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Mary Lynn Archibald

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Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse and No Clue
by Mary Lynn Archibald   

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Publisher:  Cloud Lake Publishing ISBN-10:  0978705408


Copyright:  2007 ISBN-13:  9780978705404

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Barnes &
Atlas Books
Wine Country Writer
Wine Country Writer

Labeled a memoir, "Accidental Cowgirl" is really a love story—or several love stories. Love stories precipitated by newspaper ads—one presenting a "COMPLEX, SWM, 47, passes for 39, going on 18..." The other listing "TWIN CREEKS RANCH—Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful properties in California.”

It is the humorous, honest, always insightful, and frequently lyrical recreation of the twelve years two city folk spent trying to run a rustic cattle ranch on the fringe of the Six Rivers National Forest.
—Gil Mansergh, Film Critic, Book Doctor, Author

Simplicity. Lead me to it, you say from the midst of your overburdened,overscheduled, list-making life. If this is your desire, you are not alone. Not so fast. Before you sink your savings into that country squire lifestyle and all that goes with it, perhaps you should take a cold shower and read this book. We lived that life for 12 years, and let me tell you right up front: the simple life isn't really that simple, and despite my persistent romantic fantasies, I rarely managed to look like I’d just emerged from the pages of an L.L. Bean catalog. (Those people never get muddy, and they wear bras in town). * * * In 1990 we heard the wilderness call to us and, God help us, we answered.  

At first, grazing our cattle was not a problem for us because we only had six cows, but in fewer years than we
expected, our herd had grown to 26, and showed no sign of slackening its reproductive pace.And quite unexpectedly, the sweet things
became very hard for us to part with, and we would keep them longer than we should have before they were sold. The other factor, it soon became clear to us, was the problem of the wandering

Our cows were in the habit of coming into estrus all at the same time (a not uncommon occurrence with such creatures), thus amplifying the power of the pheromones they were sending out into the ether around our ranch. It was
pretty damned potent.

So greatly amplified was it in fact, that we never owned a bull. Even though Carl felt compelled one year to
run an ad in the local newsletter, entitled “No bull!” we generally
had the opposite problem, for bulls inevitably found us.

Often, it was difficult to tell just whose bulls they were. Nevertheless, they would manage to squeeze over or
under or around or through our fences to get to our succulent herd of single cows.

We would simply wake up one morning and findthem cavorting shamelessly in the field with some randy fellow that showed no inclination to head back home anytime

“Oh, those hussies!” Carl would say, chuckling and rubbing his hands together briskly.

And so, our little herd grew into a big herd—for us, at least—too big for 120 acres to sustain.

I tried farming for a while. Carl laid out what seemed like miles of irrigation pipe so I could grow herbs in quantity,
but that, too, required larger acreage and more help than I could afford, to assist me in working the fields.

Anyway, after repairing the barns each spring, bucking hay into them, cutting and splitting four cords of wood
for winter, planting thousands of seeds and erecting nearly two acres of deer fencing (over which deer were seen to sail effortlessly the day after its completion), we finally accepted
that we only had enough energy between us to take care of the cattle, find and fix the leaks in both the house roof and
the water lines, and grow enough vegetables to keep our big
chest freezer well-stocked nearly year-round.

I think we swam in our lake a total of 12 times in 12 years, but we did manage to cook some fabulous meals with
our home-grown, fresh veggies, sit on our deck in the cool of quite a few summer evenings, and ease into a good many hot baths after our days laboring in the fields. And though our bones ached, we were thankful.

Professional Reviews

by Jean Hegland, Author
"Accidental Cowgirl is a delightful and engaging memoir. Perhaps it's always satisfying to read about other people's struggles and hard work, but when that work takes place in such a beautiful setting and is described with Mary Lynn Archibald's good humor, great heart, and discerning eye, the result is an unequivocal treat."

by Ray Raphael, Author
“So you want to move to the country? Before closing escrow or mounting your horse, try galloping through the pages of Accidental Cowgirl. You might die laughing, but if you survive Archibald’s entertaining narrative with your dreams still intact, well, good luck to you and yours. At least you will have been warned."

by Gil Mansergh, Author, Book Doctor, Film Critic
"It is a cautionary tale, filled with assumptions tested and lessons learned that others contemplating a move to the country should take to heart (like the mistake of naming your cows). But it is dream filled too—a loving couple's dream come true.

I think you will enjoy visiting Twin Creeks Ranch and getting to know the people, cows, cats, dogs, wild turkeys, deer, coyotes, bluebirds, and snakes that call the place home."

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