When the world came to a stop this year in March due to the Corona virus and quarantine; I was asked, “How is quarantine going on the ranch?”
I was like, “What? All our cattle are healthy and we haven’t bought any new ones lately.” Let me tell you, I got the WEIRDEST look after I said that! Followed by a few seconds of awkward silence. Usually, when you say quarantine and ranch in the same sentence you’re referring to sick cattle or new cattle you just bought that can’t be put out with the herd just yet. I then realized they were talking about the human corona quarantine!
We sure laughed about that one!!
Honestly, nothing really changed much for us on the ranch.
We still had cattle to work, water to check, hay to bale and put up, cattle to move, brush to burn, fence to fix and the list can go on and on and on. All of this was done without a mask, which has become the new accessory in today’s world. The only time I wear a mask is when I HAVE to! I do NOT like wearing them, I can’t breath, there too tight on my face, it’s hot. Gosh! I sound like a grouchy kid! Well, that’s how I feel anyway. I did find a mask that I love to wear from my favorite little boutique in downtown Goliad. Check it out here!
We did gain three extra ranch hands when our kids’ school went to remote learning.
Oh, and I became a teacher. YAY!! (insert sarcasm here) Of course the school work was main priority and done before any ranch work was done. At times I felt like I was back in school. Two hours with the oldest boy relearning Chemistry and Algebra 2 for every assignment really made me remember how much I loved math! Yes, I know some may think I’ve lost my mind (Payton sure did) but it was so satisfying to work a problem, check your answer and get it RIGHT!! Oh, the simple days!!
So what kind of jobs did the kids have to do?
Being in her single digit years yet; helped me with paper work as we worked cows. Checking them off the list as they went through the chute. Helped push the cows to the pens on her horse. She was on momma cow watch duty when tagging calves; with hot shot in hand. Our pastures have electric fencing and the cows have learned to respect the sound that it makes. So just hearing the sound a hot shot makes as it’s touched to metal usually keeps them at bay so we can tag their calf.
The youngest teenage boy in the house; really grew up before our eyes during these months both physically and mentally. We gave him a lot of responsibility and he handled it well. He was in charge of his own spray rig for brush control. Helped move hay to the barn with the tractor. Eli and Payton were both in charge of castrating the bull calves in the commercial herd this year. Set new fence posts and repaired wire all on his own. And did a dang good job!
The oldest had the most responsibility of the three kids. He also holds a valid drivers license. (wink, wink) Which is a tremendous help all on it’s own. He was able to drive himself to one of our other ranches to clear brush with the skid steer. He picked up anything we needed from town. Feed, hydraulic hoses, vaccines, groceries, Whataburger!!! (If you’ve never had a whataburger you’re missing out!) He checked cattle and water troughs. While working our herds this spring he was in charge of sorting cattle in the pens and getting them in the chute.
If you ask Payton and Eli what their most important job on the ranch is; they’ll tell you maintaining the wild hog population! These boys love to hunt hogs and we are certainly glad that they do. According to the USDA feral hogs costs the US an estimated $1.5 billion each year in damages and control costs. We’ve definitely had our fair share of damages. No matter how many you eradicate, they always come back. Payton and Eli will be here waiting for them!
Of course, these are just a few things the kids helped us with on the ranch during corona quarantine.
We loved having them help out. It gave us more quality time with them. Time to teach them and time to watch them grow. Time to make mistakes and time to learn how to fix them. We also had a lot of family fun time together! We went fishing, swam at the creek, planted a garden, had movie night and slept on the trampoline under the stars.
Arthur and I loved having the kids help us! But now that quarantine and summer have come to an end; IT’S TIME FOR SCHOOL!!!!!! My teaching days are over!! (Maybe I shouldn’t say that so loud. Who knows what the future holds.)
Payton, Eli and Neely started back to school with in person learning last week. This is a bitter sweet year for so many reasons. Yes, there will be so many new rules and procedures for everyone to follow at school and maybe some activities that won’t be allowed this year. But for Arthur and I, it’s bitter sweet because Payton is a Senior in High School this year. (Just typing that out made me cry!)
So here are some things I’ve learned not only during quarantine but throughout the years raising our kids on the ranch.
Teach them. Visually & verbally
Let them learn from their mistakes. Learning the hard way usually has the most impact.
Give them responsibilities. Small & Large
Involve them in every aspect! Animals, Land Management, Animal Management & the business side of things.
Spend FAMILY TIME together having fun. This is most important because…………………………………………………..
In the blink of an eye, your seven year old that just learned to bale hay in his own tractor is now graduating high school.
(sniff, sniff, I’m not crying. I just got something in my eye.)
I think the #1 thing we learned during quarantine is how valuable TIME is and how you spend it and who you spend it with makes all the difference.
Thanks for reading!!