At the mercy of my husband, my father, and the weatherman, I am a sitting duck with a refrigerator full of food.
My position is not unique to any ranch wife: There is cattle work to be done, and a big crew of people will be here to do that work. These people will be hungry and will need to eat and it will be my job to feed them. The variable is this: What day will they be here?
It’s time to gather the cattle here at the VX off of summer pasture and bring them in to the corrals, where the cows will be preg-tested and the calves will be loaded on to trucks for hauling to the feedlot at ranch headquarters 40 miles south of here. Two consecutive days are needed to complete this project: one day to gather the cattle into a small holding pasture close to the corral, and another day to sort cattle, load calves, and pregnancy-check cows. It is imperative that the weather be fair, especially on the second day, to make it possible for the trucks to haul the calves out of here. The feedlot is 40 miles south of us only if the gumbo roads between here and there are dry. If the road is wet, a 90-mile detour is required.
So my husband (here at the VX) and my father (who will be coming from the feedlot to head up the crew) are watching the forecast closely. They check the forecast on the television news. On the weather channel. In the paper. On the radio. On the internet. And then they get together to compare forecasts. As a result, they delayed weaning here twice in the last week. Admittedly, their attention paid off: we did get a tiny bit of snow the first time they cancelled (our first this season!) and the roads were still muddy the second time. There are now tentative plans to start riding on Monday, two days from now.
Of course, nobody’s asking me if I have any perishable items in the frig before they make their decisions. I went to Costco last Sunday and stocked up to feed the crew four meals: lunch, supper, breakfast, and lunch. Anybody with brains would keep the menu simple and avoid buying large quantities of perishable items. Why can’t I just stick with baked potatoes and goulash? You know, meals you can make from items stashed in the pantry and freezer?
I never seem to learn.
For the record, I feel sorry for people who follow the weather forecasts — because they live in a constant state of anxiety. They’re either desperately nervous because the “big one” is on the way or they’re secretly disappointed because the “big one” blew on by.
Me, I like to take chances in life. Which I guess is why I gambled our hard-earned money on a Costco-size veggie tray, a tub of spring greens, and a 5-pack of romaine lettuce.