What we do in the winter Part I: A Drowsy Water Ranch Date
You know you’ve been livin’ in the boonies for a while when you decide you want to go on a date with your husband and you are not talking about dinner and a movie. You’re not thinking a nice stroll in the park. Your not even thinking a concert might sound fun. You know you’re a bonafide country girl when you want to go on a date with your husband and you want to go feed.
What do I mean when I say “go feed”? Well, around here the term “feed” is a verb meaning “to distribute hay to horses and/or cows”. Ranchers feed hay, generally, and they feed it via multiple means. Some toss small bales from the back of a truck. Others might pitchfork out loose hay from a wagon. We feed our hay using a tractor pulling a haybuster and large round bales.
And really, the event is the perfect rancher date. Look at that tractor. Two people don’t really fit comfortably in there. You have to sit REEEAAAALLLYYY close. You load up the hay at the ranch then you drive in the tractor, nice and slow, the few miles to the feed pasture. Along the drive, there is time to talk and laugh. And did I mention how close you have to sit?
Once you get to the pasture, the cows and horses come running for some food.
Next, the teamwork begins. Two people make feeding easier. You both have specific jobs to complete that work towards meeting the same goal. Isn’t that just a fun date component right there? One of us will hop out of the cab and feed pellets to the horses and cows while the other one fires up the haybuster and starts feeding piles of hay. The haybuster is controlled from inside the tractor cab. It takes a full round bale of hay and and spits out smaller piles of hay on the ground.
The horses usually get the first pick of hay piles.
Once all the horses get situated at their hay piles, the cows get their own hay piles. The horses pick through the hay, only eating what is green and good. The cows aren’t so picky. They eat it all. Even if it has a touch of brown or mold, they don’t seem to mind. The cows eat their piles then hang around until the horses have picked through and eaten the good stuff out of the other piles. Then the cows eat all that is left of the horse hay piles, too.
Next, we break the ice. This is tough work and usually makes you sweat. Again, a good date component, wouldn’t you say? Below, Justin, in his attractive new muck boots, chips away at the water hole that is along the Colorado River.
Finally we get to the entertainment part of the date. Here, Justin shovels ice chunks out of the other water hole. Aspen, the dog, does incredible acrobatics everyday while trying to catch the ice chunks. It’s really hilarious. She gets soaking wet, does back flips, jumps and turns. It’s quite the show.
After the ice is broken, our work is done. We load back up in the tractor for our nice, slow, close drive home.