Those of us who live and work in the livestock industry can be somewhat oblivious to the strange things we say or do when we head into town for a nice dinner or we’re late to an appointment and can’t change out of what we worked calves in. As a rancher’s daughter and now rancher too, I know too well the many #RancherProbs that come with this lifestyle. However, for the sake of brevity in this blog, I’ll share just a few of my favorites.
Talking about AI at dinner.
It never fails…you take a cattleman to town and he’s sitting in a nice place talking about semen and breeding cows. He’s completely oblivious to the frightened and confused looks of the waitstaff and the couple sharing a romantic dinner behind him that are simply grossed out by his casual conversation. If you can’t handle this kind of embarrassment, definitely don’t date a man who owns cattle.
Holidays off? Who’s doing chores?
Livestock don’t know that it’s the 4th of July, they’re not taking the day off for a family BBQ. On Christmas morning someone still has to go out and do chores. If you have a job in town and also live on a ranch, congrats, you’re a ranch hand on holidays. Ranchers care for their animals every day of the year. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, weekend, poor weather, or what have you, the livestock come first.
Vacations? Probably not.
My family’s first vacation happened when I was 23 years old. And that was only after a lot of reasoning with my dad as to why a week in Hawaii would be more fun than watching the cows eat grass. Before that, we’d never left the ranch for a reason that didn’t involve showing, selling, or buying cattle. Contrary to popular belief, a trip to a sale out of state is not a vacation. Livestock shows look like a vacation but they’re really just hard work and stress in disguise.
Bulls are basically teenage boys.
If you can raise boys, you’re ready to go into the bull business. Bulls are always destroying things, getting dirty, being mouthy, showing off their muscles & going where they shouldn’t to chase ladies. I honestly can’t see a major difference other than the fact that we let teenagers live in the house with us.
I didn’t know I smelled.
Most of the time, we don’t know we smell like a barn. We just wander off into town with no idea that a child in the grocery store line is going to plug their nose and point directly at whatever’s on our boots screeching “MOOOOM Why does that lady smell?!” But after someone points it out, we realize there really should be an extra pair of shoes in the pickup for last minute trips to town.
Yes, I know I’m late.
I’m not late because I don’t have any concept of time, I was going to be 30 minutes early. But then the cows got out. I saw a sick calf. The tractor broke down. The neighbor stopped by to talk about nothing. So here I am two hours late to your kid’s birthday party. I’ll be on time for his next one.
The cow you’re looking for is never there.
When you head out to show a certain cow to a bull buyer or get in one that needs attention, she’s never there. All the cattle you don’t need or want to see will be standing in the gate while the other practices tricks Houdini taught her. I feel like we always go through every single cow before we finally come across the one we’ve been on a hunt for.
The weather never cooperates.
It’ll rain when you have hay down, or if you wash your pickup. The wind is going to blow when you’re trying to feed hay. The cows will probably wait to calve until the temperature is far below freezing and there’s a nice layer of fresh snow on the ground. It’s going to get extremely hot when you’re ready to wean calves. Mother nature creates a lot of beautiful things for us but she really needs to work on her mood swings when we’re trying to get things accomplished.
Our world revolves around cattle.
Our cattle are our livelihood. The price of calves when you’re ready to sell can make or break you. On my family’s ranch, a successful bull sale is the basis of everything on our operation. We spend every day from conception to sale day tending to the cowherd and the bull calves making sure they’re high quality, healthy, and ready to go to work in someone’s herd. How we gauge the success of the previous year and the game plan we create for the coming year all depends on how well one day goes on the ranch.
The list of things we could laugh about and consider #RancherProbs could go on and on. I may get weird looks in town and spend weekends and holidays with the cattle but there’s nothing else I’d rather do. There’s no lifestyle that I’d find more fulfilling than ranch life is.
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