Date Night with a Rancher

I’ve been reading a whole slough of self-help-parenting-books-or-blogs lately; one common thread uniting all the advice is this: parents need a weekly date night.  When I reach this section of information generally I begin to feel irritated.  The irritation ranges from annoyance at the author’s inclusion of such a subject, frustration that Ty and I don’t get to go on more “dates,” or criticism of those few (and frankly unknown to me!) couples who do have time and money and babysitters available for a weekly date night.  Just the other day I was reading one such book on one such section as date nights and as the irritation began to creep up, rather than let it take over my whole mood, I actively tried to fit the advice for one-on-one spouse time into the scene of my life.  And you know what?  Mr. Rancher and I actually do go on quite a few dates!

Our dates do not include going to a movie, going to an amusement park, eating at fancy restaurants, playing our way through arcades, or going to awesomely-fun trampoline parks.  Nope a date with a rancher goes a little something like this:

“Hey honey, I need to haul a couple bull up to the cows.  Wanna go with me?”

“Hey honey, I need to ride through the cows and check for any new calves. Wanna ride with me?”

“Hey honey, I need to swath this field of hay.  Wanna sit in the swather with me?”

“Hey honey, I have a couple horses to shoe.  Wanna go horseshoeing with me?”

Each of these “dates” and many more are a regular thing in my marriage.  I’m convinced that our cows and hay fields are on a mission to upset virtually any set of plans I ever make to do something not related to agriculture with Mr. Rancher.  They’re like a whiny toddler that simply can’t play alone for longer than five minutes and simply must follow mom around the house, clinging to her leg, and whimpering her need for constant and undivided attention from her mother…but I digress.  What I’m trying to say is that cows and hay need a lot of attention, and just as soon as I plan something the cows get out or the hay is ready to be baled.  So if I want to see my husband, especially during the summer months, I have to tag along and do what he does, go where he goes.

For the most part, I’m happy to follow him around and help out, and my sister-in-law is fabulous about watching the Little Miss on short notice.  My one problem is that diesel pick-ups tend to put me to sleep.  Something about the noise from the engine and the slight shaking that comes from driving on gravel roads inevitably lulls me off into a somewhat restful nap.  Mr. Rancher pretends to get annoyed when I drift off, like clockwork, for the final twenty minutes of any drive.  I don’t think he really minds it though; in fact, he probably likes a break from my steady stream of open-ended and philosophical questioning.  You’d probably be tired too if you tried to interest a busy cowboy in the plot of the the Iliad (which I finished by the way!) or any other piece of classical literature that he has no interest in reading and that you quite possibly don’t understand anyway.

Rambling on, Mr. Rancher and I have built our relationship on a long line of unconventional dates and outings and that’s just fine with me.  It’s also just fine with me that anywhere we drive allows me at least twenty minutes of nap-time on the way.  Do you and your spouse have time for weekly date nights?  What kinds of things do you go do?  Don’t be afraid to share!  I’ve helped Mr. Rancher re-insert the prolapsed uterus of a cow on what was supposed to be a date, and I’m sure nothing can be much worse (or less romantic) than that!

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Library Patronage

The Little Miss and I frequent the local library at least once a week.  Sometimes twice a week.  We almost always attend story-time Wednesday mornings.  Despite these regular visits, we have a fine to pay nearly every week!  Usually these fines are racked up by books we somehow lose in our tiny house and only cost twenty or thirty cents.  Today’s fine though was a bit different.

You see, Mr. Rancher and I sold my little car, a Dodge Caliber, last week.  While I thought I cleaned every single thing out of the car, I forgot to check the CD player.  One of the CDs from an audiobook we had borrowed was still in the player when the new owner drove off.  I didn’t realize this until several days later and haven’t been able to get in touch with the new owner since.  Henley and I walked into the library today and explained our predicament to our very sweet and very patient librarian.  She smiled and giggled as we gave our latest excuse for tardiness and lost books–though not technically lost, I know right where it is *wink.*  Luckily, the librarians had made a copy of several books–for situations such as this–and had a spare CD!  We just had to cover the cost of the new disc.  I handed over $2 and told our librarian to keep the change, she smiled and told me I’d better take it.  After all, I’d probably have another fine to pay soon.  Thank goodness for sweet–and a little sassy–librarians.

Cowboy and Toddler

There have been a few moments, since becoming a rancher’s wife, that have helped me feel better about the dirt, dust, manure, and dog hair in my house, and the blood/manure/mud stains on the clothes piled next to my washer.  Moments like seeing the cows Mr. Rancher and I bought together all grazing in a pasture, like seeing the newborn calves each spring, like seeing how happy Ty is gathering cattle, or like seeing Henley shoo calves with her dad.  We all went to our neighbor’s branding last week and Miss Henley had to help Mr. Rancher with everything.  Here she is helping him and the other cowboys sort off some of the calves.

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Doesn’t this picture melt your heart?  It sure does mine.  The two compadres waiting for another calf to be roped and bzrought to the branding fire.

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Who says you can’t wrangle calves with a baby under your arm?  Just minutes before this scenario happened two of the ladies at the branding commented on how strong Ty was, as we all watched him throw down a huge calf without any help.  They were joking that all the rest of us on the “ground crew” could just sit back and watch my manly man work the calves on his own.  Then Mr. Rancher ran out to tackle a calf with the Little Miss in his arms and the ladies started laughing and yelling “we were just kidding, Ty!”

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“Someone grab that baby!”  I heard as I whipped out my phone and snapped some pictures.  Once the calf was vaccinated and branded Ty and Henley came sauntering back–that’s right sauntering–and he proudly exclaimed “it’s good for her to work calves!”  Everyone chuckled a bit but our neighbor said he wasn’t so much worried about Henley but about Ty getting himself hurt trying to do too much.

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Personally, I think it’s a good thing for everyone.  Good for me to learn to relax and let Henley learn the ropes of this whole ranching lifestyle.  Good for Henley to learn how to handle large animals and how to be safe when working with her dad.  Good for Ty to learn to do things a little slower pace and to be a little more careful.

Rafting the Weiser River

We, along with my in-laws, have bought two rafts!  The various ways we scrounged up the money to buy these toys are actually a little impressive and unconventional.  Our contribution was to donate the money Mr. Rancher earned from the gopher reimbursement program in our county and selling the antler sheds he has found over the years.  It just goes to show that a little initiative goes a long way, you can make a little extra cash doing just about anything!

So far we’ve only taken the raft down the Weiser River, and even though it’s a pretty mild river, we’ve had tons of fun!  This is photo of Henley’s first time down the river.
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She looks like she’s going whaling.IMG_0426

This is the second raft, it’s longer and has two oars rather than six paddles for power.  It’s hard to row and steer and avoid hitting anyone with the oars.IMG_0664

Trust me, it’s a lot more difficult than it looks!
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Henley loved having Bo with us, Bo wished he’d stayed on shore.  He hated the wet floor and could’t find a comfortable spot on the side to rest.  He finally settled right in front of the frame with the oars, but kept slipping further and further towards the water.  Poor dog was so excited to see our take-out point.IMG_0661

Here’s Mr. Rancher steering us down the river on our trip from Midvale down to Weiser.  There were some more exciting rapids on this stretch of river and Ty seemed to hit every rock possible for awhile.  One of the rocks we hit spun the raft completely around and water washed over the Little Miss from head to toe.  This happened after lunch when she was already tired and grouchy and the cold bath was more than enough to set her bawling.  She cried for a good twenty minutes before falling asleep in my jacket and taking a little power nap.  After she woke up she was a champ the rest of the trip.IMG_0660

The water was full of run-off and very muddy but at least the hills were still green and pretty.IMG_0659The best part of rafting is simply sitting, relaxing, and not worrying about a list of to-dos.  The worst part is how much work it takes before and after you’re in the water.  Getting the food packed and shuttling everyone and all the cars or trailers is quite the chore.  We decided we need a van or mini-bus or something just to cart all the people around.