Ranch Diaries: Two years into Triangle P Cattle, we’re coming into our own

My childhood cowgirl dreams and family traditions are settling in and coming to fruition.

 

Ranch Diaries is an hcn.org series highlighting the experiences of Laura Jean Schneider, who gives us a peek into daily life during the first year of Triangle P Cattle Company, a new LLC in southcentral New Mexico. Installments are every other Tuesday. This is the final installment. 

The view of Pajarita Mountain in front of me is familiar, but the chair I sit in is not. A sheer curtain blurs my view just enough to soften the outlines of my surroundings: dark green juniper in the distance, the foreground of waving grasses, the wire squares of the rusty fence that surrounds the yard. We’ve officially settled into our old-new home, but it’s taking some adjusting: the sound of the refrigerator, waking up to a much higher ceiling, the brightness of a house with real light bulbs.

  • Solar panels provide all the power for the house.

  • An eye you can trust.

  • Our new intern brought homemade goods to share.

  • A new foal to gentle.

We’re approaching weaning season. Already. With house construction, graduation, and interns, our summer feels like it has disappeared. Hana, an engineer from Colorado arrived on Saturday, one travel-weary palomino gelding in tow. She’s here to help us gather and wean the Triangle P calves, sort off bulls, and start getting the 1,000 steers in Lower Elk rounded up for shipping in October. It seems she’s already settled in, waking before I did this morning to milk Tinnie with Sam. Last night we sat in my tiny garden and ate raw peas and harvested the last of the lettuce. We dug a few hills of potatoes to share as we talked about her family’s Wyoming place. It has a complex history like so many Western spreads do: Some folks get along, some want out of ranching. We were drawn to Hana because she wants to learn new managements skills and animal handling practices to take back to her family ranch. She’s not naïve; she admits it might only amount to her planting a seed for future generations.

Planting a seed. A metaphor I’ve heard countless times. Why so poignant this go-round? I think it’s because I’m starting to see the seeds others planted in me long ago sprout and grow. I’m thinking back to my childhood cowgirl dreams, and the reality of where I am in the present, ranching with a whole herd of horses to love.

Opening graduation cards this July, I read notes from people I have known my entire life, telling me they knew I had it in me to get a master’s degree. In the way I handle my new palomino weanling, I see the hands of the women who taught me about communicating with horses half a lifetime ago. The Montana Quarterly recently picked up one of my short stories, and I recalled my desire to write from a young age grown and encouraged by my mother, my friends, my teachers. As I sift salt into the ragu I’m making for lunch, I realize that my cook-by-feel style was planted multiple generations ago as my great-grandmother taught my grandma, who in turn taught my mom, who in turn was patient enough to let me learn it too.

Writing for High Country News from the kitchen table of a renovated home on a half-million acre Indian Reservation — those seeds were planted long before I was even aware they existed. As others nurtured, mentored, and challenged me, they started to sprout. Without these influential people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, I simply wouldn’t be here today. It’s humbling to think I might have knowledge to share: I’m 32 years old, a spring chicken in the eyes of many Westerners. But the history of a generational chain of sharing knowledge gives me confidence that I, too, have a place within it. 

High Country News Classifieds
  • ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ASSOCIATE
    Job Announcement: Environmental Justice Associate Announcement date: June 18, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: July 13,...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
    Job Announcement: Communications Associate Announcement date: June 18, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: July 13, 2021...
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR
    Colorado Wild Public Lands (COWPL), based in Basalt, is an exciting nonprofit working to keep public lands open and accessible. Our growing organization is seeking...
  • BUSINESS SUPPORT ASSISTANT (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time business support assistant to provide...
  • SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL ADVERTISING SPECIALIST
    The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah's largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time Social Media and Digital Advertising Specialist. This position...
  • SPRING-FED PARCELS ON THE UPPER SAC RIVER
    Adjacent parcels above the Upper Sacramento river, near Dunsmuir. The smaller is just under 3 acres, with the larger at just under 15 acres. Multiple...
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Greater Yellowstone Coalition seeks a development professional to coordinate the organization's individual giving program. The position description is available at http://greateryellowstone.org/careers Please email a letter...
  • IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society is seeking a full time Idaho State Director who will preferably be based in Boise, Idaho. At least 8-10 years of experience...
  • COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AND BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring for two positions. We seek a Communications Manager to execute inspiring and impactful communications...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Wilderness Volunteers Wilderness Volunteers (WV), a 24-year leader in preserving our nation's wildlands, is seeking a motivated person with deep outdoor interests to guide our...
  • HECHO POLICY AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • FISHERIES BIOLOGIST
    Under the direct supervision of the Director of Shoshone-Paiute Tribe's Fish, Wildlife & Parks, in coordination with the Tribal Programs Administrator and the Tribal Chairman,...
  • REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NORTHERN ROCKIES, PRAIRIES & PACIFIC REGION
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than...
  • STEWARDSHIP MANAGER
    STEWARDSHIP MANAGER Job Vacancy and Description Posted June 2, 2021: Open until filled The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit, regional land trust...
  • KSJD - MORNING EDITION HOST/REPORTER
    KSJD is seeking a host/reporter. Please see for www.ksjd.org for more information. EEO compliant.
  • ON THE EDGE OF CEDAR MESA/BEARS EARS
    Quiet, comfy house for rent in Bluff, Utah. Walk to San Juan River. Bike or hike to many nearby ruins and rock art sites. Beautiful...
  • CARPENTER AND LABORER WANTED.
    Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rain forest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg meadows,...
  • POEM+ NEWSLETTER
    Start each month with a poem in your inbox by signing up for Taylor S. Winchell's monthly Poem+ Newsletter. No frills. No news. No politics....
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill the position of Assistant Director in the Outdoor Program. To view the complete position description, including minimum qualifications required,...
  • FOR SALE
    Yellowstone Llamas Successful Yellowstone NP concession Flexible packages