Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Look at Holly, she's such a rancher-woman"

People who've never known me or my sisters as "farm girls" are surprised, I think, when they see us in that role. Or maybe they're not. Maybe they see us fitting in just fine.

For me, this work is normal. Different, yes, then my jobs as a reporter and in many ways (many!) I'm still learning and get frustrated when there's something I don't know.

But in the day-to-day backbreaking, time-consuming ranch work, I fit in comfortably and with ease.

My days on the ranch vary but always include feeding. Right now we're feeding 17 calves (they'll be shipped out soon), 6 horses, 5 sheep and 15 bulls. It consists of loading six bales of hay in the front-end loader of the tractor and delivering it to the respective pens. I also take my axe along to break the ice (sometimes about 4 inches thick) in all the water troughs.

Then, on days like today, I help drive up to two different pastures and feed cows there and check their waters.

On days like Monday I unload hay.

On days like last Thursday, I saddle up and help Daniel seperate two bulls and two calves off a herd of cattle.

On days like yesterday, I help pull, push and shove a sick bull up and help prop him up to walk him to a sheltered pen where he was injected with antibiotics and given a smorgasboard of food.

On nights like last night, I run down to the barn a couple times to check on him.

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