Teri Vance: Nevada valley where time doesn’t reach

It’s been a week of adjustment for most people. Springing forward an hour can leave us feeling tired and out of sorts for a while, which is why I’ve seen several friends threatening on social media to move to Arizona where they don’t observe the time change.

It’s a drastic solution. But there may be an easier way.

To escape the stranglehold of the seasonal shifts of hours, you don’t need to leave the state.

Ruby Valley, a small ranching community in northeastern Nevada, doesn’t change time either.

The reason is simple: Cows expect to be fed, and cows can’t tell time.

“That’s the only explanation I’ve ever heard,” my friend Nancy said.

I called Nancy Neff Livingstone this week to talk to her about it. I spent my formative years in the Valley, but Nancy was born and raised there.

The two of us boarded together in Elko to go to high school. Ruby Valley has a three-room schoolhouse up to the eighth grade, but kids have to leave home to go to high school in Elko, Wells or Spring Creek.

Nancy was sensible, pretty and orderly — still is. And I was, well, me. She tolerated me and I admired her, and we made it through what was a difficult time while still managing to laugh and enjoy ourselves along the way.

After graduation, I went to UNR and she went to Brigham Young University, and she remained in Provo until she and her husband, Tyler, moved back to Ruby Valley to help her dad run Neff Equipment.

When her dad, Paul Neff, died unexpectedly in 2008, Tyler and Nancy decided to stay and take over the business.

For the most part, Nancy said, she likes not changing time.

“I especially like not having to change time after I had kids,” she said. “That can be rough on them.”

But it does come with its challenges. Ruby Valley remains on Daylight Savings Time throughout the year, so for roughly six months they’re an hour different from neighboring communities — standard time is referred to as “Elko time.”

“We have to translate the time always,” Nancy said. “There’s at least one misunderstanding every year when you show up to something and realize it started an hour ago.”

During the winter, they can make the hour drive to Elko and lose no time at all.

“But it takes us two hours to get home,” she explained.

And when it comes down to it, she suspects it’s more about living by their own rules than respecting the schedule of the cattle.

“Time is kind of arbitrary to ranchers,” she said. “They don’t have anywhere to be except with their cows. Time doesn’t mean much out here.”

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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