Our house guest tonight. Momma is a silly heifer who decided to give birth in a snow drift, so this little one got chilled. He's doing well now, trying to get his feet under him so it won't be long and he'll be back with his Momma. Although we have assured them this is only temporary, the dogs are rolling their eyes at us....
Tom takes great pride in his girls. Lots of little girls grow up playing dress up or playing with Barbies. Our girls never had an interest in those things. They spent their formative years following their dad around the barn, cleaning stalls, watching him train young horses, and taking care of cattle. As parents, we've always believed you just don't see many "bad" kids leading a horse around, and their participation has always been encouraged.
As their confidence has grown, so have their abilities. They've gone from riding the old "automatic" ranch horses that follow along and babysit the kids to riding colts they've started themselves. There have been moments when I've sat paralyzed with my heart in my throat- watching them run full speed down a hill or over a ditch to turn a cow, but there is no denying they are capable.
Now that our three have reached the teenage years, our family has expanded to include two more girls. Friends from school that have visited over the years- these two girls did not have the opportunity to grow up with horses in their back yard. Upon meeting the Brown girls though, we've observed there is something that happens to a young girls brain when she is introduced to horse hair. Every opportunity they get, they visit us to help with brandings, moving cattle, or just a good old fashioned trail ride. Those "automatic" ranch horses now are trusted with our "town" girls, and those girls are also becoming quite skilled.
I lovingly tease Tom about his "herd" of girls. He just grins, because he knows there is not a job around this place that he cannot do with the help of his gaggle of girls.
I'm ready for a change of pace. Winter has never really been my friend. We tolerate each other, mediated by plenty of steaming cups of coffee and a nice warm wood fire, but I would much rather stretch spring and fall a little longer and bid Winter a permanent farewell.
March is coming though, and with March will come sleepless nights, mucky corrals, plenty of wet chore clothes and somewhere around 650 new little faces on the ranch. Calving season is nearly upon us! Although we can get some pretty severe weather in March, these momma cows keep us so busy and sleep deprived that before we know it, spring is in the air and the green grass is showing.
This year, along with the calves, Cheyenne is due with our very first (long awaited) William baby. Cheyenne is pictured above in the none to flattering snapshot I took of her a couple weeks ago. As you can see, she is "over it", and is just as excited for this baby to be on the ground as we are. We've brought her back from my folks' place so we can keep an eye on her right along with the mother cows. She is not due until the beginning of April, but we are already brimming with excitement! I will be sure to keep you all posted- and I must forewarn- you will be inundated with pictures!
René- Wife, Mom, and hired hand to the hired man.