The Bonus Book of the Week is “Lazy B, Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest” by Sandra Day O’Connor and H. Alan Day, published in 2002.
The author’s family owned a beef cattle ranch. Her grandfather laid claim to the property in 1880, prior to statehood of Arizona in 1912, and the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. The federal government allowed anyone who dug a water-well to graze their animals on the land. The cattle were branded with the family’s ranch logo, a capital B. The Mexican cattle that lay down helped name the ranch– “Lazy B.”
Lazy B consisted of 160,000 acres (about 250 square miles) mostly in Greene County, Arizona; 8,650 of ranch corporation, 30,000 leased from New Mexico, and all else federal land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. Income-producing animals included cows, calves, bulls, horses and egg-laying chickens. Hindrances to their operations included antelopes and prairie dogs. Vehicles included a Chevy pickup truck and jeep. When the author was old enough to see over the dashboard, she learned to drive.
The author’s father practiced extreme frugality– helpful in 1933, when he began his career. He was a do-it-yourselfer. The family led a simple life, having no electricity (just kerosene lanterns) and no running water (but outhouses). There was always plenty of work to do– feeding, shoeing, and breaking in the horses; oiling saddles; observing births of animals; branding, vaccinating and castrating or milking the cattle; and maintaining the property’s wells, windmills and troughs, etc.
Born in March 1930, the oldest of three children, the author attended school in El Paso, Texas, during which time she lived with her grandmother.
Read the book to learn a wealth of details on the difficulties of the running of a cattle ranch well into the twentieth century, and Lazy B’s hard-working people and their adventures.