AMY KIRK: Stages of an agventure for a woman on a ranchMany of the ranch predicaments I encounter are the kind I do not have the mental capacity to solve. This is due to the biological fact that I was born with a woman’s mind.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
Many of the ranch predicaments I encounter are the kind I do not have the mental capacity to solve. This is due to the biological fact that I was born with a woman’s mind.
Instead of dealing with problems I can resolve when my husband’s gone, like what to fix for supper or how I can be in two places at once, I’m faced with challenges that are better suited for him to solve.
He has the instincts for knowing which wrenches to use, the severity of a mechanical problem, and whether to apply duct tape, baling wire, or gorilla glue. When he’s gone I go through the stages of an agventure (agriculture-related adventure).
Stage 1: Freak out and self-talk. Once my brain acknowledges a situation I’m not good at dealing with, I freak out.
Symptoms may include racing heart rate, conversations with myself, and sometimes shaky hands. On one particular morning after my spouse left and before my mind acquired enough coffee to be coherent, I received a phone call letting us know that the caller “let those two bulls in through that gate up by the barn” (the pasture containing our yearling replacement heifers).
A couple of bulls were out along the highway next to our pasture and almost got hit. Those bulls weren’t ours. After hanging up and freaking out my son and I remedied the problem on horseback.
Stage 2: Determine something. I try determining what I can do about my ag-crisis by analyzing my predicament to see if there’s any action I can take.
I might ask myself “WWHD?” (What Would He (husband) Do?). If nothing else, I at least make it look like I made an attempt. Next I try to anticipate husband-like questions by educating myself about the problem and come up with a few good vague answers. Once I’ve informed my husband, he’ll ask questions, especially if he has to follow up.
Stage 3: Visualization. The longer I’m involved in a predicament the more I visualize.
I envision a few nightmarish-worthy situations that mutate into what will become of the situation (or me) should things reach worst-case scenario status. Consider the morning I went to feed the bulls in our little ranch pickup. Forgetting about its radiator issues, it got so hot on the return trip home the temperature gauge topped out and the engine light came on.
I visualized having to walk home in cold windy conditions, the engine blowing up, or catching fire, the gas tank catching fire, a forest fire starting from the gas tank explosion in the windy conditions, and not being able to call 911.
Stage 4: Endure. My mission is to just get through the problem, keep the circumstances from getting worse, and not ruin anything equipment-wise.
While feeding one day I investigated a ticking sound under the feed pickup’s hood. Strips of the serpentine belt (FYI: VITAL automotive part that enables our feed pickup to operate), were coming off and whipping cuts through important electrical wires (FYI: NOT good — especially when cows aren’t fed yet).
I got through feeding cows by snipping the strips and praying.
Stage 5: Meltdown. This stage only occurs if frustration overwhelms me. Symptoms include any combination of self-talk, tears of frustration, and temper-tantrums if my problem-solving capabilities fail me. Instances of blaming someone or something may happen.
I can always count on having an adventurous day whenever my husband’s gone but now that Pringle has cellular phone tower I can just call and ask him what to do; as long as he keeps his phone turned on.
Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.