Friday, April 28, 2017

Going Nuts Over Branding

With all of my years of ranching and branding there is something that I have never done.  Ok, there are plenty of ranchy-branding things that I haven't done... But there is one that I took pride in not doing until just a few weeks ago.  I don't know if I should be proud for what I did, but I did it.

Here is what I did- I ate a nut.  Not like a nut nut, but like a calf nut.  A lemon peppered, battered, deep fried calf testicle.

Gross, I know.

Like I said, I don't know if I'm proud of myself for doing it, but I did.

My brother-in-law, Cowboy Pete, had some buddies that thought it would be a great idea to fry up some nuts and have a party about it.  So all day long, we were collecting nuts as we were branding.  He even had his mom bring a tupperware with water that he had in the cooler with the vaccines to keep the nuts clean and cool.  He went to some pretty extensive lengths to make sure that everything would be just right for their dinner that night. 

So Cowboy Pete gets home, pulls out the nuts and made up his own little recipe for some gourmet fried nuts.  All day he kept telling me that he was going to bring them over for me to try and I just laughed him off, so sure that he wasn't going to do it and even if he did cook some, he wouldn't bring them over. 

But he did.  

He comes over with his buddies and his plate of fried testicles and wafted them in front of my face as if its tantalizing aroma would be something I couldn't resist.  He grinned from ear to ear as he was trying to convince me just how good it was and that I HAD to try them.

I waffled back and forth on what I should do.  Because really, one bite wouldn't kill me.  And if it was nasty, I could just spit it out.  But I didn't want to give in to him and justify his claim that his deep fried calf testes were good. 

Just then, my husband reached over grabbed one and took a bite.  I was super surprised because no one had been goading him to eat one and he JUST DID IT!  And he liked it!  Or at least I think he did.  He at least didn't spit it out, although he didn't have another bite so maybe he didn't like it so much.

After that, I knew I had to do it.  If I didn't, I would be the weak one.  The one that wasn't brave enough to even eat a little nut.  So I took a bite.

I still shudder to think about what I did.  I stooped to eating genitalia...  Gross.  Except, it was good.  Or at least not bad.  They seasoned them enough that it just tasted like a lemon pepper beef nugget (like chicken nugget, but beef... get it?).

Now I have done it all.  And I will likely never do it again.  Cowboy Pete did say that no self respecting ranch blogger couldn't call themselves legit without trying a nut at least once. I tried it once, now I'm legit and have great credibility with my people, right?

Let me know if you want Cowboy Pete's Deep Fried Calf Nut recipe ;). 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Growing Some Thick Skin

One of my favorite rancher wives once told me that she chooses NOT to work beside her husband a lot of times because she doesn't have thick enough skin.  Its not that her husband is grouchy and it isn't ever her husband that is the problem, but to keep things happy in all corners, she just stays out of it.

From her words of wisdom and my own experiences over the last few years, I have learned two things.  First, if I can't handle what the cowboys say, I'd better stay out of the work.  And second, I if I'm determined to work with them, I better grow some thick skin to be able to handle it all.

You know me... although the best way to go would be to go with the first little lesson I learned, I'm taking the harder way and following the second.

There are a few reasons a person might need some thicker skin when working with the cowboys, especially if its your husband.  At home, he calls you honey and sweetheart and any other pet name I might not want to know.  But those lovy names are totally forgotten once the two of you are out the door to work.  All of the sudden, he sounds a little cold or distant and pretty soon, you begin to wonder if you did something wrong.  Really, what has happened is that he has his rancher hat on and that is all that is on his mind.  Don't worry, he will warm back up to you when the work is done!

Now, unfortunately, ranch work can be noisy.  Really, REALLY noisy.  Loud tractors or pumps, noisy, bellaring cows and so much more.  Hearing anybody talking to you over any of this noise is nearly impossible.  So the easiest solution to this problem is just to talk louder than the noise.  Most commonly known as YELLING.  Yep, I just admitted it, my husband yells at me.  At least that is what I used to think.  That quick, "CLOSE THE GATE!" without any tender love or affection can cut a wife right to the heart if she doesn't have some thick skin to protect her.  But once ya learn that he is yelling TO you, not AT you, its not so bad.  In reality, anything he might be yelling to you is probably to help you do your job better or to keep you safe.  Just read it as his way of saying "I love you."

Eventually, any ranch wife that decides to help the guys get the work done, is going to make a mistake.  Its hard to admit, but we wives aren't perfect.  We try hard to be perfect because there are some pretty intense expectations of the level of work that needs to be done and inevitably we might miss the mark.  And without any warning or intention, some words might slip out of somebody's mouth and somebody's feelings are hurt.  I've been there thinking, "I am here helping you get YOUR work done and I am doing MY BEST and  you are mad at me?!"

But in all honesty, I had made a mistake.

And I hate to admit it.

But in admitting my mistake, it actually made things better. 

I'm sure that there are a lot of other wives out there that have their own stories and lessons they have learned about how to make it working with their husbands on the ranch.  But ultimately, if you're going to work with the guys, you gotta handle whatever they might say.  Some of it they mean, some of it they don't.  But some thick skin can go a long way to keep things happy at home.

Because really, it can't get more true than the t-shirt that says, "Sorry for what I said when we were working cattle!"