Grateful For Flush Toilets

Dear family, friends and enthusiastic readers,

Greetings from the Triangle N camp of the O RO Ranch! We’ve lived down many miles of primitive dirt roads with no satellite TV or neighbors for a full year now, and we’re relieved to announce that we are not expecting another baby.

Our two existing children are relieved, too, mainly because they don’t like to share their toys. To alleviate sibling rivalry and aid in her social development, 5-year-old Grace takes ballet class in town once a week. 2-year-old Milo watches each class with a horse toy in each hand, because all that boy cares about is horses, cows, boots, spurs and ropes When he’s not running naked through the yard trying to rope the cat, he’s sticking both fingers in his ears so he can’t hear his sister screaming after he whacks her in the head with any available object.

I’m happy when the kids are playing nicely together, so I’m definitely still taking my medication. I’m also writing part-time, cooking full-time, and hoping for sunny weather so I can do laundry. I need solar power to run the electric washing machine, and my one-strand solar clothes dryer isn’t worth a darn when it’s cold or damp. More than once, I have sprinted outside at the first raindrop and frantically grabbed the shirts, underwear and bath towels off the line, only to return to the house and wonder why we ever left America for the wilds of Arizona.

My husband Jim is liking Arizona a lot, mostly because this ranch has good horses and a few wild cows. Catching wild cows is a dangerous job that worries his wife, but he gets a big adrenaline rush out of running full-tilt after some big ol’ horned bovine and roping her in the thick brush at the bottom of a canyon. He also is enjoying seeing new country, meeting other cowboys, and watching the young guys go for bronc rides. Because a fellow cowboy pointed out that Jim is officially one of the “old guys” on the crew. Of course, Jim came to that conclusion on his own when he realized that at 37, he was technically old enough to be the father of over half of the wagon crew.

To get all their work done on this traditional ranch, the crew pulls a spring and a fall wagon – meaning, the cowboys camp out in bedrolls to gather and brand cattle twice a year. Since Jim has slept in a canvas tipi for a grand total of four months this year, he decided he has camped out enough for everyone reading this letter, plus three people. He enjoyed the quiet evenings spent reading a book by lantern light and sleeping under the awesome quilt that his awesome wife made for him, but he disliked catching his bedroll on fire, hearing a mountain lion walk through camp at night, and using the nonexistent bathroom facilities.

Now that the fall wagon has ended, we four Youngs are all snug in our cozy little cow camp house, eagerly awaiting Christmas Day and all the joy it brings. Three of us have visions of candy canes and brightly-wrapped presents dancing through our heads, and one of us is just grateful for flush toilets.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!

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