Friday, December 11, 2009

As written 12/5/09

I'm trying to be the best ranch woman I can be. Many moments I feel helples and other moments I get pissed off. Then others, I'm just thankful.

I couldn't get the 4-wheeler OR snowmobile started today so I took off walking after I threw out the vengeful words, "WHATEVER. I'm walking to the barn."

That was a moment of being pissed off, because I absolutely despise it when machinery rebels against me. Perhaps because it reveals my true inadequacies at handling those situations.

"Why won't the tractor start?" I groaned yesterday, repeatedly turning the key, to no avail.

"The clutch," said my little sister. "Push it in."

Magic. That's what that clutch is.

I decided this afternoon to start the evening chore process early because I wanted to get it done before my brother came home. As a surprise, you know.

I decided to start with the biggest project, taking feed to cows about 3 miles from the headquarters. I loaded the feed up in the bucket of the tractor and set out, with my little brother following me on a 4-wheeler.

I'm not really sure what happened other then at the pasture on my way up to the troughs, the tractor quit working. Engine running, tires not moving.

We stared into the faces of five hungry bulls.

I dumped the minerals and slashed the bags of feed and left it there in the bucket of the tractor for them to eat.

If you haven't noticed, this is where the surprise starts going south.

For me, being a ranch woman means crying when you find dead livestock. So that's what I did when I discovered a young dead bull in one of the pens while we were feeding.

It was dark and I thought surely the black mound laying just inches from me was not dead - just sleeping.

Please, just be sleeping.

It personally hurts my feelings when the calves try to kick me when I'm trying to feed them. This hurt my feelings worse.

I swung a pick-ax through five inches of ice on a water trough so the bulls could drink. It's like one of the worst jobs ever, mostly because it's so exhausting, at least to me.

For me, being a ranch woman means that my house smells like cow poop because as soon as I come in, I strip my coat, coveralls, jeans, wool socks, boots and lay them all out in front of the stove to dry.

This is work, let me just say.

But at night, when we're all sitting around, eating, laughing, talking about business plans and dreams, playing games, discussing politics or the latest news, or talking about healing and the wounds of our past, I sit back and smile with pride. Really.

Pride because we've worked together to make it through another day. And pride because we never stop moving forward and laughing about it.

I'm the newest member to this team on the Mountain and I'm proud to be a part.

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