Tracy Gasper loves farming and ranching, having grown up with agriculture in Glasgow. “I spent a lot of time on my grandparent’s ranch so grew up around cattle and farm equipment.”
Tracy had been a teacher in Circle when she met her future husband and farmer, Gil Gasper. “I knew his mom and she introduced us,” says Tracy. The couple were married two years ago. “I continued to teach for the first year, but when we were expecting our first child, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been kept busy between chasing a kid and keeping up with Gil. I help out on the ranch –you might say I’m a jack-of-all trades, making meals for the farm crew, moving trucks, helping with haying and helping out in our new meat shop which processes wild game and domestic livestock.”
Tracy’s a new mom, to 16 month old son Bronson, with another due in early January. She has nothing but praise for raising kids on the farm.
“That’s the lifestyle I grew up with—you just go and play in the dirt and in the creek,” she says. “You don’t worry about kids being in the street. Sure, you worry about safety while you’re on a farm, but probably not as much aa worrying about your kids when you’re in the city. When I was growing up at my grandparent’s ranch, we would leave in the morning to play, come in for lunch, then go out and come back for dinner. I decided I wanted to raise my kids with that lifestyle.”Tracy gives kudos to the farm lifestyle for the ability to take Bronson along. “Whatever we have planned, he goes with us. If I’m raking hay or stacking it, he is in the truck with me. I think that’s so important. He’s not propped in front of the television or playing video games—he’s out with us.”
The young mother chuckles that although he’s a little young to actually be helping, he takes work very seriously. “We were putting in corrals and digging post holes, and he was our little overseer. He was checking out everything we were doing. He was a May baby, and that summer after he was born, he was out haying with me. He’s either bundled in the front pack or in the car seat. He goes to meetings with us. In fact, he was only five weeks old and we took him to the Montana Farm Bureau Summer Conference.”
The best part of raising kids on the farm? Taking your kids to work every day. “What I like best is I can work side by side with my family and my husband. When it’s haying season we’re out there doing that, and in the fall, we’re mostly in the meat shop.”
Safety is important. The Gaspers take extra precautions when Bronson is around. “We want him to have freedom, but also want to have him respect the equipment and make sure he’s not going to get hurt.”
With Tracy expecting her second child in January, she’s careful not to pick up heavy things and is protective of her belly. “I still help as much as I can so I’m not a bump on a log.”
She enjoys every day with her child, and offers advice to other moms. “Enjoy the little things. It seems small, but watching Bronson see a cow or see his dad drive the tractor and watch the excitement in his eyes really bring joy to me. I know he’ll grow out of this stage, but when he moos at a cow, I get so much enjoyment out of that.”
Originally published in Montana Parent Magazine.