Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

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February 18, 2014
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 2-17-14

On farms and ranches, tradition is developed by repeated activities that do not change over the years. Yes, new tools may be introduced to deal with chores; better and quicker communication systems come into play — such as cell phones, iPod/Pads/drones and politician’s promises. The basics of country life, however, remain pretty much the same year in and year out. Country women certainly know so ...

You know you’re a country woman living on a farm or ranch when:

... the increasing height and breadth of the manure pile gives you a warm feeling of pride.

... you glance out the window to note your spouse is marching up the path, a newborn, half-dead calf dangling over his shoulder, and you automatically jump to spread a blanket behind the stove.

... when eating store-bought bread is a treat.

... when other women brag about their household achievements and you brag about the three sets of triplet lambs.

... your youngest offspring in kindergarten describes the birth of a calf during “show and tell” starting with, “First, a big bubble comes of the back ...”

... you laugh wildly because town women call you to serve on assorted projects because “you don’t work.”

... a city kid comes to visit and you overhear your eldest offspring explaining the function of the little house out back with the half moon in the door.

... your sheepdog hits a skunk and comes in the house and jumps on the bed.

... your spouse sleeps on the couch all during his favorite program.

... you open the refrigerator door and a vaccine bottle drops into the Jell-O.

... your spouse pleads with you to drop everything and drive immediately to town. It’s an emergency — he’s out of Snoose.

... it’s five minutes before supper and you’re scraping the leftover peas into the left over potatoes planning for hamburger soup and crackers — and you hear your spouse on the back stoop cheerfully assuring a gaggle of extra cowhands, “Sure, there’s plenty! C’mon in!”

... you wash your face, put on lipstick and a fresh blouse, and your spouse wants to know where you’re going “all gussied up.”

... “dinner” means a 10 course meal served at high noon.

... everyone you know or ever did know thinks a perfect vacation is a visit to a ranch — yours.

... you try to educate a city friend in the art of butchering her own chickens and she turns green and leaves in the middle of your recital.

... you accidentally inject yourself while vaccinating the cows and have to go see the Vet instead of the MD.

... your heart lurches, just like in books, at the breath-taking crystal beauty of the mountains against the spring sky.

... the miracle of new grass in spring begins to push green threads among the winter brown and gray.

... the hot summer nurtures each moment of the day in a cocoon of peace.

... a wintertime Chinook makes you feel as bouncy as a calf.

... you truly know you’re a country woman when your spouse puts his arm around you and declares, “Happy Anniversary, ya old Heifer!” ❖


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The Fence Post Updated Feb 18, 2014 11:39AM Published Mar 3, 2014 02:24PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.