Where's the song ~~ "Don't let your daughters grow up to marry a Cowboy" ?

​​​​​​​Life is tough! Requires hard physical work, long, long days of pain, dirt, and broken fingernails.​
​Days of frigid cold & scorching heat; through the dust & mud; daybreak into the darkness of nite~~​
​the heart & body becomes toughened & weathered replicating leather!​
​A forever constant factor for a real Cowboy's Wife is tons of sweat, oceans of tears and a constant 'drought' in the wallet!​
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​​​​​​​​​IF​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ she wants to spend anytime at all with her Cowboy, she must do as he does, you become partners!​
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​​​​​​Kick off your boots, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and envision yourself in my life!​
​... It really isn't that bad! There are many rewards to be had to make it a great lifestyle! ...​ ​​​​​​​

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Feel I Should Clarify...

I don't normally allow rivers to fall from my soul!
But do you all know how many tears you caused to fall while reading
your comments and many, many emails filled with questions, concerns & prayers?!
(I thought my dams had been built "Ford-Tough" to withstand anything!)
But I truly feel a deep indebtedness for your thoughts & well wishes.
Having built so many wonderful friendships here,
gives me hope! And fills my heart with peace!
You can't imagaine how thankful I am to have gotten to 'know' you!
~ ~ ~
Now, let me clarify some things in our life...
seeing as how I've opened up so much already to this 'invisible' world...
~ ~ ~
We are NOT waving the white flag of surrender...yet!
We have NOT lost our home or land...yet, and truly hope that doesn't happen!
We ARE survivors! We've been to Hell and back many times throughout our years together and we've always come back tougher, standing on firmer ground.
Of course we are older each time and strength can diminish with age ;(
But for strength, we have faith & we have each other...
and the deepest love for one another that cannot be severed...by anything!
Here's some pieces to the puzzle of Our Life that are NOT in "Our Life" page..
(I'm sorry the following explanation is so lengthy, I just don't know how else to clarify our life)
Debts?
We have a very small mortgage payment, thanks to our sale in AZ at just the 'right' time!
(which includes property taxes & insurance)...equivalent to less than most rents!
  1. Utilities
  2. Vehicle insurance (required)
  3. Bare Bones medical insurance
That's it ...!
What could we cut out?
  1. TV Dish Satellite
  2. Wild Blue Internet
  3. Medical insurance ???
That's it ...!
~ ~ ~
Neither Cowboy or I were "born into" the agricultural world.
Nor were we "born into" money.
We have shared a mutual vision, a dream and a passion for the Pioneering spirit & lifestyle.
That is how we built the foundation of our lives together.
  • We have lived in the rugged N. Central Cascades running a pack outfit.
  • We have worked for and on ranches.
  • Cowboy (w/ Zig & Zag -our original Border Collies) managed the "backside" of the Okanogan Livestock Sales Yard.
  • Cowboy managed a feedlot in Buckeye, AZ.
  • Cowboy has been a certified Farrier for 25+ years.
  • Cowboy has started colts for 25+ years.
  • Cowboy has 'day worked' for ranchers every chance he's had.
  • Cowboy worked & lived on dairies growing up; loaded and unloaded semi's of hay.
  • We both even worked for an animal pharmaceutical company in Toppenish until they went bankrupt.
  • We have bought, built, remodeled & sold places where we maintained our Pioneer spirit & Ag lifestyle.
  • We have been sued...and lost...because some jerk didn't like driving by our covered arena! (They happened to have had more money than us, to keep the battle going!)

Our lives have been completely encompassed in the agricultural world. Agricultural lives means work! It requires a passion, dedication and fortitude. We thrived in our lives! The only time in all these years that Cowboy 'stayed home' from work was when he broke his back on the ranch in MT. and after having a heat stroke in AZ. Other broken bones or illnesses never stood in our way from a days work!

When we moved here, we were given the opportunity to fulfill our dream of having cattle. A rancher from the west side of the State was being "squeezed out". Cowboy had always been like a son to John. Keith had worked for him years ago and we've stayed close friends. None of John's sons or grandsons were interested in the cattle business to pass it on to, and being in his late 70's , wanting to semi-retire, he made us an offer we could not pass up. With purebred Shorthorn stock, he made it possible for us to have a jump start into our lifelong dream.

We moved into this community of longtime farmers and ranchers. The closest "city" is 35 miles away with a population of 2,800. Just our kind of home!

We don't own enough land to support a herd so we leased summer ranges, then winter fed, calved in Feb/March on the home grounds to make it work.
This community has quickly continued to shrink in population. Yet there happens to be a large feedlot (somehow connected to Agri-Beef) that consumes all the lands that come available or the farmer's families turn theirs over into CRP (not grazeable).
A year ago this month, just as Cowboy was headed out the drive to pay for our winter feed, I made him sit down to my black and white figures on paper.
(He was living with blinders on, desperate to bring our dreams to fruition)
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Leased ground was becoming less available & what was left to lease, was becoming too costly...because of the feedlot!
Hay prices were soaring, fuel was creeping higher...it was NOT possible to break even with these conditions, let alone build the herd numbers up!
I insisted we sell out. He had to agree. We did, however, keep two back.
(Oh how I miss the calving time! That was always my favorite time of year!)
Cowboy proceeded out of the drive, he paid for the winter feed we needed for horses.
NOT cattle. It just was not in the cards for us.
Since coming back to Washington, he has "day worked" for ranchers and even the feedlot. But starting colts was to be our mainstay. Over the years, Cowboy has built a reputation and earned great respect from his clientele...80% of the colts he starts are for ranchers from 3 states. He's been upfront, honest & fair to them. He has not been greedy by taking in more horses than we needed to pay our bills; nor to jeopardize the quality of his work. He has not charged the ranchers the higher prices that others charge; and he has given them back horses that are safe, dependable and can get the job done that's expected of these animals.

..... AND THEN .....

On October 7th, Cowboy headed north to the Okanogan country again.
The purpose was three-fold.
1) to return 2 colts to a rancher that he had started.
2) to GIVE away one of our horses, to a 73 year old rancher who's 27 year old horse was failing.
3) to help some friends gather cattle off of their summer ranges for the week.


That morning before he left, 3 other horses he had started were picked up by their owners. The plan was that upon Cowboy's return that following week, (which is last week now) more horses would be arriving as had been scheduled throughout the winter.
The economy was taking a nose-dive fast and hard!
Two hours after he headed north, the phone began to ring.... "I'm sorry, but we can't afford..." ~~...."..maybe later, if things get better".... etc. etc. By the end of that week, all of his scheduled horses for the winter months had cancelled.
Do you remember that post "T'Was a S.A.D. Saturday" ?
We had managed to get all of our winter feed in here that week for the horses scheduled throughout the winter. Paid for.
The only horse that will remain here now, is that stallion, Bro, whose owner is in Hawaii.
He will leave this next Spring...if we hang on that long.

Since Cowboy's return from the North country, we have been doing survival maneuvers....
What? you might be asking...
We had to make the fateful decision, that any critter that did not 'pay' for itself, but instead, costs us money.. must leave!

  • GAVE away 2 Border Collies (both less than 2 yr old, they will now have 'jobs')
  • GAVE the goats away (no purpose having them since there's no dogs to train )
  • GAVE away 2 more horses, one more yet to go (that'll make 4 GIVEN away)
  • GAVE the chickens away (saves us winter feed and electricity for heat & light)
  • The 2 remaining cows? no decision yet...


It has been a strange week, a hard transition,
and leaving us with a very sad, emptiness in our hearts, our lives!
Everything has happened so fast! We are still numb..but we WILL find our way.


27 comments:

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

My heart aches for you and your cowboy. I very much enjoyed reading your reference to Ben Snipes. I admire you for using his story to inspire yourself.
My aunt tells the story of how she was busy cleaning her 2 bathrooms one day and, for some reason, it set her into a foul mood. She grumbled about having to do so much cleaning in the bathrooms and how it was something that she could just do without. But then, it occurred to her that she had grown up in a home that had only an outdoor privy and she remembered her dear mother scrubbing it with lye and whatever means, and she realized that her chore, in comparison, was simple and easy. Since that awakening, she sings as she cleans her 2 bathrooms, knowing that God has blessed her in so many ways.
God bless you - you are in my prayers.

Sage said...

Barb, you and Cowboy are in my heart and prayers. It must be so hard to give some of your animals away the bonds you have are strong, but it was a necessity and they will be loved in their new homes. I hope you do make it through the hard times ahead and keep the ranch, there is a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere. {{hugs}}

Egghead said...

Barb my heart is heavy for you. I know how bleak things look right now but have faith that this will end. I am a firm believer that when a door shuts a window opens. I am sorry for these hard times and you are in my prayers and heart. Blessings.

Renie Burghardt said...

Oh, dear Barb, my prayers and well wishes continue. I hope things ease up some, soon!

Hugs!!!!!

Renie

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Your comment title on our blog is "give me some guff!", seems at odds with what we all want to give you right now.
We are all sending our thoughts, prayers, and best wishes your way.
My DOR says things are hard for farmers now...I think that is really wrong. What happened to the American Way Of Life?
All of my pasture mates hope all turns out well for you.

Mrs Mom said...

Wow, WOW.

Like you said though- You Two Are

SURVIVORS.

And where one door (seems to) close, another WILL open. I'll keep scoping out WAH jobs for you too, and let you know ASAP what I can come up with.

And, yeah, we will sure keep y'all in our thoughts and prayers too.

Much love from this little corner of the Southland, and loads of prayers and good thoughts.

Welcome to our Ranchette! said...

Sending you our prayers.You have such a good amount of common sense, a rare quality these days.
Keep us in the loop and we'll check in on you :)

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh Barb that transition thing is the toughest place to be isn't it. My thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with you. I know that feeling too but like you I am a survivor and survivors always find a way out. Hang in there - like I said before a new door will open and though it might not be the one you want, it might just be the one you need :)
Take care.

DesertHen said...

Someone once told me that each phase of our life is a stepping stone to the next path we are supposed to be on...not only will you survive this, but you and cowboy will thrive!! Hang in there!! I know how hard it must be right now, but please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers daily!!

Sending peaceful thoughts and love your way.........

The Blonde Duck said...

That's really sad......

I hope things shake out for ya'll.

christina said...

((((((hugs))))))

Train Wreck said...

This old world can be cruel sometimes. When you're looking for answers you can't seem to find. No one understands what you're going through. I do. It gets better. I love you my friend, you know that right. I wish you could hear music on your ol computer. I have a few for you. Always here for you.
Kim

LL said...

So have you started writing your book yet?

I figured it was going to be something like that. Starting horses is too fickle a business during hard times. It's always tough when the big boys drive the little guy out of business. It's even sadder when folk allow themselves to be used by the big boys to accomplish it.

We're going through some changes around these parts too. The outlook for agriculture, and by extension the rest of the country, isn't good.

oregontribal1 said...

Oh my goodness! What a terrible thought to give up all of your 'babies'!! I just could not give them up like that....makes me want to cry with you and for you!!
Please hang in there, and know that you and Cowboy are in our thoughts and prayers....take the time to grieve if need be; nothing wrong with that! You will survive this terrible blow and overcome it and come out stronger in the end. But for now...we here in Oregon are keeping you and your hubby close to our hearts. ~Teresa~

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Oh Barb, I am so sorry.This makes me so sad and then mad at the same time.My hubby comes in everday ready to throw his hands up and quit.He has a service job and as would be expected....when the economy goes , so goes the service jobs. It's scary, real scary right now.We are going to have to make cuts too.But it's like I told hubby; we aren't the only ones in this boat. There are a whole lot more that has futher to sink than us. And the futher they have to sink the harder it is going to be on them.Most people nowadays don't even know how to plant a garden or even survive without electricity for a few days.They don't have any common sense at all . All I can say is .... get in , sit down,buckle up and shut up, cause we are in for the ride of our lives. Cause it don't look good .You and cowboy are SURVIVORS and you will make it. I am going to tell you what kept me going when I was stricken with cancer 3 yrs. ago. This simple little phrase...." GOD brought me to this and he will get me through it".And he did !
Sorry I rambled on for so long.I wish I could give you a big old heart felt hug right now Barb.I will pray for ya'll.

terri said...

I'm praying for you, my friend.

JennyLu said...

darn it woman. I wish we lived closer, I'd send you Mr Freckles and let Cowboy work him. He is green broke, stands for a ferrier and just needs some hours under the saddle! (I can get on him but I am ready to jump of the first time he farts!) All will get better, sorry we made you cry.

Karen Van Staeyen said...

Dear Barb,

You took the time and effort to come and check how I was while you are going through such a hard battle. I find it hard to find the right words to express the feelings that I have reading your posts. Indeed, I am working hard supporting my hubbies work. The advantage is that what he has to offer people does not necessarily has to cost them a fortune. So I hope that it will work out and we will survive these hard times. We've had confronting talks lately about which horses to keep and which ones to sell. Ducks will go in the freezer next week. That's easy. Why didn't you eat your goats? Goat meat is delicious. It is so true what you say, 100 years ago you just had to take care for yourself and your family. Nowadays you can go broke on taxes and health insurance while your pantry is stuffed with food. That is so weird and scary. But we are hanging in there, just like you. Praying and hoping and working our asses of. I send you all my love, courage and prayers.
Karen

RazorFamilyFarms.com said...

Momma Barb,

How I wish we lived closer to one another! In times of great stress (financial, loss, etc.) friends and family become more than a vital element in our lives.

Josh and I have had a bad year and truly cannot afford much of anything. Josh gets a slight raise in December and again in January but it won't be enough to do much more than hack away at our monthly gas bill.

I worry, too. The other month, our mortgage payment cleared the bank by just a few dollars. Fear set in. We got all of our bills paid but I cannot begin to express the terror. I know you understand.

Blessings to you, my adopted mom and my friend. You and Cowboy are in my prayers.

Love,
Lacy

Annie Wicking said...

WoW, I know things are hard around the world but this has brought it home to me...W.o.W

I wish you and your beloved all the very best I can wish for you... I know your love for each other will see you through these tough times.

Best wishes,

Annie

AnneDroid said...

My first visit to your blog, and it's a sad one - poor you. It sounds really miserable for you both. Money isn't everything but it's useful when you want to buy something! I'll say another prayer to add to the collection you've amassed already.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Sending you a big ol' Tennessee hug and prayers being uplifted for y'all.

And...you're right. You will survive. We may not know the road or path we'll have to travel....but you will survive.

Trusting God through Jesus Christ through thick and thin. This is a thin time for so many.

Alex said...

My heart breaks for you and your cowboy....hang in there...you are in MANY thoughts and prayers. You are loved!!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Have been reading your blog for a while but never commented. You and Cowboy are in my prayers. We live just outside Spokane and have friends up in your area. I know its tough but like so many have said, A door closes, and a door opens when we least expect it. Big hugs to you.

Shirley said...

Barb, I love your spirit, your integrity, and your grit. I believe that you will pull through and will add my prayers to everyone else's. Maybe this is the push you need to write that book. I wish, like others that I could be there to help.

PK said...

So terribly sorry to hear about your sorrows. You should have baked about three pies, I'm guessing. You definitely need some "Feel Good Food". I fear a lot of us will come back to your post and bake ourselves a pie before the year is out. Put you a double scoop of ice cream on that!

Things here in Steamboat are getting slim, not many into remodeling or building. I'm trying to talk Dalton into going back to PA and getting the backhoe. At least we could plow roads and driveways from snow. There should be plenty of that! Hopefully, after this election, things will calm down. Everything gets in an uproar right before an election.

We really need that elk to fill the freezer. Dalton swears he'll not buy any beef if he does! Got any elk recipes?

Take care, Barb! And God Bless you and Cowboy! Our prayers are with you!

PK and Dalton

OneCowgirl said...

I am with Shirley on this one...you've got spirit and grit...my heart goes out to you. Big Hugs and prayers for you and your Cowboy...