Jessie Veeder / Forum News Service
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — We sold our calves last week. With snow on the ground and our warm breath turned to ice in the crisp morning air, we layered up, saddled up and gathered up our herd of Black Angus and Simmental cattle and loaded up the calves to head toward the sale barn in town. My husband pulled a trailer load out of the ranch while I served the neighbors and family who helped us some of that good ol' spiceless North Dakota chili and watched one of the bachelors eat at least six or seven apple bars for dessert.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — Get the gate. There are other words that conjure up anxiety for me, but none in the same way as this phrase declared from the driver’s seat of an old feed pickup or from atop a horse about to take off for a mile in the other direction and return with 100 cows that I’ve been instructed not to let miss that open gate and head for the deep and ominous patch of trees further down the fence line. Get the gate. It seems simple enough if in your imagination you are picturing a white picket fence on neat hinges with a little latch. Easy.
“Well, I guess this is the life I chose,” he said as he pulled on his boots and headed out the door. “Work all day in 100 degrees so I can come home and work all night in it.” Yup. That’s the story out here on the ranch where we can’t quit our day jobs. And on evenings when the wind settles down and the sun sets just right on cows grazing on green grass in their proper places, it feels pretty dang good.
I woke up this morning in Minnesota, holding on to a baby who is only 10 months old but appears to be getting her one-year molars already. I found out because she had her first little fever that lasted too long for my taste, so we headed to the doctor. And Edie smiled through the entire checkup, our doc looking in her ears, her eyes, her mouth and, holy smokes, she wasn’t expecting it, this child is getting four more teeth. So that explained it.
The sun is rising over the hills outside my window. Everything is brown now except the leftover bullberries clinging to branches in the thorny brush patches, feed for birds and wildlife in the cold and snowy parts of winter.