What’s Inspiring Me Today — Sitting in the flatbed pickup this morning as Beau worked on the water tank at Froze-to-Death Pasture, I flipped through the latest issue of Working Ranch magazine. This time around, in the regular Rancher’s Journal feature of the magazine, is a story about a family working for a grazing co-op in southern Alberta. It sounds like a really neat place where they are, very remote and really just to the north of us… you know, across the international border and all.
Anyhow, the mom of the outfit writes, “Having two youngsters and no family around makes it difficult for me to ride, so we employ a nanny over summer so I can help [my husband] Andrew, and keep my sanity.”
Whaaaa? Is this a thing?! Can life really be so simple as just hiring a nanny and riding with your husband?!
Later, as Beau drove us home from Froze-to-Death, I read the article out loud to him, emphasizing the parts where the Alberta ranch mom references her dealings with “my child wrangler, Caitlyn”.
Beau listened. Then I was hoping he would suggest we get one of those child wranglers for our own selves. Instead, he said, “We would need more than a child wrangler. We would need more like a rough string rider.”
We had a good laugh at that — a rough string rider to contain our four rowdy kids. Still, I remain encouraged about the childcare that at least one wife out there is making a reality. Oh, I’ve threatened to hire a nanny for the Blake children at least a few times in the past, usually in the month of June, which is super crazy for us. But I always chicken out from going all-in for a nanny (for starters, how does one pay a nanny? and for seconds, how does one go about finding a nanny?), so I just end up muddling through another year with patchwork help from friends, the occasional teenage babysitter, and my family.
(I should point out quickly that it’s not that I don’t have family close by and willing to help me. My mom is just a few miles away and has often kept our kids. But there are four of them now… yep, I have to pinch myself even, sometimes: four Blake kids… and, as I fully realized only after I’d signed the contract to keep them forever, four is A LOT OF KIDS. I am 100% certain my mom would rather wash dishes all day than be left alone with my four kids for a few hours. The three older ones she does well with, but throw half-animal / half-human Muggins into the mix and things get real, real fast. So when it boils down to how I can escape Muggins in order to ride… Grandma is not the answer.)
And the truth is, the main thing to admire about this Alberta woman is the clean lines of her life. If I was to hire a nanny it would, unfortunately, probably be so I could run around in ten other directions: Here, you watch the kids while I cook for the crew, and get ready for the ranch rodeo, and go to this 4-H thing, and drive the big kids to Bible School and baseball practice. The Alberta woman, though — Remy Campbell is her name — keeps it very simple: she hires a nanny so she can ride with her husband. The end. And I would bet she gets paid to ride, making it possible for her to pay the nanny in turn.
Hmmm. Perhaps my lack of a nanny is a secondary problem, behind all the other commitments that get in between me and my saddle. Once again I will reconsider our schedule and try to figure out what can be deleted from our lives. It’s the age-old question with, I fear, no actual answer.
Beau and I look forward to the day when our entire family will ride together on the ranch — branding, weaning, gathering bulls; we trust there are great days for us in the future. For now, though, Muggins is still too little even to lead-line safely, and even 9-year-old Asher isn’t ready for the big days horseback that Beau puts in. The groundhog is still saying they all need to be home.
Someday, though, the two oldest kids will be ready to ride before the two littles are ready… and what will we do then?
I’m not exactly sure yet. But I bet a nanny could help us figure it out.
Today’s Weather — Warm, mild, and brown. High of 40. Low of 26.
Today On The Ranch — Like I said, our whole family hopped in with Beau this morning as he made a quick run to Froze-to-Death Pasture to work on the water tank. On the way back we had a quick visit with Sid Newman and crew, who were using the Red Corrals to work cattle.
After lunch Beau took the kids down to the feeder leg (where the feed truck drivers fill their trucks with grain) to rustle up a couple buckets of cracked peas for Asher’s piggy. In the meantime, I loaded three of our horses in the trailer and hauled them across the river to winter pasture.
About 2:30 Beau left for Bozeman, where the ranch’s corporate office is located (the PV Ranch, where we live, is just one of several sister ranches under the umbrella of Kroenke Ranches). He will be gone two nights. His daytime hours in Bozeman will be spent with the KR general manager, discussing the successes and failures of the PV Ranch in 2019… and, of course, their high hopes for 2020.
So Beau is gone. Which means I am here alone with the four kids. I guess Beau considers me to be a rough string rider.
Favorite Picture From Today — Taken when I was turning out horses this afternoon:
© Tami Blake