We brought the cattle closer in to ranch headquarters this week. The cows are heavy with growing fetuses so we tried to move them carefully. The first leg of the move was through sagebrush, empty of traffic. The last leg was a different story as it travels through a gauntlet of homes, small pastures with broken down fences, driveways and lawns. It’s exciting, which is a nice way to put it. This kind of cattle drive makes me nervous. I dread breaking someone’s carefully nursed sapling, mashing mailboxes, or poking holes in lawns. Of course this time of year the cattle can’t do much damage. Moving cattle in the summer is a longer, more anguished blog!
This ranch has raised livestock here on Kimball road for over 100 years - way back when neighbors were scarce and the sand roads could bury a vehicle in short order. And even though we’ve outlasted nearly every other homesteader, we don't automatically get a "bye" from our neighbors when they're running late for work and run into the herd moving from pasture to pasture. Or in their Sunday best on the way to church, hoping to avoid manure splatters on their clean car.
Still . . . yesterday a young mother with a baby in her arms was standing on her porch watching the cattle go by, swaying back and forth to comfort her child like mothers do. She wasn’t annoyed, wasn’t there to protect her lawn, just enjoying watching the cattle.
I hope we, ranchers and neighbors, can forgive and appreciate each other - and realize the values we share. I need to show tolerance and acceptance as more and more homes move in with dogs, vegetable gardens and flower beds. And hopefully these neighbors see our worth as well and forgive the cowpies along the route and the occasional hoof print on the lawn. For we both love the rural life and raising our children with fresh air and animals, weeds and bugs, and all the wonderful, dirty experiences that await a kid raised in the country.
|the first leg of the journey home|