Putting on a big feed for a crew of friends and neighbors helping work cattle can put cooks, appliances and outlets to the test. Throughout my years as the branding and fall cattle-working cook, I've had minimal disasters in feeding those who help us every spring and fall. My neighbor has been at the helm of such feedings more than twice as long as I have and she has had plenty of things go wrong while trying to get a branding day or vaccination day meal cooked. Early in her marriage she prepared everything on a wood cookstove.
Our ranch has never been more ready to get our calves to market than right now. We’ve had ample time to look them over, estimate their weights and count down...
When businesses sponsor or donate to a women's conference, they contribute things that pertain to women's interests, but many donations at a Women in Agriculture Conference (WIA) go a step further by being items that are also practical. Useful door prizes go over well with farm and ranch women. Early in the WIA conference I recently attended, I'd perused the various door prizes on display and never gave a second thought to the more ag-related items that were showcased. They all seemed perfectly normal; some of which I considered a pretty substantial donation.
I happen to be a perfectly good roadmap reader, just not for my husband. When I travel alone around South Dakota, I always manage to get to my destinations just fine without a quarrel. If I make a wrong turn or am uncertain, I pull over and consult my South Dakota map. It's no big deal. My travel routine is to scan the roadmap before departure, memorize pertinent highway numbers and go. Most junctions are self-explanatory upon arrival. I also add an extra hour for travel to cover major wrong turns. I don't obsess over routes to any South Dakota town. When in navigation doubt, I ask a local.
Many women base their reputation on their cooking the way ranchers base their reputation on their cow-calf operation. A lot can be determined about a woman by her willingness to share her recipes. Not only am I flattered anytime I'm asked for a recipe, but I will share it. Happily. It's the least I can do for just having received what I consider a compliment. Yet, there are women who are very guarded and greedy about their recipes, and are unwilling to share them.
Since taking our oldest child to college, my husband and I have been experiencing the beginning stages of empty nest syndrome (besides panic). I keep trying to buy milk in bulk, set the table and make meals for four, and am having to get used to taking hot showers again instead of lukewarm-turned-cold ones after everybody else has showered. Thankfully, the hubs and I are not entirely empty nesters yet.
Coffee-shop ranchers who question why local ranchers don't have their bales off their hayfields yet are referred to as "road experts" at our house. Road experts are people who do not currently put up their own hay, but drive by hayfields and generate opinions about others' haying operations. Road experts sometimes publicly share what they'd do regarding other people's hay bales still in the field and the advice gets around. The hay boss at our house is fussy enough about our haying operation as it is.
Whether it's a determined lead cow wanting to veer the herd in the wrong direction, through the trees or straight ahead when we want them to turn, reliable communication is helpful because cows, trees and rocky canyons complicate the process. When our family splits up to get everything gathered, we all like knowing what's going on at the other end when we can't see ahead or behind, where someone's at, or where more cows are.
People keep saying, "It's gonna be a bad winter" and I wish they'd stop saying that -- at least around here where I can hear them. The more people say it, the more likely it will come true. I have been hearing a lot of talk this summer about the impending doom (winter) we're going to be facing this year. I don't understand why people are bringing up that dreadful season when it's still beautiful summer. I prefer to forget about winter until it's inevitable that I have to face it. Talking about winter is the same as people talking to my daughter about school starting.
In every cow herd there is at least one, if not more than one lead cow. The same could be said — and has been said in our car before — about certain women on the road or in a crowd with "lead cow" syndrome. Being heavily tailgated while driving somewhere then passed by an impatient, eager-to-be-in-front woman driver that seems insistent on being ahead of other cars could be categorized as a lead cow. If they aren't leading the way, they want to be. In a herd, lead cows are the ones that always end up in front, leading the others when being trailed from place to place.