Whole Parenting Family

Life on a Cattle Ranch: Guest Post from Britt from The Fisk Files

Britt Fisk

My girlfriend Britt was kind enough to let us see a little glimpse into life on the cattle ranch in New Mexico, one of my favorite states I’ve only read about. Cannot wait to visit her there someday! She runs a beautiful blog at The Fisk Files and her photography business is, frankly, earth shatteringly stunning. I want to live with her beautiful family!!!

So check her on instagram, the blog, and fbook. And hear what she has to share!


Nell and I met last August, and my life’s been forever blessed!  She made me feel comfortable right from the start, and if I’m being honest, I was worried we might not click.  Why?  Well, I hadn’t read her blog for long, and by her title, I assumed she might not think too highly of this formula-feeding, screen-time loving (well, liking), non-organic mom.  Boy was I ever wrong.  I’m not sure I know many that are as encouraging and as deeply thoughtful as sweet Nell.  And, I couldn’t be happier to be here today!

When asked to guest post for Whole Parenting, I didn’t really know exactly what to say, but since I feel that my way of life makes me a bit different than some, I thought it might be something fun to touch on.

See, I was raised on a ranch.  Until college, I never lived within the city limits.  Since then, I’ve lived in mid-sized cities, the District, and now I’m back to a life with no neighbors as far as the eye can see.  Growing up I felt sorry for my friends who lived in town (to me, they didn’t have the freedoms that I did).  Living in the city for a stint after college, I grew extremely used to the convenience of a coffee shop on every corner, grocery delivery and limitless entertainment.  I loved it!  But, I’ve returned to that country life, and I’m just so incredibly blessed to be raising my children somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Boy how life can change!

You see, our life is lived off the land.  My husband and I (and generations before us – on my side) raise beef cattle.

Everything we do depends on the weather.  And then, on the commodities market.  Depending on those two things doesn’t leave much room for certainty, but every job carries it’s own risks.  And these risks, we can handle.


Our lives require that we care for animals in a way in which most don’t.  If one of our calves is eaten by a coyote, or if another gets what we call dust pneumonia (from too much dust blowing through the air and not enough rain to make it stop), we lose money, and not in little increments.  Yet, it’s about more than revenue…it’s about care.  We are able to care for these animals from birth (sometimes even assisting the cows in calving), give them medicine to get through sicknesses and vaccinate them to prevent others.  We choose what pastures we put them in based on how much natural shelter they’ll have in the cold months, and we check on them almost daily, supplementing their food when there just isn’t enough grass to get by.  

I say all of this, because living on the land shapes us in ways that sometimes go unnoticed.  In order to make it here, we have to care for God’s creation…the land, the animals, and each other.  And, it is something that our children get to witness every day.  In fact, living here does more for the way we parent our children than I think most realize.

It gives us the freedom to let our children roam (as they get older) and discover the beauty all around.

 It forces them to use their imaginations because they’re entertainment is in direct relation to what they can create in their little minds.

 They learn the value of hard work early on because little gets done without it.

We are not able to do many of the things that children in the cities are, but after reading this article, I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.  Our children will be each others’ best friends (hopefully!) because they cannot go next door to choose someone else to play with.  In the end, the either get along, or they play alone.
While where one lives doesn’t determine who one becomes, I do believe we chose this life for very important reasons.  We are surrounded by family.  My children don’t go more than a week or so without seeing grandparents.  My husband is rarely traveling for work, and we get to see him almost every day on his lunch break.

We can find joy in the simple things…like taking a trip to a pumpkin field to gather fall decorations…

building mazes out of our hay for birthday parties…
and heading to the creek for an afternoon of fun on the weekends.

The days can sometimes be long, and we deal with all of the same growing pains that most families do, even if we are in a bit of a different setting.

But, we’re surrounded by beauty.  

And these little adventurous guys love it.  What I love most is seeing them with their Daddy and doing things right along with him as they grow.  Through his example and their eagerness to learn, he’s teaching them our livelihood, and I don’t think a 2, 3, and 4-year-old would have that opportunity many other places.  As Sophie gets bigger, she’ll join them for some things, and at other times she’ll be able to stick by me to learn to care for things around the home.  I cannot wait.


Are we free of a lot of the worries other parents face based on where we live?  Free might not be the word, but I do believe we have a certain security here.

I also believe that we are able to live more simply, and maybe even more sheltered for now, and that might be my very favorite thing.

Regardless of where we live, or how everyone chooses to parent, there will be mistakes, fears and just plain life that’s out of our control.  

As I’ve said before and will forever say, this life isn’t for everyone.  It isn’t a dream like some movies portray.  Nor is easy.  I know there are those who would give anything to live the way we do just as there are those who are thanking God right now that they never have to.  But, as we end our days this winter and look out to this, I couldn’t be more thankful that my husband and I chose to hang our masters’ degrees on the wall, that he learned an entirely new way of life and that what we’ve given up will never measure up to what we’ve gained in order to (in our own way) be more a more together-oriented, simple-living, God-fearing family on the range.


Come visit us at The Fisk Files!


  1. Patty on February 19, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I love this inside peek on your life Britt on the open range…it really makes it come alive for the reader & makes me curious how I would do it 😉

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 19, 2015 at 11:36 am

      It seems really amazing!!

  2. Jiza Zito on February 19, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you, Britt, for sharing a glimpse into your beautiful life and to Nell for hosting!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 19, 2015 at 11:36 am

      She was so generous to put it together. And the pleasure was all mine!

  3. Amanda on February 19, 2015 at 10:12 am

    You both are so wonderful and beautiful! Thanks for another glimpse into your life and your beautiful heart, Britt! <3

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 19, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Isn’t she remarkable??

  4. Rachel @ Efficient Momma on February 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Totally agree about Britt’s photography! Stunning! And I love peaking into her life. I grew up on a farm and love seeing what it was like for other people. It’s true that you have to get along or you’re super board when you live far away from other people lol

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 19, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      You grew up on a farm? Now you gotta dish and tell us!

  5. MaryRuth on February 19, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Beautiful post both in words and photos. I love the last photo especially! My dad consults with a few ranches in AZ and my kids have loved going to his favorite ranch for a few days at a time. It is always sad for us when a contract ends! Your posts allows me to imagine a little better what it would be like if he had his own ranch!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 19, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      So amazing!!

  6. Christy on February 19, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Lovely, Britt! You know I completely agree 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 19, 2015 at 10:29 pm


  7. Jess on February 20, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Wow, Britt takes amazing pictures! I really enjoyed getting to know her better here. I especially love that last paragraph – beautiful! Thanks for sharing, Nell! -Jess

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 20, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      It was so my pleasure. She’s a remarkable woman.

  8. Laurel on February 22, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I think this is a perfect take on WHOLE parenting. There are so many aspects to parenting and we each do it a little different. Since each of us has different strengths and various circumstances, we parent wholly the best each of us can. I think your way of parenting wholly, Britt, is just as beautiful as Nell’s and all the rest of us. Thank you for sharing your way. 😉 What a beautiful place you live!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      Such a delight to be the carrier of this beautiful post!

  9. Gina on February 26, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    This is so great. Thanks Britt and Nell for sharing this!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 27, 2015 at 7:03 am

      Isn’t she remarkable?