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Published July 20, 2010, 07:48 AM

Vacation weather: Trying to enjoy myself away from the ranch

TOWNER, N.D. — There’s always something you should be doing when you farm or ranch. Makes it kind of tough to get away with the family and take a little vacation. Or, if you do get away, it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you think you should be back home.

By: Ryan Taylor,

TOWNER, N.D. — There’s always something you should be doing when you farm or ranch. Makes it kind of tough to get away with the family and take a little vacation. Or, if you do get away, it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you think you should be back home.

Some people are great at vacationing, but terrible at working, and that makes it hard to afford vacationing. Others are great at working, but awful at vacationing, which eventually is going to affect their working. I don’t know if I’m real good at working or vacationing, but I am good at thinking about work while I’m vacationing and thinking about vacations while I’m working.

Ranch work is relaxing to me — moving cattle, fixing fence, making hay — ahhh, it makes me breathe easy, especially if I’m getting things done in a relatively timely manner. Vacationing with a 6-, 4- and 2-year-old? Kind of fun, but not so high on the relaxation scale. Vacationing with my wife is nice, especially if I’m caught up with important tasks back at the ranch.

But I’m not usually caught up. I’m just now catching up on the things I meant to get done last fall. If you get far enough behind, like a whole annual cycle, it tricks your neighbors into thinking you’re ahead of schedule.

So leaving the place when you’re this far behind is a tall order. I decided it helps to have the right weather.

Come on storms

A lot of travelers hope for nice weather when they’re taking a little time off. They like sunny skies, calm breezes, higher temperatures.

Not me. To really enjoy my time away from the ranch in the summer, I need some pretty awful weather.

Cloudy and rainy is nice. That means it’s too wet to hay at home anyway, so I may just as well enjoy myself. A good, steady drizzle is best to keep the mind off work and on the vacation.

Winds blowing 30 or 40 miles per hour really reduce the guilt of being gone. Too windy to spray or cut hay or stand in some dusty corral sorting cattle. The bonus of vacationing in the wind is you know the windmills are pumping to beat the band and your cattle shouldn’t run out of water while you’re gone. Now that’s good vacation weather.

I’m not sure my wife understands my reasoning on wishing for cloudy, rainy, windy weather while we’re vacationing. But she’s seen me on what she calls “nice” days away from the ranch. I wake up, see the sun shining bright and feel a light breeze. There’s not a cloud in the sky and I begin to grumble and complain. “Grrrr, another sunshiny day,” and I lament about not being home to lay down the alfalfa to cure in the sun.

There could be a happy compromise for us on vacation weather. First, go far enough away so the vacation weather doesn’t necessarily match the ranch weather. It could just happen that the ranch will get rain and wind, while the vacation area pulls in sun and calm.

Or, she could limit my exposure to weather forecasts for the ranch. Like a prisoner, I could be allowed one phone call and it’d be to a predetermined neighbor instructed to report, “it’s just awful here, Ryan, you couldn’t do a thing. Just as well enjoy yourself there.”

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