March has been pretty nice as far as the weather goes. Light jackets, afternoon walks and birds chirping. It’s the best possible way for the calves to come into the world.
Then, today, snow–the first day of Spring, no less. Typical.
The Farmer’s Almanac discusses the truth behind the month of March and its lion and lamb attitude. The Almanac says it’s probably just an observation by those who have come before us, merely a cute rhyme and nothing to bet the ranch on.
But, here in Northeast New Mexico, my father-in-law’s obervation that March comes in like a lamb and out like a lion typically holds true.
My Grandma Mary is an award-winning New Mexican food master. She has a stack of blue ribbons a mile high from the New Mexico State Fair and a few other local contests. She was even featured on Food Nation with Bobby Flay a few years ago.
On cold and snowy days like today, her green chile stew recipe is a favorite in our house. Mine is definitely not as good but it will do. The delicious scent that fills the house on a cold, snowy day is second to very few things in my world.
My heart pitter-pattered when my husband called home to request a pot of green chile stew. It tastes best with a bite of tortilla just warmed on the open flame of the stove.
As any good New Mexican will tell you, green chile is the soul food of the Southwest. Grandma Mary’s green chile is the soul food of my life.
We’ve been anticipating the cold snap for about a week. It was hard to think seriously about the cold because temperatures have been in the 70s the last few days. Today, it’s 34 degrees and the first snow is beginning to fall.
Regardless of the weather conditions work must go on. Preg checking is scheduled for tomorrow. So, the guys are saddling up to work cattle in preparation.
This is nothing, though. It’s a little cold snap, just the beginning of a long, cold winter. The heavy winter wear has been unearthed. We’ve thrown out the old gloves, caps and coveralls and made a place for this year’s stash.
I better get to town to get my cowboy the new coveralls we’ve been discussing. I don’t want him to freeze his assets off again tomorrow.
I read up on ranch romances of the 1940s. Here’s what one blogger said: “The cowgirls in these were strong and self-sufficient, but still feminine. The heroines were what the readers wanted to be, living the life they wanted to lead.”
Self-sufficient, but still feminine–I’m sold. With my daughter beginning to read pretty well, I believe I’ll be picking up a few ranch romances for our campfires.
Changing tires is part of life on the Morrow Ranch. The guys get to change flats all too often. But, it’s just part of the job.
Not only are the pastures bumpy with volcanic rocks but so are the county roads. Around here, don’t bother with anything less than 10-ply tires. City tires are usually 2- to 4-ply and typically cost significantly less than the 10-ply tires we seem to need much more often than preferred.
My husband had a two-for yesterday. After changing the tire on his truck in his dress clothes, no less–which I’m certain came with a couple of choice words since the spare would not release–he went home to switch to work clothes, a work truck and trailer, load a horse and go to a pasture about six miles down the road to sort a couple of cows off.
When he returned to the truck, you bet there was a flat tire. Two in one day–great. Oh, but, it gets better: no spare on the flatbed. I met him on the road as he rode his horse toward home in the cold rain, the truck and trailer left in the pasture.
By the time we got a spare, changed the tire, drove home, unsaddled the horse and made a sandwich, it was past dark. (Thank goodness for neighborly neighbors).
Unfortunately, it wasn’t with my good looks and charm.
Instead, the cowboys moved a set of cows and calves from the north side of the highway to the south side. I got to stop the oncoming traffic while the cows and calves moved across the four-lane highway. The calves will be weaned this week.
I remember how hard it was to wean my baby girl from my never-ending milk supply. It was three nights of crying for her momma. It ripped my heart out to hear her calling for me while daddo did his best to reassure her and let her know we still love her even though the milk truck was officially out of commission.
The cows will be separated from their babies tomorrow; the babies will go back to the last place they sucked to wait for their momma to come back. They’ll bawl but momma will not return. That’s life on the ranch.
When the cows go back to summer pastures I’ll be waiting by the highway to stop traffic once again, looks and charm be damned.