Hard work. Big Rewards. Bigger blessings. Life on a South Dakota ranch.
Fall Work– Ranch Wife Style
Fall work for ranchers means many things… preconditioning calves, choosing replacement heifers, hauling hay, shipping calves, weaning calves, pregnancy checking and vaccinating cows, putting away equipment for the winter, etc. Fall work for ranch wives means all these things, too, PLUS cooking and hauling meals, cleaning up, pushing cows and calves up the chute, keeping track of the bookkeeping end of working livestock, keeping track of the bookkeeping for the home, cooking and hauling meals, LAUNDRY (shitty laundry), washing vaccine guns, chasing kids, trying to get the garden cleaned up and all the produce dealt with, cooking and hauling meals, attending fall sporting events to support your kids and the community kids, trying to keep your house from falling apart, and did I mention cooking and hauling meals? (laughing…)
We have cattle summered at several different locations so working calves and cows at all those locations means hauling meals to most of them. In the past 10 days I have made over 300 donut holes, several batches of twists, dozens of cookies, buns, roasts, etc. My mother-in-law has made stews, bars, wimpies, salads. We have packed grapes, chips, apples, and for goodness sakes don’t forget the coffee and water! Many days we get home from working cattle, take care of the horses, do the chores, haul everything in the house, clean up the vaccine guns, put everything away, cook supper, and then start cooking again to haul meals for the next day. There are times it seems never-ending. Matter of fact, there is a batch of “Hattie Penn twists” with maple frosting on the counter right now that will be eaten tomorrow when we pregnancy check another bunch of cows here at home. Those are glorious words… here at home. That means nothing has to be hauled anywhere! Yay!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what we do. I’m totally and completely blessed to live the life we live. I love being a stay-at-home mom/ranch wife/bookkeeper/hired hand, etc. It’s truly a great life. But there is so much more to it then meets the eye. I laugh when people make statements like “Can you take care of this? You are at home all day anyway.” Yes. People really do say stuff like that, even in our community that is completely agriculture based. And yes, usually I respond “Sure!” It’s what we do. Wives are used to juggling many balls all at once, and usually successfully. It is just another day of being “Just” (hahahahaha) a ranch wife.
I think we should start offering “living the life” ranch visits. Any takers?