My husband and I worked and lived on mountain cattle ranches for over 25 years. I remember my first year working on the ranch was a real shocker. As a rodeo barrel racer, I never dreamed how difficult it would be working with cattle.
Sorry to bust anyone’s bubble about those big doe-eyed, four-legged animals, but them cows sure are stupid. I could never figure out why they just didn’t save themselves the trouble of getting poked and prodded by just walking into the chute when they were coaxed to. When my husband had to get tough with them, me in my ignorance would holler at him and say, “H-o-n, treat ‘em with kindness.” He would just give me a look that said, yeah right lady. I truly felt that way until one day when I had roped a calf and had finally gotten it in the alley between the corrals. I jumped off my horse, and when I went to remove my rope from around the little “darlin’” calf’s neck, the thing waylaid me in the shin. I was so mad, I started pounding on that little duffer with my rope. (Please note that my pounding would be like getting a slight punch on the arm.) My husband peeked over the fence and said, “Treat ‘em with kindness, huh, Deb?” To which I replied, “Oh, shut up!”
Ranching is hard work. Actually it’s a lifestyle that you have to love because you live it every day by working from sunup to sundown and the work is never done. When you finish with a long arduous, sleep-deprived calving season, then there’s the branding, the moving of cattle from one grazing parcel to another all summer long, the doctoring, irrigating meadows, the long haying seasons, the weaning, etcetera, etcetera, and then the cycle begins anew.
Living in town now, however, has made me appreciate the lifestyle I used to have. Things were much simpler. Life was much simpler. And now because I miss ranching so much, I set a lot of my stories in the ranch and county where I used to live, and relive those days through my characters.
Sunny Weston, the heroine in my Colorado Courtship story, The Rancher’s Sweetheart, loves ranching too. In fact, it’s in her blood, it’s all she knows. But there are those that don’t think Sunny’s capable of running her own spread. She’s out to prove them all wrong. That is, if love doesn’t get in the way.
So, is there romance in ranching?
Well, just ride through the trees with the man you love and discover hidden waterfalls, wild strawberry patches, abandoned broken down homestead cabins that scream of stories to be told, watch wild animals in their natural habitat, or have your hubby pick you a batch of wildflowers and give them to you when you least expect it. Or go for a sleigh ride together while feathery snowflakes are falling, or cuddle with your hunky cowboy husband in the pickup with the heater blowing full blast under a snow covered windshield while you wait to make sure a mama cow is going to have her calf successfully. Or take a walk on a warm sunny evening under a canopy of stars listening to a chorus of frogs, water running, coyotes howling, and owls hooting. I’ve experienced all this and more. So while there may be plenty of work to go around, there’s equally plenty of romance to go around too.
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