The name Bar ML is actually my cattle brand. It is a “bar” over the letters ML and it is placed on the cattle, in my case the left side, to show who the owner is. When I first saw a branding I was determined to find a way to avoid it, but like others before me I have yet to figure that out.
My name is Melanie and I am very new to cattle ranching. I grew up in the beautiful interior of BC as a logger’s daughter which meant lots of time in the bush. Now to a BC girl, “the bush” means mountains and valleys covered in tall trees like pine and fir with lush vegitation growing underneath, creeks and lakes, deer, moose, bear, cougars, and lots of other animals. I was taught to drive equipment and trucks at an early age, helped fix things, and learned things that some guys probably don’t know how to do. I love the smell of fresh cut wood, the feeling of greasy hands, and the satisfaction of figuring out how to fix something myself.
My biggest goal in life when growing up was to be a “Mom”. I knew I wanted children and that I would be the one to be at home and raise them. I had no need to go out an be an independant woman since I knew that if I had to, I could, no problem. So after two wonderful children and a divorce, I worked as a contract bookkeeper so that I could raise my children. We were not rich but the kids were able to participate in activities and I was there for everything.
During the time my children were nearing the end of high school, I met my husband the rancher. After 3 years of dating and commuting back and forth from BC to Saskatchewan, we were married the month after my youngest graduated and I moved out of the house. Now there is a switch, the parent flew the coop! The kids still live in the house and attend university and I visit when I can.
When I moved to the ranch, there were so many things that I found different. I wanted to record everything, keep a diary, write a blog, voice record my thoughts or something but I didn’t know what exactly to do. So I did nothing.
The more I learned about ranching and farming, the politics and practices that as a consumer I was never aware of, I wanted to somehow get the word out. Educate more than just my family on Facebook about what goes on. I finally decided I would dive in and do this blog. If no one reads it, at least I will be writing things down, making a record. Maybe someday my kids will read it and get to know me as a person a little bit better. If someone does read it, well then I hope they find my thoughts and perspective on life interesting, inspiring, informative, crazy, or even maddening, just hopefully not boring.