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.