Cowboy Holidays

I received the following text message from my hottie cowboy husband three years ago;

“My brother changed the branding/castration event so it’s now on May long weekend. I told him we’d be there. He’d love to have you ring/herding/babysitting and wants me to be the surgeon- lol. My homework is to watch calf castration videos.”

Cowboys celebrate holidays by eating lots of food and doing farm work. Sometimes this means branding and castrating, other times it’s just simple herding. Regardless, there are horses involved.

When I first met Tex my only experiences with horses had been at resort vacations with my family. Where it was like; “Here is a horse. Sit on the horse. Stay in this small pen. Now the horse ride is finished.” Even as a dyed in the wool city slicker, I didn’t classify that as horseback riding. Which was why when Tex excitedly told me that we’d be going horseback riding as one of our first dates, I was terrified.

Happily, when I arrived at the ranch I was placed on Sunny, Tex’s brother’s most experienced horse. And for an afternoon Sunny did everything he could to keep me on his back.

Climbing atop the largest mammal I’d ever ridden next to an elephant, I was nervous.

Although I don’t think my brief elephant ride as a three year old counted. Firstly it lasted less than a minute. Secondly I was with my cousin, who was my friend, but I had no qualms about throwing him off and using his tiny body as a sort of human landing pad.

On my first date with Tex, I held to the saddle, fully expecting to be thrown from Sunny’s back at any moment. By contrast Sunny stood very still, knowing that he had a newbie on his back and was expected to keep me there.

We were in a small paddock and I was expected to move Sunny around and around. What actually happened was Sunny slowly led me in increasingly small circles then decided he had had enough and stood stock still. Chip, Tex’s brother urged me to lightly push my heels into Sunny’s sides but that seemed like an ungrateful thing to do to animal that was kind enough to not throw me.

Tex and his brother mused over Sunny’s behavior “Why the hell is he acting lame?”

“Because Sunny knows who is on his back” I thought, my white knuckles clutching the loose reins and saddle.

Then we started the actual ride to check on the cattle in the far pasture. Just before setting off, Sunny shivered, causing my whole being to shake, looking back from his horse Tex said “Oh good, you stayed on” while I gripped the saddle with both hands, my eyes wide with shock.

Seeing as for the branding and castration event, I would not only be expected to stay on the horses back but also round up the calves and heifers at the same time, my and Tex’s participation in this event seemed not only unhelpful but unlikely.

“Uhhhhh” I texted back.

In the end, we didn’t go because I got pregnant with Mini-Tex and was therefore asleep. At Thanksgiving, a couple of months later, when Tex’s brother asked for volunteers to herd the cattle from their summer to winter pastures, I got out of that too. Because pregnancy. It’s one of those rare times where pregnancy is awesome.

The next year I got out of riding a horse because I had a newborn. This may have been why I chose to breastfeed my son until two and half- to get out of riding a horse. “I’m sorry, Mini-Tex may need to nurse, I can’t herd cattle for three hours.”

This story is about three and a bit years old, but once again, I’m getting out of herding and rustling because I have a newborn. Cheers to breastfeeding until age seven this time. I’m not sure what excuse I’ll have after that but you can be sure it’ll be a rock solid one.


True Cowboy Love

This was an actual conversation that occurred between me and Tex

Tex – “Unwashed, I’m packing for the wedding, which gun do you want out of the gun cabinet to come to the farm?”

The Great Unwashed – “I don’t want the guns out of the cabinet here, I want the little gun.”

Tex – “You mean the hand gun?”

The Great Unwashed – “No not the hand gun, the little gun at the farm!”

Tex – “I thought you wanted a shot gun. Let’s bring the shot gun.”

The Great Unwashed – “My family is going to cack their pants because there will be a gun at the wedding as it is, you CANNOT bring your shot gun. We are using the old gun that’s at the farm, it will look good in pictures.”

Tex – “Well if we’re going to use a farm gun can’t we use the lever action Winchester .30-30? It’s old, it’s the style of gun John Wayne would have used.”

Enthusiastic person inquiring about my wedding- “What are your colours?” The Great Unwashed “John Wayne.” This generally stops all questioning in its tracks*. (Photo Credit :

Enthusiastic person inquiring about my wedding- “What are your colours?” The Great Unwashed “John Wayne.” This generally stops all questioning in its tracks*. (Photo Credit :

The Great Unwashed – “No! We’re using the older gun that sometimes misfires**.” Stops mid thought. “Can we continue this conversation when I’m not on the phone please?” In a lower voice into the receiver. “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation.”

Luckily this interaction occurred while I was on the phone with Sula, who had just returned from three months of riding across the Arctic on an ATV with a rifle strapped to her back and using a toilet that was made by blasting a hole through the bottom of a chair. Hence a discussion of which firearm to bring to Tex’s and my wedding didn’t seem outrageous.

*For the record we don’t have wedding colours, and the John Wayne theme was an unintentional one. I swear Tex always wears a cowboy hat and boots while at home, the bolo is new though.

For all those who aren’t trying to decide which firearm to best aesthetically compliment their nuptials this is a bolo. (Photo Credit :

For all those who aren’t trying to decide which firearm to best aesthetically compliment their nuptials this is a bolo. (Photo Credit :

**The idea of having a gun that misfires at a celebration of love sounds terrifying however this ancient boomstick is the only one in Tex’s collection that I consistently remember how to verify that it ISN’T loaded. Knowing how to check if a firearm is loaded is a vital part of gun safety. Seeing as I have not yet mastered other parts of gun safety, like keeping my eyes open while I shoot, I like to hold tight to my successes in that area.

Also being over one hundred years old, I’m hoping I can pass off the antique gun as a movie prop to my city slicker family. I probably shouldn’t have posted that last sentence. Have I mentioned I’m an atrocious secret keeper?