With Ree Drummond as the spearhead, there’s been an explosion of city-girl-to-ranch-wife blogs. About transitions from late night clubbing to early morning chores. About the learning curve these girls face as they are introduced into a new and alien lifestyle.
This is not one of those blogs.
I grew up in this lifestyle. I was hauling feed and water buckets larger than I was as far back as I can remember.
At age 5, I was the only healthy one in the family without breaks or sprains, and did all the chores while Dad stood propped on his crutches and told me what to do. I still remember how long that pitchfork seemed while pitching hay.
I was driving tractors earlier, much earlier, than 16. (Real ones. Not just the pedal ones!)
I can drive and back up combines, straight trucks, pickups and stock trailers, different sizes of tractors, forklifts, and the semi.
I learned to drive a manual before I could barely reach the clutch. After we mastered those, then we could drive the automatics.
We never had hired men around the place: my sisters and I were the hired hands. If you weren’t old or big enough to drive equipment, you made lunch for the others.
I can shoot and I can gut a fish.
I can change a tire and the oil in a car.
I can stack small square bales by hand.
I can run tie-down straps.
I have scars on my hands from working on equipment and having wrenches slip off the bolts and hit metal resulting in scabs, bruises and muttered curse words.
I’m the girl who never paints her nails because it chips off when I work outside. The girl who can grow long nails like no other, and can’t do anything with short nails, but there’s always a couple broken short. No big deal. Trust me, they grow back.
So I know what I’m getting into by dating, and eventually marrying, a ranch boy. I know about the average of two hours sleep per night during calving. I know about missing important events because the crops and cattle can’t wait. I know how you can’t plan ahead or commit to anything because you don’t know what the ranch will need at that time.
I know about not eating lunch because you don’t have time to stop to eat. I know about not eating supper till 10 p.m. when you finally make it to the house just about too tired to eat or shower.
I know about not taking a family vacation. That the rodeo in town during fair week counts as vacation.
About living more than an hour away from the nearest Wal-Mart.
That Saturdays are just another day of sunlight to get work done.
That you go for hours and hours without seeing another human being while they’re (or you’re) in the tractor. Or you’re alone in the house, doing the piles of greasy laundry and figuring out the next meal while carrying on a normal conversation with your dog.
I know about being patient while a trip to the parts store will only take “a minute”…three hours later you still might be there. I know about being flexible and not making to places you planned on. Does it hurt? Yes. Is it disappointing? Yes. Do you feel crushed and crying inside? Always. But I know it happens. And “there’s always next year.”
Am I saying I know everything? No. I have something new to learn every day. We ran cows when I was growing up, but not to the extent my Cowboy does, so there’s plenty for him to teach me. Plenty for me to learn.
Am I saying I have a leg up on these other women? Absolutely not.
These women give up everything they know for the men they love. I honestly don’t know if I could do the same in reverse. I doubt if I could give up my boots for heels and pencil skirts, my open skies for taxi rides.
One of the sweetest girls I know started a blog like that. She came from a highly populated area, married a county guy. She cooks for their crew and blogs about the recipes and being a stay-at-home mom, and follows her husband when she can. She can usually do a couple posts a day with her schedule.
But that’s not me. I work a 9-hour day at a farm equipment store. Then I got home and work in the field. We may only get cold sandwiches for supper because I’m going to be outside, helping. That’s how I was raised. That’s what this blog is going to be about.
Just so you know.