New year brings about change on the ranch

This afternoon, only the second day of the new year, the feed truck broke-down in the middle of the lane and the new bull got into the field with the neighbor's horse. The cows had to be moved up to the pole barn before dark and the three newborn calves that have been born two months early were jumping through the fences as if they were invisible. Some days ranching just doesn't get any better than that.

With this new year there are going to be some changes at our ranch. Both of our children don't show interest in raising cows for a living. The older one left in the fall to go to college and the other will be selecting his next big adventure this spring, which we believe will include going to a big city, at least a four- or six-hour drive from this ranch's branding irons. This place has been operating for the last 130 plus years with changes in peoples' plans. It will manage.

The first family to build a barn and then the ranch house, my husband and his brother and sisters were raised in, didn't always know who was going to be running their ranch. The ancient German tradition of the oldest male taking ownership of the family land was severely tested when the first settled family's oldest son shot up his foot and the next oldest died of an erupted appendix. The third oldest son, the great-grandfather of our boys, became the family rancher and his own son went off to school and the Korean War before he came back and raised beef cattle. Then that son's five children also went off to colleges. His two sons have come back to live on the ranch. The daughters bring their very busy growing families back for holiday visits and tell stories of things they remember growing up out here. The ranch will wait; it has time and collected stories.

One of its stories is about the two youngest twin sisters of my husband. Lisa and Lori.

Nevada in the 1960s was a very sparsely populated state. Highway 88 that runs along about a mile of the ranch's frontage was a lightly traveled route. Lisa and Lori were two bright little girls growing up then, raised with an entrepreneurial ranching spirit. But being the youngest of 5 kids and their parents very busy with all the chores of a family ranch they were encouraged to be independent, take care of themselves and to stay out of trouble by keeping themselves busy.

So on a hot sunny day the girls decided to set up a lemonade stand at the end of the ranch's 1/4 mile driveway, which connected to State Highway 88. They knew cattle buyers would be coming by because everyone on the place was getting ready to "meet the cattle buyers" that day. The girls with their arms full of all the things needed for a lemonade stand were a distance from the house before they realized they had no water for mixing their lemonade.

Being independent, young and innocent girls with fortitude they just dipped their water pitcher into the irrigation ditch running through the cattle pasture. They remember selling only a couple of cups of lemonade. It was to the cattle buyers. Some days ranching just doesn't get any better than that.


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