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Florida or Arizona? 

This is an actual debate my mother and I had yesterday, about where we would move if we sold up and got out of this frozen hell. Our first snowstorm was at the end of September, and since then we've had over four FEET. As I write this, the temperature is a balmy -2 degrees. Yes, Fahrenheit. The pressure switch on our pump is frozen AGAIN and we have no water in our house. 

What the heck, Fall? Did you take the year off? Couldn't you get summer to cover for you instead? 

The good news is, the winter squalls have managed to blast through between our rodeo finals, so we had good weather and roads for the Canadian Senior Pro Finals in Claresholm, Alberta last week and should have the same while we're in Red Deer this Thursday and Friday for the Canadian Breakaway Finals championship. 

The bad news is we have to practice before we go, and even though we have an indoor arena, it's still pretty chilly. This is my current roping attire. Let me tell you, nothing says "rodeo in Montana" like ski pants and a parka. And poor Hank got plastered with snow yesterday just going out to get a drink. 

And of course, driving has been an adventure. Near whiteout conditions on the twelve-mile drive down to the bus stop to pick up the kid yesterday afternoon, which reminded me to remind all of you that I have a Wattpad account where I occasionally post short stories and such, including this one called Have Ranch, Need Cowboy

The snow also means getting out to feed cattle about a month early, which means me spending more time assisting my husband with those chores, which brought to mind a newspaper column I wrote when I first left my town job to be on the ranch full time. So I'll leave you with a little something to make you laugh and praise the Lord you don't live here. Unless you do, in which case: what's your pick, Florida or Arizona? 


Communicate This

A few years back my lifestyle underwent a rather dramatic change due to my dad's unexpected illness. Though now that I think about it, that's a ridiculous turn of phrase. I mean, really, who has expected illnesses? Psychics? Time travelers? That guy in your office who always calls in sick the Monday after the Super Bowl? Anyway, during Dad's recovery I became the number one chore girl, which was a nice change from the desk job (to which I never returned, although my dad is fully recovered). However, since I hadn't been around on a day to day basis, I was sort of clueless, and required a lot of instruction. Which I appreciated. Really. But taking non-stop orders from my husband was--how shall we say?--a bit of a test of our matrimonial bliss.

Communication was the answer, of course, but it took us a week to figure out the question, starting on the first morning when he made a vague gesture toward the west and said, "Load up some square bales in the tractor bucket and take them over to the horses."

I was somewhat baffled because I was under the impression that the herd of horses out in the pasture got big round bales, but I dutifully stacked the tractor bucket full of small squares and headed out.

My husband came roaring along in the pickup to flag me down. "Where the heck are you going?"

"To feed the horses," I answered, because, Duh, isn't that what he just told me to do?

"I meant the three horses on the west side of the barn," he said. "Not the eight on the west side of the ranch."

"Oh. Well. You should be more specific."    

Sometimes, it's a matter of semantics. As a person accustomed to communicating via the written word, I occasionally find the lack of visible punctuation in spoken language troublesome. Thus began the endless loop in which my husband attempted to instruct me to call the vet and acquire medication for what he referred to as 'heifer calves'. I assumed these to be 'calves who are heifers', when in fact what he meant was 'calves born to heifers'. Which, technically, would be heifers' calves, but he proved to be emphatically disinterested in discussing the finer points of grammar while one of said calves was showing signs of expiring at any moment.

Then there's the non-verbal communication. We have the usual repertoire of arm waves and finger points for when the situation makes shouting impossible (including, on remarkably rare occasions, use of what my niece calls the tall finger). Most often, this is because he is driving the tractor, and I'm running around on the ground doing the real intellectual stuff like cutting twine on round bales and opening gates.

Lacking a functioning horn, his preferred method of getting my attention is to rev the tractor engine. Vroom! Point, gesture, No, go that way! I trot that way. Vroom! Point, gesture. No, I meant that gate! I trot over to the gate in question. Vroom! Point, gesture. Watch out for that cow. I watch out. Vroom! Point, gesture. Don't forget to feed the bulls. And so on. And so on. All. Day. Long.

Luckily, I caught on fairly quickly and require much less supervision most days. This is good, for both our collective blood pressure and our chances of reaching our next wedding anniversary. But honest to Pete, some days, if he revs that engine at me one more time…
(To get the full effect, view the video of yesterday's chores over on Facebook, where I post the daily happenings from up here in the frozen tundra:  Kari Lynn Dell Western Author  Give the page a like if you're a FB user and want to see lots of pictures of horses, cowdogs, mountains....and snow.) 


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Copyright © 2019 Kari Lynn Dell, All rights reserved.

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