The summer months on Rancho San Julian, and many ranches in Santa Barbara County, are some of the busiest months of the year. We are weaning the calves, constantly fixing and checking on water lines and building miles of fence. This year we have a big project in a particularly rough part of the ranch.
Most of the fence line is at a spot that we can’t even get to by truck because it is so steep, so we have to hike most of the materials all the way to the top of the mountain on foot. Real life boot camp, right? Thank goodness we have two strong college guys, Keaton and Jordan, who joined our crew this summer.
This summer has also been my older son, Jack’s, first time on the fence crew. My younger son, Hank, comes to visit at lunch time but this year Jack has joined the crew. He got his first set of fence pliers, a work belt and gloves, and had a blast. In a way, for a rancher, learning to fence is a rite of passage. Sure, riding and roping is super fun but building fence is where the really hard, not so romantic, work comes into play. Long days, working in the heat and dust, and a ton of hiking.
But even on these hard-working days, when the cool breeze picks up and you can take a moment to look out at the view of the golden hillsides, it’s a feeling you will always remember.
Photographs by Elizabeth Poett