Adjusting to a New Season of Life
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
I remember that night so clearly. It was in the middle of winter. The temperatures had dropped below zero and the wind was howling outside of our little home. I felt helpless as I watched my husband through the window. He was on a four-wheeler trying to bring in two cows that were struggling to give birth. They had been laboring for hours with no sign of progressing. One of them was ours and the other belonged to the ranch we lived and worked on. They were stubborn and kept turning back, all the while slipping and falling in the snow. I longed to be out there helping him, but I couldn’t. Back in our bedroom, our newborn son was sleeping peacefully. I knew it would be too dangerous to take him out into the negative temperatures and tornado-like winds. So, I watched and prayed.
After an hour or so, my husband finally got both cows through the gate to the main yard and into the barn. I paced and waited; hoping the calves would be all right. This was our first calving season for our heifers and I knew there could be all types of complications. In the previous years, I had always been there to help as he pulled any calves that were stuck. I was there to wipe them down and clear their airways. I helped them stand and guided them to their mamas. Tonight was the first time since we had met that I wasn’t able to be out there with him.
Finally, he returned home and told me everything was all right. He had gotten to them just in time and had pulled both calves. They were healthy and strong. I was relieved, but that feeling of helplessness stayed with me. I had known things would change for me when we had our son, but I hadn’t realized how difficult it would be. Even though caring for our son was the most important thing I could be doing, it was so hard to see how exhausted my husband was.
After that night, I promised myself I would be as helpful as I could while I was in this season of staying back at home. I tried to find other ways to make my husband’s life easier while he was in the middle of calving. I made sure he had a home-cooked dinner every night. I kept the coffee fresh and hot and was ready to pour him a cup whenever he stopped by. I made him snacks to take with him. I kept his winter clothes clean. When he would bring frozen calves into our covered porch, I would help revive them by drying them off, feeding them, and holding them up while they tried to stand. I would clean the calf bottles for my husband and watch the calves while he was gone.
We were still a team, but in a different way. While I was waking up every couple of hours during the night to feed our son, he was waking up to go check the cows. I ran the house while he watched the herd. Surprisingly, I still look back on that calving season and would say it was just as special as the years when it was my husband and I working together outside. Yes, it was a very hard transition for me, but I learned a lot.
I realized that a ranch wife has many roles and each is important. Whether I am roping, tagging, branding, doctoring, and tending to the herd with my husband, or I am at home, raising our children, cooking meals, washing his muddy clothes, and running the household, I am helping him. There is a time for everything and each season will pass. One day, our son will be toddling after me; petting the calves’ soft noses and watching his daddy work. Then, he will be learning how to do the ranch chores himself. Before I know it, he will be grown and helping me lift the things that I can’t carry on my own.
I am raising the next generation. Perhaps our son will grow up to love ranching and raise his children to do the same. Without ranch and farm mamas, children may never learn how to love and care for the land and animals God created. My work is so important and one day I will be back out working alongside my husband, but this time, we will have our children with us. We will watch as they learn the wonderful, rewarding work that is ranching. We will get to show them the life we love and all those hard days when I had to stay home will be so worth it. I am so thankful I get to be not only a ranch wife, but also a ranch mama.
Tori is a young wife and mama who loves the Lord and rests joyfully in His saving grace. She lives and works with her husband on a cattle ranch in the middle of the Wyoming prairie. They love the simple, uncomplicated lifestyle! Their home is a small trailer and they have a variety of animals. You'll often find her taking her son out to help her husband tend to the cows. That's where she's the happiest! She enjoys writing about their life and hopes to give others a glimpse into the joys and hardships of ranching.