Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Grooming of a Ranch Wife

After much consideration, I thought the rules for grooming a ranch wife may be of value to some wayward cowboys that stumble on to my blog.  First, it is important to note, a good ranch wife does not necessarily come from "rancher's stock".  This means that you don't have to grow up on a ranch to make a good ranching wife.  DISCLAIMER:  These are merely guidelines/suggestions strictly for entertainment purposes.  Please do not try these at home.

1.  Good bone structure. Select a woman that is thick boned and sports nice, wide hips.  These will prove important during child-bearing.  It also is important to know that often times when good bone structure is present, it is often at the sacrifice of gracefulness.  However, it all balances out in the end.  When she falls face first while walking on a completely smooth surface, the heavy boned woman is less likely to break a leg (or arm, or wrist....or nose).

2.  Evaluate prospect for competitiveness.  This will become HIGHLY valuable to the rancher.  Just tell her she can't do something 'cuz she's a girl and see what happens.  It is a chemical imbalance reaction similar to mixing vinegar and baking soda.  Amazing things can happen here.  However, as the prospect ages, she will likely be laid up in bed for a week doped up on Hydrocodone trying to recover her youth.  I know this because it is still a phenomenom I suffer from, however with age is gradually coming wisdom to actually know my limits and abide by them.  I still will embrace the challenges set before me, like trying to dig a post hole to 3 feet in ground where bedrock lows 13" below soil level, just to prove that it CAN be done.  However, it may be on my time schedule.

3.  Complexion.  Look for something with an olive complexion.  It will save you thousands of dollars on sunscreen and aloe vera gel.  The gals that don't burn in the scalding Texas sun have a longer shelf life.  If however, you secure yourself a pale face maiden, don't fret, just cloth her in long sleeves, long skirt and wide brimmed hat.  She may curse you now, but thank you later when she isn't battling skin cancer from all the third degree sunburns she would have received. 

4. You may want a woman with a "tongue" on her.  NOTE:  This is the hardest quality to keep in check in a rancher's wife.  The rancher must be highly, trained to use is like the highest wizard's spell.  The woman's tongue, should be trained and controlled to be used only in ideal circumstances and NEVER, I said NEVER, on the rancher.  The woman's tongue should allow her to handle herself with dignity and pride when sassed  by salty, ol' cowboy's at the sale barn wondering why she is there with her 3 children during school hours.

5.  Smart.  She must be smart, or atleast learn-ed (that should be said as two separate words...."learn" and "ed"), and of good, sound mind.  Even if she doesn't know how to perform a certain task, she should be capable of learning it easily.  Again, in all fairness, you may want to revisit line item 1 and the whole lack of grace thing.  Often time, a native city girl can mentally grasp a concept such as tying fence posts or catching wild horses, but actually making those things come to fruition may be difficult due to lack of good ol' fashioned hand/eye coordination.

6.  Healthy.  Don't go find yourself some sickly gal that you picked up at the local drugstore while fillin' a prescription.  And, don't invite the gal you were chatting with at the waiting room in the small town clinic.  No siree.  I am not being judgemental here.  I know there are perfectly healthy women going in for checkups, but there is a LARGE chance that you are chatting with a girl who is deteriorating from the inside out, right before your eyes.  Think to your future, and your kids future.  When sickness infects your house, the rancher's wife still needs to be able to milk the cows in 19 degree, sleeting weather, while nursing vomitous little ones and washing the accompanying laundry. 

7.  Good cook.  This can be trained in to a prospect but if you luck upon one that can actually dish you up food that is both tasty and nutritious that is a plus.  It is important to note here that in early matrimony, the rancher will often be forced to eat a small variety of they can be counted on one hand.  If he is committed enough, and can perserve for about 10 years, he should be eating well.  But, it is the proof of the survival of a cowboy as to how many times he can smile and say "This tastes great, Honey" when eating Beef Stroganoff for the 200th time. 

8. Good driver.  Call the DPS and verify her driving record.  Watch carefully for speeding tickets and fender-benders.  In the long run, speeding will accrue several thousands of dollars in tickets/fines and insurance premiums.  Eventually, it could even lead to her license being this point your up a creek without a paddle.  You will become her personal chauffeur....wait, actually this could be turned into a positive.  She would then be stranded at home unless you carted her somewhere (which is a negative anyway you look at it).  This would mean she would should be more efficient at household chores and she would have more time for general ranch maintenance like fixin' fence or shredding. 

9.  Able to work a flashlight.  And, no fellas, I do not mean find you a gal that knows how to manually turn the flashlight on or off.  A rancher's wife must know, or have had practice, in holding the flashlight, usually in some sort of extreme weather....high winds, dust storms, freezing rain.  There are many factors that must be considered.   The rancher's wife almost always will have to hold the "main beam" on a small screw or hose that is not only behind another structural element, but there will also be the brim of a cowboy hat to contend with.  (Ladies, I wish you luck here....just when I think I have mastered this one....I haven't).

10.  Finally, it is helpful if your wife is fluent in TSL (Trailer Sign Language).  It's similar to ASL - American Sign Language, but yet so different.  They should know the universal symbols for "keep it coming back", "come back slowly", "veer slightly left/right" and "whoa!stop!".  This will save the rancher countless hours of his life if he has a gal that can help him hook up the trailer and get a trailer load of hay backed into the narrowest of spaces. 

Once all of these have been evaluated and a prospect has been selected the true grooming process may begin.  It is like boot camp (in my case, it was called Boots Camp, seeing as my husband's name is Boots).  Ask her to stand bent over for atleast 4 hours a in and day out....picking up rocks. Tell her you need them picked up so as to not hurt the riding lawn mower.  If you've picked a good'un, she'll do it for you, trust me.  If you really want to test her, ask her to do it in summertime in Texas.  Or maybe, you should ask her to help you fix the entire perimeter fence of the property at high noon in June (that's a rhyme). You know, when you literally can cook an egg in a cast iron skillet on your porch. Ask me how I know? My kids do it every year.   Oh, make sure you live on atleast 200 acres so you can really put her to the test. 

I would love to say that I fit all of these qualties after 15 years.  To know the truth, not my version of the truth, you will have to find my husband and ask him yourself.  But, I should warn you, he is a man of few words, it's the "cowboy way" so, good luck!

Praire Kerri

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this.... too funny!!! I was hoping all was alright on your end. I know you're a busy lady but I WAS looking forward to your next post Mrs. Rancherwoman!! (: