The Ranch Hand’s Diary:
Leaning Towards Tuesdays
The days are long. I find myself leaning towards Tuesdays, my day off, and know that's no way to live. I leave the cabin in the mornings before seven o'clock and often don't trudge back until after nine PM. I learn to use our afternoon breaks to take time to myself. Evenings are for nothing more than a quick shower and a falling into bed.
Working alongside Jesse, we garden, water, weed, tend chickens, move fences, herd pigs, fertilize plants, inventory food, doctor horses, prune cottonwood trees, clean bathrooms, and help with kitchen work. During our breaks we plan our fall trip. Hash out ideas. Talk about the world.
On Saturday, I turn thirty-seven years old. I talk to my buddy Stevie, tell him I herded cows last week, and he tells me with thread of jealousy and a great deal of pride, "You have such an awesome life!"
After we hang up, I look over the tall grass I'm pulling and remark to Jesse who is sifting compost, "It's nice to be reminded how awesome our lives are." Sometimes in the midst of the work—in the striving to make money when I have to—I can forget.
As if to add evidence to that reminder, Jesse throws me an afternoon party with presents and everything. She gives me a log dragon with wishing hearts and stacking stones to decorate my room with. She’d spent her day off looking for treasures. It’s just what I wanted. For dinner, Lara, the cook, makes a requested cashew stirfry. Then she serves up a delicious and gluten-free lemon-curd frosted cake.
In the mornings before I leave my cabin, I change out the log dragon's heart. But what could I wish for? I'm full with all that I have. Sure, work is hard and days are long, but the mountains are all around me, the fresh air is alive with life, I’ve got my sister to share the load of the chores with me, and daily adventures to have. I’ve got an awesome life. I eat leftover cake for breakfast on Sunday and Monday. It's just as good outside of a birthday dinner.
On Monday, I water trees. Later, Jesse and I weed out dandelions and dead grass from a rooftop garden. We clean one of the cabins. In the late afternoon, we book tickets to Berlin.
Jesse arranges with Karen for all of us to share the chore of tucking the chickens and turkeys in for the night. This means I get some evenings to relax. The summer doesn't seem so hard to work now.
Week two is in the books.