Not having had anything to do with the business end of ranching, I find myself fascinated when I look at the pictures of branding, and hear about calving. While others who have been around it for some time, might just think of those things as all in a day’s work, or maybe even as a lot of work. My family were, at least in the years of my lifetime, city dwellers, so until Bob and I got married, I knew very little about country life, other than the little bit of time I spent at a friend’s house, which was not a ranch, and who I was only around during my junior high school years. That said, when I married Bob and we went to visit his grandmother in Montana, I got my first real taste of ranch life. Of course, as a guest and a girl, I didn’t get in on the tough stuff, like calving or branding, but I heard a little bit about it, and in reality, it was quite interesting to me, and I wouldn’t have minded getting to see it.
Bob’s grandpa owned the ranch at that time, although his son, Bob’s Uncle Butch is a rancher too, and owns not only his own land, but Grandpa’s ranch too, now that Grandpa has passed on. Bob used to spend summers visiting his grandparents when he was a kid, and I’m sure he got in on some of that fun stuff, although I don’t know if he considered it to be fun, but my father-in-law finds the whole process interesting to this day, and often talks to his brother, Butch about how his herd is doing, and how the calving is going. He has told me about his own experiences in calving too, such as the time he had to help a neighbor pull a calf that the mother was having trouble giving birth to, because the calf was coming out wrong. I’m not sure I would want to watch that process, but I guess when it happens, it is all hands on deck, because you can lose both mother and baby, if you don’t get it handled quickly, and even then you can lose them, because, sometimes the calf is just too much for the mother. A sad, but true fact of ranching.
These days, most of the ranching is done by Uncle Butch and his son, Scott, along with Scott’s wife Terri, and their kids, Laura, Carson, and Lindsey. I’m sure some things are done much differently these days, than back in the early years of Grandpa’s ranching career, but some things don’t change much. Cattle still have to be rounded up, and that still requires horses, riders, and of course, skill…probably another reason I live in the city. Not that I can’t ride, but I’d do best on some old worn out horse that doesn’t move too fast. I find that to be the best way to stay on the horse. From what I’ve see of the Scott and Terri Hein family, they could hold their own with the best of them. I’m sure that being around ranching, your whole life helps with that, but I have a feeling this is in their blood.