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Life After the Ranch
Bill Cooke Lisa Cooke Vienna Cooke Lacey Cooke Hannah Cooke Maura Finkelstein Rob Wright Shaun Terhune Anders Heintz Johnny Ferguson Jared Ficklin Robby Cabezuela
Q&A with Lisa Cooke
Lisa Cooke
Q: How was it returning to the 21st century?

A: It was definitely somewhat of a roller-coaster transition coming back. On the one hand I was really, really grateful to be back surrounded by family and friends and people who love us. That part was a real relief, to come back and have that kind of infrastructure and support system, because that didn't exist on the ranch. But I definitely find myself kind of in reflective moments looking back and thinking oh, I do miss the quiet. I miss the sky out there. I miss my house. When I left, that kitchen was being overtaken by flies, but the beauty of memory is that that tends to get tucked away as well. Part of my purpose in life is to create a sense of a safe place to come back to, and that house definitely reverberated with love and laughter. I still think about Vienna sitting in the parlor and reading out loud.

Q: Why didn't your nurturing work with the cowboys?

A: I try to see if there are any revelations that come to me three months later. What could I have done to somehow connect with them in a way that we just didn't manage to connect on the ranch? I think the answer is nothing. I really think that the lesson that I was to learn out there was that there are going to be some people I don't have any control over and all the charm in the world, all the giving, all the nurturing that I can possibly do, they're not going reach everybody.

Q: Was part of the division inevitable because you were the boss?

A: I think the source of the tension between the cowboys and us as the ranch owners came in a couple of different levels. One is, who are you going to bond with? Who are you going to have allegiance to? Part of it is an employer relationship. I think that it had a distinct impact that they were on the ranch first. Obviously in this kind of a scenario we weren't in a position to hire them and select people based on what we saw in them. It was like having a crew of kids just rebelling all the time.

Q: Was your relationship with your husband tried by circumstances?

A: It's almost like the kind of thing you go through with midlife crisis. Is there anything I want to change? He's a little over 50 and I'm a little over 40. We're about halfway done. Is there something else we want to do or do differently? We're still thinking about those things.

Q: Can you incorporate positive changes from ranch to home life?

A: I've actually started making real meals, chicken piccata and baby back ribs in a slow cooker with the sauce. My family's gone crazy. They love it, and my husband can't wait to get home. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

Q: Did the two-and-a-half months pass quickly?

A: We would say three months on the ranch is like a year's worth of living. The fact that we were launched into survival so quickly, that we were in that survival mode, that's what intensified the process. Within 24 hours, they brought the meal to us that Nacho had made. I remember looking down at that huge bowl and thinking, "Oh, my word, this is the only meal they're going to give us and after this I have to start thinking about how to make things from scratch and how to get the fire up and running." This is why it impacted the girls so strongly. There's something I think in the human spirit that says, "When I know I'm needed, I rise to the occasion."

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