Thankful to be rural

Sometimes I get so busy trying to explain the hard stuff about agriculture that I don’t take enough time to focus on all the good reasons we choose this lifestyle for ourselves and for our kids.  I am especially cognizant right now, as Coronavirus changes lives all across our country — and all over the world.  This morning’s news filled me in:  a trillion-dollar relief plan for the U.S. (I don’t understand where that money’s going to come from); political posturing galore and embarrassingly open criticism of our nation’s President; Montana and many other states now in complete lock-down mode.  Coronavirus seems pretty scary when I watch the news.

But when I turn off the TV or finish the article, Coronavirus seems very far away from the PV.  It’s not affecting my daily life.  We Blakes are used to staying home and we have a ranch for our backyard — so that feeling of confinement that others fear doesn’t factor in for us.  We live on the sparsely-populated side of one of the least-populous states — which means we’re rarely confronted with germs we’d rather not be confronted with.  We live in the greatest country in the world — I can’t imagine what it would be like living in an apartment in China right now.  We don’t worry much about running out of supplies — because there’s always a half beef in the deep freezer.  We know most of the folks within a 50-mile radius — so there’s no concern about the strangers from two blocks over going out of their gourds and turning to crime.  What’s more, so long as the world needs beef, we will have a job.  And the list of the blessings we’re counting right now goes on.  So extremely thankful to be raising our kids here instead of… well, anywhere else.

I have always chosen agriculture and rural life… and now, living in these strange times, I am continually thankful to be down a dirt road.


Today’s Weather:  High of 55.  Low of 28.  Ah spring.

Today On The Ranch:  My mom helped me to make lunch for the Bangs-vaccinating crew:  spaghetti with garlic toast, kale salad, and grapes for dessert.  After lunch, as Muggins napped, Mom stayed with the kids so Beau and I could take the burn barrels to the county dump.  Ha — a heck of a date!

By 4 p.m. our family of six was on the road to The Creek Place:  time to move those mama cows we caked all winter to fresh pasture in McConkey Coulee.  Asher and I rode (he on Doogan, me on Jiggers) as Beau and the other three kids used the horn on the cake truck to call the cows to the gate.  (Moving cows that way, with the aid of a feed truck, always seems a little bit like cheating to me, as it’s something I never ever did with my dad growing up.  But I have to admit, it sure makes it easy!)  Asher and I had just a few stragglers to bring in and a couple others to sort out and then we counted them through the gate.  Starting to see a few baby calves out there : )

Today’s Best Pictures:

Aw, pretty Jiggers.  The view is pretty spectacular from behind her ears.
Looking down on Muggins Creek.
Asher took this one of his own shadow!
Asher took this one of me on Jiggers.  She is not exactly a full-size horse.  Years ago there were feral horses living on the Froze-to-Death Grazing District — somebody had turned out a couple mares and a stud and then 30 years had gone by.  The wild herd grew and grew until it was eating way too much grass.  Dad organized a crew to gather those horses in 2004, when Beau and I lived at Horse Camp.  After they were all gathered, we asked to keep one of the foals, and Jiggers was the only one that had four straight legs and two good eyes!  (They were kinda inbred.)  She’s the only mare I’ve ever owned, and she has been a joy.  She’s not a top cow horse because we’ve actually never used her a lot, because of her size.  But she definitely takes the prize in the “sweetest disposition” category.
Asher and Doogan have had many grand adventures and they do great together.  This year will be Asher’s first time showing a horse at the 4-H fair, and right now we’re trying to decide which horse Asher ought to show.  Does he need a challenge beyond faithful old Doogan?  I think it might be time for him to pass Doogan on to his little sis.  If so, Jiggers might be the next step up for Asher!  I know that’s a privileged decision we get to make, and I definitely count these horses of ours among our blessings.
Once again, so thankful to be rural.  And praying for those who aren’t.

© Tami Blake

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