Yesterday’s poem is both current and fresh and seemed to resonate as we cut into our replacement heifers, sending 20% to town to pay the hay bill, and processing the balance with vaccinations, wormer and vitamins in preparation for the Wagyu bulls next month. Thankfully the poem seemed to lift my spirits once on paper.
The poem, on one level, is about the basics of dirt and flesh, but may be tame compared to a reoccurring image we refresh as we approach Carlin and US 80, each trip to Elko, Nevada at the end of January for the Gathering.
It’s usually mid-morning where NV 278 approaches the Humbolt River, some of the better grazing ground in Nevada under varying amounts of ice and snow. A rancher’s or ranch hand’s wife is at the wheel of a tractor we meet on the road, pulling a loaded or unloaded trailer, good-looking Angus cattle strung either side waiting or bent to flakes of hay. Her flaps are down around her ears behind the fogged windshield and we are cold and thankful we aren’t trying to raise cattle in Nevada. Nevadans are a different breed altogether.
One of many observations I attribute to my father is that lots of California ranchers move to Nevada with big ideas and dreams, only to return home after about three winters—that Nevada ranchers, like their horses, must be of tougher stock.