A Family Affair

Edgar's picture

by Baxter Black 

If you live in a rural community, you can probably name many examples of a multi-generational family that operates a ranch or farm. Their lives are built around the animals or crops they raise. Last August I spent a couple days gathering and branding calves for a local rancher.

It was obvious that Dad was in charge and every member of this tight-knit family knew his job. You expected things would move smoothly along, in part due to the up-to-date facilities and reasonably calm livestock. He said a prayer for the gather, then sent us out to bring in the 100 or so cows.

When we got the pairs to the corral we sorted the 250-pound calves off into a separate pen. “We” is defined as the four hired help plus the Dad, the Son and the Daughter, all family members over 6’2” feet tall…and tough! I was assigned to fill the holes, sort of a quality control position. Ropers rotated. We had at least three muggers on the crew that seemed to take pleasure doing the flanking. I got tired just watching them!


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