My husband told me I wasn’t tough enough to be a ranch wife. You see when we first met, the closest I’d ever been to moving a cow on horseback, was following one around in an arena. I’d never seen a calf born, never watch a tough winter unfold from the back of a feed wagon, and never fought for the life of an animal in my care. He told me I wasn’t tough enough because I just had to be told I couldn’t. I guess my newly-wed husband knew me well enough to know I’m stubborn.
That first year on a ranch just about killed me. We went to work for a 97 year old rancher that did things just about as hard as you possibly could. Everything was a mess and not in working order due to the previous manager. This is what I’m thankful for. I landed in the right place at the right time. I didn’t think so when it was happening, but hind sight is 20/20, right?
I’m thankful it took us 2 weeks just to clean our house and the shops. Now I can organize a shop in no time and I know what all the various tools do, although I still don’t know their names (that might be the estrogen).
I’m thankful the corrals, fences and gates were broken down. Now I know how to mend all three to keep a cow in and I know that I hate hanging gates.
I’m thankful it was so cold. I now know how to cold start a tractor and how to put tarps over one while a heater is thawing it out because I didn’t remember to plug it in the night before when it was 32 below zero.
I’m thankful I pitched hay. I was able to get to know the cows much better, which helped tremendously during my first calving season.
I’m thankful we had a terrible calving season. You name it we had it that year. Prolapse, hiplock, breech, deformed calf, 700-pound heifers trying to calve 90-pound calves. We pulled 6 in one day. Now I can recognize a calving trouble a 1,000 miles away and I know what to do to fix it.
I’m thankful for all the lessons. I never thought I’d be where I am today, ranch wife, mother, and ranch hand. I’ve come to love the flow of the ranch and look forward to the next season. I love helping feed the nation. I love that I’ve learned the cycle of life and I’ll pass that on to my children. I love that my children will grow strong by living so close to the land. I love that my children will learn responsibility for other living animals. I love being able to share my story with so many other people. I’m thankful for so many things when it comes to agriculture and being a steward of the land, it’s hard for me to narrow it down to just one thing.
I guess it would ruin the moment if I said I was thankful that I proved my husband wrong for a change and I danced around an “I was right, you were wrong” happy dance….so I won’t say that. I’ll just say I’m thankful I surprised even myself by being tough enough.
Kacee is another great Wyoming ranch wife who works hard beside her “Cowboy”. Be sure to check out her great blog and amazing photography. Kacee works hard to tell her story of ranch life at her blog “The Real Life of a Ranch Hand’s Wife“
Check out the entire Ag-Thankful series to see why others are thankful for agriculture. This is a great time to remember the hard work farmers and ranchers do year-round to produce the food that will be on our tables this holiday season. Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave your comments below.