Letter of Appreciation

To my Followers (both farm and non-farm, foreign and neighbors):

Thank you for opening my eyes to what I have, those things I am blessed with, and how things are outside of my “bubble” I call ranch life. It’s pretty easy to lose sight of everything we are blessed with when we see the same things on a daily basis. Not that each person’s blessings are any less than the next, for each is special and unique.

Daily ranch life for me includes caring for and feeding my livestock, my dog that seems to always be on the move with “selective-hearing,” pastures with weeds, beavers that dam up creeks, cows that need attention, equipment that breaks, hay crops drying up, and trees falling on fences. It’s never-ending work that can wear on those who do not embrace the life and task at hand.

Two cowboys worked the exact same ranch and rode the exact same string of horses. They gathered the same cattle in the same pastures and slept in the same bunk house every night.

But one cowboy was miserable and the other was happy. Why?

Because one cowboy focused on the never-ending work and the other cowboy thanked God for the never-ending ride.

Are you lookin’ at the job or the ride?

–via Campfire Cowboy Ministries


I want to look forward to the ride, not only be focused on what I’m doing today, but look forward to where I’m headed.

At the auction barn this week, a guy pulled in and asked to take some photos of cattle in our pens. After a bit I walked over to talk to him. Turns out he’s a blogger who loves photography even more than I do (check out his blog!). As Jeff was telling me about trips to his grandparents to visit the cows and how enjoyed seeing a trailer full of calves pass by in town, I was reminded how I take things for granted. Hauling cattle to town, I get frustrated with drivers not courteous of the trailer. I may complain when my tractor overheats and the a/c doesn’t work. Despite all the hard and difficult times, mine is a life so many would love to have.

I don’t write this to put down your way of life if you live in town, or only visit your grandparents farm. I don’t want to be high and mighty in thinking everyone should be jealous of my life. I just want to say thank you for reminding me to appreciate what I have and not take it for granted.

My day job may be more fun than your vacation, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be that way forever.

**All photos in this post courtesy of Jeff Montgomery.

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  1. I had a sad reminder last night that not everyone can see the blessings in their own life. I love my family, my life and I love my job. Sure, I would like somethings to be different but, I have nothing to complain about. I have been blessed. It’s good to remember and acknowledge that from time to time. Especially when it’s not smooth sailing. Nice post Ryan.

  2. Ryan, the work is the ride. In this business you either belong, or you don’t. They guy focusing on all of the work didn’t even know he was on a ride to begin with.

  3. It’s Fair time and I’m on the road a lot. Today I was privileged to be at the Montgomery County Fair in Gaithersburg, Md., just a few miles from Washington, D.C. I was reminded how fortunate I am, a big city gal, to have been a part of ag all these years because my big city guy, husband, took me to the county fair on a first date where we fell in love with Angus cattle and ended up spending our lives with cattle, farmers and ranchers. The Montgomery County fairgrounds were built in 1945 after a couple of successful beef shows were held in the area. The fairgrounds were built entirely with labor and donations from the farming community, which was quite large at the time. I ate lunch with many of those families today, who made the fair possible and keep it going. it was a wonderful experience, as usual. I thank the Lord he has given me this opportunity to be a part of and write about ag. It’s been a great ride!!!

    1. That sounds like a great community effort. A gathering like that would make for some good story swapping, I’d love it. We have a really great fairgrounds here at home in Arkansas, but I’m not sure about the history of it. I’ll have to look it up.

      1. Monday they honored two of their ag leaders and today they honored a family that was in on the fairgrounds from the beginning and has worked a great deal with 4-H also. They also have started an archives committee and people were swapping stories at the luncheon today already. The county also has one of the largest areas in the state preserved for ag. Keep up the great work for ag, Ryan!

  4. Hey Ryan,
    Just caught up to your blog again and I was honored to see my photos. Thanks for letting me shot the cows the other day and thanks for sharing your passion for what you do. I have that same level of passion for photography and I am thankful everyday that I get to work in that area. I believe it is a blessing from God to get to do something you love for your livelihood.

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