Sage Faulkner Friday morning at the Quarter Circle Equals Ranch in Rutheron. Photo by Bayler Faulkner
BY SAGE FAULKNER
Bayler toook this photo Friday morning. The morning we loaded some of our best cows on a truck. #1, the renegade I thought would calve in the middle of the pavement three years ago when we had so much mud and snow there wasn’t a dry place to be found, except the pavement! #2, or Twoots, as I liked to call the cake junkie who would start slobbering a half mile away if she remotely thought there was a cattle cake offering fixing to be made. #163, 32, 257, the red mot who kept pulling her ear tag out. Such good mamas. Mamas who raised good babies for us, and will for someone else now. Mamas who gave me the opportunity to watch them calve and eat grass. Mamas, who I think made me a better person, because to know a set of cows is to know life, death and all the miracles in between. Mamas that filled my heart.
Drought, the pandemic, land leases and not owning ranch land; all hard to negotiate, and markets that keep putting ranchers out of business made for a rough culmination for this crew yesterday. The 1-1/2% of us that are in agriculture know this walk. For the rest of you, it isn’t the worst part of ranching, but it isn’t an easy part of it.
My dad used to tell me about an incredible horseman, Walter Merrick, who talked about winning lots of money in horse racing, and losing it in cows, more than once. I guess that stuck with me, how much grit you have to have to keep at it in any kind of farming. For now, I’m missing part of the cows that we built. I’m hopeful they get to go to a better farm or ranch and really live out their days because I couldn’t do that for them.
Mostly, I’m thankful for every single one of them. So dang thankful. Even for #152, who once put me on top of the truck because she didn’t think I needed to tag her calf, and upon finding herself in the alley yesterday, tried our patience as she tried every way except up to not go down the loading chute. She always raised a nice calf!
Here’s to good cows.
There just isn’t much finer in life than good cows.