My boys, their families and I all live on the same ranch. When one isn't able to pick up the slack, there's always another who can.
Lately, it's been me who's on the "helping" end of things.
One boy raises fine horses, beautiful creatures that cost and arm and a leg to maintain --- but there's an old saying "It doesn't cost any more to feed a $10,000 horse than it does to feed a $1,000 one". He's been courting a little gal who lives about 700 miles away, taking "extended trips" and leaving Mama to take care of the horses and his dogs. I've only had one emergency, when the well driller left the gates open and the horses escaped onto the wash and the cattle got in and ate the horse feed. I can wrangle and herd, though, ... it's not rocket science, so things could have been worse.
The other boy is recently married, and his pretty little wife normally cares for the dogie calf, his horses and dogs as well as all of the cattle because this boy works out of town. But she needs to spend plenty of time with her new hubby. Mama to the rescue.
It kind of ties you down.
The dogie calf has to be bottle fed before I get ready for work, because she'll slobber all over that fancy dress if I let her. This calls for me feeding her in my bathrobe and boots -- hoping at 6 a.m. that the meter reader or someone else doesn't show up. Then the evening calls for not only the calf, but the horses which have to be separated because the thorobred has to have plenty of extra sweet feed to keep her through the winter. The other two horses are good old cow ponies, and are what we call "easy keepers", all they need is a little hay and a taste of oats. The cattle are all coming into the headquarters to get water now, so the water trough has to be filled morning and night, and the cattle need a little extra feed during the winter, too.
Last night, I drove the little toy pickup (Ford Ranger) up to feed, and got the wheels in a crimp when I backed up to let the cattle into the corral. Consequently, the key wouldn't turn in the ignition and it was headed up hill so I couldn't push it to turn the wheel. I had to call for help. Sometimes these cell phones come in handy.
Sometimes, I have lunch with friends who think they are really accomplishing something when they paint a room or clean a closet. That's when I realize how much I have going on. I can paint a room in two hours with one hand tied behind my back and then go out and haul feed, break ice on the water tanks and still have company for dinner. I don't tell them about it, though, sometimes it feels nice just to be "one of the girls".