Believe me, there are plenty of colorful phrases that a ranch wife will utter. But here are some things you’ll never hear her say.

As a ranch wife, there are plenty of phrases I say on a regular basis. These include, “Who tracked dirt across the living room floor?” “Don’t swing ropes in the house,” and “Why is a speed burner in the fruit bowl?” But here are a few things that neither I nor any other ranch wife would ever say. 

“I hope the spring wagon takes a full two months again. Being alone at camp with two small children, a broken windmill, and a generator that rarely starts is my favorite.”

“No, honey, I’ve never washed your Copenhagen, pocketknife, lighter, or a really important piece of paper with that cattle buyer’s phone number on it. I also wasn’t the one who ran an ink pen through the washing machine with your town shirt. No need to start checking your pockets before you put your clothes in the hamper—it’s all under control here. On a side note, you might want to buy a new town shirt.”

“I think I’ll give away my son’s first pair of chaps. In 20 years, I won’t want to be reminded that he was once a round, dimply little cherub in a cowboy hat.”

ranch kid on hay
A ranch wife and mother can never have too many photos of her children and their dad.
Photo by Jolyn Young

“The creek was so high on my way home from town that I parked the truck on the far side and decided to walk the remaining mile and a half home carrying one child and holding the other one by the hand in the dark. I absolutely did NOT cross my fingers, close my eyes, and ‘floor it’ through the flood. Also, the engine sounds fine. It’s always made that high-pitched, intermittent squeal.”

“Thank goodness we’re out of fresh produce, milk, eggs and butter. I mean, what’s the fun in being snowed in 4½ hours from town if you’re adequately stocked up on household supplies?” 

“Two hours to drive to town over mostly dirt roads is too far. I’ll never make it there, go to the bank, take my daughter to ballet practice, take my son to the doctor’s office, grocery shop for the next two weeks, pick out new curtains, swing by the feed store, take the kids to the park, hit the Burger King drive through, and make it home in one day.”

“I opened all the corral gates and turned the spigot by the barn on, then just left it running. Is that what you meant when you asked me to ‘Get ahead and turn ‘em up the lane, honey?’” (Actually, this is something that a ranch wife might say, but only during the first six months of marriage. After a year or so of practice, she’d learn the correct response was, “Sure, and would you like me to count ‘em through the gate, too?”)

“Thank you for bringing the groceries home from town, honey. I really appreciate how you packed the bananas beneath the flat of tomato sauce and scrambled the eggs in the carton. That will really save time in the mornings.” (Actually, a brand new husband probably only does this the first few times he goes for groceries. After a few years of practice, he learns to ask “Would you like Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp apples?” and knows that the eggs always ride in the back seat, never in the pickup bed with the rest of the bags.)

“I have too many pictures of my barely walking baby wearing her dad’s boots.”

Read more from Jolyn Young in her “Real Life Ranch Wife” column in the current issue of Western Horseman.

Author

Jolyn Young lives with her cowboy husband, Jim, and their three kids near Fallon, Nevada. She chooses to focus on the comical side of life, because her family is going to laugh at her anyway.

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