Out here in the mountains of Idaho, neighbors help each other out. Much the same as a barn raising a century ago, an old fashioned branding is a neighborhood event you don’t want to miss. Seven Devils Lodge is nestled in some of the most gorgeous ranch country imaginable. Just 15 miles down the road, our neighbors and good friends run a scenic little ranch on Fir Creek, and late April is the time to get the branding started so the cows can be turned out on the mountain and accurately accounted for.
Gathering on a crisp, blue bird day, with dew still on the grass, a group of about 20 neighbors, from ages 2 to 60 showed up for great food, camaraderie, and good old fashioned ranch work. At a branding there is a job for everyone and the atmosphere is something like joyful chaos…noisy, boisterous, fast paced, and good natured.
When the work is done, a spread of food fit to feed an army is laid out in the shade, and everyone attacks it. It’s not abnormal for an equal amount of time to be spent on both branding and eating. And when the food is cleared away, it’s time to head back home, with promises of showing up for the next branding.
A bit of the old west is preserved in this collaboration of neighbors. I hope it never disappears. Its character building. And family time conducive. And health promoting. And invigorating. Cheers to life on the ranch.