5 Things I Don’t Miss About Cow Camp

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

My family spent its formative years living on remote ranches located an average of 2 hours from town. While there are many aspects of cow camp life that I miss, here are a few lifestyle traits I was happy to leave behind when we moved to our new location just 8 miles from a small agricultural town.

1. The great distance from fresh fruit

The most remotely we ever lived was 4 1/2 hours from the nearest town. I bought plenty of meat, pantry items, and dairy products (most of which are freezable) to last a full month, but we always ran out of fresh fruit at some point. Now, a big treat for me is a beautiful, yellow, unbruised banana. I love my current weekly grocery trips, because we always have fresh fruit in the house.

I see lots of canyons, cactus, cedar trees and rocks, but there is nary a produce stand in sight.

2. Social isolation

I like people. I am a people. You might even say I am a people person. At the Triangle N, we lived an hour’s drive from our nearest neighbor. My husband was fine with it – he was satisfied to go to work, come home, eat, sleep, repeat. But I craved a get-together once in a while – a Bible study, kids’ birthday party, ranch wives’ potluck, the first meeting of the Why In The Sam Hill Do We Live Way Out Here club. I am grateful for our current social calendar, which actually has activities on it.

Check it out – my kids are hanging out with people besides their mom and dad! Yay for friends.

3. Exclusive use of a clothes line

Who doesn’t love line-dried sheets? Crisp, unshrunk blue jeans? And all that laundry sure looks beautifully rustic pinned to the clothes line in the backyard, billowing gently in a summer breeze. Ah, but when you depend exclusively on a clothes line to dry the clothes for a growing family, it gets a little sticky. Or should I say “chronically damp.” A clothes dryer wasn’t an option at camp due to zero space in the tiny house and insufficient solar electricity to power one. When both kids wet the bed during monsoon season, I washed clothes in the morning, then spent the afternoon hanging wet items around the house while the torrential rain pelted my empty clothes line. I threw jeans over open doors, hung sheets between two chairs, and arranged tiny socks on clothes hangers. Some items took 2-3 days to dry using this inefficient system.

4. Rocky roads

And no, I’m not talking about ice cream. Because I LOVE rocky road ice cream. No, I’m talking about primitive roads that were so rocky, bumpy, and completely devoid of any of smooth stretches that they literally tried to murder my vehicle every time I drove over them. They pulled everything but a switchblade on my poor little Jeep. A person had to drive less than ten miles per hour and only a fool would try it in a sedan.

This is the best way to traverse some remote, rocky ranches. No, seriously – it is oftentimes quicker to ride a horse on a trail than drive a vehicle on a road.

5. Rustic housing

Some camp houses were built over a million years ago, when the materials were typically hauled in by actual dinosaurs. Native rock chimneys are commonplace, but modern insulation is not. As a result, the interior temperature of these houses closely mirrors the outside temperature. I do not miss sitting on my couch trying to read a book at 10 p.m. in June and sweating my face off because the inside thermometer reads in the nineties. I like modern amenities like climate control and insulated walls.

I thought our little home was super cute and cozy inside, but it was also hotter than h-e-double-hockey-sticks in the summer.


Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....

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