A Little Bit Western


East or West

Dec 9, 2014

They say everyone deserves a day off now and again, a holiday or a getaway of sorts, to help rejuvenate and renew your soul, inspire your work, even make your work more productive and valuable upon your return. It’s a great theory, but one that’s not always easy to put into practise.

People these days seem pretty busy. There’s a never-ending to-do list of regular tasks plus a whole host of other jobs that get added onto your plate depending on the season. This makes it hard to take time for that coveted vacation. If you have small or medium or even large children, the thought of going on a relaxing vacation where you can put your feet up is almost laughable, especially for some members of the family (*cough* moms). There’s packing and laundry and lists and cleaning and vehicle organization and activity planning that can sometimes (always?) get in the way of having a worry-free holiday. Then when you arrive home, the real fun begins: unpacking, more laundry, vehicle clean-out, more laundry, recovery of lost items, and… more laundry.

Late in the summer, it didn’t look like we were going to get away for a weekend trip anytime soon and that didn’t sit well with me. I’m very familiar with the concept of the ‘staycation’ or ‘holistay’ or whatever the trendy term is these days for having a vacation in your own backyard, so that’s what we did. Except when you’re a rancher, you have a pretty big backyard, and instead of sticking in our literal yard, we ventured down to camp in one of our pastures. It turned out to be a pretty good arrangement. I was happy because I only had to pack whatever was needed for a 12 hour camp out (which is still a lot, but less than what it could have been!), the Other Half was happy because the destination was close and involved cattle, and the kids were happy because when you’re little and you go somewhere, it’s always a fun and exciting adventure. We explored, ate snacks, watched shooting stars and even entertained some good friends who managed to find our campsite in the dark.

More recently, we went on a larger-scale family trip that again incorporated work, play and cattle, something we seem to be adept with here at the Lonesome Dove Ranch. Our family shows cattle annually at Agribition, and after the kids and I sat out for much of this show and others over the last couple of years, we decided it was time to bring everyone. Ten days, three kids, one hotel room, lots of cattle in two different barns, thirty changes of clothes for the children alone… My overarching goal was survival and I’m pleased to say that we achieved that deliverable. Additional benefits included meeting new people, visiting with friends, family and customers, and as an added bonus, we did well in the show too. Some of our kids really cottoned onto the promotion and marketing aspect of showing cattle, some had fun combing, some felt we walked a bit too far, and one child thought one of the black bulls would look better with a pink barrette in his hair. With a little help from friends and family, we had a very memorable time at Agribition this year, albeit a much different experience than what I remember having in the past.

Our family enjoyed two very different holidays this year in spite of a challenging fall for us. Whether you go far or stay near, whether you leave the ranch or whether you take the ranch with you, embarking on a getaway is important and valuable. They say you will return home from a vacation with a more positive outlook on life, be healthier and feel more connected to your family. They also say that ‘east or west, home is best.’ The hardest part of a vacation may be to leave. The best part of your holiday may be your return. Except for maybe the laundry.

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