New Year's is known for new beginnings and fresh starts. Usually, it is met with much optimism and hope that disappointments of the past will be turned around and goals will be realized.

Whitehurst marci
Freelance Writer
Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can foll...

Often we make resolutions to help us achieve the best for ourselves and our family. I used to do these. I realized, though, that making resolutions only one time in the year didn’t work for me. For the first week of January, I’d be really gung ho: Yes, I’m going to clean out my closets, exercise daily, eat healthier, sleep more, volunteer daily, build a house and change the planet.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate.

That’s my point. My resolutions were not realistic. First, they were not specific. Eat healthier. What does that mean? No sugar? Fewer carbs? Due to a GI issue, I have to eat fairly healthy anyway or I get sick.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from making New Year’s resolutions. I’m sure they work for some people. The idea of change is great. For me, I have to work on it before New Year’s if anything is going to stick.


And I certainly can’t change the planet by myself.

So this year, I’m going off-the-rails unrealistic. I’m going to anticipate something that will never happen. Before you consider me crazy, let me explain.

Ranching is glorious and tough all at the same time. Where else can you put in a 16-hour day, be it calving, fencing or moving pastures, and still enjoy the sunrise and the sunset while doing it? Since there is a lot of work to do and sometimes a little extra help would be lovely, I think I’d like to look forward to Cowboy/Cowgirl Alexa.

Sure, Alexa can turn on your lights, play your favorite music and Google questions for you, but what if she could help around the ranch? Think of the possibilities!

  • “Alexa, did I leave the gate open?”
  • “Alexa, where is 805’s calf?”
  • “Alexa, did the bulls hop a fence?”
  • “Alexa, what days will my heifers calve? Will it be at night? Will they need help?”

For us girls especially:

  • “Alexa, is this the big tree my husband wanted me to turn at?”
  • “Alexa, is this a two-track or an actual road?”
  • “Alexa, what did that hand signal mean?”
  • “Alexa, which black cow is supposed to go through the gate?”

And to really make it worth our while, maybe we could throw in some Alexa perks for ranchers. Such as: Alexa activates in one second or less. Alexa doesn’t get ruined if dropped – no matter what she gets dropped in. And Alexa doesn’t talk back when working in the corral.

  • “Alexa, play calming music so my horse doesn’t buck.” Boom, one second later, you’ve got “Old Paint” by Chris LeDoux co your horse to treat you right.
  • “Oh crap!” Cue Alexa: “Yes, I am covered in dung, but I will still work.”
  • While sorting cows in the corral, your spouse says, “Don’t let that one get past you!” “Which one,” you ask. Cue Alexa: “I closed the gate. She didn’t get past.”

Perhaps this would cut down on frustrated banter.

Since we are dreaming, what if there was a Cowboy or Cowgirl Siri?

  • Cowboy: “Siri, how do I get to the north stock tank?”
  • Siri: “Go past the big rock. No, not that big rock. The next one. Okay. Next, trot at a slow clip for 30 minutes. A little slower, please. Once you get to the old homestead – the one that burned down, not the old cabin – turn south. Trot for 20 more minutes. It’ll be by the big tree. No, not that big tree. The one to your right.”


  • Cowboy: “Siri, will I get stuck if I drive here?”
  • Siri: “Sure as shooting.”
  • Cowboy: “What about over there?”
  • Siri: “Stick to the road, cowboy. Or get a horse.”

Or something like this:

  • Cowgirl: “Siri, how far out is my hubby? Should I start supper?”
  • Siri: “He’s between a rock and hard place. Make supper and fix him a plate to eat later.”

Or maybe:

  • Cowgirl: “How far away are we from our summer pasture?”
  • Siri: “You should definitely stop to pee in those trees.”

The only problem is, I’m not sure I want Siri and Alexa listening to everything I say. If I start talking about A.I., they’ll probably think I’m talking about artificial intelligence and say something like, “There’s an arm going where?”

Really, I’d much rather have personal interactions. However, there are days that I’d love to have those tidbits of information – especially when my husband says, “We’re in the south pasture. You can’t miss us.”

Umm, want to make a bet?

I guess I’ll keep whittling away at normal daily resolutions, like, “Don’t sound grumpy in the corral.”

Happy New Year’s!