Life can be like a winding river ... or, in this case, ... a meandering creek.
In 1900, Albert Brinkman bought acreage along the Rattlesnake Creek in Stafford County, Kansas. Brinkman, who was a great-great-great
uncle of Randy's, paid about $4 an acre. Originally in a tract of 1,040
acres, 560 acres remain in the Fritzemeier family.
Today, Randy owns the pasture, along with his cousin, Don Fritzemeier. On May 1, we delivered cow-calf pairs and a bull to graze for the summer on the native pasture. Traditionally,
we don't move cattle to the Big Pasture before May 1. Randy says that's
because it his grandpa and his great-uncles wanted to keep it fair for everyone. So our Rattlesnake pasture delivery marked the final group of cattle to move to summer pasture this year.
The next day, we went back to check on the herd. It looked like they were taking their Sunday afternoon nap.
With a trailer attached and work to do, we didn't take time to snap pictures on the bridge as we made the delivery. But as I stood on the bridge and looked east the next day, I marveled at the picture postcard beauty that Randy's family has been privileged to nurture for 121 years.
Randy has been making the journey to the pasture since he was a little boy. He rode shotgun as his Grandpa Clarence and his Dad Melvin delivered calves to the pasture.
Two generations ago, Randy's Grandpa Clarence owned the pasture with his brothers, Ed and Harve.
|This is an undated photo of Randy's Grandpa, Clarence Fritzemeier, with a bull. The back of the photo has written (in Randy's Grandma Ava's handwriting): "He looks like he knew he was going to be sold."|
Things have changed markedly in those 120+ years, whether talking farming or the world in general. So having a tie to the past is unusual in this disposable world we live in today.
|County Line file photo|
|July 2013 - This was before the township tore down most of the cottonwoods along the road.|
Below, here's a September 2018 photo, which shows that most of the trees are gone.
But even without the stately old cottonwoods, there is plenty of beauty to enjoy. On days like that Sunday, I marveled at God's handiwork on display and felt so blessed to have been a little part of it for 40 years.
The Big Pasture - as Randy's family has always called it - seems like a good place to spend your summer vacation, especially if we get enough rain to keep the grass green and the Rattlesnake filled.