Blogging: A ranch wife’s storyWritten by Melissa Hemken
Lander – “Sometimes think I’m not much of a ranch wife,” says Kacee Thacker. “When you picture a ranch wife, you see a woman who is in the kitchen at four o’clock in the morning, and has coffee and eggs for her husband. He goes to start the tractor to feed and she is right behind him out the door. She’s riding a horse all day, and doesn’t need a pair of gloves. She has a heart of gold, but is as tough as nails.”
Kacee lives on and manages the Double D Ranch in Fremont County near Lander with her husband Jeremy, and for over a year she’s hosted a blog about her experiences as The Ranch Wife.
“As for me, I love my gloves and refuse to touch hay without them. I’ve gone from working in a bank and wearing heels to all of the sudden living on a ranch. It definitely has been an adjustment!” she says.
“When I first started the blog I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough things to talk about,” Kacee explains. “So I jotted down some stories and events that had happened beforehand. I’ve used some of them, and others I haven’t. So much happens every day, there is always something to talk about. You know – the horses might get out or the bulls are in my yard again.”
The Thackers manage a cowherd and ewes, from which they raise club lambs. While Jeremy was raised on a ranch, Kacee was born in Riverton and spent her childhood in Michigan. Her family lived in the country and was surrounded by cornfields and agriculture, but she says they were never involved in any of it.
“This year was my first lambing, and I wrote a lot about lambing and my first bum lamb,” Kacee says. “I brought him home and he screamed and bawled, so I took him back to the barn.
“Then the bum lamb got a surrogate mama and that event was definitely a blog post – I entitled it ‘Tears Before Coffee.’ I went to check the lambs first thing in the morning, still in my robe and before I had my coffee. I was walking through the sheep, and a ewe had given birth to twins and one was a stillborn.
“So I called Jeremy and he said we should skin him and put the skin on the bum lamb so we could get him a mama. I had heard stories about the process, and seen pictures, but never done the real thing. So I was sitting there holding it while Jeremy was skinning it, and I just bawled over having to skin this dead, cute little lamb.
“I was crying and telling Jeremy that I haven’t had any coffee either, and it just isn’t fair! It was terrible. But then the bum lamb got a new mama and a twin sister, and everything was good. I took pictures of the white bum lamb in his black skin coat, which looked like a Superman cape, and put them up on the blog. It makes interesting reading, for sure.”
Kacee formulates most of her blog posts in her head as she goes about chores on the ranch, and she later elaborates in writing. She finds blogging useful to look back and relive life’s daily events.
“I have found that a lot of my readers are either ranch wives themselves, used to be, or were raised on a ranch,” Kacee says. “I get a lot of comments or emails that begin ‘I remember when…’ I have two friends who started as followers of my blog and now they have their own blogs. I think it is great, because that’s more people with whom they can share their ag story, and whom they can touch and bring back to their roots and agriculture.”
The Ranch Wife blog receives about 200 hits per day, and on the days Kacee posts that number doubles. She doesn’t post on a schedule, but according to what is happening on the ranch, which generally works out to once a week.
“There are website functions that enable you to pre-write blog posts and set them to publish on certain dates,” Kacee explains. “I don’t normally wait, though. If it’s done I just publish it. I’m actually pretty terrible at technology.”
Kacee also owns Ranch Wife Photography, and she attends craft and trade shows where she sells framed and matted prints.
“I was at first really nervous about having a booth at these shows,” Kacee says. “Other than putting up photos on my blog and website, I hadn’t really put myself and my work out there for direct feedback from people. These same insecurities prevented me from beginning the blog sooner. You know – who wants to hear about my life and see a picture of my husband’s boot?
“The first few shows I went to I sold absolutely nothing, but it was a good learning experience and people would come up and tell me, ‘I voted for your picture in the magazine,’ or, ‘You’re the Ranch Wife? I love your blog.’ The whole process has been a combination of an encouraging family, my husband and supportive readers.”
The Thackers were excited to find an employer who shares some of their visions for agriculture and family. Their daughter Caden, age 3, is able to accompany them on the ranch and already loves to ride horses.
“It has long been a goal of Jeremy’s to have a natural, custom-fed beef business,” Kacee says. “When we came to work here, our employer Dwayne Oldham had also been thinking about diversifying in that direction. We are now in a place to make it happen with an employer who has the same vision, which is incredible.”
The Double D Ranch is just beginning their custom fed beef business, and is currently accepting orders for this coming fall. So far, the amount of orders has been promising, and they may have to get some outside cattle to fulfill the orders.
“We have already talked to some of our neighbors about supplying steers,” Kacee continues. “We know how those cattle have been raised and have seen them across the fence for their whole life.”
“The good thing is that, especially here in Lander, there is quite the movement toward local food. I decided to offer chickens on LanderTalk, the local email list serve, because I want some chickens to eat and I might as well raise a few more for other people. Now I have orders for 28 chickens and I only posted it on LanderTalk twice. If I actually advertised it, I would have so many chickens running around here that there wouldn’t be room for any cattle!”