Natalie Kovarik is a modern-day rancher’s daughter turned ranch wife turned ranch mom. She and her husband Luke, along with their three sons (Tad, Jaks, and the newest addition Rue), ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills, a beautifully captivating region in central Nebraska made up of mixed grass prairie on grass stabilized sand dunes. We recently caught up with her to learn more about life on the ranch—especially as a mama—and to find out if it’s all really as picturesque as her stunning Instagram feed lets on.
You and your family are ranchers, which feels so foreign to the 9-5 jobs so many of us are familiar with. Can you tell us how you got into the business and how ranching shapes the way you live?The agricultural way of life has always been familiar to me. I was born and raised a 4th generation rancher’s daughter on a cattle ranch in southwest Montana. Since 1914 my family has been tending to the same land where the headwaters of the Missouri River merge against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. And the same goes for my husband. He was born a 5th generation rancher’s grandson exposed to the ranching and farming lifestyle amongst the endless cornfields of Central Nebraska. Both of our agricultural stories were penned by the many generations before us, and it is our hope that they will continue to be penned by the many generations to follow us.
For most, ranching & farming isn’t just an occupation, it’s a way of life. Much of our time as a family is spent together outside bouncing around in a dusty old tractor or out at pasture on horseback as we feed or tend to our cattle. And while that may seem foreign to most, it feels like home to me. I love that my family gets to spend so much quality time together living out our passion while making meaningful memories in the process.Your life looks like a Marlboro ad. Is it as glamorous and romantic as it seems?
I’ll be the first to admit it’s easy to get in caught up in the romanticism of the west. The wide-open spaces and stunning landscapes have a way of making you feel both simultaneously lost and found. I also think the air is different. In the morning it’s untouched and fresh, inviting you to start the day, and in the evening it’s warm and comforting, easing you into your night.But nothing is without the negatives. As rewarding as ranching can be it’s not always an easy path to walk. The days are long, the elements are harsh, and the financial risks are great. Oftentimes ranches are generational; a lot of blood, sweat and tears are put into making a ranch run and the stress to not be the one generation that quits and fails can be overwhelming for many in the industry.What do you hope ranching/farming/homesteading instills in your children?
Being a ranch mom is a special kind of blessing. I am reminded daily just how grateful I am to raise my children in Rural America. To me, one of the biggest blessings is that our children are as much a part of our operation as we are. The days that the younger boys aren’t accompanying us from sun up to sun down are far and few between, and my oldest spends most of his summers and free time on the ranch as well. It’s my hope that the time we spend together on the ranch work, laughing and living as a family will not only give my children many fond memories to look back on but—much like the inspiration behind the AW20 Line—also show them that even the most mundane of life events can be magical and infused with life, love and warmth if you let them be.Your path to your current pregnancy included a miscarriage and period of infertility. What gave you the strength and hope to press on during that time?
Every woman’s journey to growing her family is different. Mine included multiple paths—paths I naively did not expect to encounter. After two easy pregnancies, I experienced a miscarriage and period of infertility, both of which brought days and nights filled with lots of tears and heartbreak. I’m grateful I was able to lean on my husband and my faith during that time. I continually reminded myself that God has a plan for our family, and even if it looks different than what I expected, it’s greater than one I could have ever dreamt up. Thankfully, we were eventually able to conceive again and just welcomed our third baby boy, Rue Marquis at the end of October.What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your pregnancy experiences?
I’ve learned to express and embrace the messy side of pregnancy just as much as the beautiful side. I know some women have nothing but positive experiences, but pregnancy is hard for me. I’m sick and miserable for a majority of it and almost feel as if I lose sight of who I am for a whole 9 months. No one, myself included, wants to seem ungrateful that they’re carrying life, so I think I bottled a lot of those negative emotions up with my last pregnancy. But internalizing those feelings is a disservice to myself and other women who feel the same way. Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the greatest blessings, but just as every woman’s path to it is different, every woman’s journey while in it is different too. And I wish more women felt comfortable expressing that truth. What are you most looking forward to as you prepare to welcome baby No. 3 to your family?
There is nothing like new life in the home to remind you of what’s truly important. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rat race of life, but babies remind you that life isn’t to be spent going a million miles an hour. Instead, it’s to be enjoyed; slowly. Which is why I love the inspiration behind Solly’s Fall line so much. Just like a new baby, the meaning behind these prints reminds us to embrace the beauty of the changing seasons and all the magical little moments they bring. You can follow Natalie and her family on Instagram, and they also share their ranching and familying journey on YouTube.