Tag Archives: Ranching

Pittsburgh, PA, I’m Coming Your Way!

By: Mary

Rain could be heard falling when I got up early on Saturday morning. The sound of the drops told me that that cows couldn’t be moved at The Ranch. I had been especially looking forward to spending my Saturday helping move cows, as it’s one of my favorite things to do.  However, moving a group of cattle on a highway in freezing rain is not any fun for people or cows. All it is is a recipe for disaster even with new shoes put on most of the horses.

There is something about Saturdays on horseback that makes a person feel alive. Maybe in my case, it’s partially because I have to be extra alert due to my horse, Mars, being a lot to handle. He’s often referred to as a beast. When working cows he’s a very hard worker but he has all the tendencies that stallions exhibit, except when around children. I can pile three nieces or my nephew on him and he’s as gentle as a kitten.

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An extra plus to Saturdays at my brother’s operation is that it’s a family affair. Brothers and Sister-in-laws and nieces and nephews are always somewhere around as are a few friends and maybe an extra dog or two.

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Moving cattle is a challenging endeavor  It takes much patience and anticipation.

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I am pretty sure that swearing was specially invented for this process alone. Yelling at the cows to get their attention is an instrumental part of the task. Years back I used to get yelled at to yell at the cows. Yelling isn’t my thing, especially when I am not even angry. In my case hissing is much more of a natural reaction for me. But hissing at cows doesn’t work so well! I am still practicing my ranch yell. Maybe by the time I am 50, I get it mastered, who knows?

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Enough on cows! I want to mention that in just two(!) days I am leaving to visit my sister in the city of Pittsburgh. Time spent with Kate and her family should make for a fantastic variation from my life here in Wisconsin.

Naturally I am packing fur coats and a ball grown to take to the only young mother I know that finds such things, useful, if not necessary. Kate’s the only person I have encountered that gets wear out of such flair. Though I imagine high society ladies who play bridge and drink port in metropolitan areas, or woman with botoxed faces and diamonds in their ears and annoying enormous SUVS which they swerve through big city traffic, must too.

Inevitably we might get into a spat or two, but then again, didn’t I mention earlier that I need to practice my yelling abilities? If such an occasion of volume dose arise  it’s all in the name of the ranch cows, you know?

Pittsburgh, PA here I come!I am leaving my boots behind and excited to see the one and only Mrs. Kate Slattery-Stapleton!

For more stories about Slattery sister reunions, check out these posts:

Sister in the City

Farmers in the City

Blue Haired Belle of the Ball (Diamond)

Sisters in the City, NYC Version

Mary and Martha (Stewart)

by Mary

There’s no sense in denying it. I, Mary Slattery, am quite the Martha Stewart fan. Yes I know, she’s a strange figure to admire, especially when you take into account that some of my favorite female role models are Mother Teresa, St. Joan of Arc, and and Immaculee. But hey, I’ve got the confidence to admit that I’m a sucker for Martha, and whenever I can get my hands on a copy of her latest glossy magazine publication I’m plenty happy to study it.

Recently, my cousin Cale found me reading the latest copy of Martha Stewart Living on my front porch, and took a picture to document my weakness.

This humored me into imagining the parallel, or lack thereof, in our daily lives.

Every copy of Martha Stewart Living documents the life of Martha via a monthly calendar. An example of this would be: June 12th, Martha goes horseback riding! Imagining Martha riding makes me think of a sleek, well mannered mount and Martha decked out in Ralph Lauren and leisurely riding along a gentle shoreline. Here I am on June 12th. Needless to say, no figmented Martha effects are applicable here.

This photo was taken mid-morning before heading out to check on a beef herd’s mineral supply at Devil’s Hole Ranch, which my brother Gabe and sister-in-law Aurora oversee. As you can see, I’m not the only horse enthusiast in the family. Horseback riding, paired with ranching duties and hills and valleys, is a far cry from leisurely, clean polos, or the beach.

Every edition of Martha’s also contains a generous amount of cleaning days. From dusting off tupperware lids to cleaning out linen closets, Ms. Stewart does it all. Me too, I guess. Like Martha, in the midst of June, I had many cleaning days. But unlike Martha, dusting and sprucing were low priority. You see, somehow I got roped into a cleaning project from hell (or at least purgatory). An extended family member had just closed on an apartment which unfortunately had a one bedroom efficiency that had been abandoned two months prior by an unstable Vietnam Vet. The man left everything he owned and boarded a Greyhound. This meant I had to remove all of his possessions from his filthy lair. This also meant I had to tackle the chore of cleaning years worth of grime off surfaces, as well as food that had been sitting in the sink and fridge for sixty odd days. I chose laughter and music as the means to better this endeavor, but you can bet I would rather have been dusting and folding sheets with Martha.

Of course, Martha’s iconic abilities include being a gardening diva. In the summer months, her calendar is chock full of gardening days. Mine too! In Martha’s picture’s, she is often bustling about a green paradise in effortlessly clean and comfortable button down shirts and relaxed khakis. Once again, like Martha, I can often be found in my garden- or Dad’s fields. However, there really aren’t any pictures depicting images of a collected and stylish me.

Unlike my mentor Martha, on the field I’m a wreck in filthy clothes that are beat up and sweaty as I pull pea vines, weeding thirsty beets, or dodging clods of flying dirt and sarcastic rhetoric while weeding with disenchanted siblings who have less interest in horticulture or labor than myself.

After documenting the parallels between Martha and myself, I must say I’ve come around to seeing the vast difference in our lives. Cale is right. Oh well- I can still read her magazine, and enjoy the fact that everybody can be a bit of a Martha Stewart- even if they wear Wranglers and have mad dirt dodging skills.