This is a pretty big place. DH has 200 sections (128,000 acres) to tend to and for the most part, we've had one other man working here. My FIL helped out for a few years part time, and the kids have been part of the ranching crew since they were pretty small. A few years ago we put in a new redi-built house at the other camp, about 5 miles from headquarters and the past 2 years we've had a nice family living there. However, they have moved on and we're in the process of praying for the right help to appear. In the meantime, poor DH is stuck with me. Honestly, the poor man does not deserve this. However, he's a good sport and truth be told, we're kind of enjoying this together time. Through the years, I've fixed my share of water gaps, pulled my quota of windmill sucker rod, tended to more than enough pump jacks, and broken more ice in drinking tubs than I could count. Think I'm complaining? Not a chance! Even when I was on the ground holding the backside of a cow until hubby could get her tended to after she prolapsed, or when we were painting a cattle guard in 120° heat, I was thankful (albeit a bit peaked around the edges) for this amazing life that God has blessed me with. Even after 24 years, I often find myself shaking my head that the good Lord has given me this incredible gift.
I remember an incident that took place back...way back... in the day when I was in the 7th grade. I remember it like it was yesterday and I am still in contact with this friend with whom I had this conversation. We were standing under the breezeway, waiting for 2nd period to start and wondering what our futures would hold instead of concentrating on the fact that I really had not learned how to conjugate those Spanish verbs properly and thus, may never advance to the 8th grade, much less need to worry about what my life would consist of 20 years down the road. Back then, we were all about priorities you know. I was a city girl who felt like a fish out of water and longed desperately for a dirt road away from everything. My friend, Sharon (one of these days I am coming to the NE to visit you!), said, "You are going to grow up and marry a cowboy and live on a big ranch one day just you wait and see". Now, just to set the record straight. I did not, do not, nor will I ever believe in predictions, but little did I know, that God was listening and "He knows the desires of your heart". I laughed it off and thankfully went on to pull a B in that Spanish class, but I never forgot that moment. We both laugh about it now and it makes me realize that the good Lord was molding me and my life long before I came to sit at His feet and that's an awesome feeling! So you can bet that I am praising Him every cotton pickin' day!
DH and I are on the verge of the dreaded 'empty nest'. I know that some people don't dread it, but through the years, when the subject was brought up by anyone, I would come close to hyperventilating and breaking out in hives. I now see that my reaction was only due to the fact that it wasn't time. Timing is everything and God's timing is perfect so I'm good. Now, that's not to say that you won't find me bawling my eyes out when I walk into either of their rooms, or pulled over on the side of the road wailing because I heard, "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins. I already do that last one and DD has been telling me lately that I am awfully weepy. But, I'll be fine. We'll be fine.
So, now that I've gone off on that rabbit trail, I'll get back to my original thought. I'm in training. Kind of. There are miles and miles of water to check and acres and acres of pasture to traverse, and hundreds and hundreds of cattle to keep an eye one, and thousands and thousands of fence posts to keep up.
I'm starting small. I can't even begin to wrap my head around this antiquated water system. So for the time being, I'm the opener of gates as we bounce across the pasture and I take mental notes of the fact that Red Tip Pens are in Armstrong pasture and not in Red Tip Pasture and that when I turn the valve at the highway this way, it sends water north and when I turn it that way, it sends it along the highway line. I need a handy, dandy notebook because my little old, brain is used to homeschooling and keeping people feed. But this is a new season and I am going to take it by the horns and hang on. Hopefully I won't be flung too far. Who says that the children are the only ones who have to learn how to fly?