When we see movies, or read books about ranch life, there’s often a sense of romanticism that goes along with it. Maybe it’s the beauty of nature, clean fresh air, or the idea of living off the land that somehow gives us the idea that everything about life on a ranch is beautiful ,and serene. For the most part, it is, but there is also a lot of hard work involved on a day-to-day basis. Everyday, there is a project in the works, something needs fixing, the animals need tending too, it never ends.
The positive aspects of ranch life are many, more specifically: we are in constant contact with nature. We learn to pay attention to the little things that we may not normally see while living in the city.
On a ranch, one’s sense of time is different because although we may be busy, the mad rush to get from here to there, a very real pressure we may feel while living in the city, isn’t present. Time slows down ,and we’re able to see the course of life, from a different perspective as it moves through the days, months, and years.
At the end of the day, we may be exhausted after working hard all day, but the rewards of our hard work are all too clear, as we look around us at the result of our endeavors. What seems to be endless effort is there in front of us, such as vegetables growing in the garden, oats growing abundantly in the fields, and our healthy horses, thanks to all the hard work we put into our oat crop, are telling us, all the work is paying off.
There are also many negative aspects. Sometimes things happen, and when it comes to lessons from nature, they are often hard lessons, although well-remembered from which we learn from.
Right now, we’ve noticed summer is coming quicker than it did last year. Fortunately we’ve had some rain, but we can certainly use more. Our oat fields did not grow as tall, although abundant in the fields, we hoped for a better growth spurt. The oats are drying quicker which means it will soon be time for bailing, and much sooner than expected. We’ve experienced warmer weather, and the rattlesnakes have appeared earlier this year too.
Last week, our female Blue Heeler, Kalua, just five days after she gave birth to eight puppies, was bit by a baby rattler. These are the worst bites because a baby can’t control the amount of venom injected into their victim. Kalua was given a hefty dose. We rushed her to the doctor, and there she received treatment, and anti-venom for the bite. She’s fine now, but the vet said she can’t nurse her puppies anymore.
In my years living on a ranch, I’ve seen first hand how what seems to be a negative situation, is somehow turned into a very positive one.
Our other female Blue Heeler, Agave, and Kalua’s mom, was taking care of all eight puppies during Kalua’s absence while at the vet. Agave guarded the tiny puppies, cleaned them, and literally protected them until Kalua came back. After we feed them with a bottle, we hand them over to Agave who is patiently waiting to lick their little faces, and bottoms. Grandma has taken over as mother, and protector.
Three weeks have passed since the rattlesnake incident. Unfortunately, three puppies died. They were the smallest of the litter. Even though we’ve bottle fed them, it’s not the same as mother’s milk, fully loaded with vitamins, and nutrients for building up their immune system. Another lesson in nature we had yet to learn.
The remaining 5 are eating dry food mashed up with milk and they love it.! In just three days, they’ve grown so much, and suddenly, they’ve taken on a new energy. The tiny pups have perked up considerably. In other words, much to my relief, they’ve made it!
Quite frankly, we’ve never seen this before, and we find the keen communication within the animal kingdom utterly amazing. I think animals are a lot more observant than we think, and I feel very fortunate to live this way of life.