Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Shortcuts. Yep. That's the subject of today's mindless rambling. One might infer from the simple word that a shortcut would cut something short. That may well be the case in a normal world, but normalcy does not dwell at the end of my dirt road. In my last post I shared a fast, easy recipe that included a shortcut that actually did cut something short ~ preparation. However, in my ranching world, shortcuts of that caliber do not exist.

When the kids were small, we often loaded up and went with Daddy. It was always an adventure.

And we always took a shortcut.

DH: Hey, I'm running over to the Kingston for a minute to check that windmill we repaired yesterday. Wanna come along?

Me: You bet Honey. Hey kids, lets jump in with Daddy.

Kids: Yeah! Yippee! Woo! Hoo!

So we go toodling along the ranch road and arrive at the first gate.

DH: This gate's not swinging right. Give me a minute and I'll have her fixed up.

After 10 minutes, the kids pile out of the pick up and squat down in complete fascination in order to watch a Dung Beetle (my daughter has just informed me that she once wished to be a Dung Beetle ???!!! In her defense, she was 3 at the time. Hope she has had a change of heart.) as I support the gate from the opposite end while DH applies one of the laws of physics to the other end and viola: the gate swings easily.

Suddenly I notice that DH is veering off south from the main dirt road.

Me: Uh, Honey, isn't the windmill west?

DH: Yeah, just want to take a peek at the mares for a moment. This is a shortcut anyway.

20 minutes later we are all transfixed at our first glimpse of the 2 new baby colts that were apparently born last night. We are amused as they balance, uncertain on their long, spindly legs. They tenatively take a step and stumble towards their Mommas. They nurse confidently and we chuckle as their little fluffy tails swing in delight.The arrival of the new colt crop each spring is always eagerly anticipated and it is another 20 minutes before we reluctantly pile back into the pickup and turn towards the windmill.

Half an hour later we reach our destination. Windmill is not pumping. Sigh. DH climbs to the top of the tower with tools in hand and yells down instructions. The kids are warned to steer clear of the tower and they are soon immersed in a rousing adventure of Hank & Drover as they dash, laughing, across the pasture. (Fans of Hank the Cowdog know of what I speak. If you're not a fan, you're missing out! Get the books or listen to them on tape. Your life will be all the richer. Never the same, mind you, but richer).

DH: Turn on the brake. (not an easy feat when the wind is blowing)

He fiddles with the thingamajiggy

DH: Turn off the brake

Still not pumping.

DH: Turn on the brake.

He hammers the whatchamacallit


I let off the brake. Whew! There she goes and before long, the sweet aroma of that cool water reaches my nose and its steady cadence, as it filters into the stock tank, is music to my ears. Before climbing back into the pickup we all quench our thirst from that crystal clear water. No bottled water on earth can compare.

Finally, we are headed home. But wait. What's this? Home is to the east. We are now pointed north. Uh, Honey...Honey...

I don't actually utter these words. After 9 years of marriage there is no need. He easily reads my expression.

DH: Just want to check the deer feeder in J-Heart while we're over here. I'll take the shortcut.

The shortcut is over the mountain. As we precariously climb Mt. Annie, we begin scouting for the perfect Christmas tree. We won't need it for 8 months, but by the time we reach the deer feeder we have found 27.

Deer feeder filled. We turn back east.

By now the kids are getting whiney. They are hungry. They are 3 and 6. After 9 years of marriage I have also learned a bit about shortcuts and I am prepared. I pull out crackers with cheese, a couple of apples and a hastily packed baggy with cookies and we dine next to the creek. Every morsel is devoured, washed down with cold mountain spring water and before we reach the next gate, the kids are sacked out in the back of the pickup where they are quite content to roll amidst the mineral blocks and cow cake.

My life is blessed with shortcuts and I am richer because of them. I pray that you do not grumble about the shortcuts that appear along your path. Instead, embrace them so that you do not miss the treasures along the way.

As we veer off yet again, I wonder how long it would have taken... had we not taken the shortcut.


Ranch wife said...

Good post, I enjoyed it and it did remind me to slow down, and just go with the flow.

Karin said...

Thank you. Good luck with that slowing down thing! If you get it figured out ~ be sure and let me know! Seems as if everything's speeding up and I refuse to admit that it has anything with me getting older!

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