him. All I could see was a flurry of dust and men desperately trying to get under the trailer.

“Bring a knife! Put him down! PUT HIM DOWN!” David shouted frantically. Ashley finally managed to grab the hog’s hind legs as he turned to hook another dog. It took three men to bring the beast down, with a lot of yelling and adrenaline and tension.

Hog-killing isn’t pretty. There’s blood and gore everywhere: on the trailer, the ground, the dogs, on the men. The preferred method is to stab the hog in the heart, just behind its shoulder. Waiting for the animal to bleed out is fraught with tension; they have been known to rise seemingly from the dead to gore anyone within reach.

Fellow hunter Larry Benton volunteered to drag the hog out behind his gelding. But when he got to the steep incline, Larry didn’t think his horse had the muscle to pull the 300-pound hog almost straight up. David knew his trusty DP was up to the task, so he dallied his rope and up they went. DP proved he has heart and grit; he charged up the hill at a gallop. The heavy load almost dragged him down as the hog caught on a tree near the top. Everyone cheered as he dug in and managed to pull the hog the last few feet up the hill. The legend of DP grows.

The hunt was done, but the work was far from over. We left David amidst his dogs and his horses at the farm, still hard at work. The Pee Dee Cowboy is creating his own legend. Those of us who have ridden with him are proud to be part of it.





 

  
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