A Covid-Free Branding

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

My cowboy husband, Jim, has been busy branding calves at various ranches this spring while I have been holding down the home place with our three small kids. He day works to pay our bills, and the idea was for me to stay home and shuttle our first grader back and forth to elementary school. But then March happened, and all the schools in our great state of Nevada shut down for the remainder of the year. So, I have basically been watering the lawn and feeding the dogs while the kids ran feral for the last two and a half months.

When we had a chance to visit Jim for a few days and get in on some branding action last week, you better believe we rolled our beds, pulled on our boots and hit the road as soon as we could. So, scarcely three years later, we were loaded up and headed down the driveway. Then we had to turn around and drive back to the house because one of the kids forgot their favorite toy. But once we were loaded and going down the road, we hit the branding trap hard for a solid weekend of ranching fun.

It was so nice to get out of our small town, hang out with some wonderful people, and forget about the persistent shadow that Covid-19 has cast on our lives for the time being. At home, I am reminded of the government restrictions imposed on us when I stand on the red sticker denoting six feet of separation at the grocery store. Shoppers walk across the parking lot wearing surgical masks. My daughter is sad and cries randomly because she misses her teacher and friends at school. Every news outlet blasts the latest case count and political battle over the novel coronavirus. Local events and family celebrations continue to be canceled.

But there were no face masks in the branding pen. Nobody mentioned the word “coronavirus” or uttered the phrase “social distancing.” There were ropers, a ground crew, boots, ropes, a wood fire, cows that leaned on the old wire fence and calves that crawled through back to the meadow. My seven-year-old daughter rode 87 million calves, my one-year-old son threw 600 handfuls of dirt onto his head, and my four-year-old son rode double with his dad.

It was paradise. Here are a few images from our weekend of branding fun, where life reassuringly rolled on the same way it has for hundreds of years.

Here, Jim rides his black gelding Cuban Pete (nicknamed “Cube” by our son) while Heather Coombs comes in for a heel shot.

covid free

Skilled horseman Clint Weaver stands by his daughter Abigail while she holds the heel rope tight.

covid free

My sons, Milo and Levi, sit behind the branding fire while Mindy Goemmer fills the vaccine guns.

covid free

Um, could this girl be having any more fun? My daughter Grace rides a calf up with a helping hand from her daddy.

covid free

Jim and our son Milo pause for a moment while horseback together.

covid free

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life


About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Fallon, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....

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