Sunday, September 18, 2016

Not Lost, But Certainly Not Sure Where we Are

Hey, friends.  Do you feel abandoned.... again?  Summer just gets so darn busy (I think I've told you that the last 3 years!) that some things just have to go and since I can't stand to go without clean underwear or cleaning my house it is, unfortunately, my blog that gets neglected.  But lucky for you I still take lots of pictures and remember the good stories so I can still keep you caught up.
Like this one day that we were almost lost.
I say almost because I don't want to ever admit I was lost, but if there ever was a day, it was this one.
Let me set the stage.  It was a beautiful and lovely fall day when the guys were gathering the cattle from Cow Hollow (the summer range pasture) to take into Black Pine to wean the following week.  It takes about three days to get everything gathered and moved to the corrals (not to mention the week that it takes for the lost stragglers to make it down!) where they can work them and we were on the last day.  The herd goes right past another set of corrals that conveniently works great to stop and sort off any extra pairs that don't belong or castrate any bulls or that sort of thing. 
Normally the cowboys are on their own for an exciting sack lunch, but on this lucky day, one good ranch wife suggested we meet up at the corrals with the cowboys to grill some burgers.   We jumped on that idea, because the cowboys were tired of eating sandwiches, we were tired of making sandwiches and we were really tired of seeing some of those sandwiches come back home.  Ya know, we ranch wives end up in a terrible conundrum- we have to make sure that we make send enough food and enough sandwiches to keep the cowboys full and happy.  But at the same time, too many sandwiches are a bad thing.  They come home all warm and soggy and no one wants a leftover sticky, soggy sandwich so they end up in the garbage.  So you can see why we jumped on the burger idea.   
We, The Montana Girl, The Cattlewoman, and I, loaded up in the truck with 4 babies, a load of buns, patties, and sheet cake and headed out to find the boys.  I had never been to the corrals we were headed to but The Rancher had given me some sketchy directions where we headed.  I knew the general area we were looking for hope that the landmarks I did know were enough to help us get.  Luckily, Rancher Sr. gave his sweet heart even better directions than I had, so I just opted to leave the navigating to her. 
Our instructions were pretty simple- after the road goes straight, take the only road headed to the right shortly before the road goes under the freeway.  Pretty simple, right?  We thought so.  We got to the straight part of the road and started looking for a road that headed off to the right.  And we found one, but it looked more like a goat trail, so we figured it didn't count.  We kept going and saw ourselves another road and this was a real road.  It had to be a real road because it actually had a road sign.  And we were sure we should take it because the sign said "Cow Hollow" and that's where the cows were coming from.  So we took it.
We knew that once we got on the road, all we had to do was drive a half mile and then take the fork to the right and we would see the corrals.  Well, we didn't see the corrals.... buuuut we could see some cows so we kept going.  We got to the cows and they weren't ours and our cowboys were NOWHERE to be found.  So what's a girl to do in such a situation?
Just keep driving, of course.  I have to tell you at this point we just kept laughing (laughing seemed a better option than crying) because we knew that something was up.  Either we didn't follow what seemed to be simple directions or our directions were bad.  And to make our situation seem worse, we were out of cell phone service so we couldn't even call anyone to let us know where to go or what to do!  Typical, right?
So we kept driving.  And driving.  We figured they had to be this way because they were bringing cows from Cow Hollow...  and the road we were on was Cow Hollow so logically we were headed in the right direction, right? So we kept driving.  Through one gate... and then another.  The farther up the road we got, the more we laughed and slowly conceded that we didn't really know where we were going.  But despite our dire circumstances there was a bright spot in it all- we had the cake and chocolate cake makes anything better! 
We were steadfastly watching our phones and Tada- finally we got service!  The Rancher picked up and just laughed when I explained our exciting predicament.  We were way, WAY off!  So we found the least scary place to turn around at (because there aren't too many places for a U-turn out in the hills) and headed back to the road.  It turns out that it was really simple to get there, we just hadn't gone far enough down the road to take the right right! All we needed was for someone to have said, turn JUST BEFORE the highway, or AT the turn.  Nevertheless, we made it.  
Now if there is a lesson in all this, its this: a man should know to give detailed directions to his wife.  Sure the directions we were given were accurate and simple, but without the details we had to fill in the blanks ourselves and that didn't turn out good!  But we know that DETAILS just aren't a part of a man's brain so the reality is that detailed directions will never happen.  Which means the real lesson in all this is that every ranch wife needs to know EVERY inch of land, EVERY road, EVERY corral...  EVERY blasted sage brush so that when they say "meet me here," you actually know where to go and don't take an hour long scenic route.
Despite the craziness and somewhat stressfulness, it was a lot of fun.  Not any fun I want to repeat anytime soon, but we certainly made some memories.


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