Cows feeding themselves for summer |

Cows feeding themselves for summer

When we moved our cattle to a close pasture for summer grazing the grass was so tall and thick one could barely see the calves’ little black ear tips as they moved about the field. Months later some of that grass still tickles the underside of their mothers’ bellies. Feed being good it allows me time and energy for other projects.

One project offers me a front row, or more accurately a front yard view of all the summer travelers stopping at the Welcome To Nevada sign to take a picture.

There are big families climbing out of their vans, herded by parents to gather around the Welcome sign for a photo. There are new families getting out of their cars, a mom or dad holding a baby in their arms stand under the sign of a shot. Older folks take their time opening their car doors, standing, use their hands to press their clothes then to hold their blowing hair out of their faces as they take a photo on a tablet sized devise. And young people jump out of their vehicles, strike a pose then jump back into their vehicles and rush off.

It was the lone motorcyclist in full leather chaps and vest and from my distance it looked like full colorful tattoos completely covering his arms that had me take notice of all the folks stopping to take a photo at the Welcome sign.

Doing my chores next to the highway my brain registered the sudden absence of a loud motorcycle roar I heard a second before. So I looked up to investigate the silence and see this burley biker maneuvering his large and heavy motorcycle sideways under the Welcome sign. Then take his selfie with a big grin sitting astride his bike.

It was this man’s deliberate set-up to pose and take his picture that made me pay more attention to who was stopping for a picture and how often. And from my anecdotal evidence I can say all ages, all races, all sexes and pretty much anyone mobile enough to manage a way to cross the state line took a picture. And there were a number stopping each hour. There was one man with a sign on his back carrying a cross in his hand who stopped for a photo. Bicyclists even stopped.

I wanted to cross the road and set up a lawn chair with a trip jar, it being Nevada and all and offer to take photos for people stopping. But I didn’t. I had plenty of work in front of me. I did however appreciate the smiles on the faces of those stopping, thinking they were anticipating great adventures entering Nevada’s wild, wild, west to collect stories to tell to their family and friends back home.

And they would have some doozies to tell. Nevada has a pimp running on the family values ticket for state legislature. We have a cowboy hat wearing double-talker limiting voters rights. And in January Nevada’s school ranked 51st in the nation. A lot of work lies ahead of us in this wild, wild, west.

Marie Johnson is a Carson Valley rancher