Do You Know Papa Joe?
Papa Joes’ Produce & Two-Bit Ranch
Joe Wesnitzer hasn’t been this happy in a long time. Puffing on a cigarette at his 50-plus acre ranch nestled in the base of the Big Horns, he watches a newborn Scottish Highland calf sidle up to its mother. Her long hair rustles in the breeze as she licks the baby’s hindquarters. Puffy clouds slide across the light blue sky as the sun burns off the chill of early morning.
“I’m on the verge of turning 60, and I feel like an 8-year-old kid again,” he said with a big smile. “I can’t believe I get to wake up and do this every day.”
Originally from Sheridan, Joe has been waiting to come home for decades after spending the bulk of his career in Colorado, working for a telephone company and helping to raise his grandchildren. Not a fan of Colorado, he was more or less counting days and biding his time. In his ball cap with a short gray pony tail sprouting out back, Joe doesn’t look much like the typical rancher.
Ranching was his older brother’s idea – as were the Scottish Highland cattle – which aren’t commonly seen around here though their long hair and bulky frames do well in the mountains, according to Joe.
His first Highland cow Emgie came from Miles City, and supposedly there’s a children’s book written about her, but Joe’s never seen it. In the past couple years, they’ve grown their herd up to 18 cattle, a bull and several newborn calves.
A couple days ago, one of their cows prolapsed during birth and Joe and his girlfriend Carol Sims, neither of whom come from a ranching background, have been learning things the hard way. Despite the long hours and the sometimes-laborious learning curve, Joe is out here having fun. Continue this story at 82801Life.com.