That tall, handsome, hand-holding, rope-twirling, bronco-twister charmed you out of your pants and into a wedding dress. Then he plunked you down boots-first 10 miles past BFE and kissed you good day as he headed to the barn to catch his horse and go to to work. What do you do now? Following these 10 sagebrush suggestions will help ease a cowboy’s bride into her new role as a ranch wife.

1) Never pass up a chance to buy toilet paper. The family will not appreciate your efforts to put them on a square-rationing system until your next town trip, and nobody (including the septic tank) likes to see paper towels in the bathroom for any purpose other than wiping down the mirror.

2) Stop and visit a friend during your town trips. Getting home even later is worth the time spent visiting, and will keep you from sitting in your remote ranch house on the edge of the wilderness wondering “Is there anyone else in the world? Did the zombie apocalypse happen and I didn’t hear about it because I don’t have XM radio? Am I going to be eaten by a zombie before my husband gets home from work? Did my husband get eaten by a zombie while he was at work? #$@%&, MY HUSBAND GOT EATEN BY A ZOMBIE WHILE HE WAS AT WORK!!!!!” and calling the Jarbidge search and rescue guy just to say hi.

3) Get pregnant. This is your ticket to staying in a warm, cozy house instead of getting out and working in the deep snow any time the baby might become hungry, fussy, is teething or needs a changing. This is basically any time.

4) Don’t get pregnant. This is your ticket to enjoying sunrises from the back of a horse, fun roping whenever, wherever, for however long you want, and sleeping through the night when you’re exhausted from all that cowboy stuff.

5) Don’t be afraid to stockpile Copenhagen in the freezer (if your cowboy chews) and hide your emergency chocolate behind the lettuce in the vegetable crisper (aspiring junk food thieves would never look there). The distance to replenish your addictions is great. Plan accordingly.

6) If you’re cooking for the branding crew and the boss tells you there will be 10 guys, plan for 15. Someone extra always shows up, and branding crews are a ravenously hungry bunch, known to devour breakfast burritos still in the tin foil and as many jalepeno poppers as you can put in front of them, plus two dozen.

7) When you finally get a satellite Internet installation technician to agree to drive down the many miles of your rutted dirt road, offer him cookies, beer, a gift certificate to a Mexican restaurant, whatever he wants so he’ll come back again if need be. Also, snap a quick picture and call your neighbors, in case no one believes an install tech actually came out that far from town. I saw ours twice and I’m still not convinced.

8) Buy cheese by the six-pound block, and always keep bacon in the freezer. When you’re low on groceries, these can go a long way in producing edible, even tasty, food for your table. No one will ever say, “Man, I wish you hadn’t put bacon/cheese on that.”

9) Learn how to change a flat tire and use your transmission when driving downhill, but let your cowboy saddle your horse when you’re four months pregnant and open your doors always.

10) Go to town and cut loose once in a while – look at stoplights, listen to traffic, go through the Burger King drive-through and eat in the parking lot while the baby naps in the backseat. You only get to town twice a month, might as well get crazy while you can.

It all starts out so innocently: a beaming bride with a baby belly marries a buckaroo with a government handle late one night in Reno.

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Next thing she knows, she’s target practicing with the .243 just in case the mountain lion reappears by the barn and decorating the living room with bridle outfits.

Ranch family

I just really wanted to publish this picture of Jim somewhere. I think he’ll appreciate it.


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