The Not-So-Glamorous Side of Ranching

Everyone has the idea that ranching is all about saddling up a horse and gathering cattle in beautiful country – well, it is just that, some of the time.

The rest of the year we are slaving away fixing fence, repairing water lines, feeding hay, loading salt, and everything in between.

We typically feed a minimum of seventy-four tons of salt meal and two-hundred tons of hay, by hand. It gets scorching hot in the summer, and cold in the winter; we either drown in sweat or we freeze. No matter what weather conditions are, the cattle have to be fed and watered. On a ranch there are an endless number of troughs, tanks, pumps, water lines, fences and floats that, at any moment, may break and must be repaired or replaced. We don’t have a 9 to 5 job. Sometimes we work until noon, and sometimes we get home around nine at night. It’s definitely not an easy job. You not only have to be physically strong, but also mentally strong. We are however, absolutely blessed with the lifestyle. Yes, our backs and knees hurt, we get bruised and beat up, but it’s all worth it! At the end of the day we are producing food for America, and providing for others. It is what we were born to do.

Please enjoy this photo essay depicting a very typical day on the ranch, when we aren’t horseback.

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the girls

the girls

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supplement

supplement

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processing

processing

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hay-truck

hay-truck

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hay barn

hay barn

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grain

grain

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fixing trough

fixing trough

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feeding

feeding

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Capture

Capture

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bucking hay

bucking hay

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baling string

baling string

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Nicole SmithMy name is Nicole Smith, from Granite Station, California. I’m twenty-one years old, and I currently live and work on my family’s ranch in Kern County. We are a sixth generation cow-calf operation. Along with the ranch we also own Granite Station Saddlery & Feed, in Bakersfield. My mom, Sarah is a very accomplished silversmith, and my Dad, Jack is an outstanding saddle maker. There are eight of us in the family that operate the ranch and store, plus we all live here together. I also have a love for photography, and am constantly taking pictures of the ranch, cattle, horses, and almost anything else! There are no words to describe how blessed I am to have been born into this wonderful, beautiful lifestyle.