Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

Across the fence: In a new place

Marci Whitehurst for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 August 2021

We have a home!

We are working with a large ranch in Montana. It is about an hour away from where we lived before. It’s good to be home.

When we started this adventure of life together, we knew we’d move around some early in our marriage – and we did – because we wanted to try different places, learn from others and experience different settings. It was a good life at the time.

Once the kids were older, we didn’t really have the intention of moving again. We wanted roots. I love deep, deep roots. In the last few months, with this unexpected move, I have felt out of sorts. What did we do? Did we ruin home for the kids? Did we disappoint our community?

There is a battle within oneself when we experience change. I’ve been learning to confront perceptive lies existing in my head with the truth:

Lie: You took home away from the kids.

Truth: Home changed, but home is defined by sharing space with the people you love.

Lie: The kids are upset.

Truth: The kids miss things about our old place, but so do I. Good things are happening in a new place. They are excited.

This mental exercise helps a lot because home really is about the people with whom we share our lives. Now, in a new place, we will be meeting more people.

Our new home needed TLC. We spent a couple weeks cleaning, painting and ripping up flooring. It looks a lot different than it did before. I like seeing the visible difference. Sometimes when we think everything is coming apart at the seams, it is making room for something different. We are growing.

Our kids are growing, too. Our oldest daughter is in Kansas for an internship. We traveled 17 hours to take a horse to her and saw a variety of different landscapes. We also stopped several times to water the horse – and do you know what? Traveling long distances with horses is not what it used to be.

Years ago – OK, maybe decades ago – traveling with a horse meant you could easily find a bed and breakfast with a pasture. It also meant there were water spigots at all the gas stations. America! Did you know that over 50% of the gas stations we stopped at did not have a water spigot? We should’ve brought water with us, but cool water during hot temps sounded better for the horse, so we thought we’d stop along the way. Very few places have water spigots.

One place, I asked if there was a water spigot nearby and the attendant at the gas station said, “No.” When I asked where I might find one in town, he said he didn’t know and that I probably couldn’t water a horse around there. This was a small town in Wyoming, so I was a little shocked by his response. Fortunately, I know Wyoming to be a great place overall, so it didn’t taint us, but it did shock us a bit.

Rest stops generally have water spigots, but not all of them do. (As a side note, we refrained from walking the horse in the pet area, but I really wanted to lead him around in there and see if anyone commented. Although, I doubt his pile would’ve fit in the pet waste area.)

It was a fun adventure. Plus, Kansas: You may be flatter than Montana, but you have beautiful green fields, large sunsets and the friendliest people. Plus, there was very little smoke. But even Kansas had smoke in July.

The fires out West sent smoke all the way to Kansas. We watched it and drove alongside it. All y’all, we are in this together. These large events that affect one group ultimately affect another. I’m so glad the agriculture community is a group of decent people.

By the time this goes to print, fire season will hopefully be over. As I write this, there is a fire 15 miles from our home. It is doubtful it will get to us, but I feel for everyone who is closer, who is working to alleviate the fire and those who have cattle nearby. We know what it is like to get cows out of danger.

We are thankful to be ranching, and we are thankful to have a home and people to fill it up. We are grateful for trips and new experiences. These ordinary joys are daily gifts, no matter where you hang your hat. end mark

Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can follow her on her blog (Cowboy Wife).