Columns: You’ll always have a place on the family ranch

When our granddaughter, Julia, heard I was writing in the paper she said: “Please put my name in the paper.”

When our granddaughter, Julia, heard I was writing in the paper she said: “Please put my name in the paper.”

My first thought was to tell her to do something worthy of news and it would be printed.

My second thought was to write about her as a grandchild, in fact the first grandchild. We also have five darling boys, rascals sometimes.

They are all often together and they are close emotionally. Especially, they are able to play as freely as possible here on the ranch.

Julia’s mother said to me shortly after her birth, perhaps prophetically: “It is nice that Julia will always have a place.”

I took it to mean, a place on the family ranch.

I was raised in the dry grasslands around 150 Mile, and I am still drawn to the area.

But our children, who were raised out in the moist lush east Cariboo valley, call this place “home.” So, this is our Place.’

I know I speak for my partner and I when I say that our hearts were classically full when Julia was born.

We enjoyed the anticipation of the births of every one of the grandkids equally, but Julia was the first and would always be the eldest by two years. To me she would be a ranch manager in the making, if she so wished.

First, she would have to enjoy the family ranch home and the activities here.

Instinct and culture both give us the inclination to burst with pride and anticipation of great things from every newborn.

For me, the hope is that the next generation will know more than we do and make up for our shortcomings.

Whatever we have to teach them and whatever they can learn by being here and observing must serve them well.

In my case, I grew up without the faintest idea of the names of the grasses and forbs in the surrounding grasslands.

Julia and her cousins would know these things as well as know about the huge communities of soil microbiology, which are foundational to sustenance and health.

When we took a family trip into the South Chilcotin, Julia was four.

Her cousins were backpacked by their mothers.

She and I rode a horse.

We had with us a plant identification book to name the flowers.

Two days into the trip, she had mastered the names of most of the flowers we encountered.

They were many. A field of new flowers excited her and she would remark: “Wait for Grandma to see these. They are so beautiful.”

Acres and acres of lupines lay before us. The wonder a child sees!

Those of us that have ranch operations care that someone will take over and keep the land in good shape. But the operation can’t be a burden, rather a blend of joy and work.  Such is the hope we have for the next generations of ranch and farm managers.

When I mentioned to Julia I hoped she would grow up and look after us in our old age, she said she would become a doctor. Now a doctor and a ranch manager: that is a challenge!

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which is starting at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.

Just Posted

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

(File photo)
Firearms investigation on Winger Road the result of increased gang activity: RCMP

When police attempted to stop a vehicle, it sped away

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Most Read