I can make the most simple things complicated. It’s my own fault because of the life I choose to lead. Not having my milk cow, garden, critters, raising our own meat and making all my own bread, etc. or any of those other things
I do, would make my life easier, but not very tolerable. My house would be cleaner and easier to take care of, but would not be home.
As a friend recently said to me, “You are awfully high maintenance for a low maintenance person.”
In order to get an injection I need badly, to combat pain, I have to have someone drive me 4 hours into town. That means someone else has to be here at the ranch to take care of my horse, sheep, goats, calves, milk cow, companion
dogs and guardian dogs. No small feat.
The boss’ youngest daughter, now 17, agreed to take care of my stock. This is a girl who can ride and rope with the best...in fact she DOES ride and rope with the best and shoot a gun, skin a deer, doctor calves, stack feed,
endear herself to both children and adults, clean houses as well as cook for a crowd and she has been driving a pick-up truck and trailer full of horses since she was 10 years old and operates a tractor, backhoe, semi-truck and excavator with competency. Basically
there isn’t much she cannot do and do well.
All the boss’ kids learned to ride not long after they could walk and to drive as soon as their feet could reach the floorboards, since the ranch itself is 400 sq. miles and it is just a good thing for them to be able to do,
in the event of an emergency.
Home-schooled like her 4 siblings,( the nearest school, 80 miles away, is a co-ed boarding school for high school age ranch kids) she now goes to the public high school, where they live in dorms Mon-Thurs, then come home to
help with the ranch work on weekends. This, by the way, is a school where, in addition to attending classes, doing homework and competing in sports, the kids also do the cooking, dishes, cleaning, their own laundry, maintaining clean rooms and beds that are
made and all the other normal things they would do at home and will do throughout their lives. They aren’t pampered, babied or mollycoddled, but treated with reasonable expectations and respect. They are hard working, hard playing, appreciate their family
and live with integrity, compassion, a solid moral compass and powerful sense of humor. You don’t see much of this in our culture today, much to the detriment of our youth.
At high-school dances, this girl kicks off her cowboy boots, hangs up her leather riata and steps into high heels. Her waist length hair comes out from under her Stetson and is loosed from its braid, long, loose curls cascading
down her back. With an ultra feminine dress hugging her athletic frame, she leaves a memorable impression on everyone who sees her. She carries herself with class and has maturity, poise and discretion and has a dazzling smile. Rarely at a loss for dance partners,
she does not compromise her standards. She is open to friendship but any young cowboy who tries to cross beyond that threshold would be wise to climb in his pick up and leave. The youngest of 5 kids, with 3 older brothers in wrestling, she joined the wrestling
team as a freshman and was the only one to make it to the state championships...she didn’t wrestle on the girls team and the boys didn’t cut her any slack. She’s just that good.
I heard she deflated one presumptuous and formerly pompous young man in front of his senior classmates by flipping and pinning him...at a social event.
She’s little but mighty and still quite a lady. She’s a unique kind of girl who is popular, but also respected, much as are her sister and brothers. They are the youngest generation of the family that we work for and have so enjoyed getting to know and admire.
This country seems to breed this kind of individual. One of the close-by neighbors, who only lives 35 to 40 miles away, is purported to have been the Prom Queen some years back. She had to borrow someone's duster to protect her dress so she could quickly show
her date how to properly skin a bobcat. Acrylic nails, dyed hair and jewelry aren't near as popular here as a good rope and a better horse. Teenage pregnancy isn't epidemic here, nor are STD's, but most kids know how to work a cow and drive a hay baler. (although
our government is now denying them these opportunities, through the Dept of Labor, as they seem to feel it would better for our kids to spend their time playing video games and having sex.)
The kids around here get along with their friends and thier friends' FAMILIES.
What city people might call a common small town characteristic "knowing everyone's business", we call it "accountability" and it's a great and much appreciated way to keep all of us on the straight and narrow, by people who
know and usually care about us.
This is still the real west and I am grateful for that.
I was happy and relieved that she offered to take care of my animals for the day, so I could get my much needed extra injection.
She came down the morning before we left so I could show her what to feed the milk-cow, horse and calves and who to turn-out-where, for the day, then in the evening, which calves get bottles, which goats get milked, how to set
up the milker, milk the Jersey cow and all the rest that goes along with that, as well as how to clean the equipment.
At the last minute, most everyone from the ranch, including her dad, brothers and sister and Randyman were all called out to fight fire. Being shy of 18, she can’t go, so she was still able to feed for me.
I was a little anxious as I no longer drive if I can avoid it and it’s 250 miles to the doctor. It’s asking a LOT for someone to just ‘run you into town’.
Her mom volunteered to get up at 5 a.m. to come get me and take me into town. I was a little worried about going with anyone other than Randyman. Being in a vehicle for any length of time causes me a great deal of discomfort,
as it usually ends up being about a 20 hour day, most of it spent in a vehicle. More than once I’ve employed the use of a wheelchair to make it through errands and I really didn’t want to do that, especially with someone else.
We had a great time, we went to a fabric store to pick out stuff to make dresses and rompers for my grandbabies. We kept finding more and more cute fabrics that I couldn’t make a decision on, so I bought them all. We laughed
a lot, got our shopping done, neither of us was rushed out of the stores by exasperated husbands and I actually saved $500 at the grocery store, not having Randyman there throwing stuff in the basket, so I figure we are still ahead of the game, in spite of
my indecision at the fabric store.
We made it back to the ranch around 2 a.m. We could see flames across the valley which looked to be on the winter pasture. It seemed as though it was traveling towards ranch headquarters, lighting up the skyline. We found out
that the guys were all home from fighting the fire down south, so she woke them up to have them check on the flames we saw. It was still about 30 miles away, so all the kids got up, helped unpack the vehicle and the guys went to bed, as they had to return
to fire camp at 5 in the morning.
I found a note from my ‘critter sitter’. It said things went well in the morning, but in the evening things went a little differently. She had a hard time getting the milker working right, I guess the goats were mean and ornery
like usual and refused to give her milk, but the cow was ok. The lid got stuck on the grain can and she apparently ripped the handle off trying to pull it open. I laughed when I saw that. She said she spilled enough water on the kitchen floor cleaning bottles
and milkers that she should probably have whipped off her shirt and mopped it up. Everything was fed and alive so it was a success. She and her sister packed the big bags of dogfood into the house for me and the following day she packed all the huge heavy
bags of livestock feed to the milkroom.
It’s the first time I’ve left home in 2 months but it felt good to be back. EmmaLou and Mister were happy to see me. Cider and the Maremmas were beside themselves.
Too bad I can’t order groceries and give this particular shot to myself so I never had to leave, but at least it got done and we had a good time. Doc says I should notice an improvement by Wednesday. I think it started working
sooner than that, because I was able to walk thru all the stores on my own power...maybe laughter really IS the best medicine.