When I told my husband I grew up on a farm, I must have failed to mention that it was a measly 20 acre farm. And that it was an ostrich farm. My usual role was to make a spectacle of myself in order to distract the male ostrich while my Dad bravely jumped the fence to collect the daily egg. Once the egg was ready to hatch, I meticulously chipped off the thick pieces of its calcium composite shell facilitating the young chick’s entry into the world.
And that was about the extent of my farming expertise.
Which means I had no experience cutting, baling and hauling hay, combining wheat, saddling horses, milking cows while 9 months pregnant, working cows with a baby on my hip, pulling calves and getting completely covered in afterbirth, wrestling pigs in slimy mud, herding sheep while nursing a baby, shoveling chicken manure in July or collecting honey from beehives without getting stung.
Nonetheless, I did learn how to do it all. And I learned how to do it all with grace and sophistication. Except that time when the pigs got loose. That may have been more of a mediocre affair.
Just when I feel I’ve actually gotten quite good at handling just about anything that comes my way on the farm, my cowboy has talked me into moving to the ranch. It’s bittersweet. I feel excited, frightened, joyous, hesitant, nauseous, relieved, squeamish and adventurous all at the same time.
And here’s why
1. Unfamiliar territory.
I’m afraid I’ll walk out the back door, get turned around and find myself lost in the never-ending, unpopulated terrain. I keep reminding myself that if I get lost, all I have to do is find a good cow trail.
The never-ending, unpopulated terrain is breathtakingly beautiful.
Snakes, deer, turkeys, ducks, snakes, fish, crawdads, coyotes, lizards and their kin, snakes… hawks, eagles, possums (do you know I’ve been bit by a possum?), armadillos, skunks, turtles, rabbits, woodpeckers, coons, infinity.
Far from shopping, far from friends, far from family, far from rural water… far from places that cook for me… far, far, far….. far away from here.
Ok, maybe it’s not all that far, but it feels far.
If learning to live on a ranch is half as entertaining as learning to live on a farm, it should make for some good stories. You just can’t make this stuff up.