It is said that all love begins and ends with motherhood. Meet two moms who are putting their spin on being a ranch mom in the twenty-first century and sharing their story along the way.
Part One: Photography by Tawnee Williams
JaTanna and Natalie have been friends since before they can remember. Back to the days when after school play dates were planned to ride horses and play in tree forts. Both born and raised in the same rural Montana town, they grew up together. Not in a non-personal, see you around town kind of together; but the share everything, do everything type of together. They are as much a part of each other as they are separate.
JaTanna married into agriculture when she said I do to her high school sweetheart, a 6th generation Montana rancher. Natalie was born into the ranching world, and despite her belief that she’d never stay in it, found herself marrying a 5th generation Nebraskan rancher. In a time when some women may take offense to the title “ranch wife,” these ladies continue to hold the title near and dear to their hearts, wearing it proudly as a badge of honor. While they both hold Doctorate degrees in Pharmacology, have careers both on and off the ranch, and are founders of Ranch Wives Beef Co., ranch direct beef company – the inner core of their hearts will always be with their family: HOME on the ranch.
Part Two: Montana with JaTanna
There is a spiritual happiness that comes with living life on a ranch. Teaming with energy, from the thriving animals to the growing kiddos, you can almost feel the electricity pulsing through the fresh ranch air. But not surprisingly, there is also an equal amount of calmness that comes with living life on a ranch. The wide-open spaces evoke a gentle ambiance of beauty that is both seen and felt. Being a ranch mom is about learning to balance both these feelings. It’s about completing the demanding requirements of ranch work and household chores, while also taking time to enjoy the simple pleasures of raising children outside the hustle and bustle of city lights.
Tawnee Williams is a rancher’s daughter with a deep adoration for the people and spaces of Montana, where she was born and raised. She photographs the ever-changing landscapes and captures the people living and working in this rugged and beautiful place. It takes a special kind of person to live and thrive here, and Tawnee makes it her purpose to honor them through her photography.
Part Three: Nebraska with Natalie
Photography by Sam Raetz
You see, the romanticism of the western countryside is not lost on the ladies. Instead, it is amplified by the pitter patter of tiny feet below. Daily chores take extra time and care with little helping hands, but they don’t mind. On long hot days outside chores are made doable with a Stetson brim to shield the sun, a blanket for the kids to play on and several packed lunches. Often times, warmer mornings are spent as a family in the tractor feeding cattle, and afternoons are spent gathering cattle on horseback. When the Nebraska and Montana weather is uninviting, the women turn their sights indoors, reading their children a book they can recite by heart or preparing a recipe one-handed while holding a baby in the other. Motherhood on the ranch is truly a special kind of motherhood and one the women are thankful to call theirs. At the end of the day when they lay their head on their pillow and close their eyes, they thank God for the daily experiences the ranch brings and the blessings the agricultural community has bestowed upon their families.
Hodding Carter said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other is wings.” JaTanna and Natalie couldn’t agree more, and it is their belief that a ranch is the perfect way to simultaneously give their children both roots and wings.
To learn more and support the Ranch Wives please visit https://www.ranchwivesbeefco.com/