The dark before the dawn

Why is nighttime always the worst for everything?  My kids asked me that yesterday.  We thought about it a while and decided it’s because God made humans for light.  Darkness is for sleeping, and when you’re unable to sleep during darkness, things can seem pretty desperate.  That must be why boogymen seem bigger and sore throats feel fatal at bedtime.  (Yes, I know there are night owls who thrive working the night shift, but chose not to introduce that factor to the kids this go-round.  I would really like for them to believe for a few more years at least that nighttime is for sleeping.)

The question came up because 7-year-old Emilyn and I had just survived a terrible night.  At least a couple different bugs continue to round through our family, and whichever bug she has brings on never-ending coughing jags for her, especially at night.  That night her coughing woke me at about 1 a.m.  I transferred her to the couch and sat her up.  She continued to cough.  I spoon-fed her honey and whiskey.  She gagged it up.  (I think I said a tiny bad word right then, but maybe I don’t remember exactly.)  I marched her outside to breathe in the clear night air.  Still she coughed.  By the time we made it back inside, 2-year-old Muggins was crying in his crib.  I started a hot shower for Emi and dripped in some essential oil, then went to quiet Muggins.  I fell asleep on 9-year-old Asher’s bed, which is right next to Muggins’ crib, and Emi got herself out of the steamy shower and went back to sleep on the couch…

… and we all slept until about 6 a.m., when 4-year-old Marsi woke up crying with a fever.  (I made Beau take that call.)

And so it continues, this weeks-long bout of sickness our family has endured.  It’s an extra shame we’ve been sick, too, because the weather has been so unusually warm and nice for this time of year (which may be contributing to the number of bugs that are floating around?).  I told Beau yesterday I can’t believe how much time we’ve wasted being sick this winter.  Think of all the productivity we’ve lost because we’ve been too puny or too exhausted to squeeze the very best out of each day!

But — whether we feel well or not — the work on a corporate ranch must continue.  Here are a few highlights from the last couple days:

 

Yesterday:  Beau left early, on ground cold and firm from nighttime temps, to help Bill get the pickup that was stuck in the mud at Froze-to-Death Pasture.  Afterwards, Beau drove north of Custer to The White Place to look at country that will be used for spring and summer grazing this year.  Meantime, I was here at headquarters with the gal who is cleaning the bunkhouses and the two of us were looking at the shelves of paraphernalia in the vet shack wondering how in the world one might go about cleaning it.  There are the numerous empty scarlet oil jugs, for instance.  Neither she nor I are qualified to throw them away, because we know as soon as we do that somebody’ll wonder where they are.  Our final decision:  to organize the clutter into groups which I can quickly guide Beau through while demanding instant decisions.  (I already asked him to pencil me and the bunkhouse into his schedule.  One hour, anytime in the next week.)

The wind blew terribly all day yesterday, and we’ve heard many reports from neighbors of windbreaks blown down, trees fallen on tractors, and irrigation pivots turned inside out.  Here at home we had nothing more than shingles blown off the garage, but Nate the Great sent this picture from Ridge Camp, where the scale house up and blew away:

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Today:  High of 51.  Low of 25.  All the kids slept through the night except Muggins, and he woke only once, so maybe there is hope for us yet!  Beau left early for George’s Camp; today — hallelujah! — the company we sold that trailer house to finally hitched up and pulled it to Billings (read the whole story here).  There were three cattle guards to cross and Beau said the road got muddier with every inch they gained pulling the trailer out to the county road… but in the end they made it and man it’s good to be making headway on that project!

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Beau drove the 40 minutes home from George’s Camp, popped his head in here at home long enough to grab beef sticks and water bottles for lunch (weird, I know), and was off again (late) to meet with Dan the Map Man.  Dan is a Kroenke Ranches employee who works out of the corporate office in Bozeman, and we see him only occasionally, but most reliably around turkey hunting season.  My mom started calling him Dan the Map Man a few years ago because none of us are exactly sure what it is he does.  But we do know he makes maps for all the ranches under the Kroenke Ranches umbrella (which, we now know for sure, recently expanded to include the Winecup Gamble Ranch in Nevada).

Anyhow, Beau spent the afternoon driving around and looking at country with Dan the Map Man, who headed back to Bozeman at the end of the day.

In the meantime, because I’ve been trying to keep the kids as quiet as possible (I don’t know what else we might do to beat this cold — if you have other answers, please contact me), my afternoon with them involved painting and reading and math worksheets and letter-writing.

My mom very bravely came down to watch the kids for a couple hours this evening so Beau and I could attend an educational dinner hosted by Treasure Vet in town.  The topics of interest for tonight were deworming and water quality, which for ranch folks like us does not at all affect our ability to enjoy the good food that was served during the presentation.  For a gal like me, it was a welcomed night out!

© Tami Blake

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