Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day for a Ranch Wife

Today is Valentine's Day, to many wives it is a day to sleep in and to be pampered. However, to many farm and ranch wives, like my wonderful wife, it is another day during calving and lambing season. To make matters worse this year, she and the kids are on their own yet, while I am still healing up.

So let's take a look at Jennifer's Valentines Day. The alarm went off at 5:30 just like any other morning. Just like every morning for the past three weeks Jennifer put on chore clothes, two pairs of sock, her trusty bib overalls, well-worn hoodies (2) and gloves and went out the door.

Soon she was back in the house with a very sick little lamb. One of the first lambs born this year had suddenly gotten very sick in the night. Jennifer desperately tried to feed it, we doctored it with the best medicine we had but unfortunately, we could not save the lamb. It was a very discouraging start to Valentine's Day.

Despite the bitter disappointment, the rest of the chores needed to be done. Our daughter had done the bulk of the chores (oh yeah, number 1 son had to be at school early this morning so he didn't help with chores either) but we had a calf at our place to work and Dad had two more down at his place.

So at 9:30 on Valentine's day (a day with no school for the elementary kids) Jennifer finally finished chores. The rest of the day was spent at work and a meeting, before returning home to do more chores. The day did get a little better with a new set of twins and a single. But that also meant that two ewes with lambs needed moved out and the lambing barn needed cleaned. Not exactly the relaxing, romantic Valentine's Day she deserved. Jennifer was left hoping she could get some rest in between the 8:00 and 10:00 lamb check.

I would guess this Valentine's Day scenerio could be echoed by many hard-working farm and ranch wives. I can't speak for any other operation, but on our ranch Jennifer is a full partner (and this winter probably more of a sole proprietor). I also cannot speak for other farm and ranch husbands but in my case I definitely married above my level, I owe her a debt that can never be repaid. The candy, roses and card are a weak attempt at showing my gratitude for all she does, especially this long winter.

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