By the excellence of his work the workman is a neighbor.
                        By selling only what he would not despise to own
                        the salesman is a neighbor. By selling what is good
                        his character survives the market.

                              – Wendell Berry (“Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer”)

We wish success for all our neighbors, fat
calves and money enough to buy good bulls
looking for work on our side of the fence,
and ours on theirs, despite best intentions.

Today, old neighbors come to help brand calves
with respect—rope, stretch and vaccinate
rambunctious children to a slow waltz—
to share the bounty of our heritage

despite the drought, despite the cows
we had to sell to save the others
and ourselves. Character upon this ground,
we have survived weather and the market.


10 responses to “OLD NEIGHBORS

  1. Peter Notehelfer

    In the true spirit of Wendell Berry . . . You have a generous heart! Love the smell of the branding iron . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John, Good poem. I bought The Mad Farmer Poems the day after I was featured in Height/Ashbury. I’ve read it twice, shared it twice. Cowboy/Nursing went over well in the Height. Stephanie Davis dropped in. Cowboy and Hippie made good neighbors. Multi family brandings followed by pot luck dinners make up some of my favorite times, sharing each others bounty. Jim


  3. and may it continue on so the knowledge and character can be shared with the ignorant when needed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I trust the weather will improve and your market is less fractious than ours.


    • Long term forecast is more of the same: praying and begging for rain. Market conditions have grown softer, but still good, we carry on, hoping for the best. Thanks for the kind thoughts.


  5. and, the only thing worse than a bad year is a bad neighbor.


  6. Good day today!

    Liked by 1 person

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