AMY KIRK: You go, ‘gaters’One of the main reasons ranchers get married is so they have a lifelong companion who will always be around to open gates.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
One of the main reasons ranchers get married is so they have a lifelong companion who will always be around to open gates. This job can be very time and energy consuming for one man, so it’s usually handled by a woman.
Unless we’re talking King Ranch kind of wealthy, the majority of a ranch’s gates are manual. When a woman is being courted by a rancher, it would behoove her to go for a drive with him to check cows to find out just what kind of rancher she’s dating.
If his outfit is equipped with mostly autogates, she can be sure he’s courting her for love and not for gate reasons, but any woman who accepts a man with flawed gates is a tolerant woman (or just plain naïve) and is considered a keeper by rancher standards.
These ranch closures are designed and built by men but most of the opening and closing of them is done by women.
Since men are the gate engineers, gate-getting can test a woman’s emotional self-control and character. Many a gate has left a ranch woman frustrated, on the verge of tears, spewing cuss words or all of the above.
Veteran ranch wives develop and learn to incorporate gate-opening techniques. All women should take full advantage of such tricks in addition to insisting that easy gate-latching systems be installed if she is expected to open and close gates the duration of her life. It’s also a good idea for ranch wives to help each other out and exchange their gate-opening tips.
If a ranch woman is not feeling particularly motivated to get a gate, it’s important that she reassures herself that every time she has to get out, walk over to, wrestle open, drag out of the way, drag back in place, wrestle shut and walk back to the pickup, she’s burning calories.
Gate-getting exercise and resistance training greatly reduces the onset of arm flab and benefits one’s exercise regimen while gate-wrestling.
Every rancher has gate-opening and closing etiquette, and these men should be humored. In an industry where weather, markets, disease and their wife are beyond their control, ranchers seek to maintain some sense of control in other ways. This can be in the form of systems and routines for doing things.
Gate etiquette may include the direction in which the gate should be dragged. My husband prefers gates be opened outward towards the pickup unless otherwise instructed. It truthfully does not make any difference since ranch wives are the ones getting the gates but these little micromanaging opportunities are very calming and satisfying to ranchers.
Another gate-getting particular is standing the gate sticks vertically so there is no visible gate-sagging/leaning going on.
Also, the top wire loop that goes over the gate post should rest under the nailed-in staple, which suffices as a safety measure to ensure the wire loop does not get rubbed or slipped off accidentally. Of equal concern is ensuring none of the gate’s barbed wires are tangled or twisted.
All wires should appear horizontally straight and uniform with the rest of the fence wires. Above all is making sure the gate gets shut securely because there will be no one else to blame.
Attending to such gategetting details and the ability to humor rancher fussiness are what give ranch women a reputation for being go gaters.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.