Well, hey there old pal! I haven’t written you in a while. I hope everyone in the North Pole is getting along just fine.
As you probably noticed from my postage, my address has changed since we last corresponded.
That’s right, I moved all the way from the swampy lands of northeast Texas to the windy hills of south central Montana. Which is what I need to talk to you about.
I married a rancher up here in the High Country, which has opened me up to an entirely new world of agriculture. I’m learning a lot, but I’ve got some things on my list, if fulfilled, will help make my altitude adjustment smoother.
I would thoroughly enjoy an easy, not so breezy, calving season come March and April. This will be my fourth calving season here in Montana with my in-laws.
In 2020, I learned for the first time calving up north is not for the faint of heart, nor the easily chilled.
After a few years of helping out during calving, I felt slightly more confident in my abilities to pitch in during calving season. It became routine for me to check our barn cameras on my phone every hour or so. I packed a few vaccine coolers without my husband Lane reminding me to.
I even ran from the house to the barn at full speed in hopes of tearing a bag off a calf’s nose. My hopes were squashed when my sister-in-law, who is much more agile than I, blew by me and got to said calf first, but we got the job done so it was worth it.
As I was saying, I felt like I was finally getting this whole Montana ranch wife thing down, then we decided to sync all of our heifers up for 2023. Needless to say, I’ll have to buck up, bundle up and wise up.
The second thing on my list is some sort of machine or contraption which automatically opens and closes every gate in the world at the click of a button. As part of my ranch training, it’s often my duty to ride along in the pickup and learn about the task at hand.
Notable pickup lectures from this past year include how to properly roll out a round bale to hungry heifers, “this is what a water tank should look like if the pump is functioning correctly,” and my personal favorite, “what’s this gravel road actually called if the road sign reads something different?”
During this lecture series, which I assume will continue until I am able to give the lectures to someone else 20 years from now, I am required to open many a gate for the professor of the day. Most of the time, I have no issue doing this. However, when the wind is blowing 60 miles an hour and there is no cheater latch to help me, it has proved to be difficult.
I would really appreciate if your elves could make a type of universal-gate-opener remote for my time of need. I’m sure Mrs. Claus would enjoy something like this for reindeer activities as well.
As it is a custom to ask for three gifts, I have one last item on my list. This item may be harder than controlling the weather or crafting a universal gate remote.
For the last item on my Christmas list, I want you to keep giving my family patience. I know a lot about ag on paper, I can talk about it with the best of them. Back home in Texas, I knew my role, the lay of the land and how to pitch in when needed, but I’m still new to the whole ranching in Montana thing.
My husband and in-laws have been great to me for four years. They’ve taught me more than I can remember and continue to do so, all with a smile.
Now, I don’t know if it’s you or God that’s given them the patience to put up with my clueless questions and ignorance when it comes to the appropriate time to wear long-johns, but whoever is doing it, please continue. I am incredibly grateful for the time, attitude and love.
M.P. Cremer, a ranch wife still learning