In October, all around Glacier County, trains and semis roll.  They’re in the far north country to pick up boxcars filled with wheat, sugar beets, and hops; honeybees on pallets headed for their annual pre-pollination sojourn in California; and cows, destined for market via tractor trailer.

Our bees won’t go until later this month, and so over the weekend we found ourselves with a little extra time to help a neighboring rancher sort and ship cattle.

These particular neighbors are good friends of ours — in addition to allowing us a few bee yards on their land, they let us gather all of our bees together in one of their pastures and bring our semi in to load them! — and they’re moving next month, so it was a nostalgic morning, as they introduced us to the new managers of their spread and hellos and goodbyes were made.  The new managers, by the way, are delightful young parents, and Maggie Rose was thrilled to make a new friend in their young daughter.  Me, too!

Honeydew and Keith left in the icy pre-dawn, and when Maggie Rose and I arrived at the corrals a few hours later, the work of sorting cows and calves was nearly done, and the ranch bottom echoed with mournful bovine cries.

Cows have got the market cornered on their whining noise – boy, is it ever pathetic!  I grew up with a tiny herd of Simmental cattle, and my Pa Pa was a big cattleman, having an especial fondness for his “Holy Boys” — Holsteins — near the end of his life, and so the cattle’s bawling did not make me sad, but reminded me of childhood afternoons, watching my parents run our girls through the squeeze chute for ear tags and shots, and Pa Pa cheerily hauling a cattle trailer down the red dirt road, off to market, window rolled down, and his dog in the pickup bed, supervising it all.

It made me very happy to have Maggie Rose with us, and to think that while she might never be a cattlewoman, hearing cows make a ruckus on an October Sunday morning will surely remind her of her childhood.

We let her eat oversize marshmallows and fresh steaks for lunch.

Y’all already knew that we’re destined for the Parents of the Year Award.

Shippin’ season’s nearly done, and soon we’ll all have time for coffee and visitin’ … or I will, anyway, until the holiday retail season heats up.  Which I’m looking forward to!

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.