Wednesday, January 12, 2011


As I was chopping through the layers of ice on the stock tank this morning, it dawned on me that a lot has changed over the past 50-plus years since I first made my mark on the Four Corners Ranch ( so aptly named because our ranch includes Crowley, Lincoln, Pueblo, and El Paso Counties within its boundaries).Over the years, that same type of ice has been used to make smooth, tasty homemade ice cream--in the dead of winter. Many of the stock tanks have changed appearances, and even new ones have been welcomed to the ranch, but their purpose has remained the same--supply the precious resource of water to our livestock. That resource also provided sources of recreation for my brother and me when we were growing up. Clad in shorts, a t-shirt, and cowboy boots, we'd ride our horses to a tank for a cool dip on a hot summer's day. We'd spend hours splashing and thrashing in those tanks--not once thinking about germs, possible (gasp!) deadly diseases we could catch, the effects of cattle occasionally licking us to check us out...the list is endless. I just celebrated another birthday last week so that means I'm still on this Earth to tell my story. I didn't get some mysterious disease from swimming in dirty stock tanks; nor did I die because I didn't wear a safety helmet while riding my horse, including the time we cleared a five-wire barbed wire fence (unexpectedly, I might add). So what's my point? Could it be our society has become so engrossed in "bubble wrapping" our kids that they don't know what it's like to get dirty, to use their imagination, or to simply be kids? I ate enough dirt when I was growing up that I might have sprouted a gizzard within (haven't checked lately). But it didn't hurt me any. I wasn't sick much, so maybe that was the key. And I loved those warm, summer days of swimming in the stock tanks. Believe it or not, I even admire the beauty of chopping through the thick ice on these frosty morns...even if it's just trying to, as my dad used to say, get a hole big enough to drop a straw through for the cows to drink from. Happy trails...


  1. Jean~ love the title of your blog! I really enjoyed reading this one! It was very timely. Amanda and I just spent 2 weeks in the city of Tampa. Oh, how much my little farm kid has taken for granted!!! Our temporary residence was rather loud at night...police sirens, people yelling, horns honking, street sweepers, etc. Amanda didn't get much sleep while we were there. Sure made her appreciate the "silence" of a night on the farm. Don't know for sure if she'll survive dorm life one day. But I know that her heart will never be in the city. Like the sign over my door reads, "A day in the country, is worth a month in town."

    I watched everyone and their dog (literally) walking the busy streets, and it caught my attention~ the kids in strollers, being pushed by Kim Kardashian lookalike moms with their ear buds in, their tight exercise outfits on and many sporting the botox smiles. How do city kids play? How do they get dirty? How do they get to be kids? I pondered this each time I passed the jogger with the double stroller or the Saks mom with her leash kid. Amanda spied a child who was maybe 5, holding up his iphone in a restaurant waiting area, exclaiming, "I only have 2 bars!!!"

    I may sound a bit bias, but I don't think there could be a better experience for any kid, than growing up in the country, getting dirty, learning about the world around them...watching the animals, listening to wildlife, getting chiggers and sunburns and running with sparklers on the 4th of July...wearing clothes with grass stains, and drinking out of the water hose. I have pictures of Amanda playing in the stock tank when she was little. Funny how the kids who had swimming pools thought it was more fun to play in the stock tank out here :) I could go on and on... when I really just wanted to say, I couldn't agree with you more...

    except I can't say I've enjoyed breaking ice this week as much as you

  2. First of all.. so excited you have a blog now! I also love the title. Very creative. And second of all, I completely agree about the so-called "bubble wrapping." From one country girl to another, I cherish the times I spent out in the dirt, playing and having fun. I think I've even read somewhere that by not being exposed to the dirt and germs, kids today have weaker immune systems than they would have if their bodies could encounter those things and build up defenses against them.
    Anyway.. all that goes to say that I agree and can't wait to read more of your blog!