Thanksgiving in April
By Georgeann Wearin
Calving season is about to wind down and everyone on the ranch is starting to wind down with it. It’s getting harder to wake the kids up for school and the men are getting real tired of checking heavies. We are getting approximately one calf a day and we all look forward to branding.
Branding day marks a passage in another season on the ranch. It’s like the big pay off after a year’s hard work. The only day that is better is when we ship the calves. After 2 months of calving and fighting hard weather we all look forward to summer. Branding dinner marks that optimism like an overdue celebration. Friends and neighbors join us in this country Thanksgiving of sorts.
We explode out of our usual monotonous chores and jump into overdrive on the big day. We get up hours before we normally would and the ranch is never as spruced up as it is on that morning. The kids don’t seem to have any trouble waking up and everyone has a spring in their step. We are on a mission. The fruits of our labor are about to be branded.
Before dawn the men race to the barn to saddle horses and the women start fussing in the kitchen. Apple pie and homemade bread smells permeate the house. After all the calves are branded and all the goodies are stirred, I stand behind the grub table and greet our guests. Talk around the huge feast is about cattle, happenings in town and always the weather. It is a festive gathering and we are thankful for all those to came to help and look forward to helping them when the time comes. The Pilgrims would be proud!
Soon after the pie is engulfed, neighbors head home to finish their feeding and check their heavies. The sun is shining, bellies are full, the calves are healthy and another branding day is almost over. As I make my 23rd trip from the shop to the house with my hands full of cooking implements, I think about how glad I am that it is all over again for another year. I smile and wave at the last person to leave our driveway and head into a sink full of dirty silverware. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch and I count all of my blessings as I rinse the last fork. Now, if I could only come up with a way to make the kids get up for school tomorrow – for that I would be truly thankful! Happy Branding!