Summer on the Rafter T

Ask almost any rancher how their summer is going, and all they’ll have time to say is, “Busy.” Moving cows up the mountain, baling hay, packing salt, building fence…the list literally never ends.

Except in the case of my family. I don’t know how we ever got so lucky, but summer is our “slow” season. I say that with some sarcasm, because ranch life is never slow; but it seems to be the time when we have the least to do. Our cows spend their summer out on the desert, and hardly ever have to be moved from one allotment to the next. Although we do raise our own alfalfa and silage corn, we hire local farmers to work, plant and harvest our corn, along with cutting and baling our hay. All we really have to worry about is irrigating everything, and making sure our cows have water, which takes up a good portion of the day.

Since we do have a little bit of free time on our hands, we usually spend time getting a variety of projects done while we can. My father calls this “beautification,” aka, making things look almost-new again. My parents have always taken pride in what they have, and this ranch is no different. We’re constantly spraying weeds, washing buildings, blading the road, raking, or mowing. I know that if ranch life ever fails me, I could easily make it as a landscaper đŸ™‚

Back in June, we gave our ranch a brand new coat of barn red paint. This project is dreaded by all, as it ends up taking 5 full days. But the end result is completely worth it, and we always get compliments on how nice things look.

About a month ago, the guys put in two new water tanks, which we badly needed. One started leaking last winter, but we knew we couldn’t replace it until the weather warmed up, to avoid freezing. Luckily we were able to make a temporary fix that lasted until now!

Everything on the ranch gets re-purposed. These brand new tanks replaced the leaky ones, but the old tanks will end up being turned into horse feeders. Its actually important that they have holes, that way if it rains/snows, the moisture has a place to drain.

Stay tuned in the next week or so, because I’ve got an amazing recipe coming! My Mother-in-Law taught me how to make her famous taco salad—it’s too good not to share!

~ Jessie

Jessie has returned to her roots on her family’s commercial black angus cattle ranch in southern Idaho after time away at college and working on behalf of the state’s cattle producers. She’s passionate about agriculture and the western way of life. When she isn’t doing ranch work or writing, Jessie enjoys baking, golfing and drinking coffee. As a newlywed, she’s also turning a little cabin on the ranch into a home.

Categories: Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life