Texas Ranch House -- Adventurers Take Stock
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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 Shaun Terhune
Shaun Terhune
Q: What was the first thing you did when you returned?

A: The first thing I did when I left the ranch was I took a shower. I think all of us did. Then I took another shower and then, I took a third shower. I probably could have even used a fourth to get all the grime off, but mainly it just felt real good. I hadn't showered for three months. I mean, think about it. It was nice. Very, very, very nice. And then I watched TV for about three hours.

Q: Have you used your horsemanship skills?

A: The first horse I got on when I got back was a friend of mine's barrel-racing horse. He is really high-strung, actually a wilder horse than anything I've been on down in Texas, so I had my skills tested right away. I stayed on him and everything, but it was probably closer than I've ever come to falling off when I was in Texas. That was an exciting ride. I went on our trail ride with a couple of my friends shortly after I got back and they all said I was a great rider, you know, greatly improved. But the thing they liked the most was the cowboy boots and the chaps.

Q: Did the ranch experience change you in any way?

A: I actually gained 22 pounds when I was down there. Lard was in everything, and all the salt pork and beans. The diet and my lack of activity as the cook contributed to a lot of weight gain. A lot of people didn't recognize me right off. I've been quite active since I got back. I've been doing a lot of outdoor activity, especially all the construction stuff, so I worked the 22 pounds pretty much right off. All the weight that I gained down there wasn't strictly fat. I got taller. My build now is, is different, and I'm never gonna be scrawny Shaunnie after this.

Q: Have you been making any of your Texas recipes?

A: I tried making corn bread and a few other things, but they were basically all failures. It was edible and everything, but it was nothing like what I made down in Texas. A big part of that is the Dutch oven. I just missed my Dutch oven so bad. The modern oven is nice, but I don't know what to do with that temperature knob: 500 degrees, 200 degrees. It's all the same to me, so. Cooking down there was more cooking by feel. You just go with this sort of a sixth sense. You don't measure out three tablespoons of baking powder. You just reach in there and you throw some in and all feels like about enough. It works great. Things don't always come out the same, but it's not very exact. Around here you have to be a little more meticulous and scientific about things.

Q: What do you miss most?

A: By far I miss the companionship the most. It was like a band of brothers. You live with these people. You breathe with them, you eat with them, you sleep with them, and you grow close. Now I haven't seen these guys for three or four months now. We're keeping in touch, but everybody wants to get together so bad. Sometimes I'd like nothing more than to just be back in a bunkhouse with the guys, just passing the time or playing the guitar or just talking.

Q: Your biggest regret?

A: The thing I regret the most is ever having requested to get my old cowboy job back from Mr. Cooke. I pestered him for a while, "Can I be a cowboy again, can we get somebody else in here to cook for me so I can go back and do my job?" I guess I made myself into a pain in the butt. Deep down I guess I knew that there was no replacement for me at that point. I just wish that I'd taken an attitude of faithfulness to the job that I adopted instead of trying to get rid of it a couple months later. Of all the things that Mr. Cooke went through that summer, I just wish that I had the sense to let it alone and not just create one more conflict on top of everything else. So I apologize to Mr. Cooke for that.

Q: And your exit?

A: It was wrenching to leave the way we did. I was frustrated with the girls for sending me away with the yells and protests. I pictured giving them all a big hug and everything. But that did nothing to destroy that more foundational friendship I had with each one of them, including Maura. I mean, Maura, she was in a tough spot, especially on the cattle drive with all those guys. She was my right-hand woman. All through the cattle drive, she was there, she was helping me out.

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