Sunday, May 1, 2011

Equal Opportunity Employer

On Thursday morning we woke to a couple inches of new snow drilled into every crevice. It’s been cold and blowing since, but today the trees finally stilled and the sun is shining.  I don’t often complain about the weather . . . it just is . . . and besides we don’t get tornadoes in Idaho. But this spring has challenged me. I'm reminded of what Cousin Frank used to say, “it looks like a late spring, always is!”

We had two good days of branding. It is a chore that Mark and I just want to get behind us. The crew that comes to help seem to enjoy themselves, but we owners hate to stress the calves after working hard to keep them healthy. We generally have 4-5 ropers, neighbors that like to swing a loop. Then we might bring in others to help with groundwork, vaccinating or castrating. We feed the help and thank them when they leave.  

Lovely Amber came to rope, and Harli, Anna’s friend, helped vaccinate. Our ranch has always been friendly to female help. Women are soft with the cattle and patient trailing the herd. From the start I've been welcome to join in and work alongside the Pratt men. My Mom used to caution me to hold back some. She was afraid I would be taken for granted and get jobs I might regret getting. She knew from experience that wives can get taken in by ranch tasks, and then not have time for indoor work, which is waiting when we get home.

I remember the day we branded when I was a new mother. We were working within view of great grandma’s house. She was tending Seth and told me she would hang a dishtowel off the front porch when he woke up and was ready to be fed. When her signature snow-white towel showed up, I willingly pawned my dirty, smelly job on the guys and went to my son. Nursing him there in Bonnie’s rocking chair, in her cool bedroom with the light filtering through the curtains, the cows bellering now muted and faraway, I gave thanks for this life. A life that lets me do a man’s job and then within minutes perform the most feminine task assigned to women! A life that allows me to come and go, in and out of my husband’s daily outdoor work. Some days I rail against it, wishing I had taken my Mom’s advice to heart. But if I’m honest, most days I realize I have the best of both worlds and count my blessings. 

Anna and Harli working together

A clean catch, as low-stress as we can manage

Amber, a good hand, on Charlie

1 comment:

  1. Been there, done that!I agree on the idea of being able to work out with the cattle along the side of our men. That is gratifying, something that not every women gets to experience. I appreciate that opportunity and enjoy it. Thanks for sharing!