Steaks for Valentine's Day Amanda Radke

How I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day as a rancher’s wife

Valentine’s Day may not be the most romantic when you’re a young ranching couple, but we’ll still find the time to remind one another why we care.

February marks the beginning of calving season on our cow-calf operation, and by the time Feb. 14 pops up on the calendar, we’re usually too sleep deprived to think much about the romance of Valentine’s Day.

Of course, there is a season for everything in life, and perhaps our exhaustion doesn’t just stem from late-night checks to the barn, but also from having two busy toddlers, and one in particular who refuses to sleep through the night.

When you’re a rancher’s wife, holidays are best observed on the fly. Perhaps you can steal a kiss in the tractor cab while feeding hay or maybe you can squeeze in a nice supper made at home on the grill after a long day of chopping ice, scooping snow and checking for newborn calves. Sometimes it’s just the little gestures that add up to a big love story, and when you’re in the middle of calving, one can’t expect grandeur and over-the-top celebrations.

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So this Valentine’s Day, we’re keeping busy with a barn full of expectant mama cows, a new bottle calf to tend to, preschool and daycare parties to prepare for, and for good measure, we’re squeezing in our tax appointment.

While none of this probably sounds too romantic or exciting, it goes with the territory for this time of year. As a ranching couple, the best gift we can give each other is patience and kindness, particularly when things are busy and plans don’t go our way outside. There’s always equipment to be fixed, a cow that needs some attention in the chute or another figurative fire to put out between the ranch, our jobs and our growing family.

Yet, despite the mundaneness of this average Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t trade it for a five-star restaurant and a fancy bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates. Today, I’ll get to continue to enjoy the many blessings Tyler and I already have together — healthy, happy kids, a thriving cow herd, careers that challenge and excite us, a sturdy house in the quiet countryside and a feeling of optimism that if we continue to work hard, we will enjoy much success in the cattle business down the road.

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No, it’s not glamorous, and it’s far from romantic, but that’s ranch life. Today, as you go about your day-to-day operations on the ranch, don’t forget to tell your sweetheart how much they mean to you. It’s a lot cheaper than that fancy dinner in town, and I bet the understated gesture will still mean a great deal to the one you get to share this life with.

Happy Valentine’s Day from our ranch to yours! May your day be filled with great love and gratitude for this wonderful life we get to enjoy in the cattle business with the people we care about the most!

By the way, have you checked out the finalists in the Twisted X "Quiet moments on the ranch photo contest? View the gallery and vote for your favorite by clicking here.

TAGS: Ranching
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