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RanchHER: Trish Charleston

Published on 24 July 2020
Trish Charleston

Trish Charleston is the owner and operator of K&T Cattle Company, owner of Specialty Risk Insurance, author of The Cowboy’s Wife – My Favorite F Words and The Circus Waits for No One, humorist and blogger.

She and her husband, Kevin, aka “The Cowboy,” live in Missouri and have two daughters, Quincy and Emma. K&T Cattle Company specializes in brokering breeding bulls and some cattle. They also raise quarter horses and grow feeder calves.

Who has influenced you in your leadership role? Why? How did you end up in the occupation you have now?

CHARLESTON: My greatest influence would be my husband. I quit my job as a paralegal of 20-plus years and, when I called to tell him, his response was, “Well, now you can just run the farm.” I was promoted in 2.3 seconds to leadership … aka top ranch hand at K&T. I’d never really done much with the farm, except riding in the truck with him on the weekends while checking our cows. I’d occasionally learn something the hard way, like trying to pet a sick calf and getting completely mowed over, but I’d really just come along for the ride to spend time with him and our girls. I knew we had some cows, and that the calves were cute, but that was the extent of it. When he said “You can just run the farm,” I was terrified. He “influenced me” and I “ended up in this occupation” simply because he made me do it and, now, I’m so very glad he did.

Is that what you always wanted to do?

CHARLESTON: With regard to the ranching, no way. Well, yes, in that I wanted to live on a horse ranch like the old television show Dallas and have people saddling my horses for me while I was wearing all of my diamonds. That didn’t work out so great. As it turned out, the only thing I wear each day is some form of manure – and occasionally Emma will saddle a horse for me to ride, but that’s rare and I have no diamonds.

The writing – probably. I started writing years ago but never really thought about it as a career. I knew I always wanted to write a book, but it wasn’t until I started running the ranch that I discovered I was really good at it.

How have your experiences working in your field influenced your growth, personally and professionally?

CHARLESTON: I had no idea what I was physically and mentally capable of until I quit my job as a paralegal. My husband asked me to quit years before I did, but I didn’t want to give up my own income, and I was scared of being solely dependent on him. As it turned out, that was actually very selfish of me, for myself and for my kids. Here are some true words of wisdom. Ladies – or gentlemen – if your spouse wants you to stay home, and you have the means to do so, do it. It’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family. I’ve always been a strong, independent woman and loved my job in the legal field, but I had no idea the things I could actually, physically do when I had to.

Since we are all currently dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and everyone is having to actually stay home and away from each other, let me just tell you from experience: It really will get better. The first week or two is tough but then, if you will allow yourself to be still and listen, you can’t imagine what you can accomplish. I thought I was going to lose it but, then, my mind began to create more than ever before. When I finally accepted my job as mine and owned it, I started to just be still and listen, to pray and wait for answers, and that’s when God really showed up for me.

Since I was new to all of it, I found real humor in the chores. I think my greatest gift is my ability to laugh and make others laugh. I started writing funny posts about all of my shenanigans and quickly developed a decent-sized, mostly agricultural people, fan base. People who’d farmed for years and were just used to doing their jobs each day could relate to my problems and found humor in how I saw it as a newbie. Their comments and messages were inspirational and helped me to keep writing.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Do you involve your family in your work? If so, how?

CHARLESTON: Our two daughters. And yes, my family is very involved in my work. I believe farm families have a real advantage in the raising of good kids department. Because of our busy lives, add in church, rodeo, softball and basketball, they simply didn’t have time to get in trouble. Plus, on a farm you learn so much about real life and real death. Farm kids know about reproduction and death, and they are able to process things in a very real and knowledgeable way that city kids just can’t.

I’m not saying anything against living in town, I’m simply saying when you grow up watching animals make and have babies, and sometimes die in the process, things get real in a hurry. Not to mention the fact that all of these animals depend on us each day to survive. My girls have grown into very strong, intelligent and passionate young women and, for a lot of that, I credit the farm.

What is your favorite thing about ranch life?

CHARLESTON: The open air. I love not being in a confined space every day.

What is the best part of your day?

CHARLESTON: The best part of my day is watching the sun come up in the morning and my husband pulling in the driveway at night.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do on the job?

CHARLESTON: Pulling baby calves and colts. It breaks my heart to lose one.

What is your biggest pet peeve on the job?

CHARLESTON: I will not tolerate being lied to. If you break something or do something wrong, own up to it.

What is your ‘North Star’? One guiding principle by which decisions are weighed?

CHARLESTON: My north star is Jesus. What would Jesus do? I start each day reading my Bible, praying and journaling. I try to make decisions based on whether or not it is the right and good thing to do. And then I think about the Cowboy. Will he kill me if I do this or write this?  end mark

PHOTO: Trish Charleston is the owner and operator of K&T Cattle Company, owner of Specialty Risk Insurance, author of The Cowboy’s Wife – My Favorite F Words and The Circus Waits for No One, humorist and blogger. Photo by Trish Charleston.

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