Then she said: "you'll see a sign at the end of the driveway, then turn left at those two feed bins" just as I lost all cell phone reception..
I packed up that baby blue little Honda and headed West about 5:30 a.m. last Friday, and I guess I was in a big hurry because that nice police officer in Chetopa,Kansas clocked me going a little too fast.. I think he kinda found my situation humorous because my little car was loaded down with coats, and I do mean a lot of winter wear ( I don't like freezing) , a backpack full of camera gear, a purse, and hot coffee.. He just simply smiled and sent me on my way with a nice warning, and a "Have a great time today".. Whew! Well that was just the beginning to this adventure. I had put the address in my GPS but when you're visiting 16,000 acres GPS doesn't really work for an "official" location, and so you frantically try to make the phone call to get the directions, and you realize you have no cell service... So here I am just driving around trying to remember the way. I played phone tag a few times, and I finally could hear, turn left at the sign, that's the "driveway" then turn left at the feed bins, and that will take you to the house. Well, well, in my part of the world a "driveway' is a short distance. ha! After driving what felt like 5 miles down this "driveway" I finally saw the feed bins, but I still had no cell phone reception, so at this point you just try to find your way & snap a few pics! My heart was fluttering because it was beautiful, and I don't mind being "lost" in beautiful country.
I arrived at the house and I was greeted with a warm welcome. We then ventured on up to headquarters where I was introduced to all the day workers, ranch hands & managers. All the men removed their well worn cowboy hats, and shook my hand firmly. I instantly felt welcomed.
Beth & I were told to help drive the truck and trailers back from "caking" the cows ( No it's not like chocolate cake, ha! It's range cubes) So here I was meeting some of these folks for the first time, they welcomed me into their home, and now I'm driving their farm truck? I love it here! I even got an educational lesson on Native American rocks, ha! ( that's a blog all in itself)
The guys all gathered a few momma's & babies, and then a home cooked meal consisting of Cowboy beans, corn bread, onions, tea, & cake was served. We then proceeded to the branding pen where all the young riders were allowed to rope first while the guys with the most experience worked on the ground crew. This is why I have a passion for ranch photography, it's about capturing the traditions of the older guys and passing it down to younger generations.
The ranch was breathtaking! The folks welcomed me like family, I received many good stories to tell at a later date, I didn't get a speeding ticket, met a few new friends, and hopefully captured a few new wall hangers. Thank you Ball Ranch & crew for being top notch! - Lainey xoxo
P.S. you can view all the photos from this ranch under the gallery "Ball Ranch"