I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this with as much enthusiasm as I feel about the news, but my little sister has recently moved from town to the ranch and is currently living in the little cabin down the road waiting for her house to be built.
Yes, we are officially neighbors now, just like we were when we were kids building forts out by the creek, talking to one another on tin-can telephones. And while our string might not be long enough to stretch between our two forever houses now, when our girls are older, they will be close enough to ride their bikes to meet up and get into mischief.
And with a new niece arriving for my little sister in November, putting our girl stats at ages 4, 3, 2 and new, I sense some interesting times ahead.
But I’m excited for all of us, my sister, the girls and me. Our husbands? Well, they’re in for some fun, too.
When we welcomed Edie into the world, I hoped she’d have a sister (I think my little sister hoped the same for her firstborn), so here we are. And with big sister/cousin Edie leading the charge, we might as well both douse our houses in pink glitter and get it over with.
So now that my built-in best friend is my neighbor and we’ve created four more built-in best friends, I can’t help but think how their relationships are going to develop. Because when my little sister and I get together, it seems like we do a pretty good job of zoning out everything else in the world and concentrating on the things that matter.
Like the movie she watched last night, the new boots I’m thinking of buying, what we should drink for happy hour, the status of our children’s bowel movements and how we are going to pull off the next water balloon ambush on my husband.
And with roundup time just around the corner, I’m reminded of the last time my sister and I worked cattle together. Because nothing exemplifies how incapable we are at focusing more than when we so generously volunteer to help our father move cows in the early morning and then linger in the house just long enough over a cup of coffee, a piece of toast, my little sister’s missing boot and the morning hairdo I can’t fit under my hat for Pops to get out the door, up the road and into the barnyard to catch horses, saddle up and assume the position of waiting patiently while he listens to our jabbering as we finally make it out of the house and to the barn to meet him.
Three gallons of ShowSheen to get the burrs out of our horses’ manes and tails, three curry combs, seven curse-word combinations and another half hour later, we get the horse-hair situation under control. And once we get past the missing reign situation, the stirrup situation and the fly spray situation, we are finally on our way to moving some cows in the heat situation.
My little sister hates the heat. She’s also hates bees, or anything that looks like it might belong to the bee family. Information to hold keep in mind as I describe the roundup, which went like this:
Us: “Where are we chasing them? Which gate? That gate? Where are you going? What? I can’t hear you!?”
Dad: “Just stay there, I’ll head up over the hill to look for more, then we’ll move them nice and easy.”
Me: “I think we missed one. Should I go and get it?”
Little Sister: “Should I come with you? I should probably come with you. I’ll come with you… eeeek! A bee… I hate bees… eeeeeeeekkkkkk.”
Dad (as he races through the brush and up the hill): “Just stay there!!! Girls! Stay there! I’ve got it!!!”
Little Sister: “I’ve never really liked chasing cows… I mean, I like it when things go well, like we can just ease them along, but they start going the wrong way and it stresses me out.”
Me: “Ooh, chokecherries!”
Little Sister: “Where’s dad? Maybe we should go find him. Should we take these cows with us?”
Me: “Munch, munch, munch… Oh, yeah. We should get going.”
Little Sister: “I think my horse runs weird. Does he look weird to you?”
We finally catch up with Dad, who is behind 25 head of cows and their calves. Little Sister and I brought along four, who head toward the wrong gate on the wrong side of the creek.
Dad (hollering from behind the 25 head of cattle and their calves he’s just moved through a half-mile brush patch on his own): “You’re going to have to turn them or leave them because they’ll never make it across the creek and through the trees…”
Me (running toward my small, straying herd eyeing a brush patch): “Oh, oops. I’ve got ‘em. Sorry. Wasn’t paying attention.”
Little Sister: “Do you think my horse runs weird?”
Dad: “I think your horse is just fat… Jess, you’re never going to get them. Just leave them. I’ll get them later.”
Me, hollering to Little Sister: “Whhhattt? Whhhattt did hee sayyyy?!! Ask him? Should I leave them???”
Little Sister, hollering to Pops: “DAAAADDD, SHOULD SHE LEAVE THEM?”
Dad, hollering to Little Sister: “Yess, ssheeee ssshhoullld lleeave them!!”
Little Sister, hollering to me: “HEEE SSAAAYSS LEEAAVEE THEM!”
And so on and so forth until a tree branch slaps me in the face, we almost lose the entire herd to the brush and my little sister never actually gets stung by a bee. I didn’t know it at the time, but I think this might be our future.
And I can't wait.
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.