When Ag Families Go On Vacation…

Rachel CutrerRHD Blog

Last week, for the first time in our 7 year marriage, the Cutrer family went on vacation! Typically, we’re not the vacationing kind…we’re the working kind. We skipped a honeymoon. Any trip we take usually involves a livestock show or cattle convention.

In February, our 6-year-old-daughter Mollie informed us that she wanted to spend a week at the beach when school is out.

Keep in mind, Mollie’s request was made (strategically perhaps?) during the apex of Houston show planning. Mid February is “go-time” and it consumes the month of February and March. I also knew that our April meant bull sale time, and May meant heifer sale prep, ranch party, and private treaty sales. So a vacation during first week of June….sounded perfect!

So I went on vrbo.com and browsed the beautiful vacation rentals in Galveston, TX, about 2 hours from our home. Perfect drive…far enough, but close enough for a car trip with a 6 and 2-year-old. I perused through 600 different available rentals, and *without Brandon’s permission* went ahead and booked a 1 week vacation in Galveston! What’s the old saying… “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission?”

I’m not gonna lie, we have been busting it at work for the past 4 months. So this vacation was a welcomed sight. As we were planning for the trip, Brandon said, “For the first time in my life, I can say, I don’t want to see a single cow for a week!”

But as new vacationers, I had to laugh at how inexperienced, and country we are. The phrase “Country goes to town” couldn’t be more applicable….except it was “Country Hits the Beach!” And, if you’ve ever taken a non-livestock related vacation, you can probably relate.

We greatly overpacked…well, some of us.

I packed three outfits for myself and each of the girls for each day: play clothes, bathing suit, and elegant evening attire. Because obviously my plan for the vacation included sightseeing, beach time, then a gourmet dinner out each night. Brandon packed 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of shoes, and 2 Hawaiian shirts. For a 5 day trip. When we got home, guess who had 15 outfits they never wore on the trip? Next time I’ll follow Brandon’s method.

Farmer tans do not look good in beachwear.

I am going to spare everyone here and not post a pic. Brandon has the full on farmer tan from wearing jeans and a short sleeve shirt every day to work. I have a modified farmer tan which is the “mom tan” where I have three distinct levels of tan. My feet are white. My ankles to knee are tan, from wearing my sporty workout crop pants every day, and my knee to thigh is a third color, on the few days I do wear short shorts. Trust me, this look was definitely rocking it on the beach. Especially when you factor in the “t shirt over your bathing suit” look I was also sporting.

We got sunburned.

With two little fair skinned girls, I was spraying the SPF 100 like it was nobody’s business. I lightly applied on myself, and Brandon, not at all. Both Brandon and I are outside several hours a day, (hence the farmer tan mentioned above), so I didn’t think we needed it. Well, apparently I forgot that my daily workwear includes something covering my back, so I’m the one who got a sunburn from my completely open back mom-style bathing suit. Nice. Hello special trip to the store to get Aloe Vera.

Brandon missed the cows. So did Annie.

Despite saying he wanted to go an entire week without seeing a cow, not an hour into the trip he was checking out the cattle in everyone’s pastures along the way. At one point, he decided that he wanted to get a saltwater lease and run cattle on the marsh and have a big roundup once a year. There was a small ranchette on the island between the beach and bay that had about 20 scrub cattle on it. He tried to figure out who they are and go visit them and see their cattle. As soon as we got home, Annie (2-year-old) ran to Brandon’s truck and said “Go see cows” then she and Brandon disappeared for 3 hours, which I’m pretty sure meant they were riding through the pastures.

It was impossible for us to disconnect from the ranch life.

I had told myself, turn off your phone and do not text or email on this vacation! Impossible. I helped someone order 500 units of semen and another person buy 45 embryos from the beach of Galveston. Hey, multi-tasking right? One morning I “caught” Brandon on his phone, when our rule was supposed to be no phones…and he admitted he was texting Britt about what cows had came in heat that day and what he wanted to AI them to. Busted Brandon.

The tourist things were fun, but only for about an hour.

Each day we did something fun at Galveston: Moody Gardens, Pleasure Pier, Rainforest Cafe. We realized, we are just not that good at leisurely wasting spending time. Supposedly we were on “island time” but I still wanted to precisely schedule, plan, and outline our day. I found it funny that we can gladly spend 2 hours a night AI’ing cows, or riding around a pasture, but 1 hour at Pleasure Pier riding carnival lines is enough to make you go crazy.

We related everything to agriculture.

At every restaurant, we check out the beef menu and analyze the steaks. We discuss where the closest livestock auction barn is for that rancher with 20 head to sell his calves. We agreed that every rancher down there should be using Brahman bulls because of the environment. We talked about how the old cattle baron Shanghai Pierce used to travel by train to Galveston for his vacation….which made it definitely acceptable for Brandon to vacation in Galveston too.

We (well, I) was the overly scared tourist.

For my entire life, my grandma has told me “Watch the undertow….it’ll get you!” So while I totally let my 2-year-old run around free will through a pen or pasture full of 1500 pound cows…..we had specific instructions not to go past the knees into the ocean. As Brandon said, I am a buzzkill. Thank goodness my Dad came down for a 1 day visit and he too, could confirm that the undertow will get you.

We really love animals.

When you spend all your time around cows, you naturally love animals. And we missed that. Brandon was constantly scouting the highways for any cow he could find. Our kids wanted to stop and pet every dog on the beach. Maybe their favorite part of the entire trip was feeding the seagulls from our balcony….which only cost us a $3.00 for a box of Saltines. Maybe Moody Gardens should create that new attraction.

We came home a day early.

While we had a blast, and we totally loved it, we decided to come home a day early. 6 days at the beach was too much for us. We missed home, the cattle, and the rest of our family. Sure enough, not 30-minutes after we got home, our grandparents, Nana and Dadaw, pulled up into our driveway because they happened to be driving by and they missed us so much too. Brandon caught 10 cows in heat (he thinks they waited for him to get home) and so off he went the next morning to AI. Back to the good life.

My verdict? The vacation was totally worth it. As I was scrolling through Facebook as Brandon drove home, I saw my friend Annie Dean share this post: Take the Trip. And I couldn’t agree more. It was a great time. We made so many wonderful memories, and I hope we continue to take a vacation together every year.

What happened when your ag family goes on vacation? Share your comments below!