Crick or Creak?

Shortly after we moved to Montana, I began to work at the Rock Creek Resort and Lodge whereupon I quickly learned that it was Rock “CRICK” Resort and not Rock “CREAK” resort.  So now I knew that a creak was a crick, but only when it flowed where nature intended.  If crick water is diverted to irrigate a field, it is now known as a “DITCH.”  Unless, of course, you are a real estate agent trying to sell a ranchette to a Cali-damn-fornian and then the ditch is referred to as “A SEASONAL CRICK.” 

A crick--not a creak!

If you slide off the road in the winter and tell folks you ended up in the ditch, they’re gonna wonder how you got into the middle of someone’s pasture.  No, what you slid into is the “BORROW PIT.”  You can also walk into a saloon (probably named the Mint), tell the barkeep you want a “JACK DITCH” and he’ll bring ya a shot of Jack Daniels with water.

A Jack ditch.

  And there are still a few bars around that have drive-up windows, so you could get your Jack Ditch to go, but if you see a trooper around, you’ll probably want to hide it in the “JOCKEY BOX,” otherwise known as the glove box.

If you’re going hunting with a neighbor and he says “I’l bring MY OUTFIT to your place,” he ain’t talking about no Halloween costume.  Nope, what he means is his pickup truck, unless he is from Wyoming and then he will be bringing his “RIG.”

The neighbor's Outfit.

The supermarket loads your groceries into a “SACK” because a “BAG is what you put your clothes in to travel to your Grandpa’s “SPREAD” which is the land he raises cows on and not what gets put on toast in the morning.

A SACK not a BAG.

A BAG...Not a SACK.


Ranchers are a bit on the taciturm side and don’t like to give out unasked-for advice.  Sometimes even then the only way to get help is to ask, “IF A GUY WANTED TO ….” and the response would most likely be “WELL, A GUY COULD ALWAYS …..”  That way, if he gives out the wrong advice, well then, it was only some other guy he was talking about ….. not you.

Actual conversation I heard between two ranchers:

     “So, Bob, how many cows you runnin’ this winter?”

     “Too many for the amount of hay I cut, John.”

     “Yeah, I understand that.  So you’re havin’ to buy hay then?”

     “Well, if a guy could find any, he might buy some.”

Too much or not enough hay, maybe.

If you overhear a rancher saying that he has a “NUMBER 12 CATTLE PROD” on something, it means he kicked whatever that something was (cow, hired hand, teenage son) right in the ass.

If a neighbor asks you to come and help him round up some strays

Roundup (not the pesticide) those cows.

and just as you get to the top of the “COULEE” (known as a gully in some parts) your horse spooks and throws you off against the rocks and you bounce down the coulee hitting every rock, squashing every cactus, and then coming up hard against the barbed wire gate you just closed, he will most likely say “COWBOY UP, we got work to do.”  What he means is, “I don’t see any bone fragments pokin’ outta your skin and you ain’t sliced an artery and anyway the vet is coming today, so she can take a look at ya after we get done.”

The x-ray was negative after all!

Just a few other things and then we’re done here.

     “SNOOSE” is snuff or chewing tobacco.

     Driving distances are always given in miles ….. not how many hours it takes your slow ass to drive there.

     Don’t say “I’m driving up to …. or down to …. unless they actually are down or up in terms of elevation.

And one final piece of advice:  NEVER EVER squat with your spurs on!!!!!!

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2 Responses to Crick or Creak?

  1. Gigi says:

    Terrific! And now I’m better prepared for a drive through Montana…or stop in a bar.

    • Michael says:

      When we first moved here I remember being told that bars with the word MINT in the name were the most common in the state. Haven’t had the opportunity to check out the whole statebut at least in Central Montana it seems to hold true.

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