Still trying to cowboy up

14 Dec

There are so many things I love about being a cowboy’s wife….like the cowboy. It’s an adventure out here every single day. The girls get to grow up in the fresh air and run in green grass as far as their little legs can take them.

They learn to love animals. They learn the meaning of hard work. They feel the sun on their faces and the clay squishing between their toes.

There are those nights that you have to get up every two hours to go bottle feed a calf or a colt. Snow blankets the ground and the sky looks as if someone just threw glitter across a black velvet cloth. Even the coyotes are in awe of the cold winter’s night, and everything is perfectly still. It’s as if you are the only thing awake for miles and miles. That’s my favorite part.

But the bad parts are bad. When it gets cold out, your workload doubles. Tractors don’t always start when they should. Hay barns are blown away in tornados. Ponds ice over and you have to bust the ice. You have to doctor horses that are barely halter broke, watch out for the cows to calve, worry about that first colt of the spring and when it will come. And occasionally, an animal has to leave.

Dally’s goat, Hank, died this weekend. He was old and just didn’t make it through the night.

This morning, we put down Dally’s pony, Spanky. He was old too. But he was in great shape. Wasn’t sick. Still looked at you in the same way he always had. But he had an old injury that eventually caused his ankle to just collapse.

Hank and Spanky had an unusual relationship, so it is almost fitting that they both pass away so close together.

The cowboy is going to take Dally out for a ride and explain it to her when he gets home this weekend. Until then, I have to distract her from wondering where Spanky is.

And my heart is breaking for her. For Spanky, who I loved too. And a little bit for Hank, who I didn’t really like at all. But now I feel like I should have.

And I’m still crying. Still thinking about that last bucket of oats that I sent with the neighbor down to the barn for Spanky. Still wishing I had taken pictures of Dally riding him this summer. Still wishing I’d slowed down and not been so darn busy.

I think that even though I have no bottle calves out in the barn this winter, I will go for a short walk outside tonight when the kiddos are safely tucked in bed. Don’t worry, I’ll probably just go out in the front yard and see if I can see if those stars are scattered the way they should be and breathe the cold winter air for just a bit. I’m still trying to cowboy up.

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