Setting Thesaurus Entry: Ranch


Wide open fields, corrals, wooden fences, gates, cattle runs, cattle, horses, chickens/roosters, dusty ground, dust puffing under horse's hooves/cowboy's boots pick up trucks, horse trailers, sprawling farmhouse, large barn, stacked hay bales, pitchfork, shovel, grapples, cats, mice, coils of rope, saddles, tack, tack shed, brands, water trough, food trough, manure, weeds, garden , porch, rocking chair, wagon wheels, cattle skulls, horseshoes, feed buckets, pails, gas barrels, tractor, horse blanket, curry comb, salt lick, cow bells, milking shed, tools, broken down trucks/farm equipment, rain barrel, dust, dust devils, tumbleweeds, rabbits, dogs, prairie dogs/gophers, snakes, flowers, tufts of grass, tracks worn into the fields, mud, dugout, chicken coop, dog mats/doghouse, shotguns, raccoons, ravines trees, bushes, brambles, wild raspberry/Saskatoon,/gooseberry bushes, flies, spiders, cobwebs, old tires, rusted chain, pens, ranchers, workers, children, guests/visitors/clients, cattle guards, long dirt roads, gravel, wood shed, wood piles, axe, splitting stump


The wind, whinnying, squeaking gates, calls of greeting, the clop of horses' hooves, dinner bell, old radio, talking, laughter, calling/talking to the animals, the creak of harnesses and tack, the scratch of rope being coiled or knotted, horses pawing at the ground, a dog yipping at a ranch hand's feet, doors opening and closing, cowboy boots scuffing the ground, the slurp of mud sucking at boots, the cluck of hens, cows lowing, the crunch of hay, the backfire of an old tractor, a truck firing up, the squeak of wheels, safety chains clanking, tailgates slamming shut, scraping as heavy hay bales are dragged closer to the edge of the shelf, the tick of boot heels over planks, horses tossing & snorting at one another, the heavy shuddering breath of a horse running full out, dogs barking, the cut-off squeak of a cut pinning a mouse, horse hooves clanging against a metal hrse tariler ramp


Manure, grass, dust and dirt, dry grass, horse hide, sweat, alfalfa & timothy hay, dirty straw, scents carried on the wind, food cooking, campfire smoke, cigarette smoke, domestic animals


Dust in the mouth, spit, water, the tang of chewing sweet grass ends, cigarette tobacco, chewing tobacco, coffee, tea, beer, home cooking type foods, fresh garden vegetables, sweet & tart berries picked wild of the bush, beef jerky, biscuits, hearty stews & gravy, baked beans


The soft fuzz of a horse's lips nuzzling your hand for attention or treats (apple carrot, sugar cubes), hard-packed earth beneath your feet, leaning your chest against a fence railing, sitting on the top of a fence, the heaviness of a cowboy hat on the brow, wiping sweat with a bandanna, running fingers over rope, patting a horse's hide, stamping feet to loose muck or dust, heavy chaps hitting legs, pulling the brim of a hat in greeting, tightening/loosening buckles, swinging a saddle or horse blanket into place, flinging out corn or oats, feeling the dry seeds against the palm, pouring water over the back of the neck, sunburn, spitting on the ground, dipping two fingers into a shirt pocket for cigarettes or chew, the slow strokes of a curry comb over a horse's back, gripping onto the horse's mane with your fingers, lifting the hooves to check the horseshoes or clip nails, shovelling up manure, back pain, headaches, sunstroke, exhaustion, brushing dust off sleeves and pants, the rocking motion of riding in a saddle, pulling at the reins, squeezing milk from a cows teats in steady motions, bending to give a dog's head a pat, the cool air against the skin as night settles in, spitting sunflower seeds, the bump of an animal trying to get attention

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Mandy stifled a yawn and rested her chin against the smooth top rail of the corral. Sundancer stood in the middle of the dusty yard with Logan, who took careful steps toward the horse with a training bridle in his hand. Shadow cloaked most of the fenced area; the sun was only begining to crest the eastern field. She squinted in the pink-streaked darkness, determined to learn her brother's techniques. Early morning was the best time to break a horse--even the orneriest beast was amicable after a night of rest.

Example 2:

Sadie nudged her calves into Ginger's sides, urging the horse into a gallop. A brilliant smile lit up her face as she rose up in the saddle, her hair streaming behind her and the air rippling her clothes. This was the best part of it all, the best part of her world. This was when she could fly so fast, not even the wind could catch her.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Ellis took the dipper from the trough and poured it over my sunburned neck. I stood still, trying to catch every drop, the cool relief as welcome as rain to a parched garden.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Only ten am, the wind's breath pushed the wilting timothy stalks in hot, relentless gusts, promising another day of searing heat.


Bish Denham said...

Another wonderful post. Among other smells are all the animal smells, horse sweat, pig sty smells...

Jessica said...

I am amazed at how you come up with all these details and examples!

Mikki S. said...

I've lived on a ranch most of my life. Other sights: foals running in the pasture, mares nuzzling the foals, horses' heads hanging over the half-open doors in the barn, horses sweating as they cool out on the hot walker. Sounds: nickers of the horses greeting the cool morning, lowing of cattle in the distance,the clink of spurs meeting the ground in the barn breezeway, screams of hawks flying low as they hunt. Smells: piquant aroma of molasses and alfalfa feed, richness of newly oiled leather tack, pungent odor of a saddle pad soaked in horse sweat after a long ride, clean sweet smell of a freshly washed horse, sticky-sweet smell of newly-drawn cow's milk. Tastes: morning dew on your lips as you feed at 5 am, the salt of your sweat as you muck out the stalls, the crispness of an apple as you ride, sweetness of cold water from a brook when you stop to water your horse. Touch: the prick of barbed wire, the sting of prickly cactus, the soft-as-a-feather inside of leather riding gloves, the cold heaviness of wire cutters when you first pick them up, muscle aches after slinging 125 # hay bales into the hay loft.

PJ Hoover said...

Do you live in Texas?
Ranch is a great one. But then so are all the locations you come up with!
Thanks again!

Mary Witzl said...

TI always like your examples and find them inspiring.

The one farm smell I will never forget is the smell of the milk room -- the odd, almost cheesy combination of sweet and sour mingling with the smell of manure in the background. And don't forget rotting compost!

And now suddenly I feel like writing about farms...

Angela said...

Thank you Bish and and Mikki! You guys are great for adding to the sensory description--I appreciate it!

Jessica & PJ, I'm glad the locations help you. I live in Canada but I have inlaws in Texas. :-)

Windsong said...

Wonderful information here. Thanks for all your time and hard work!

cindy said...

these are always so amazing. thank you!!


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