Veeder: A ranch house is a work in progress
Let me just tell you that ideas come quickly here, but progress is slow. I wish I could blame it all on my handyman husband, but it’s really my fault… I’ll take the blame for all these ideas.
Last weekend my daughters helped their dad put stone on the pillars outside the main entrance, the one we added three years ago, turning the house side of the garage into an entrance giant. Because when we first designed the house, it was just Chad and I and our boots, hats, and coats, and we grossly underestimated how much space you want to launch all of this (and the mud and slush and poo) when it comes down to it. Add a few munchkins into the mix, and family and friends and help coming through the door, and, well, you’re faced with a remodel project that shrinks the garage and gives us another place to put a fridge. and a hat rack and all the muddy boots you can handle.
Because when you live in the middle of nowhere, apparently you can’t have enough refrigerators, hats or muddy boots.
The ranch house. It’s something you see on the HGTV shows, in those big pages in Texas themed magazines and Southern blogs. The family table sprawl, the cast iron kitchen sink where you do the dishes looking out the pretty curtained window facing a lush lawn, cattle grazing through the fence, a sleeping dog in the yard, maybe a kid on a swing or something.
I’m here to tell you that my reality in particular is a little less frosty and shiny.
Yesterday I was standing on my back patio, the one that is not yet finished but needs to be redone, and yelled at a bull that found its way to the only green thing on the ranch, the unmown weeds. in my backyard. And he looked up at me, completely confused and offended that I asked him to leave. And so he ran towards the broken fence he entered, a burst of movement creating a burst of poo that he distributed across the yard, making sure to lay a few decent piles in front of the kids. . swing.
It was really picturesque. About as quaint as the barn cat who decided to poop on my patio table. Like, all the dirt in the world still in love and that’s its place.
I feel like I’m bitching. Sorry. There is so much poo in here.
Meanwhile, inside the ranch, the calf vaccination guns are in the drying rack, the kids got their hands on the calf tagging marker to decorate the 37 gourds they got from the garden of Grandpa and they’re all scattered all over this kitchen table and we can’t move them because They. Are. Not. Ended. Still!
And on the outside, there is a dried petunia plant on the outside of the half-finished rock pillar. Half-finished because a fence had to be repaired, supper had to be served or the sun was setting in the middle of the project.
It’s fall, welcome to the ranch. Beware of boxelder dive bombing insects on the way.
Nine years ago, we imagined raising our family here, a family we weren’t sure we could ever have. And so we thought about the fixtures and where to put the sockets, and to have a debate on the mat or not.
And what a thing is life, so surprising and messy and unpredictable that of course we wouldn’t be able to imagine that the Barbie Dream House would take up half of the basement and I would shower with at least two or three naked dolls every morning in our master bathroom which my husband and I tiled together and lived in to talk about.
I had no idea then, when that house rolled down the hill, that it was going to change and grow in this little place that we had chosen for the rest of our lives. And that might not do magazines, but that’s us, right? Unfinished and imperfect and a still loving work in progress.
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, North Dakota. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at [email protected]