Hanks: The perils of being a rancher’s wife | TheFencePost.com

Hanks: The perils of being a rancher’s wife

So, maybe ladies some of you who have not lived on ranches often pondered what being a cowboy’s or rancher’s wife would be like.

I can tell you. I can tell you of “Little Miss Martha’s” experiences on some of her “not so better days.” Some of these stories, gentle readers, I have written about before and that has been a long time ago.

There was that one day on the LX Ranch north of Amarillo, Texas, when she encountered a huge rattler on the porch to the only door that led into our little camp house.

She had never killed a rattler before or fired a gun before as far as I know. She grabbed up my large 45 revolver, opened the screen door and began blasting away. Of course the snake retreated along with the kid’s pet goat and our dog.

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Martha followed along shooting until she ran out of bullets and then threw the gun at him and then remembered what I had told her in the past. “Just grab a hoe or shovel and hit them behind the head several times.”

She spotted a shovel and grabbed it to cut off his head. The only thing she hit was the kid’s tricycle blowing a huge hole in the seat. She was still shaking at nine that evening when I got home.

Then there was that time on another ranch in a little better house that I rode out one morning for my usual 10-mile ride checking the cows. It was maybe 20 degrees and spitting snow. I came back about an hour later after having a terrible bout with diarrhea.

Yep, had the flu, was in sad shape and needed to get out of my nasty clothes, take a bath and go to bed. “We don’t have any water,” she said when I entered the house. “The well quit soon after you left. Go out to the bunk house and get out of those clothes and I’ll get water from the horse trough, heat it and let you clean up.”

What a revolting development that was. I was in bed in the bunk house as not to infect our little ones and stayed there for three days until I felt good enough to mount up and ride out again.

Then there was that time it rained, rained and rained and she was cooped up with the kids and wanted to get to town and get her hair done. Before she finally got away, she stuck her truck, I stuck my truck, one tractor, the neighbor’s big tractor, and finally with the neighbor’s big truck we got her out and off to town. Wheee!

“I want to go with you and ride. We need more time together,” she begged.

I was getting ready to take off on one of four colts I was breaking and taking another with me to ride back. “I’ll catch up ol’ J. Frank for you to ride,” I offered.


“Well, he may be ugly, but he’s gentle and safe.”

A horse woman, “Little Miss Martha” was NOT.

“What do you want to ride?” I asked. “I want to ride that horse over there.” That horse over there was new, and a little broncy but I thought as long as she was with me, he wouldn’t give her any trouble.

WRONG! Shortly after we rode off, he ran off with her, threw her and dislocated her thumb and filled her mouth with dirt and grass. She never argued with me again about horses or how much time I had to give her when I was busy, busy, busy.

My advice fellers is to take as much time as your darlin’ needs for you to give her! There are so many other stories I could elaborate on but just don’t have the space.

There is NO BETTER LIFE than on a ranch if you are so inclined but you will find some pot holes when you least expect them.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, live today like you would want your children to live when they are your age and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

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Mad Jack Hanks

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