"This place, there's just something about it that makes people feel like it's their own. It's special that way I think," my husband said as he pulled his pickup off the highway and onto the gravel road that leads us home to the ranch. Our girls were sleeping in the back and the sky was turning dark in anticipation of a summer storm.
When we were young kids, my little sister came home from a weekend with her friend spent four-wheeling and boating on the big lake and asked my dad if we were poor. Because somewhere between kicking up dust and riding the boat's wake she realized what they had that we didn't, and she wondered why.
Well, it's officially gardening season around here, which means the friendly competition I have with my dad about who is better at keeping the cows from eating the bean plants and pooping on the radishes has begun.
Yesterday, I told my 2-year-old that it was time to take a nap. She replied, of course, that she didn't want to. When I asked her why, she said, "Because it's too dangerous."
Have you ever had a week where you feel like there's a dark cloud of bad luck following you around? I'm not talking about catastrophic events, but rather painful toe stubs, coffee cups falling randomly from the cupboard, a printer that will only print blue ink or a chandelier that quit working one day only to magically work again the next?
There's a million ways to be a good mom. Handing your 2-year old one M&M after another in an attempt to keep her quiet while you're on the phone conducting an interview for a magazine article that is overdue is probably not one of them. It's not one of the ways to become a great journalist either, but when it comes to motherhood and work, sometimes it's about survival.
Throw open the doors and bring out that old book that props up your window. Let the sun in and the breeze blow through the house because I think spring might finally be happening after all. I wouldn't dare say for sure, except last weekend I picked some crocuses and a tick off the back of my neck, and out here those two things might be the most reliable indicators that sub-zero temps are on their way out, for a few months anyway. It's incredible what a 70-degree day will do to a person up here where winter drags its heavy feet coming and going.
It's always a rainy day for this kind of news. But if the sun happens to be shining when you hear it, standing in the vet's office bouncing your fussy baby while your big-hearted old dog waits for you on a blanket in the back of your car, well you'd just resent it's hopeful rays anyway. It was the coughing and wheezing on our walk that weekend that found me and my old companion looking at one another wondering how I was going to get his tired and stiff 110-pound body hoisted up into the back of my SUV without killing us both.
We're in the middle of calving season here at the Veeder Ranch. And because we're in North Dakota, our plans to calve mid-April didn't necessarily get us out of the cold woods. Every coulee and protected place on the ranch is still full of snow, so every day is like a scavenger hunt for shiny, little black heads popping out of the tall grass, if they were lucky enough to be born in a dry spot.
We live on gravel roads that stretch like ribbons along pasture land dotted with black cattle. As we kick up dust beneath our pickup tires heading out to a chore or to meet up with a neighbor, we take for granted how these roads were built and why they're here. Because these days we're in a rush, driving faster than we should past newly made plans and history-- some hidden and some still standing, weathered wood on crumbling foundations.