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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.