Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Family Cattledrive

Oh boy was this a crazy summer!  With all the ropings, family events, community activities, and building a house we were running in every direction.  To help things out, the cows decided they didn't need much moving for the summer.  For real… Between the field rotation we were on and the rains it seemed we hardly had to move the cows.  The unfortunate thing about that was that I didn't have many opportunities to ride with the guys or take any photos.  

On the one chance I had to saddle up, the whole family got to tag along.  We really weren't even moving to new field, just pushing the cows to a different trough.  So even though it wasn't too much of a ride, it was perfectly short enough that we knew they would last and have a great time.  We have my old horse from when I was a kid that The Rancher's Sidekick has claimed.  And the Ranch Princess bounced around between me, Rancher Sr., Cowboy E, and The Rancher.  It might not have been much, but we made a few good memories.

Friday, October 2, 2015

10 Lessons Learned as a Rancher's Wife... Part 2

Last year I gave you a handful (ok 2 handfuls) of things that I've learned as my time as a rancher's wife. Let me tell ya, that was not an all included list. There are so many gems out there. If people really only knew all the truths of  making it married to a cowboy they would say we live such a bizarre life!  So as weird as you may think I am, I have another 10 lessons I've learned.


  1. There gonna be dirt. And manure. And mud. And dust and grit and weeds and anything else dirty you can think of. Ok so that isn't too much of a stretch to imagine all that until you start to think of all the places this dirtiness goes. If it's on your boots it's on your floor. If it's on your pants it's on the couch. If it's on your hands it's on every blasted light switch, door handle, counter, key, or button you touch!  So this is my advice: DON'T EVER CLEAN!! It's all going to be messy all the time, so don't worry about putting any effort to it… Ok that's not how I roll. I do clean. The barn dirt and germs can stay in the barn but you have to pace yourself. Or hire a maid. I'd really love a maid…
  2. Learn your 1st aid and always keep band aids on hand.  It's one if those Murphy proof things. If your prepared it's not gonna happen, right?!  Actually no... Cowboys think that they are either invincible and nothing will happen to them or they are can handle any type of wound or pain.   And that leads to another lesson- know how to MAKE them stop and get real help. My rancher is pro at washing it in the ditch and calling it good. It's only after I make him go to the doctor that he realizes that a pretty intense infection has set in and I was right.
  3. You can hope for a set dinner time but don't be heart broken when he's late.  In fact, that is more of the rule than the exception.  Some machinery will brake down or a pipe will break or he might just forget what time dinner is on.  That gives you two options- you either start eating without him or slap a smile on your face and wait.  Its as simple as that. 
  4. Ranching and cowboying can be tough work but that doesn't mean it isn't fun.  They really are just little boys playing with bigger toys.  Having to saddle the horse to go rope a bull or load up the motorbike to bring in a few strays might be their job but that doesn't mean they don't get any thrills out of it.  You might think then, that since they play all day on horses and tractors and bikes that when they can really go play, they will head out to do something else.  But likely not… With any free time they will head to some team roping or start working a new colt or take the bike up in the mountains.  Some days its hard to know what is work and what is play!  We just roll with it and jump in no matter what he's doing.
  5. There will be so many hats. So many!!  And I'm not talking figuratively.  Sure, there is that too- he is the vet, the mechanic, the feeder, the farmer, the business man, the irrigator, and the milker.  But right now I mean to tell you that ranchers have so many hats.  They buy a new swather and they give him a new hat.  He gets a load of feed in an he given another couple of hats.  The vet comes around and has a handful of hats to give away.  But he still needs a good cowboy hat to the keep the sun off of him so every few months its time for a new one of those.  And not to mention that that he needs felt hats and wool hats in the winter.  And heaven forbid it when a new hat comes in, we throw an old one out.  You'll get some sort of response like, "But it has a lot of good life in it!" or "I just got it to fit me just right!". It may be greasy, grimy, poopy, and sporting a nice sweat ring but it MUST stay.  Just call him a hat collector and move on… (and sneak a few out to the garbage during spring cleaning!)
  6. Just because you don't get a paycheck from the ranch doesn't mean you don't get called into work.  In fact, you are on call… 24/7… no weekends, holidays, or even birthdays off.  You have to have a really good excuse like in the hospital having a baby or on the couch with a broken leg to get off the hook.  You never know quite what to expect when it is time to drop everything and go help.  It could be something quick like stand on the road to turn the cows or come help moves the trucks to the next field ready to farm.  But it could be in the middle of the night because you have to help with the calving.  Or it could be an all day thing and you are sent on a parts run.  I guess that’s what you sign up for when you marry a rancher, but you could always try to guilt him into a nice foot rub at the end of your long day! 
  7. Have you ever seen a cowboy in a tux?  I mean, aside from a wedding, where the groom was threatened within an inch of his life that if he didn't where his tux on the MOST important day of his life his bride would throw out his favorite rope, slash the tires on his truck and smash his best cowboy hat.  His formal attire looks a lot like his work attire except that its clean.  He will still have his boots, belt and buckle, jeans and a good western shirt topped off by his favorite hat.  If its super fancy he might throw on a tie, but you can guarantee that it won't last the night.  I've been told that I can get all fancied up and it will work for the two of us.  Naturally, If I'm dressed up appropriately for whatever event we are at, he is too simply by association.  Honestly, I stopped caring… So long as he is clean and doesn't stink, jeans and boots suit me just fine!
  8. You will find that no matter the experience you are trying to help him relate to, he will find a way to compare it to ranching.  You want him to understand that you are trying to eat nutritiously and he starts talking about feed supplements and offers you a salt block.  You are trying to help him understand that he has to move the furniture when he vacuums and he realizes its much like how he has to move the wheel lines to cut all the hay.  The best is when it comes to having babies, nursing babies, and raising babies.  He is the expert in this field since every year he helps hundreds of mothers and babies.  I guess that means that he is trying to get it if he is making the effort to make the comparisons.
  9. This next little lesson was a hard one to take… A rancher isn't always that sympathetic.  There is no room for weakness in cowboying.  It doesn't matter the reason you need a little pat on the back… If you want to be out with the guys you had better suck it up and tough it out.  After enough days of trying to get a "thanks, honey" for the late nights checking cows, early mornings haying, painfully cold days calving, or sweltering afternoons of hot fencing I've just decided its not gonna happen.  I guess when your job demands that you show up no matter the conditions, you just expect it out of everyone else.  And wives are no exception… Darn it…
  10. When its movie night, just go for the western.  You will never go wrong with a little gun play, a few pretty ponies and the handsome cowboy saving the day.  When in doubt go with John Wayne or Tom Selleck.  Or if you have the time you could even go with Lonesome Dove (although I have to admit, I have only done that once… and I think that’s plenty).  Fortunately, there is a plethera of great old westerns that will make your cowboy proud to ride and a little more manly at the end of the night.


Here's one last bonus thought… Crap runs downhill, therefore stay upriver, upwind and out of the spray zone!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ag in Your County Promotions!

Ag promoting has become a big part of my family- my dad, brothers, me...  We all love the life and want to share what we have!  My brother works on his Farm Bureau board in Salmon had a fun opportunity to do a little ag promoting at his fair.

Their board had seen posters with farming/ranching photos with a some facts relating to agriculture as a whole.  My brother's wanted to put up something similar at their fair, but more specifically they wanted to spread a few facts about their county.  They thought about using the generic posters for the sake of ease and that they were already available, but my brother said he knew a photographer that might be able to help out...

Then he called me.

And I said yes!  I love this stuff!  I love spreading the word, creating posters, using my photos... ALL OF IT!  The one hitch was that it was the week before my fair and I was already pulling my hair out getting everything ready.  (Ya know, they ask the young naive ones to be on the fair board before they know how crazy it REALLY is.)  But I didn't want to miss out on this fun chance so I packed up my stuff and found a corner at the fair to pull together these posters!

My brother did the hard work of picking the photos and the wording.  I got the fun part of throwing it all together however I wanted.  In my opinion, they turned out great!  And it sounded like a lot of people at the fair loved them too.  I should actually say men instead of people, because they were the only ones to see them.  Unless some lady decided she needed to use the men's bathroom... 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Trucking Cows for a Day

I've never been one to love the life of a trucker, not to mention be married to one. The long days if driving and being away from home just don't appeal to me. I love a good vacation, but a slow noisy semi truck is no vacation.

But on occasion, I do LOVE to tag along with The Rancher to haul cows. We have a semi and bull wagon for our personal use mostly. But we do hire out for custom cattle hauling when called upon. It's not a lot, just enough for us to make a little income to keep the semi maintained. My favorite drive is hauling cows up and down Logan Canyon. We start it good ol' Park Valley- dry deserty area with only sage brush to call trees. Then cross down into the beautiful Cache Valley to drop off our load. The trees and water and mountains and cliffs and flowers are breathtaking! The lush green in the summer turns to vivid orange and yellows in the fall. I'm almost salivating just reminiscing of it's beauty. 

We just dropped off our first load of cows  of many loads to come. I'll admit it was a long day, but still great. This momma had to get up at 4:30 am to get all the snacks and clothes and you tractors necessary for a small ranch family to play in a semi all day. It got to be an even longer day when the ranch wasn't quite ready to load up as we got there. They were still vaccinating calves which meant lots of sorts and moving groups of cows around... I could have slept in my on bed another two hours if we had only known! But I did get some much needed paper work done while we waited do I can't complain too much. 

I have to laugh a little st what it takes to get into the area where we dump the cows out. The turn off is so tight thst we have to go up passed it and turn around ;which involves crossing the highway blocking traffic, to only stop part way across the highway to back up so we can sneak by the skin of our teeth to get all turned around. I held my breath but apparently to The Rancher it was no big deal.) to make it in. It's actually at s camping/ hiking parking area that they have to close off so they can get in and out. It's so small if an area that only two semis can be in there at a tune, so you can guess how a bunch of extra cars in the way would really foul things up.  Once they actually hooked up a truck and horse trailer to a parked truck to take it out of the way. I doubt that hiker was very pleased to come back to see his truck NOT where he left it.

Still, all good and fun. We drove, we enjoyed the sites and I stole just a minute for some photos (it really was just a minute because between the time for my potty break and diaper duty, it's all I had before we were unloaded and on the road again.)!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

First of TP&B

Summer time means play time!  At least some of the time.  A side job we have to raise and provide heifers for sorting and roping events.  We have several throughout the summer- some with fairs, others with the Team Penning and Branding Association.  The best part about taking them out there is that we get to join in the fun.

There are always a handful of regulars that go to these things.  You have your older generations that are still trying to live the dream and the hobby cowboys that don't do it full time but jump in where they can on the weekends. At the end of the day, the cowboys that eat, sleep, and dream EVERYTHING cowboy come out for the roping.  I love watching those cowboys and horses that know what they are doing.  They move effortlessly.  They don't make a lot of noise and don't draw a lot of attention.  They move together with their horses, already knowing what to do.

It was a party for the Eliason family in Blackfoot for the first TP&B.  Everyone came down to do a little cowboying and enjoy the company.  This is the kind of fun our family has on a day off!