August 9, 2014
Yesterday we had a work day out at the ranch. Work days are not easy to coordinate, especially since we are a family of mostly women and to find a young man who not only has the time, energy, and desire to help us but also the know-how is a difficult thing to come by.
Thankfully my youngest daughter the Princess has a good friend that she went all through school with who is a dairy man. He is also the youngest son of MY good friends that I went all through school with. Why yes, we all went to the same school, (different years of course!) but it was just a happy coincidence that our children became friends.
Harold and Shortcake had all boys–five strapping boys to be exact. How those boys all grew to be so tall and broad I have no clue, because their mother, affectionately known as Shortcake since our school days, is no bigger than a minute and Harold is only about 5’9″ himself. I kid my daughter’s friend that his mama has to climb up on a stool to kick his butt, to which he laughingly agrees!
But I digress. After several attempts we were finally able to plan a work day where my daughter and I could be out at the ranch at the same time, and Bubba agreed to come out to do some of the tractor work and heavy-lifting. Yes, his name is Bubba. Bubba is a year younger than my Princess and stands about 6’3″, 6’4″ and about 250 pounds of solid muscle and is absolutely the nicest young man ever. My friends did a really good job raising him!
Bubba showed up with a couple of younger boys in tow–sons of one of his field hands–hopped on the tractor and got to work. Princess climbed on with him to show him what we wanted mowed and I headed back into the house since it was pretty hot outside. I came out later when he got around to the back of the house near the barn and started heaving rail road ties out of the way so he could mow around the little tree. He stopped me and used the bucket on the tractor instead–yeah ok, but I could have done it myself!
My girlfriend arrived home and we headed over to get the panels for the goat pen. One of them was a huge cyclone fence panel that was tangled in bermuda grass so I let Bubba rip that one free, but I grabbed a smaller Feather River panel and lugged it over to where we wanted the pen. He then showed me up and grabbed TWO panels and carried them like they were nothing…
My friend showed us how she wanted the pens so Bubba moved them and Princes and I tied them up with baling twine. Now if you aren’t ranch, you may not understand the importance of baling twine in everyday life. Baling twine is to a rancher what duct tape is to a city person. It fixes everything! I usually have a few strands in my truck at any given time. It’s great for catching up a dog or horse if you don’t have any rope and just need to move them a short ways. Got a piece of fencing coming loose? Wrap that sucker up with some baling twine until you can get out there and fix it right. Muffler on the truck falling off? Yep, baling twine will fix it!
So we got the pen made and the four little goats were in goat heaven, eating all the weeds down as fast as they could nibble. Two of the little wethers are a little wild and my friend hadn’t been able to catch them to put collars on them. So I decided to catch them–I mean, how hard could it be, right?
When I worked at the stable in Chicago back in my younger days my boss was given a pygmy goat that was as wild as a March hare. She fell in love with it instantly and it took up residence in the stall with her prize Welsh/Arabian filly. The problem was everyone wanted to come see Moozh and expected me to pick her up so they could pet her. Moozh, on the other hand, was not tame and would dart around the 12×12 stall like a stunt racer, using the walls to bounce off of while I stood in the middle and tried not to get in the way. I got really good at reaching out and snatching a leg as she whirled by and was able to catch her most of the time so the people could pet the little annoyance. I really didn’t like that goat very much by the time I quit that job and headed back to California!
I looked at these pygmies and figured it would be just as easy. What I didn’t stop to figure in was 1) the pen was more like a 30×30 size and 2) I’m not 20 years old any more.
I started out well. I mean, the general concept is to corner them up and then snatch a leg or any appendage that comes within grabbing distance as they dart by. Yeah. In concept that is a great idea. In reality it’s a little harder to accomplish!
I penned them into the corners a couple of times. I even got a hand on them once or twice. Meanwhile my girlfriend and my daughter are telling me to let the boys catch them, and I stubbornly refused to listen. And then it happened.
One of the little wethers made a dart past me and I lunged for him. In doing so I felt something pop in the back of my leg up under my butt cheek. I let the goat go by and casually straightened up, because I didn’t want to admit they were right and I was too old for this stuff! I told the boys to have a go at it and the older of the two jumped in and had the goats caught up in no time at all. We put their collars on and let them go and I tried to walk to the house without limping too much.
Bubba and the boys took off shortly after that and my daughter came into the house and noticed me wincing. I had to admit what I had done and then sat through a lecture about how I am not as young as I think I am and I need to start acting my age.
I have always been EXTREMELY independent. I do for myself and don’t ask help for anything. Now that I am in my 50’s, however, I am beginning to think that maybe I need to swallow my damn pride and step back a little and let the girls handle some of the ranch work that I have always done myself.
How about you? Is there stuff you find yourself wanting to do but physically you can’t handle any more? Is it hard to admit it and step back? Or are you like me and stubbornly refuse to give in and still push yourself to do all the things you have always been able to do?
I’m not ready to give in just yet, but the popped hamstring in the back of my butt cheek is going to slow me down for a bit. And I have the Junior Rodeo coming up next weekend. Here’s to hoping I still heal fast!