Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My life reminds me of the song "I've Been Everywhere Man".

I was born in Bozeman, MT.  Moved to Billings, MT when I was 3.  I went to first grade in Billings.  We moved to Faith, New Underwood, and Union Center, SD where I attended second grade.  Third grade found us in Las Vegas, NV.  Fourth grade Petaluma, CA.  Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth Riverside, CA.  Ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth Bozeman, Montana again.

From the time I can remember, I loved horses.  Dad bought me one when we lived in Petaluma.  We lived on an old chicken farm a few miles out of town.  My first experience as a 'country' girl.

When Dad died, we had to sell my horse and give our dog Pixie  away.  I have never really recovered from losing my father, my dog and my horse all within a couple of weeks.
We never had any furniture of our own until Riverside; my mom bought a two-bedroom trailer after Dad died and we moved to Rubidoux.  We rented furnished places with all of our moves or were provided housing with Dad's job.

My brother and me in front of our trailer.
We moved the trailer from Riverside to Bozeman in 1967.  We rode the train from Riverside to Butte, MT.
Mom just would not keep her family in California in those trying times and we had a lot of relatives still in Bozeman.  I lived in Bozeman from 1967 until 1975 when I  moved to Brown Ranch with my husband.  We had our clothing, a washing machine and a black and white television in the back of the Sprint.  That was it for belongings.  Reminiscent of my life!

John and I remodeled the 100-year-old ranch house that we still live in 37 years later.
We raised three children in this home and still think it is a beautiful and comfortable home!  All three children have new homes, but I wouldn't trade!
Three grown children and soon-to-be eight grandchildren later, the old house fills up at holidays!  How time flies!

None of my relatives could believe that I would get my hands dirty on a ranch.  I have proved them wrong several times!  I have milked cows (not well).  Wrestled calves and loved it!  
My wrestling partner.  
I would like to have a nickel for every calf we wrestled!  I loved riding horses and put in lots of miles.
Butchered chickens, pigs, and cows along with game birds and deer and antelope.  
I have made all kinds of cheeses, churned butter, ground flour.  Gardened.  Used a cream separator.....that is an experience everyone who ever gripes about doing dishes should have to do sometime in their life!  Helped calve hundreds (maybe thousands) of heifers.  Helped put a prolapse back together (yesterday).  Cleaned the barn.  Definitely all dirty jobs!  The sons and husband do most of the heavy lifting now-days!

John and I like to travel.  Our two sons are partners with us in Brown Ranch LLLP, so we can do more traveling now.
We've been to Las Vegas quite a few times.  Mazatlan, Mexico.  Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.  The Black Hills of SD bring back lots of memories for me.  
Red Lodge, MT where Dad was born and where my grandma lived for years and is buried along with several other relatives.  

My great grandfather's grave

Palm Springs, CA to reunite with old classmates.  Hi Pat & DeeDee!

Oahu, Hawaii  Turtle Bay

East or West, home is still best!  


  1. Nikki is a remarkable testament to that "can-do" attitude rural women have. Her life is full from participating in every aspect of rural ranching life and loving her family all along the way.

  2. Great post. It brought tears to my eyes, just thinking of a little girl losing her Daddy, horse, and dog all at once. Those were my everthings as a little girl. Way to live life & welcome!


  3. Thank you Nikki. It posted straight away- I need to put up links to your blog. I'll be back! Thank you for sharing your story. Heather is right, that is so much to loose.

    I love that you have had your hands dirty. Do you still do all of those things? Grind flour and make butter? Just curious- I'd like to try:)

    1. I don't do all that anymore. When our kids got involved in school activities we quit milking, chickens, etc. I miss it!

  4. Loved reading your story! It's fun to get your hands dirty huh? Farming and ranching gives plenty of opportunities for that!

    All that moving! Wow, I thought I moved a lot! Moving forces you to be flexible and learn how to adjust quickly that's for sure. I told my husband the next time I move will be when we move downstairs because we can't climb up them anymore. Ha!

    Thank you for sharing and I loved the pictures too!