Life without Cows

My Cowboy retired.

He did it a year ago, January 1st, 2020. A year that will live in infamy.

We have BIG PLANS.

Travel. See the kids. Oh, who knows what all.

And then Covid

And he sat and he sat all that long, long cold year.

Looking at cattle that weren’t his, oh dear.

Okay enough Dr. Seuss.

He’s a Nebraska cattleman and that seems to be more than skin deep. 

Like (I suspect) most people, there were parts of his job he loved. And parts he hated. I think if he could have skipped the parts he hated (getting up to check on pregnant cows at 2 am in February when it’s 18 below outside comes to mind) he’d’ve kept at it for much longer.

But you have to take the bad with the good. And the good was something we both loved….let me mention here that I was NEVER along on those 2 am checks. Oh, and 9 pm, sometimes midnight, then the 2 am visit. And often 5 am. 

I slept through all of that.

But oh we did love those pretty baby calves.

We mostly had black angus and those shining, furry black babies, so lively, so alert and interested, but shy, are just the prettiest little things.

We’d ride out in our Kubota, no horses for us for a long, long time…check the cows. My Cowboy would risk his life to tag (note the white ear tag on the baby and the red tag on the Mama…cows get tagged in eastern Nebraska and branded in western Nebraska…though this cow on the left had a freeze brand. 

It’s what it sound like. Instead of a red hot branding iron, they use liquid nitrogen and our vet knew how to do it, though we didn’t do it to our cows. Sometimes we bought replacement cows though and they’d come branded.

He’d get between the mama and baby. Mama often trying to kill him like he was a wolf attacking her calf, rather than the man who brought her food all year long. We respected her protective instincts at the same time we thought it a sign of a very small brain.

Sometimes the cows we’d buy were already pregnant and we’d get a little color in the herd. And this cow, with the white face, isn’t an angus, she’s a Simmental with what they call a BLAZE. Though that’s not what I’d call it. More like big white blotches. But no one consulted me when they named this type of cow a Simmi-blaze, so we’re stuck with it.

Anyway, I’m sidetracked.

We’ve lived through two springs now without any 2 am baby checks.

And also two springs without calves. 

My Cowboy is really good with retirement.

He said the other day that he doesn’t have time to do everything he needs to do everyday.

I laughed.

He snapped that it wasn’t funny.

I quit laughing but inside I was thinking it WAS kinda funny. He was really worried about what he’d do in retirement, because he is NOT a guy who does well sitting around.

Sort of an energizer bunny type.

But he’s doubled the size of our garden. He’s planted six? Seven? Fruit trees. Mows the lawn. Does all the cooking. Cleans the house. Washes the laundry. Oh, yeah, he does EVERYTHING.

And he golfs. 

 

Mama and Baby–most of our calves are pure black, but not all

I have to admit, I never saw that coming.

He golfs like…five days a week. He is now one of THOSE GUYS who mutter and complain when it rains because he can’t go golf. Add in, he has never done much golfing, so it’s not like he has this rusty game from his youth he’s trying to resurrect.

Anyway, again, sort of sidetracked. 

He missed the great parts of the cows. So do I. Like this pair to the left, also a Simmi-Blaze pair. They reflect each other. The mama’s blaze bends to the right, the baby’s to the left. I just LOVE THIS PICTURE!

But life without cows…is kind of sad. We drive down the road past herds of cows with their babies. And he really notices. He started early this spring saying, “No calves yet in that herd.”

Then we get to the same herd a week later. “Look there is one right against the fence. (note…these are STRANGERS cows).

Now these herds are just teeming with babies and they are so cute. We miss them.

Except at 2 am.

 

 

Leave a comment to win a free audio-book version of Braced for Love. Tell me if you do NOT want the audio book. I got a couple of free … codes? Coupons? Whatever, for audio books and I’m allowed to share them.

And tell me what you think you’d miss if you retired. And what you wouldn’t miss. Or if you are retired, what do you miss and not miss.

I know as a writer who has…it’s freaky to say…not minded being locked down all that much!!! There isn’t much I dislike about being an author. I suppose maybe someday I could quit…but I’m not sure. I have this vision of myself….105 years old, slumping dead over my keyboard, halfway through writing a book. 

BRACED FOR LOVE

Brothers in Arms book #1

After his father’s death, Kevin Hunt inherits a ranch in Wyoming-the only catch is it also belongs to a half brother he never knew existed. But danger follows Kevin, and he suspects his half brother is behind it. The only one willing to stand between them is Winona Hawkins.

Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he’s inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin’s supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.

But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other’s throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.

Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can’t help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin–and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody’s dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?

 

Also available for pre-order

 

A Man with a Past

Brothers in Arms book #2–Coming in July 2021

Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He’s got brothers he can’t remember, and he’s interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he’s already married. He can’t imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that–twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.

Soon it’s clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they’re to have any chance at a future. 

 

Love on the Range

Brothers in Arms book #3–Coming in October 2021

Wyatt Hunt is temporarily bedridden and completely miserable. Somehow Molly Garner’s limited skills have made her the most qualified in their circle to care for Wyatt. But by the time he’s healed, she’s fed up with him and the whole ungrateful family. For even worse than his grumpiness were the few unguarded moments when he pulled at her heartstrings, and she has long determined to never marry.

Molly gets a job as the housekeeper at Oliver Hawkins’s ranch. But really she’s with the Pinkertons, spying to find out if Hawkins has abused women and if he’s guilty of murder.

Wyatt refuses to let her risk it alone, convincing Hawkins that he’s abandoning his own ranch, angered by his two brothers’ coming to claim a big chunk of it.

But when another Pinkerton agent gets shot, they realize Hawkins isn’t the only danger. The Hunt brothers will have to band together to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them.

 

http://www.maryconnealy.com

Website | + posts

Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules

28 thoughts on “Life without Cows”

  1. Hmm… not looking forward to my husband’s retirement after he’s been working from home this past year, getting in my way. Lol

    No audio code for me, thanks.

  2. I took an early retirement from teaching because I was expecting my first grandchild and wanted more flexible time. I missed the students but not all the paperwork and record keeping or 14-hour days.

    I would love to win a code.

  3. These cattle are called black baldies here in Indiana – and yes we have a few – we use a registered Angus bull on crossbred cows and yes I would miss the calves too – hubs gave up feeding the calves out as fats for shipping we now sell them as feeders usually in January of February depending on when he can get them weaned!

    • Teresa, we never did fat cattle. We just had a cow/calf herd. So babies in the spring, sale barn in December, then here came new babies. I think of black baldies as an Angus Hereford cross but these Simmi Blaze cattle have a black baldy look so okay! 🙂

  4. I dread the day my husband retires. He usually works 6 days a week, so when he does have two days off on a weekend, he gets on my nerves. I think he needs to get himself his own ipad as he hogs mine and most of my books are on it, so I can’t even read. I don’t listen to audio books.

    • It’s always a huge change. But often change is good and definitely get him his own iPad. Call it a retirement present. Not a marriage preservation tool.

  5. My husband just works part time now like a couple of days a week and so when he is off he sits in his recliner and watches TV or sleeps all the time and it gets on my nerves. I haven’t worked in several years now and what I miss most is the people that I worked with. When you are with them every day they become like a family to you and I miss that the most.

    • Quilt Lady, I think I’m going to try harder to enjoy all that’s good about a present situation and remember that I might miss it if it was gone. I waste a lot of time in my life. This is a good reminder.

  6. We absolutely LOVE our retirement, Mary. But I admit there are days when hubby plays a little too much solitaire, especially during Covid. But now that the weather is much better, he loves to putter around the yard, and I’m doing more of that, too. Last year, when I had three book deadlines, Covid was my saving grace, and he knew to just let me write. Like Ivan, he has done more housework and cooking in the last five years than he had in the previous forty. Oh, and he goes shopping with me more than he ever has, too. Which I really don’t mind at all.

    The freedom to make a day trip or a run out to our lake cabin is heavenly. I’ve been thinking of Ivan and how he’s enjoying retirement. Thanks for letting us know!

    • I guess he’s enjoying it, except he’s still the same energizer bunny guy as always. It’s drizzly and cool today. Not golfing weather (and he braves a lot of poor weather!). I’m always fine with him golfing. LOL

  7. Woohoo for you and your husband. If I win can I please have paper? I physically cant do audio books. I cant use ear buds or such either. I have epilepsy located right behind my ear drums. Sigh. Oh well. Actually once I accepted that it was to stay and asked God how can I use it for others good, He has led me to situations where other women have some form of disability and He has led me to help them over come something so they can be stronger in their faith and life. Such an exciting ride. He gifted me with Administration and being a Shepard and Helps. Anyway, I am now retired. I was for many years a server, I so loved bringing smiles to the customers. Making their visit special and memorable. I especially liked making them feel wanted and making them feel relaxed for the time they were in the restaurant. I worked at a retirement home for the last seven years of my working. Oh wow, did I love that. I loved to take all that I was and put it into these seniors. Some I worked on extra and some I only needed to work on a little. But I let Jesus’s love shine so these seniors could have a fabulous day and look at their lives with hope. I really do miss all of that part of serving. BUT what I do not miss is the physical part of heavy trays and having to rush, rush, rush. But as my son said, whenever you have good, you have bad. How did he get so smart? LOL My husband saw how I was having trouble physically and said that it was time for retirement for me. NOOOOOO I love my seniors. Oh my how I fought his suggestion. Then one morning when I was done with my shower, he had written a note of two weeks notice. Sigh Ok I know it is the right thing, but doesnt mean I have to like it. I gave my notice. This was four years ago now. I have had the chance to focus more on the house and our veggie garden and helping others. Like a friend fell and broke her hip, so I was able to spend time with her in the mornings while her husband worked and leave when he got home. That was such a special time. God has sent me other things like this also. I have learned what it really means to be a prayer warrior. Oh this is so exciting. I love watching God work in others lives. I have been able to shepard some young moms from church.

    • Lori what a great comment. I feel happier just reading it. I’m so glad you were there to give to seniors. My mom’s in a nursing home and people who take care of her are angels.

  8. My husband retired about 20 years ago and got a part-time job walking in a grocery store. I retired 4 years ago. Sometimes I drive my mother or sister-in-law to dr. appointments, sometimes I keep grandchildren. Right now I have 3 grandchildren as their mother had surgery. The 2 girls are home schooled which I do. Later today I’m watching a 3 year old great grandson as well and taking the 16 year old to driver’s ed class. I also just finished a lap quilt for a granddaughter graduating. I am busier than when I was working!

  9. I have misses your calves too. I really enjoy seeing them. I retires at 78 so I could babysit my great grandson. I still watch him and his little brother and sister. I find I enjoy having more time for reading and doing puzzles. I would rather an e book as I have hearing aids and find it harder to listen then to read.

  10. I love your posts.
    I have done home child care for 40 years now. I am not going to be retiring any time soon (child care doesn’t have a pension or retirement plan). Only change is, I decided this year, no more infants. I have up to 12 each day. Oh, the stories I could tell from the last 40 years (if only I was a writer). I am a better reader than a writer.

  11. I loved your blog. I laughed, you’re such a story teller. Lol
    I know, I know, you’re an author and you’re thinking crazy lady.
    But I understand you & your hubby’s change w/ out cattle. It must be hard, but hey he might get a hole in one soon.

  12. I was a children’s librarian at a small county library, so of course did everything else as needed. I really miss the interaction with the children and the adults. Ordering books I think they will enjoy and recommending new books and authors to patrons was a joy. Planning and putting on special programs and activities was fun and a challenge with limited funds. My family and friends got pressed into service many times. I was lucky they had interests, hobbies, and professions that fit with so many different topics. The pay was bad with no benefits. We all had a Bachelors or Masters Degree and most got minimum wage while the 20 year old high school graduate that worked the desk at city hall made over twice what we did, with benefits. It is sad that libraries are not recognized as the asset they are to a community. It is one of those jobs many do for the love of it rather than for the money. I do miss it and the interaction with everyone. That being said, being cooped up for the last year or so wasn’t all that bad. I have discovered I could be a hermit, as long as I had my home library with me.

    I can understand your husband’s reaction to retirement. My husband is busier now than before, and he doesn’t miss the job he retired from. We do miss the military career he retired from in 1992. He worked with some wonderful people and it truly is a family. We try to fill the time with all those things we wanted to do or didn’t have time to do while working. Volunteering has taken up much of our time and we were able to finally take a trip to Alaska (2 1/2 months). We had more plans for travel, but, like you, were grounded. We still haven’t been able to gear ourselves up to travel yet. It is just going to be too crowded with so many trying to make up for lost time. The other factor is the damaged civility in the country. There has been enough of it in everyday life. I don’t even want to think of what it will be like at venues and having people competing for campsites. I think we will skip a year of travel except for visiting friends and family.

    I hope you get to do some of that travel you were planning. Alaska was wonderful and we want to go back. We love the West from Canada down to the Mexican Border and have gone several times with more to see. We love New England. The country is so varied, you experience something different where ever you go and never seem to manage to see it all. Enjoy.

  13. I’ve made the decision to sell my sheep this fall. It’s going to be hard, but it’s time.

  14. I relate to your thoughts on the cows. We have had a few ever since I was little, a nice stock of Herefords. I don’t chase after them, either—my dad does that. But at some point, they’ll be more than he can manage. At 73, probably sooner than later. And I already know I’m going to miss looking out my bedroom window and seeing them in the field, or watching the little ones let out for the first time in the spring. ?

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