Real Life Ranch Wife

Ranch Wife Life by the Numbers

There are a lot of words that can describe ranch wife life, but it doesn't take a math wiz to crunch the numbers.

You don’t need to be a wiz at math to tally these ranch wife stats.

There are a lot of words that can describe ranch wife life, but it’s time to crunch the numbers. Here are some of the stats I’ve accrued over the years.

Our current total is 11 ranches in 11 years. That doesn’t break down neatly into one move per year or even one house per year. Sometimes, we only stayed six months, and once, we moved to a house in a different location on the same ranch.

Every time someone asks me how many ranches we’ve lived on, I have to stop and count on my fingers. I start with the first one and retrace our route through Nevada, into Oregon, down to Arizona, back up to Oregon, swing down to Nevada again, and then down to southern Arizona.

Also, we’re moving in two weeks, so now I must add a ranch, and the counting thing is just getting out of hand — out of two hands, really.

I have one husband, and he’s already married to his second wife, so I have some catching up to do.

We have three kids. And no more. If my husband wants another baby, he can take that up with his third wife.

The longest distance we’ve lived from town is 4 ½ hours.

The longest distance we’ve lived from our nearest neighbor is one hour. The drive was only 10 miles, which shows how rough the road was. Also, I’m not lying. I mention that because I noticed people looked at me with doubt in their eyes when I told them about the relationship between time and distance on the ranch.

I wanted to say, “Not everybody lives in an HOA, whatever that is.” But I also wanted to socialize, so I just nodded and smiled when they said, “Oh, how fun — we’ll have to come visit!” because I knew they were lying.

The closest we’ve lived to town is eight minutes. My husband was building a fence for our horse lot the first week we lived there, and he ran out of staples before it was finished. We both looked at the ground, dejected. “I guess we’ll have to wait for our next town trip, and then I’ll pick up some more,” I said. I mentally started calculating when we were due to run out of milk, eggs and diapers so I could make one big run.

Then I remembered we lived eight minutes from town! I could just grab my purse, load up the baby, and zip into Big R to restock our fencing supplies. Heck, I could even stop at Walmart for milk and swing by Taco Bell on the way home for lunch. How fun and modern, just like how most Americans live.

It took only 12 minutes until I wished we lived 4 ½ hours from town again.

The longest I’ve ever gone without seeing any other human beings except the other three members of my immediate family is 17 days. This occurred during the winter of 2016-17 when we were snowed in at a remote cow camp in Arizona. Upon moving there, the ranch manager told us we would never be snowed in. Well, it turns out ranch managers don’t always tell their cowboys the whole truth.

The age of my favorite horse is 18 years old. He’s a gelding named Teaks that Jim had when we were dating. We’ve sold or traded all the horses from our original string except him. He’s basically a secondary character in my book, “Never Burn Your Moving Boxes.” I love him somewhere between chocolate cake and my husband.

I have zero regrets for choosing this lifestyle and committing myself to seeing the West through the window of old ranch houses, even if I can’t remember exactly how many.

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