Here’s a little insight into the persona and life of a modern-day American ranch wife.
I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. She lives down a dirt road and way off the grid in Arizona, near the almost-town of Aguila, with her husband and their two kids. She ranches, runs an AirBnB, has a home-based baked goods business and still finds time to hang out with her chickens in the evening.
Registered name: Millie McCleary
Barn name: Mom, Mommy, Mama, Hey Babe
Age: Young enough to not care, but old enough that she does anyway. She’s somewhere between tanning oil and anti-wrinkle cream.
Marital status: Still married to her first husband, whether he likes it or not. Millie’s a pretty good cook, so he probably likes it okay. If the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then Millie’s bacon beef sliders are the express lane.
Kids: Two daughters — so far. But Millie’s young and has the intense mothering instinct of a high-horned Brahma cow, so we can probably expect more young ‘uns in the future.
Special skills: Cooking breakfast outside on a barbeque grill. You want breakfast burritos but the house is too hot to turn the stove on, and the solar power won’t support a cooler? No problem; just head to the back porch with an empty plate. This gal’s got skills.
Additional special skill: She once killed a potted cactus. This isn’t that impressive, except Millie lives in the desert. Good thing she can cook.
In her spare time, Millie enjoys hanging laundry on the clothesline, removing laundry from the clothesline, tightening the clothesline and wondering if she should (ask her husband to) install another clothesline. When you don’t have an electric clothes dryer but do have two small kids and run an AirBnB, laundry can become an all-consuming activity.
Recent noteworthy event: Millie has the internet! At her house! Wi-Fi on the ranch! If you’re like most of the general American population, Wi-Fi is not new. But to the McCleary household, it’s the hottest thing since Millie caught a potholder on fire in the kitchen. Now, they can connect with people off the ranch, right there from the comfort of their own home in the desert. Hot dang.
Friends That Might Fly the Coop
Social life: Let’s see, Millie goes to ranch rodeos twice a year and barbeques with the neighbors during branding season; otherwise, she enjoys spending quality time with her best friends Lynae, Keaton, the Sarahs, Jamie and Allie. Oh, and Vanessa.
Of course, these girls are all chickens. I mean actual chickens that lay eggs, say “squawk squawk,” wear feathers every day and live in Millie’s chicken coop. Except for Vanessa, of course — she’s a milk cow.
Millie named her animal companions after real-life human friends she used to hang out with once upon a time years ago. The human friends think it’s fun (not at all strange) to have producing livestock as namesakes, so let’s all go with that.
Busy and Loving It
Hobbies: Let’s see, activities a person does in their leisure time for personal enjoyment…yeah, not much of that happening between helping her husband run their Ohaco Ranch, operating McCleary’s Mother Cluckers, hosting guests at the Nothing Fancy Ranch House and chasing two kids around the desert. Oh, and the laundry situation.
It’s a good thing Millie loves the work she does daily. Because even though it is a lot of work, she — like most ranch wives — wouldn’t want it any other way.