Many years ago, when I came to this ranch as a young girl of 18, my knowledge of being a rancher was very limited. I had grown up in a small town and lived for a few years on a farm. My father thought that a girl should help her mother and of course we could milk the cows, (by hand) and take care of the chickens and work in the garden. I was also allowed to bring the cows in from the pasture in the evening. All other things on the farm were left up to the men.
Did I ever have a lot to learn!!!!!! I married into a family where everyone does everything. Little did I know when I came to this Panhandle ranch on Sand Creek that I was about to embark on a whole new meaning of the word Ranchers Wife. I knew that I would be expected to feed the men when they were working, have a garden, take care of the children and do all of those things that farm wives do But I didn't know the REST OF THE STORY.
My first clue came when my husband needed me to help with a heifer. Now, I had not even witnessed a cow giving birth at this point in my life much less helped with one. This was one of those things that the men attended in my family. But since I was the one available, I was elected to help with the job. I helped, the calf was okay and in time this was a routine thing. This was only the beginning. I can hold my own when working calves. I can vaccinate, brand, dehorn, earmark, and just about anything, but I still refuse to take away a young bulls pride. Let the men do that.
One year during harvest, being a good wife, I volunteered to learn to drive the combine while my husband ate the meal that I had brought to the men in the field. My mother in law drove the wheat trucks to the elevator and I was the cook as I had small children. Keeping the combines running was top priority in this family. Get it to the elevators, while the sun is shinning. So......I learned to drive the combine. I thought this was a seasonal thing and would not last more than a few weeks out of the year with wheat and Milo harvest. However, this led to other things. I could now learn to drive the tractor. Oh, this was good as it meant time away from the kids for a few hours while hubby could spend some time with them. I learned to use all of the implements and drilled the wheat for many years. I didn't mind it but chose not to be smart enough to run the swather or baler. My husbands mother, said that was a really smart thing not to learn. She a had made that mistake. I still enjoy farming though and smelling the new turned earth.
I have learned to repair and helped build new fences. Helped with the shearing of the sheep, was the assistent at lambing time and worked beside my husband when we had a small hog operation to supplement our income. We have had many adventures on this ranch but the cattle have been the thing that has stayed with us.
When my father in law commented about yard work being a womans job, I just laughed and knew that it was just because a woman could do anything. I am not sure about some men.
The Rancher can cook on the grill and I am finally teaching him a few other tricks in his older age. I am thankful for his help as he was always thankful for mine. We make a good team.
A Woman Can Do Anything she sets her mind to.