Sorting & marriage.

When our friends Wade & Cara Small were married, Cara's sister gave one of the most memorable Maid of Honor speeches.

Basically it was this;

If you can work cattle with your future spouse for a day, and still love them at the end of it, your marriage will last.

The end.

And all of you ranch wives out there who are reading this are totally shaking your heads in agreement and whispering {Amen}.

So with the above in mind, I'll preface this post by saying that Clint and I sorted heifers last Friday.

And we are still married today.

Amen. ;)


When Double M weans their calves, they take all of the heifers to the White Corrals, and the steers go to the feedlot.  There they're fed in large groups, until the ranch sorts off their replacement heifers.  Double M sorted the spring replacement heifers earlier this winter and moved them up to the Butte so the only heifers left at the White Corrals are pens of heifers for sale. 

The ranch has a load contracted for delivery this week, so Clint wanted to sort a few pens and weigh groups of cattle to get a load put together.  As is the usual, Clint brought cattle towards me, and I sorted at the gate.  We were sorting bigger heifers (825# and up) from the smaller heifers (800# and less).  So as the heifers were filing by Clint, he was evaluating frame size and body weight and telling me either "By!" or "In!".

Cattle are herd animals so they don't exactly love to individually file down an alley one at a time at a slow and steady pace.  As a result, sometimes you have droves coming at you and other times you have a heifer who won't go past.  The worst is when you have a heifer who's kind of in between that 800-825# range and it's tough to decide whether she goes by or in until the last second.  And usually at that last second, you're already starting to swing the gate the wrong way.

Did I miss a few?

Were there a few "looks" and words exchanged between Clint & I?

Was I free and available help?

Do I still love him today.

Were we super happy with each other at the end of the sorting?
I'll leave that one unanswered. ;)

That's the thing though with this lifestyle - there are a lot of moments where you're making quick decisions and having to react using your gut.  In or by, and get the gate.  Sometimes it works out; other times it doesn't.   This lifestyle isn't for the faint at heart, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. And when you have a partner next to you who is willing to go through the rough patches so that you can reach the high points; that's worth something.

Cara's sister was right; and I'm proud that after a day of sorting - even with it's frustrations - I love my husband, and I'd sort with him again.


  1. I love your last statement, Darcy! Isn't that the truth.

    I tend to ask about something to try to get a plan in mind; I hope to be in the right place at the right time. I find it frustrating when J changes his mind. This leaves me guessing because he is doing it different than what he told me 5 minutes earlier. Still I hope to be in the right place at the right time.

    I think another good piece of advice as Ranch Wives need to learn to let things run of our backs and not take stuff personally. Easier said than done and something that is a works in progress for me.

  2. I love everything about this. We have 3 under the age of three, a 2 1/2 year old boy and 3 month old twin girls. I don't get to help my husband in the feedlot much anymore, but I think your advice very much applies to raising kids too! If at the end of the day, after spills, messes, tears, dirty diapers, and happy chaos, you can crawl into bed and still steal a kiss and a snuggle, your gonna make it. Cattle and kids are the true test of the strength of a marriage.


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