This fall and winter we have been in the process of buying calves and shipping them to the ranch. My husband and I have a system worked out. He goes to the place we are purchasing the calves, helps load them on trucks and sees them on their way down the road. I stay home and am on the receiving end. I set the gates in the corral, make sure there is feed and fresh water available, help unload trucks and collect paperwork from the drivers. The next morning I turn the cattle out into a pasture scoping out the new arrivals as I do so.
Last night I was prepared for the arrival of new calves; the only thing I had left to do was unlock the main gate that leads into the ranch. No problem. Before I left, I assigned the kids the task of cleaning up dishes and wrestling the four year old into a bathtub. I was still grinning, rather smugly, to myself that the kids were doing the dishes, when I approached the gate. My smugness faded when I found the road blocked by a fallen tree. The same road I was expecting cattle trucks to drive down in less than an hour.
Have you seen those ranch vehicles with the nice toolboxes covered in diamond plate in the back of their pickup? Yes, well, I don’t have that. All of my gear fits quite nicely under the back seat of my pickup. This frees up the truck bed for my bi-monthly warehouse shopping spree.
But, it comes time to change a flat tire or chain up, or in this instance, drag a tree out of the way, it is a giant hassle. Why? Because first and foremost, I’m a Mom and that means I don’t travel anywhere without car seats. Unlatching three car seats, and scraping off the underlying layer of cheerios, french fries and escaped Halloween candy is a frightening task. But, last night I had no other choice and was rewarded when I finally lifted up the back seat and there was a tow strap staring back at me! I said a quick thanks for a husband who looks out for me and stocks my truck with all of the gear I need…even if he does stow it under three car seats and half-eaten lollipops.
Compared to the horrors of ground in cookie crumbs and semi-moldy PB&Js, dragging a tree off the road was an easy feat.
I opened the gate and returned home to discover that my kids had surprised me. Not only had they washed the dishes (and wiped off the table-wow!), there was also one freshly washed little boy in his pj’s sitting on the couch reading stories with his sister. Sometimes I need these little moments to remind me of what great kids I have.
I got everyone tucked into bed and kissed good night just moments before the trucks pulled up to the loading chute. As I was walking down the hall, on my way outside, I passed the bathroom door. Glancing in I saw a disaster that only a four-year old could create: no less than ten wet towels piled in the corner, toys scattered across the floor, a bottle of shampoo dripping down the side of the bathtub and toothpaste smeared across the counter top.
Ah yes, first and foremost, I’m a Mom.