We ended a busy week at the Tulare County Cattle Drive Beef Boosters dinner last night to support the local 4H an FFA programs for kids. We bid on and brought home this one-of-a-kind hand woven wool saddle blanket designed and created by Linda Hayden, our Three Rivers cattle neighbor. She spins her wool, then collects and harvests plants from nature and boils these materials over an open fire to obtain the endless array of colors she uses to create her blankets. The water is then strained and the wool is submerged and soaked for several hours. At this time the wool is “cooked” over a slow simmering fire then left to soak for another 24-hour period. After the wool absorbs all the color it is washed several times and left to dry.
Supporting only a few non-profits, Robbin I believe that the Tulare County Cattle Drive Beef Boosters is an investment in our future, not only for the cattle business, but for all of us by offering youngsters hands-on experience with livestock, work and responsibility, early in life. If you’re willing to wait two years for a blanket of your own, it’s $750–visit the link above, or if you want to bring one home, attend next year’s Beef Boosters dinner and bid against the crowd.
the second day of weaning, the steer and heifer calves will be going opposite directions next week. Steers weighing 700 pounds will go to town and then onto a feedlot before your plate. The heifers will be sorted to their own pasture until our weaning is complete, and from them we’ll select our replacement heifers to hopefully enjoy a long and productive life on the ranch.
This morning, the fourth day of weaning, we, and the Kubota with alfalfa hay, have replaced their mothers completely. Perhaps the gentlest bunch of calves we’ve ever raised, they’ve known us since they were born and have no reason to distrust us.
WPC — “On the way”
There’s a thread you follow.
– William Stafford (“The Way It Is”)
Perhaps it was something your mother said
that dashed the demons, or a quiet reverie
with your father when the mallards rose
above the cattails, dripping from a cloudy
Sabbath sky, or a lover who gave you eyes
to see into others, or those grand epiphanies
that have taken root in your mind, found
fertile ground among the folds of gray
to produce a home to become you.
And when we stray from who we are,
we must hold on to the thread to hear their voices
ring above the din of falsehoods beckoning.
Surprised, they were glad to see us,
remembered green alfalfa leaf
and came with half-grown children
out of the brush, the canyons,
off ridges to follow
without a thought of escaping.
We are family, know the routine:
dear cowboys and cattle,
me and my machine.
Early morning gathers to wean our calves interrupt the blogging routine, along with age and rising temperatures as we acclimate towards summer. My son is down from the City, welcome and valuable help, good company and humor, we’ve kept him busy since Saturday. My head is full of unfinished poems, taking a backseat to the work at hand.
Our white Echinopsis has begun to bloom under gray skies and the light was fading when I thought of the camera. Because of their placement on the deck, perspective complicated the process, but with interesting results, I think, through the railing.
Native of South America, there are 129 known species of Echinopsis.
We hold our breath
Memorial Day weekend
winds up, hear
the gears whine,
feel the speed
barbed wire either side—
listening for the abrupt,
the certain screech
as you fade up the canyon.
We pray for your mother.
This post begins the new category of ‘DECK POEMS’: John & Robbin’s evening collaborations.