Tonight, I had the pleasure of doing chores by myself in the dark and cold. It can hardly get worse than that! On the bright side, at least everything was frozen and I didn’t have to trudge through the mud and muck–it’s not much, but it’s the best I have at the moment.
In honor of my trying evening, I have compiled a list of my favorite things to hate at the ranch.
- Climbing fences. I want gates with hinges and latches that work.
- Poop in all forms.
- Flies. We had flies well into November and I saw our first of this season yesterday.
- Going on a feed run.
- Unloading feed.
- Hauling water. Like the gates, I want hydrants and hoses that work and are close by. Decent waterers and troughs would be nice too.
- Cold. Oh, how I hate the cold!
- Wet. It’s right up there with cold.
- Wind. It makes everything difficult.
- Short days. In the summer, we have plenty of time to get things done. In the winter, we are always behind the 8 ball.
You know you’re a farmer when every pair of your pants has a hole in them–endless snags on nails, barbed wire and baling wire.
You know you’re a farmer when all of your gloves are left-handed.
You know you’re a farmer when you talk to your animals as if they were real people.
You know you’re a farmer when you are excited at the site of an egg.
You know you’re a farmer when you brag about making $100 a week.
You know you’re a farmer when you exercise to the latest episode of Ag Day.
You know you’re a farmer when you laugh instead of cry, count your blessings in the midst of tragedy, and decide that in spite of it all (or because of it all), life is good.
Having our third day of sunshine made me almost giddy. Everything looks better when the sun is shining. Even better, our road was nearly dried out.
With a light heart and a carefree spirit, I pulled into the drive. I stopped to peek at the newly hatched chicks, then headed into the house. I was late. The sun had set.
Wednesdays are busy for both of us. We always hope that we make it home in time to do chores before it becomes dark. Sometimes, we weren’t so lucky. Today was one of those not-so-lucky days. It was dark and the chores were waiting.
My mood sunk. Gone was my light spirit. Feeding and watering in the dark was not fun. It was tedious. I sighed and did my work. In an effort to keep my sunny mood, I reviewed the highlights of my day–the best part of which was the newly hatched chick. The day had not been perfect, but it had been good–really good.
Some days life just hits me and I am thankful to be alive. Today is one of those days. I am sure it is in part due to a little spring fever and the joy of a warm, spring-like day.
Today, I am grateful
for little fuzzy chicks and giggling girls.
for the Roaring 20s and silly boys.
I am grateful for sugar cookies, sunshine, and dirty, icky farm smells.
I am grateful for old friends and new friends
for family and almost family.
I am grateful for early morning sunrises and dark skies full of stars.
I am grateful for blessings–some good, some challenging.
I am grateful for life, love, and liberty.
I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation, Gospel knowledge, and the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
It’s never just right at the ranch.
It’s too hot or too cold.
It’s too dry or too wet.
The days are always too short. Then there’s the wind.
There is never enough time. Never enough money. Never enough hands.
A million things can go wrong. Rarely do they go totally right.
And then there are days like today. The sun shines. The air warms. The animals bask in the afternoon light.
Today, it seems, things are just right.
He feeds the animals. In turn, the animals love him. However, the animals sometimes have their own agenda. They decide to go for a walk. They decide to fight with each other. They might tear things up. They may even kill one of their young in the process. It’s all a part of life and he deals with it. He’s used to the upsets, but sometimes it wears on him. It seems like the animals always misbehave when he’s alone.
On many days, she makes it home before he does. She gets started on the chores right away. The short days mean that the chickens are nearly ready to go to bed by the time she heads out there. On this particular day, she is alone. She moves to collect eggs first as she usually does. The pigs are noisy, however. She decides to feed them in the hopes that they will quiet down. As she walks down to the pasture, she sees that there are a few visitors in the sheep corral. The feeder pigs are in the wrong pasture. They’ve broken through the fence. She shakes her head. It’s typical. She is alone.
It was a holiday Monday and the rancher was home for the day. They took the much-needed opportunity to sleep in. They finally rolled out of bed and headed outdoors sometime after 7 am. It had been nice to linger. It was nice not to worry about animals and chores and families for five minutes.
As they ambled down the drive and up the rise, cacophony arrested her ears. Everybody was screaming. The hogs were barking. The sheep were bleating. The turkeys were gobbling (chortling). The ducks were quacking–endlessly. The goose was honking, although it was more like a horn blaring. The roosters were crowing and the hens were clucking. The sound of the hens was like the hubbub in a crowded room–like a bus depot or a train station. “Well,” she thought, “the animals didn’t much like the sleeping in.” It made her grin a bit to herself, but she hurried to feed the hogs and let the water fowl out anyway. Because they were the noisiest, the bit of peace it offered her was worth it.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been down to the pasture. In part it’s because I’ve skipped out on chores quite a bit. With holidays, crazy schedules, my grandfather’s death, and a subsequent trip out of town, I haven’t had the time or opportunity to be out. The other issue is that I don’t do those chores. When my brother flew into town last Wednesday for the funeral, I showed him around. I told him then that the animals up top were my animals and the animals down below (in the pasture) are the rancher’s. While we didn’t do it on purpose, that is sort of how it is here. We also didn’t divide the chores in a “yours is yours and mine is mine” fashion. It just ended up that way.
Today, the weather was warm. The sun was shining. The rancher and I had time together. We opted to do a few chores that had been waiting for a warm day. One of them was banding Jersey. He took it really well. He’s pouting and not moving much, but he will be okay.
When I walked into the corral, I could not believe how much he had grown and how beautiful he had become. He was already beautiful, but he is even more so now. He kept nosing around the rancher and began sucking on his fingers. Then, he turned his attention to me. He was sure that I had a treat in my pocket (I didn’t). I came out of the pen a few pictures richer and covered in Jersey slobber.
I try to keep up with the blog. It stresses me out when I don’t write. I’ve made this complaint before. I’ve promised to do better. I have no excuses. The truth is I wear too many hats. I’m a…
Wife ♦ Mother ♦ Teacher ♦ Tutor ♦ Farmer ♦ Accountant ♦ Social Media Guru ♦ Writer ♦ Counselor ♦ Laundress ♦ Cook ♦ Daughter ♦ Delivery Person ♦ Sister ♦ Nursemaid ♦ Grandmother ♦ Employment Counselor ♦ Daughter of God ♦ Seamstress ♦ Gardener ♦ Breeder ♦ Sidekick ♦ Dietician and Nutritionist ♦ Ranch Hand ♦ Editor ♦ Confidant ♦ Granddaughter ♦ Friend
So the next time you look and there isn’t a blog post there, please understand. I’m doing the best I can.
Almost from the minute that they had harvested the last pumpkin and turned under the last tomato, they had begun to plan for the next year. She loved the fall with its warm days and crisp, cool nights. She looked forward to the holidays–the scents, the spices, the festive foods, and the abundance of family time. But she also loved January, especially January days like Saturday.
The sun shone brightly on Saturday. The day was chilly, but the sun warmed the skin. The snow melted leaving little puddles of water and boggy, muddy patches scattered around the yard. The day was nice enough to invite a little dreaming; therefore, her mind turned to the coming months. It would be months before they were living in the dog days of summer again. Still, when the weather cooperated (as it had on Saturday), there was plenty to do.
On these warm winter days, they could begin the next phase of fencing that need to be done. Pretty soon, it would be time to plant some of the early crops like peas. They still had more houses to build and they needed to stake out an area for the summer’s pasture poultry (meat birds). In a blink of an eye it would be time to clean out the six inches to a foot of deep litter that had built up in the houses. And then there were babies to occupy her mind. They had new little piglets right now. Soon, more piglets would come and lambs. A new crop of chicks would either be hatched or bought. By the time all of that had taken place, the turkeys would be laying eggs again. The days would be warm. The trees would leaf out and once again she would spend long hours weeding and building and choring. She felt a little giddy just thinking about it. The future always looked brighter on sunny and warm days.