Updated: Apr 26
My dogs, my horses, my sheep, my cows, the land, my family.
“Baa”- The sound of a sheep. Also, the first word I ever said. As a little girl I would spend much of my time with the bum lambs that my mom fed right outside our trailer house. I would nap with them in the shade, laying in the dirt and poop, and snacking on their grain with them. I would walk out in the pasture to catch my trusty steed, Spur, a gentle, tall bay gelding. Dragging behind me a rope and grain bucket that was the same size as me. If my mom couldn’t find me there, I’d be walking around the ranch. Winding along the creek that ran from the house to the barn, with my dog always between the water and me. These animals were my best friends. They took care of me, taught me. They are who I enjoyed spending my time with and working with, and I guess that never changed.
As I got a little bigger, you could find me in the chicken coop which was turned into a goat and lamb shed. My great grandma, Josephine, had quite the system of suckling bum lambs on her milk goats. My sister and I had them all named. I absolutely loved helping her, except when the mean rooster would sneak attack me while I was bringing in the next goat. My summertime memories growing up are filled with docking lambs, riding in the mountains, and playing with the cousins. We had huge imaginations. We turned simply trailing cows into a cattle rustling where we were all outlaws, I think I was either Butch Cassidy or Calamity Jane, and we even made cleaning the barn into a fun game, actually we chose to do it for fun!
I have always felt most at home on the back of a horse. Whether I was riding in the moutains with my grandpa and mom to count herds, or moving or working cows. If I was on my horse I was happy. I enjoyed starting colts and as soon as I could drive I was getting sent to any job where a horse was needed. I remember my grandpa telling me that I sat a horse nicely just like my grandma, and that I cared for my animals just as my great grandma had. This deep love for the animals and ranching runs in my blood.
When asked what I do for fun, what my hobbies are, or what I do when I’m not “working”, the answer is always the same: work on the ranch. For as long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted to do in life is ranch. I long to see the herds of sheep grazing amongst the sagebrush as the sun sets; to ride in the steep, forested mountains leading a string of pack horses full of supplies; to care for the newborn babies and keep them alive; to trail cows out of the colorful aspen covered mountains; to move camps and visit with the sheepherders; to watch my dogs move ornery old ewes or wild yearlings with ease; to saddle a colt for the first time; to work sheep through the dusty corral; to just be with the animals in this beautiful country; and to experience every aspect of this job, just like my parents, my uncles, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents before me. They’re my heroes, the hardest working people I’ve ever known, and I strive each day to be like them.
So, here I am- trying like hell to continue the legacy my family built before me; working as hard as I can in doing my part to keep the sheep industry alive; and sharing all the stories and scenery of this beautiful but hard life along the way. There is not much that brings me more joy than visiting with others about what happens on my family’s sheep ranch. I love talking about trailing to or from the mountains, lambing, roping wild ewes, and all the adventurous days in between. So many people view sheepherders living in a wagon on the range as a thing of the past, but it is still here today! I am beyond excited to share all things sheep ranching with you. I hope you enjoy all the stories and day-to-day events that my family, sheepherders, and I experience each and every day, because I sure do. This ranch is my life.