Well it’s been a long busy run this year. If you don’t know us I’ll let you in on a secret, not really everyone knows, our boys are very involved in sports, especially football and basketball. Not as much as some families I would like to think, but we do put on some miles just because we have a long way to travel from point A to point B around here. Being very involved with sports also brings the fact that it’s not if you get an injury, it’s when, if your putting forth your best effort somethings bound to happen. Bill started football 190 days ago. If you subtract 27 Sunday’s, which usually was taken up by 4-6 hours of homework and some sleep-in days, also minus 6 days of no practice football and basketball, (with the boys making it so far in football season they went basically right into basketball season and they got a couple days off at Christmas time) that would equal 157 days with no break. So here we are on a Sunday morning (cause mom finally made me) finally putting our toughness and pride aside (after seasons is over of course) to get a wrist checked out that’s been bothering him since football (he’s right handed and it’s the right wrist) and a shoulder he hurt over the weekend at district tournaments. The result...well the shoulder is okay he could benefit with some PT, however the wrist needs to be looked at by a specialist there’s a possible fracture he’s been playing with all this time. Tough or stubborn take your pick it is what it is at this point, now we will just get him healed up and get ready for the next thing...oh the adventure of raising boys!!!
It's funny how you can meet people by fluke and then all the sudden go from just acquaintances to friends. That's kind of how we met Brandon, by fluke...He came to White Sulphur to give a presentation to the students, the students really liked him and asked if he could come back and be their graduation speaker. After visiting with him, he had never killed a bear, it being spring time when he would come back to do the graduation we could try to get him a bear then. Perfect we'll help the kids out, Brandon gets to go bear hunting everyone wins. Sometimes when you do these types of things you don't really expect to hear from the person again and that's ok too, but not in this case. Brandon did kill his first bear with us, yes, but we really enjoyed visiting with him, these are the cool things that happen when you become an outfitter. You get to met all kinds of people. So a few months pass, our football team was doing really good. So I thought I'd let Brandon know and maybe I could Skype with him and he could drop a good word to them. (By the way Brandon not only likes the outdoors and hunting, he really likes football!! ;)) What are the odds that he just happen to be within the vicinity and could drop by. Ok, so something was meant to be here! He came in, talked to the boys during their playoff run, and it was cool! So come to find out Brandon is also starting up his own line of gear and hopes to get that taking off pretty soon. So one day I get an email, yep here it is got his new line of gear going. Congrats Brandon your hard work paid off! Owning your own business isn't easy, it's a 24/7, no breaks/vacations/holidays, feel like your broke sometimes venture, but worth it. You almost feel like your a farmer or rancher...almost! So if you want to check out his new gear here it is: Rokman Gear.
PS. Sounds like he might be coming back to White Sulphur again very soon to do some more football stuff ;), well you know your welcome to stay out here at the ranch with us and good luck with you business!
Little disappointed today in the ole' postal service. Makes me a little worried about some of you guys that are sending me deposits! Please double check to make sure I get it or send it certified just to be safe! So today, I stop to get our mail on the way home out of our new mailbox (see prior story about what happens when semi's cut corners too close). Anyway, I get home and just like everyone else I sit down and go through the mail. Bill. Bill. Junk. Junk. Oh what's this, a card? So I open it. It's a Christmas card, so then I flip the envelope back over to see the postage stamp on it. Oh boy, over 40 days late... Come on! Not only did they have to switch horses to get it here, since it was also from someone in town here, but they had to go by a horse from where Spain and ship it here. Where in the world has this thing been? Back to my first concern and note to our hunters, please please make sure I get everything that you are mailing me! Drop me an email when you send off your deposits or give me a call when you think I should have it. You just never know and I'm not a big complainer but gosh! For now I'll keep it local and just go into town and talk with the gals here. I hope I won't have to take this issue any further. I'm sure this is not a first for some, but it's first for us!
It's always a project and a big day when the boss comes home and says, "we're working the cows tomorrow". It may have a variety of meanings, are we vaccinating, worming, sorting, etc... In this case we are getting ready for calving season. We had a bit of a mix-up when we brought all the cattle home from the mountains this year, so we need to sort out the heifers from the regular cow herd, because they will be the ones to start calving first. They need extra attention and care because it's their first calf, they may not know what's going on! In order to manage these new mommas we make sure everyone has an ear tag. We mainly use this for identification purposes, even though you are around the cows enough you kind of know who's who out there, it's so much easier when things get busy to have tags. There might be a day when you have ten calves born and you have to keep them "paired up". So we will make small little tags with the mom's tag number so we know that baby goes to that momma. I found a website that really explains the benefits of cattle identification. I'm a little OCD when it comes to neatness and I have to say my husband doesn't have the neatest handwriting, so I just take the job of making the tag numbers, even if I think some of my numbers are ugly. It's harder than you think! There's no screwing up this ink is permanent and a screw up might mean I'm short a tag or off a number, yicks! Every rancher has their own system. Ours are color coded to a year. So the kitchen table gets taken over after dinner and the tags get made for tomorrow's project!
Funny how things happen when mom's not home. You never know what will happen and may never know what happened, which is sometimes a good thing, when you’ve left all the boys at home alone (this includes dad). "Tyson, would you by chance know how this hole in the wall got here?" Tyson replies, "I don't know." "So it looks like to me this hole is pretty perfectly round, kind of like an air-soft BB right." A big long pause happens and then Tyson says, "no, no mom BB's don't make that kind of hole." "Oh!" I said, "so you didn't shoot my wall with your new BB gun you got for Christmas?" "I don't know who did that mom, I didn't do it." So we have a stranger living in our house named "I Don't Know". I Don't Know shot my wall with a BB gun I think. I also think I Don't Know should help fix the hole in the wall." "Ya, I think Bill should help you." "So Bill shot the wall?" "No, Bill didn't do it either." So we are now back to I Don't Know. Hum-mm... strange things happen while mom's at gone!
Just when you thought that you'd seen everything. Does anyone else wonder sometimes how things just appear in your house, that probably shouldn't be there? As I came home from work tonight I was thinking to myself. Awh, I'm going to make myself a nice cup of tea and get to relax on the couch for awhile before having to make supper. Instead I walk into the house to be greeted by a funny, dead smell. As I approach the entrance to our kitchen I find that my husband had to do some hide stretching, drying something to a bobcat he had caught so he could sell it. So here's a side note if you don't know anything about trapping. So preparing a pelt for a fur buyer to buy later does take a lot of work and it may vary depending on really how they want it. The short version is you've got to first skin the animal, flesh the hide and then put it on a stretcher like this, you'd comb it and make it all soft and pretty, then sell it. Out of curiosity I did some research and found this link that was pretty interesting. It's a Pelt Handling Manual, I really did learn some stuff from looking through it! But back to my kitchen. Does it really have to happen right here? Really, you've gotta be kidding me! So I think of myself as a pretty patient person...BUT there has got to be somewhere else he can do this! I part of me thinks, that he thought he could get whatever it was he was doing with it done before I got home. I understand what he was trying to do, I just don't think he needed to do it in the kitchen. Needless to say by the end of the night the smell had dissipated I did have my tea, and I did NOT cook supper! :)
After heading off to work yesterday morning, I get a text message: we’ve had a wreck, need your help, shorthanded. So from work I head home again to see what in the world is going on. As I pull off the highway to go up the lane I noticed the mailboxes are sitting a little different, and that can't be a good start. Come to find out one of the semi couldn't make the corner to go up the lane he took out the mailboxes on his way. It was kind of an awful day to try to load the calves because it has been so icy; literally it was slipperier than shit, because there's ice underneath the cow crap in the corral. Calves slipping, people slipping, trucks spinning out, it was a long morning. So we finally get done around lunchtime I go back to the house change my clothes, grab a bite to eat, and head back into work. Well after a rough start to the morning and the calves not cooperating, we finally got these guys loaded on the semi... move 'em on, head 'em up, head 'em up, move 'em on...Nebraska bound.
If the definition of “hanging out” with your husband is spending quality time while hunting, then yes welcome to the club! It was coyote derby weekend! My husband doesn’t understand why I don't think it's awesome to be able to hang out waiting for coyotes to come in to a screeching, headache triggering, rabbit call. Have you heard that screech? Wow, it kind of makes me think I must be dying! This thing isn’t just for a few minutes either it's for hours...at different speeds and tones, waiting and waiting, sitting out in the freezing cold, wishing I was in my warm bed! I'd rather be able to go to bed at night wake up the next day and have the daylight to see the coyotes. Daylight brings a whole new way to hunt coyotes. I'm not sure if I want to get into all the details of how you catch a coyote in a wide open field, but it is sure exciting! (Note: it’s not a good idea to take your wife’s new truck and run down a coyote in a field, forget about the homestead, jump the truck to clear it, and then pretend nothing happened. Eventually, she will find out! In a way though I’m glad he cleared the homestead it wouldn’t have never ended well if he didn’t!) Now that's my kind of coyote hunting! Heith and Lon have partnered up on coyote derbies for a few years now. It’s been nice and they have a lot of fun. So during the coyote derbies I have three main jobs. They are all super important and hinge on the success of the hunt! Number 1- make sure I know where all bullets are located and have them ready in case they run out! Number 2- have food readily available for at any point in the day they may show up, even midnight snacks! Number 3 is two part-check-ins, as in, make sure they haven’t gotten stuck somewhere and you have to go pull them out, and check-ins, as in, to make sure when he put your name down for the raffle drawing of the gun you are present to win! It is fun, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not an everyday thing. Usually when I shoot at coyotes they’re right by the house trying to get into the lambs, the cows, or snooping around the house stirring up the dogs. They are nasty little creatures! They stink! At any rate it was a good weekend, even if we didn't get to “hang out” too much! We know, and that’s all that matters, they’ll be some other time that we can hang out like a normal married couple...right?
Boy, that was harder than I thought! Hitting "publish" on my first blog. Talk about nervous. I think the best way to start this out would be to answer, who am I? Seems simple enough, but really it's pretty complex. Yes, I am an outfitter's wife. I’m also just an average, middle-class, women that lives on a ranch in rural Montana with her family, who just happens to like hunting and the outdoors. We just happen to like it enough we started a business out of it. My husband guided on a ranch across the valley from us for nine years before we went out on our own. We've been in business going on for 10 years now. When our family ranch split we had an opportunity and we took it. Why not? That’s what they teach in business school right, start a business out of something you love to do. We knew going in, it wasn’t going to be easy, especially if you add raising two boys among the chaos, but hopefully you can relate to that!
I must admit right away, I’m not much of a writer! I know some stuff about some stuff, live a busy life, I hope you find it interesting or perhaps relate, and maybe I can answer a question or two. I find it easier to have pictures to go along with, then you really get the full story. I find when I look at pictures I can actually get into more detail of what happened or remember that authentic moment, than to just type it to you. So that’s the game plan! “The Photo Story Through the Eyes of an Outfitter’s Wife” (and other stories of her life). Hopefully I can convince some of my other friends that are outfitter's wives to share a few of their stories too.
I hope Robin Moore was right when he said, “inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.” –author of The Green Berets. When I hear that I immediately think of sitting around the table at hunting camp, oh… “that bull, you should have seen him, he would at least score 400”, when really, he would only score like 250.
I really don’t want any political correctness, nor anti-hunting junk, keep it to yourself that is not my intent. I hope everyone enjoys this blog, we are all here to have fun, enjoy life, and see through my eyes (it can get a little crazy), just try to keep up!
Speaking of keeping up…that reminds me, I get busy, my goal is to post a couple times a week. I’m new to this so I will do the best I can, bare with me as I learn these new ropes!
Welcome and I hope you stick around to see!
P.S. You will rarely see photos of me, cause I'm usually behind the camera!
Julie Hanson married Lon in 1996. She is a Montana native, grew up on a ranch, lives and works on a ranch,and is a partner in Anchor P Outfitters. See more on the About Us page.