May Flowers

May Flowers

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My, How Times Have Changed? Or Have They?

My mother-in-law Marie, Jean Newell Fritzemeyer & Marjorie Giedinghagen
In an old scrapbook, this photo was labeled "3 cooks for cattle round up day."

I didn't wear my apron or my crisp cotton dress for our latest cattle round up day. I may have been the cook, too, but I was breathing in more than soup from the slow cooker ...

Like dust from an old barn's alleyway ...
... and eau de toilette (I know lots of consumers are into "organic" these days. This was organic all right! That's what happens when you're trying to push baby calves into the trailer!
While the trio of cooks from the 1950s were busy putting together a meal, the fellas were rounding up and sorting the cattle.
L to R: Clarence Fritzemeier (Randy's Grandpa) Milton Giedinghagen, Ben Fritzemeyer, Melvin Fritzemeier (my father-in-law) & Harve Fritzemeier. Yes there are two different spellings on Fritzemeier - it's not a typo!
My, how times have changed!

I'm certainly not denigrating the role my mother and mother-in-law fulfilled as farm wives and partners back in the 1950s during the early days of their marriage. The times were different. And I've had reminders of that as I've been reading the final book in my book challenge - a book written in my birth year - 1957. (I'll talk more about the book challenge in another post, but just to name a few differences - making phone calls in a phone booth and a $90 weekly salary as a secretary.)

But even though gender roles during the cattle sorting, working and moving process may be different in 2018 than they were in 1958, for example, some things never change.

Mamas protest from Kim Fritzemeier on Vimeo.

Mama cows still protest being separated from their babies ...

... even if it's only for a short time and even if it's for their baby's own good!
Back when Melvin and Marie were first starting out, they raised horned Herefords.

Today, we still have Hereford blood in our herd, but it's provided by two polled Hereford bulls.
And we've added Angus genetics to our crossbred herd as well.
We still sort the baby calves from the mamas, but it's no longer a men's club doing the separating ... hence the organic matter on my jeans!
Some mamas form "picket lines" and protest when their babies leave for their doctor's appointments.
Mother and calf, 1952
They were just as glad to be reunited then ...
... as now.

 A woman may be the person handing the ear tagger and syringes to the chief cattle "worker" these days. But at many farms, it's probably the woman doing it all herself.
But some things on our Kansas farm haven't changed during the five different generations that have been living and working along the Stafford/Reno County line.
And that's the desire to do our job to the best of our abilities and to make a difference in our community - man OR woman!

And, this morning, it's time for more of that hands-on cattle work. We're moving heifers and bulls. Wish me luck! And Happy May Day!


  1. I just love these comparisons.

    1. Thanks, Helen. It's fun to find these old photos!

  2. What a neat post----I think of Cheri on the ranch and all the work she does--calving, feeding, branding and the list goes on. Thanks

    1. Good to hear from you! I've loved your tulip photos. I'm going to have to come your way some time to see them in person.