People have told me that the reason ranchers get married is to have someone along in the pickup to open gates. I’ve always laughed at that true statement… and since I wasn’t raised on a ranch, I really never had a true idea what living on a ranch would be like. A small tip sheet might have been an eye-opener. For example, my questionnaire for women who want to be ranchwives would begin:
1. Can you open barb wire gates?
2. Can you handle disgusting?
And I quickly have to digress here on that point. One disgusting activity is what we did today. Now our heifers are about to have their first calves…and we vaccinate them so they can carry on the antibodies to their babies. They were down in our school section about a mile away from the corrals, so we trailed them SLOWLY home on the icy road. Lucas did fairly well as cowdog of the day. We put them in the corral and broke for lunch. By the time we returned the day had become false spring. The ice and snow were melting. In the corral that meant a soup of manure and snowmelt, nice…and “green”. Now I am designated “Vaccinator of Cattle” and I took my position at the squeeze chute. I have no problems with that title, it isn’t disgusting. What is disgusting is the soup we have to walk in, which would have been less of a problem had my brand new boots not been LEAKING! *&^%^! But if anyone has ever worked cattle you know what happens on soupy days. You get splattered. You get it on your jeans and on your coat and on your hands and, yes, dear friends, frequently on your face. It is disgusting. No one told me when I got married that to help my husband, to be his partner and workmate, I would have to take shots of manure in the face, on my sunglasses, on my hat, in my hair. Multiple times throughout the year actually. And that isn’t the only disgusting thing I have had to do. Perhaps there should be sub headings under #2. Like:
A. Are you willing to take shots of manure to the face?
B. Does cleaning pens with straw and afterbirth bother you?
C. Can you stand the stench of infected lump jaw when it is lanced? AKA, can you eat cheese pizza after seeing the inside, now outside, of a lump jaw?
D. Does popping a cow’s eye out to treat cancer eye make you squint?
E. If the cow has mastitis or a huge zit on her back (caused by flies/grubs), are you smart enough to have someone else doctor them?
F. Does prolapse mean anything at all to you? AKA, do you really want to know what the inside of a cow looks like? It ain’t black!
Or my all time favorite:
G. Can you imagine the ripping feeling of pulling off big fist sized warts out of some poor cow’s ear.
Yeccch. Yeccch. Yeccch. I REALLY hate that, and I don’t know why. We had a big infestation of them the past few years and it totally grosses me out. I finally started hucking the pieces at my husband who stood at the back of the alley and laughed at me. I repeatedly told him that ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE in the fine print of our marriage license did it ever say I would have to peel warts out of cows’ ears. NOWHERE!
The only thing I haven’t figured out about all this after being married for 26 years is WHY, OH WHY, WHEN I DO ALL THESE DISGUSTING ACTIVITIES do I, of all things, LAUGH. I don’t get it. I really don’t.