That was my honest plan when I decided to move to Texas after living in northern California my entire life. Shoot, I had never even visited Texas before my Texas A&M University acceptance. I had always had the plan of leaving California for college, with the thought I’d come back to our family operation after graduation. Well, almost 8 years later, the second half of that plan never quite happened.
I grew up on my family’s generational farming and ranching operation in northern California. We spent most of our weekends balancing between sports, livestock shows, and tending to the crops and cattle at home. And I loved it. I always had a vision of returning to that life once I had finished my degree. However, I fell in love with Texas.
Once I came to the conclusion that Texas was going to be home, I tried to imagine how my future picture of cattle and agriculture, fit into my life. Little did I know that things would occur much sooner than I had anticipated. In April of 2020, my boyfriend had been fishing on the Brazos River when he came across a calf that had fallen from the bank. She was balancing on the little dry land that remained, so he loaded her up in the boat and brought her home. Therefore launching my Texas cattle adventure.
“Willow” became my “COVID-Calf” and she spent most of the day following the dogs and me around the yard. We finally decided we better get her a herd of her own, as we were convinced she thought she was a bloodhound too! As we approach the summer months of 2022 we now have three heifers and a couple of calves on the way.
Raising cattle in Texas, even a small herd, has been my most challenging lesson to date. I thought I knew things before, because I had watch my dad do things a thousand times and raised countless 4-H and FFA projects. However, it wasn’t until we were doing things on our own that the impact and complexity of agriculture really set in.
This life is not easy, in fact it is really hard. But the connection to the land, livestock, and idea that you are a part of feeding others make it worth it. I am thankful for the lessons learned in a short time, local ranchers who have helped us along the way, and as silly as it sounds; Texas for making me stay.
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