Kickin’ it Old School

This week has been both a new education and a return to my roots. School was released last week to the jubilant cheers of students and collective groan of parents.

After the observations of how different the world is today and how quickly it can change, I took measured action to slow things down…for at least one of the children.

Saturday found us headed to my hometown. Although I am a Pacific North Westerner, my hometown can be found in central Eastern Oregon. Specifically, Baker City…which is also the hometown of Darling Husband.

Last weekend it was just us girls, youngest daughter and myself. Her world this past year has been moving way too fast, and the time had come for her to get a good old fashioned education. I took her to my brother’s ranch where we kicked it ‘old school.’ Awaiting our arrival was a considerably sized barn with stalls that needed a good mucking out.

We arrived late Saturday evening, had a quick visit, and then headed off to bed. Awake at first light, I rolled over to check the time; 4:45 a.m.! Because it was Sunday, we had planned to just relax that day and dig into the barn first thing Monday. I remained in bed for 30 minutes, and at 5:15 was unable to stay there a moment longer. My brother was already up, and the coffee was beckoning. We sat in the clear quiet light of dawn chatting softly about what needed to be done over the next several days. He called me ‘sis’. I’ve always loved that. Hearing it again brought peace, comfort, and reconnection for me, as well as the hope that youngest daughter (known as ‘Wee One’) will have those same feelings by the end of this trip.

At that moment she emerged from her slumber. Rubbing her eyes, she asked to go outside and play with the litter of ten puppies residing in the barn. Shortly after that, she joined her uncle to help change irrigation pipes, while I remained at the house and cooked breakfast. As a side note, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, better on a Sunday morning than bacon, sausage, and scrambled eggs cooked in a cast iron skillet. Hearing the sizzle & pop, and having the delicious aroma fill the house was just another thing I’d been missing! I don’t care about the cholesterol or calories…it was simply amazing. The remainder of the day was spent visiting with friends and family to catch up.

Then came Monday… the day planned for the barn. This was the primary purpose for our trip and it was time to get to it. As barns go, it’s fairly large with approximately 12 horse stalls, (six stalls on one side, six on the other) with two corridors, a calving pen in and a tack room between them. (I knew this would not be a one day job) Armed with pitchforks, hard rakes, shovels, and wheel barrows, the Wee One and I mucked out 4 of the six stalls on one side, the calving pen and most of that corridor. We finished the remaining stalls and second corridor the following day, and cleaned out the loft on day 3. The Wee One surprised me by attacking this job with gusto, and never once complained. When so many kids her age would respond with “gross” or “eew”, she dug in and tackled the whole thing with heart and pride.

She also learned a few things in the process:

Cowboy boots are also known as sh*t kickers for a reason
There is always work to be done on a ranch
Don’t leave a rake leaned/laying with tines out/up
Close your mouth when pushing a wheelbarrow of muck into the wind
John Wayne is an American icon.
Sometimes it’s okay to sit on the front porch, listening to the world, and just ‘be’.

I re-discovered a few things about myself as well:

I love the sweet smell of sage, juniper, and alfalfa after a summer rain shower.
Watching horses run through a field makes me smile.
Living on a dirt road means the car gets/stays dusty.
It’s impossible to stay mad when holding a puppy.
Spending time with my family can be fun and inspirational.
Sometimes it’s okay to sit on the front porch, listening to the world, and just ‘be’.

Wee One now refers to her uncle’s ranch as her ‘happy place’, and stayed an extra week without me to celebrate the 4th of July by watching a parade and see her cousins ride in the rodeo…

… and even though work obligations brought me back, I’m keeping the dust on the boots for a while.

All things considered, it appears that we both got much needed instruction and reminders about life in general, and my hope is that neither of us will forget the lessons learned about honesty, integrity, and the inherent value of a hard day’s work. Happy Summer everyone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s