Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dad, 8 years gone and still here everyday

Testing this thing on? Man, when you get out of the rhythm of regular blogging it is like everything is brand new again. Clearly though this is just like riding a bike right??? right??? Hello....hello.... I could tell you about excuses for not blogging but I have done that enough, I just havent, please keep that in mind as you read this post. 

So today is the 8th anniversary of my Dads departure from this world.He is seen above with my youngest Dakota... I don't know if I was any better prepared for it than I was 7 years ago. I am actually doing pretty well, calving has been going great and all in all although life is not perfect things are pretty damn good here. Hardly a day goes by that I look at the news and the rest of the world and just shake my head and appreciate the life I have. In fact, just the other night after a long but good day I shared this thought on Twitter..

 That being said I still wake up most mornings and it takes awhile for my mind to wrap around the fact that Dad is no longer here. Sometimes I still wake up with a dream or a joke from the night of slumber that I can't wait to share with him and then BAM..... I realize...nope that isn't going to happen. 

That certainly doesn't mean a day goes by that I cant feel him around me. Certain weather, the spring grass greenup, the slight whiff of a burning menthol cigarette, many things still happen that make me know that he is not gone....he just isn't here, or maybe he is and I along with other mortals just can't see him, or who knows what the fuck, but I damn sure know he is still around. So in the glory of a story, let's share the latest.

Back in the fall of 2007 before Dad passed in the spring of 2008 he bought some Holstein steers. His idea was to put cheap gains on these calves and then re-sell in the spring. I was NOT a proponent of his venture. I felt his feed resources were much more suited to bred cows or feeder cows but it wasnt a make or break deal and he wouldnt have let me change his mind anyway. So he bought him some Holstein steers and somehow ended up with 1 Holstein heifer in the bunch. Now in most instances a Holstein heifer would have good value but this was supposedly a "freemartin" heifer. For those who dont know...

So no big deal, freemartin dairy heifers are often sold with the steers and are animals for beef so whatever.... 

So fast forward to March 24, 2008 a few days after Dads passing. So we have these cattle that are ready to market and part of them are those Holstein steers and that freemartin heifer. As she makes he way down the sorting alley I see just a little something that makes me wonder. I probably said something really scientific and politically correct like,  "Is that silly bitch pregnant?"....So we put her in the chute, I think I found an OB sleeve and after a palpation I was kinda laughing my ass off because by damn this little Holstein "freemartin" was going to have a calf which I hoped was able to shake it's head as hard as I was at that moment. That first calf was a heifer calf and she is still in the herd as is 7514W the number assigned to this "freemartin". So now going on 8 years every spring #7514 aka "The Holstein" has brought us a calf. Her calves are usually pretty average but she does have 2 daughters and 1 grand daughter in the herd. One of her granddaughters just had her first calf this past week...

So this little "flyer" of a bovine purchase has actually did pretty well for herself. Even if come late fall she is one of the first cows to test the perimeter fence and spawn a phone call about a cow "Next to the road". She also spent one night years ago harvesting the neighbors sweet corn in their garden. Luckily, the fact that I had helped them by hauling off a dead steer of theirs they didnt make much of a fuss.

The hardest part of Dad being gone is one moment I am angry at the world that he left us way too soon. (He was 60 and healthy) and in the next moment I feel guilty that I was able to be the son of and have the mentorship of such an amazing man.

 #7514 was with 4 black Angus bulls last summer and 1 Shorthorn bull. So there was a 4 in 5 chance that her calf would be solid black in color or maybe have a white sock or 2. Many of her calves have been solid black which from a marketing standpoint is ideal. But today, on the anniversary of Dads passing what did #7514 the little "freemartin" heifer that liked to breed bring to the table???? A little red and white clone of herself which because of her color and markings wont be a highly sought after calf next fall from a $ standpoint. I guess I will just keep her red and white spotted heifer as a replacement heifer and see what Dad and Mother Nature have in store for the future.
Because that is just what we do....make the best decisions based on the circumstances and face the fact that although a solid black bull calf may have been the common choice for marketability, sometimes taking a chance on Mother Nature and embracing something a little unconventional is not always the worst thing to do from a profitability and fun standpoint. We love you Dad and we miss and feel you in our lives every single day, even if you like playing some jokes now and again! 

Today's Cowman music selection is "The Dirt Road" by Sawyer Brown...."Daddy worked hard for his dollar
He said some folks don't-but that's ok
They won't know which road to follow
Because an easy street might lead you astray" 

Thank you for all you taught us and all the sacrifices you made so my family and myself can live the life we do! 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

The 11.5 inch Pissed Off Everyone Sub

Yes I know I have people that have been waiting since January for me to finish the vegan series. Maybe slamming out this blog will inspire me to finish that up, but for now......lets start with this momma cow and baby in March....and the same pair today...isn't Mother Nature amazing??? I can already tell this is going to get long winded but just pretend it is 10 separate blog posts and we will both be happy!

So here we go again, another big discussion related to Subway deciding to use meat from animals that have "never" had antibiotics beginning in 2016. As expected lots of quick and passionate reactions from all directions either cheering this decision or bemoaning it. Now I could give my slanted opinion on this and get the support and scorn of some sides or I can be honest and probably piss off people from every direction. Lets go ahead and piss everyone off in the interest of honesty, the world is sorely lacking in honesty. I am also approaching this purely from a beef producer standpoint. Your pork or poultry experience may be different, but I will say I consume both and don't blink an eye about them from a food safety or antibiotic view. Full disclosure here, I don't understand why anyone would go to Subway anyway when you can buy a loaf of bread and a head of lettuce and make your own comparable sandwich on your own dirty counter without subjecting yourself to poor customer service from a skateboarder in a hairnet but that's just me. Anyone pissed off yet?

Lets start by defending Subways decision.(Maybe lost a lot of the choir already) Not defending it on solely the merits of the decision but from a outsider looking in perspective. Lets remember Subway owns this business, well their shareholders do anyway. For what I suspect are lots of reasons, including some based in reality, some based on consumers stupidity and gullibility, some based on what some "expert" has told them etc. they have made this decision. I say GO Subway!! (more people pissed off) I really don't like anyone telling me how to do my business so I respect their decision to make their own business decisions. The beauty of capitalism is smart decisions are often rewarded, while poor decisions are often devastating but highly educational. Will this decision invigorate a brand that has really struggled of late eventually pay off? That is yet to be seen. Remember Subway came to prominence by the "Eat Fresh" idea and that the then fast food industry was dominated by those "evil" burger joints like McDonalds (Oh the humanity). Subway offered a "healthy" and "fresh" alternative. It also got a huge boost by Jared and his Subway "diet" and the marketing campaign that followed. Again, I am not against this but now we know "allegedly" that Jared's weight loss may have been partially attributed to chasing teenagers around playgrounds as much as eating sandwiches.(more people pissed off) Either way it was a brilliant marketing program that paid huge dividends and resulted in massive growth for Subway at the time. Lets face it, these days Subway needed a facelift, and this is the path they chose. Now let's relate that decision back to me as a beef producer at the cow/calf level.

We do not use antibiotics on this ranch, well let me qualify that, we don't use antibiotics unless an animal needs it. If an animal gets pinkeye, foot rot, a respiratory issue or something else that puts them in distress then we do. Do I use antibiotics because I want antibiotics in meat, or because I support antibiotic resistance, or because I don't want Subway or any business not serving my beef? NO! I do it because it is the RIGHT thing to do from both an animal welfare standpoint and honestly an economic standpoint. Yes, the last few years I have been paid a premium for "natural" cattle that have never had an antibiotic. That being said, SICK cattle don't pay the bills, no matter if they are "natural", "antibiotic free" "gluten free" "organic" "grassfed" "predator friendly" or otherwise! Do I catch every animal that needs treatment? Again NO! Does every one I treat recover and survive? NO! The reality is that 99% of cattle on this ranch never see an antibiotic, but when they need it, when I see they need it, then they are going to get it. This is not going to change no matter what fluffy marketing program ANY brand has or promotes. Doing the right thing is timeless. What happens in a range cattle operation when an animal gets sick and doesn't get antibiotics? Below is what happens. Now I doubt anyone that supports "never had antibiotics" supports this? Maybe I am wrong, humans are some weird creatures. By the way, the calf in the below picture is "everything free" if anyone is interested in purchasing, I'll make you one hell of a deal but I wont take a "with shrink" price. Number of people pissed off rising rapidly......

 When we do use antibiotics we have label directions, rules of use and withdrawal times that we follow which means a consumer does not get beef that has ANY antibiotic level in it, in reality this is what you are getting from Subway (and everywhere else that serves beef) right now. In 2016 you wont be getting anything different other than a signature or a series of signatures. Your beef won't be any more "antibiotic free" than it is today. Now to explain this "only getting a signature" reality. Which of the calves below has received any antibiotics in their life? For those still reading that are not pissed off.
   The one with the ear tag in the left ear in the first picture? The one with the ear tag in the right ear in the second picture? (Actually that is just the way we easily keep steers and heifers identified) Just the solid black ones? Just the ones with white on their faces? All of them? None of them? Yes, shockingly no matter what the media tells you NONE of them have EVER had any antibiotics! Will they receive antibiotics before they become beef? Possibly, but most likely not as any type of "mass" treatment but in rare INDIVIDUAL decisions based on oversight and symptoms of disease manifesting itself. When we do treat a calf with antibiotics we notch their ear tags as well as making a written and computerized note. These calves will not go into a "natural" or an "antibiotic free" system but when they do become beef they wont have ANY antibiotics in them just like their "natural" and "antibiotic free" brothers and sisters. You see, antibiotics have a withdrawal time in which they can no longer be detected. So how do you as a consumer know you are getting beef from calves that have "never had antibiotics"? You DON'T. (Pissed off quite a few right there) You are trusting that Subway, their beef suppliers, feedlots, stocker operators and the original producer (me) are honest and trustworthy and that our signature on a piece of paper has some honesty and integrity behind it. By the way 99.999999999999% will be honest because there is little to nothing to be gained by being dishonest. For me it is really SIMPLE, would I feed my OWN family what I am sending into consumer channels, the answer IS and has ALWAYS been 110% absolutely. No amount of marketing whether based in reality, fluff or fear mongering is going to change this reality. More people pissed off.....

So lets break it down. Just like many things in life this announcement doesn't really mean much when the rubber hits the road. Cattle producers, stockers, feedlot owners and yes even packers I understand your frustration with fear based marketing and ease with which consumers fall for internet memes and misinformation. I am amazed how people will believe someone with a website and a brand name who has never raised a single bovine about how safe beef is instead of asking actual beef producers. It is no different than me giving advice to NASA and them believing it and taking that advice because I was an astronaut for Halloween in 1973. Just remember if everyone was really intelligent and hard working they could be successful cattle producers instead of easily pandered to consumers.There are also a multitude of outlets for beef that are only going to increase as the planet keeps breeding and living longer (weird I know given how "dangerous" the food system is) That being said, the reality is this announcement wont really change the way good operators are conducting business. I would never advocate not treating a sick animal, but at the same time, examining your practices, your vitamin and mineral program and vaccination protocols is something you should always be doing in my opinion. It not only can improve animal welfare but add to your bottom line as well. I also know the vast majority already do this or they would go broke. A few more people pissed off....

  Consumers, the wholesomeness, quality and safety of your beef isn't going to really change. Hell, I have yet to see a Subway sandwich that has enough meat on it to make a difference one way or the other but what meat they do have is safe today, and will be safe tomorrow and in 2016. How about the veggies, are they "antibiotic" free? Oh you didn't know that some vegetables and even fruits have antibiotics applied to them??? Got FireBlight???  The reality is we have a food supply that is as safe and as cheap as anywhere in the world.That is a good thing! The sad part is it makes many people susceptible to misinformation. A full belly makes it easy to be a self righteous food snob. Yes, I know you saw that headline that said "3 kids sickened by E coli in beef" My question is why wasn't the headline "200 million kids ate beef today and nobody got sick?" It is because reality and honesty just doesn't sell in a market that thinks "reality TV" is reality. The honest reality here is MORE people will die or get injured this year driving or riding in a vehicle going to Subway (or any other food service business) than will ever die or get injured actually EATING any beef. We are a society that has enjoyed a safe and abundant food supply and becoming paranoid and stupid really makes zero logical sense. Ask someone who lived through the great depression or has suffered from hunger what kind of food they want and most likely they are not nearly as paranoid but are just happy with the many choices available. 

I was once traveling with an old cowman and we stopped to get some beer. When he handed me the cash I felt it was polite to ask him what kind of beer he liked.......He narrowed his eyes, stared at my whipper snapper beer snob ass and said..."Cold beer!!". I am sure I missed lots of points I was going to make in this post but I hope I hit lots of high points. As always I appreciate civil debate, comments and questions but I warn you it better be "bullshit" and "stupid" free. I am also heading down south for a friends bachelor party at the end of the week so although I may not respond rapidly any hopes of me "going dark" or "running away" is as dumb as eating lettuce sandwiches. Enjoy your food choices folks, we are very lucky to have them, even if you do get pissed off now and again! #EatBeef

Today's Cowman music selection is Alan Jackson singing "You can always come home" Dedicated to my baby girl that is off at her first year of college. Also all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Part 3; The Numbers, no vegans or animal rights activists deserve my time

So as I count down in reverse order the top 5 reasons I no longer engage animal rights activists and vegans we arrive at blog post number 3. For a review, number 5 was I support food choices and number 4 was the incessant anger.  Numbers, when we think about it numbers are a very big part of our lives. Just in the course of a day there are so many numbers that I am focused on. What is the temperature outside?
What is the price of diesel fuel at the Indian reservation store?
How many RPMS am I pulling up this hill,? Do those calves weigh 500 pounds or closer to 550? Where did I put the phone number of that really sexy barrel racer? Ok, that last one isn't true, but I do have the number of a 4 time married, Marlboro smoking, former 1982 rodeo queen (this part has not been confirmed) that wants to come help gather cattle sometime, and that isn't for nothin!  The point is numbers MATTER and is exactly why crazed animal rights activists and vegans do NOT matter. Well wait I am already going to change that, SOME numbers matter. 

Remember that numbers are only as good as the source that provides them and the context of those numbers. The ARA vegan community will proudly tell you that their numbers are increasing! Yes, wonderful, if they continue to increase at the current rate the whole world will be vegan in about 278.391 Billion years. Admittedly, I am using just 1 source here, but clearly the number of vegans is still very small. This is why they are so shrill and angry. They know that the only way anyone hears them is to scream very loud.They really are insignificant! There is a reason that there is a McDonalds and not a Veganonalds. 

Here is another number that matters. In the last 24 hours, one global revolution, the number of people needing to eat increased by 189,985 mouths. I am pretty confident many of those will choose to eat meat protein if given the chance. (This is a fun site by the way
Let me put this in perspective from a cowman logic perspective. If Mike the meat eater has 2 flat tires and Vincent the vegan has 1 flat tire who will travel the most miles in a day? Well, at first glance you would think Vincent. However, when you discover Mike has 2 flats on 2 outside duals of his semi trailer tandem and Vincent has 1 flat on his unicycle things change. Not to mention the fact that Mike is at the tire shop and has purchased 2 new tires, while Vincent is still hoping to get enough donations to his GoFundMe account so he can buy a bag of free range, certified green raised, organic, GMO free quinoa, yet alone afford a new tire.

Detractors will point to the fact that individual meat consumption in the USA is declining. This is true, however would you rather have 100 people consuming 1 pound of your product, or 300 people consuming a half pound of your product? The fact is global meat consumption is increasing and likely will continue. Notice an animal rights activist will seldom mention that we are now producing far more meat protein with far fewer animals than in previous years? Most people love the taste, nutrition density, affordability and availability of animal protein.  

I want to stress again if you want to engage these people it is your choice. Personally, I choose not to. I am much more focused on being available to answer questions about what I do, how I do it, and why I do some things a certain way from people that purchase my product. To close this post I sold a few calves today. In the course of them being sold, 4 different individuals placed bids on them. I confirmed that NONE (there is a number, zero, none, nil, nada, nothing) of the bidders were vegan animal rights activists hoping to buy them and let them live forever at a sanctuary. (Just in the interest of full disclosure these calves will be put out on grass until late summer and then put in a feedlot to be finished) I mean, with so many of these people you would think at least 1 of them would care enough to put their wallet where their non consumptive mouth is? Nope! Fluff and rhetoric are very low in nutrients. Remember folks all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them.

Today's cowman music selection is Ed Bruce singing "Last cowboys song" This was written in 1980. It is a wonderful song, but the cowboys I engaged with today would laugh thinking any cowboy (I use this as a wide ranging term as I myself prefer to be called a stockman or cattleman)  is anywhere near the last one. Things change, methods change, but raising animals in a sustainable, holistic, responsible and caring way continues and will continue. Wrap your kale around that steak baby. We ain't going anywhere.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why I dont engage vegans and animal rights activists Part 2 the anger

Anger, we all face it sometimes, sometimes it is our own anger, sometimes we see anger in others, but we all know it when we see it. I think most of us would agree that anger is a pretty ugly emotion, while also agreeing that sometimes it is a very valid response to certain issues or stimulus. Rational people would agree that if possible anger is a good emotion to try and limit or steer clear of. It is just the opposite in the animal rights activist world. Anger is celebrated and often is the primary emotion that defines their world and life. I want to give a little nod here to the vegan world vs the animal rights activists world, often two worlds that intersect. I have met some vegans that are not angry 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have yet to meet an animal rights activist that doesn't have one of two life statuses at any given moment, pissed off or asleep.
There are many reasons constant anger is not a good idea. Constant anger probably wont help your cause with the majority of the world. They will just see you as the bitter person you are. I mean when you make comments like the above as a response to a picture of a teenage girl with her first deer the only person that is probably going to want to be around you are those studying psychopathy. I mean who wouldn't want to have a chat with these two lovely individuals just to see if they couldn't learn some valuable nugget of enlightenment?
 Surely the vast majority of consumers will take what this person says as the truth and follow their lead in their food choices.

Another reason anger is so useless is because it often will keep you from making a rational and coherent argument no matter what side of an issue you are on. An example would be something like this.

ARA vegan; F*ck you killer!!

Rational person; Sorry ma'am what are you referring to?

ARA vegan; the picture of the cow you killed

Rational person; I didnt kill it, it died from sickness, and that's a horse ma'am

ARA vegan; F*ck you horse rapist! I am .000003% Native American and a horse is my spirit animal!

Rational person; That's nice, How many horses do you own?

ARA vegan; None, I never would own any animal.

Rational person; Who owns the 7 cats you are holding in your profile picture?

ARA vegan; F*ck you, you corpse munching scum, go get some mental help, you are a psychopath!!!!!! We are done here!

Alrighty then.

Often the ARA activists are angry with each other. 
 While this level of anger is their personal choice, it is certainly not the kind of people that I or most rational people want to be around. The vast majority find them vapid and of little value to be around. When these people understand this reality it just makes them more angry as they see that 99.9% of the world is laughing at them.
I think you get the picture. Why anyone would waste their time engaging someone with this level of anger is something I see no practical use for. As I said yesterday, you are free to engage if you wish, this is just the path I have chosen for myself. Enjoy your day folks, yes even you angry ARA activists. Maybe this will help you smile?

If that didn't help I don't know what will. That's funny right there I don't care who you are. 

Todays cowman music selection is from John Conlee. Lyrics like this make this an awesome song!
"If you'll hand me my crayons
I'll be glad to take your name
In case I run across that guy you knew
But I don't remember loving you"

Monday, January 12, 2015

5 reasons I dont engage vegans and animal rights activists any longer (A series) Part 1 Reason #5 Supporting food choices

Hello blog world. Hell of a blogging year I had in 2014 eh? 3 whopping posts! I suppose 1 blog post for every $1 a pound that 400 pound calves were worth is sufficient. $*$ChaaaaaChingggg$*$! Thank You beef consumers worldwide! If I get through this series I will already have more posts in 2015 than 2014.

 So for those of you not involved in agriculture or on Twitter a little background. A young Canadian farmer and dairyman started a hashtag #farm365 in an effort to connect with consumers about how things work in the food growing world. A fairly regular and sometimes heated discussion continues on Twitter using this hashtag but the animal rights activists and vegans have jumped in with their usual drama. This is what inspired this blog series of why I don't engage with the animal rights or vegan activists. This is a reverse order of the reasons that I have chosen this path for myself. I am not suggesting this is the path for all people who produce food. To each their own, engage at your own chosen level, these are just my reasons for the path I have chosen.

I sort of accidently stumbled into the world of vegans and animal rights activists and the deep drama that it entails when I was Washington Cattlemens President (much more on this in tomorrows post). I always knew this element was out there, I just didnt know how batshit crazy much of it was. I suppose since I am offering reasons why I don't engage them I should also point out a few advantages of being aware of this cult.

1. They are highly amusing! I mean who knew that steers (a male bovine that has had his testicles removed) could have babies? Facebook names were removed to protect the I mean the stupid and because they seldom use a real name anyway.
2. They are really gullible and will often post a meme or picture in which they have zero idea of what it represents and think it advances their drama. Like this newborn, healthy, normal calf that has just stood for the first time and is still covered in amniotic fluid.  But, but it is sick from GMOs! Buhahaha Raise your Triple, Venti, GMO free, soy milk, no foam, Latte in protest

 So, reason #5 why I dont engage them. I actually SUPPORT their individual food choice. Often I don't agree with their reasoning for their choice but it is THEIR choice. I think it is great that food is so plentiful in the first world that people have so many food choices. Many people will tell you the food system in the USA and much of the first world is broken. While I agree it isn't perfect it is very efficient, very inexpensive and the choices are wide and AMAZING. When a grocery store in a town the size of Othello, Washington USA population 7634 has a freezer 6 feet tall, 4 levels, and with a linear distance of 47 feet (conservatively estimated by cowboy boot strides) of NOTHING but frozen pizza choices it shows just how wide and diverse our food choices are. Hell, I will look next time, there may even be some vegan pizza choices in that freezer! Yes, maybe it isnt all 100% healthy but I think a few people in many parts of the world would just love to have a shot at trying to decide between a Red Baron, Tonys, DiGiorno, Tombstone, Jacks or Great Value pizza instead of the 2.69 beetles and a golf ball sized lump of rice they have eaten the last umpteen meals. Isn't a huge and cheap food supply a wonderful way to allow us all to have so many food choices? A full belly, in a food secure part of the world sure makes it convenient to be a food preacher full of fire and brimstone as well as allowing judgment of those that make a different food choice from your own! I could be wrong but I am pretty confident that PETA doesn't have a whole lot of Ethiopian addresses on their mailing list of supporters and donors.

Now when I say I don't engage animal rights or vegan activists that doesn't mean I wont "accidentally" blow a few Copenhagen grains in their eye now and again for fun. (For those that don't know Copenhagen in the eye burns hotter than an animal rights activist half way through a tofu burger and learning "Tofu" was the name of the cow that provided the delicious burger)
Again, freedom and choice are such wonderful things!
Thank you all that made it this far. I appreciate all my readers, even vegans and animal rights activists. Remember all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them. Now if you will excuse me, I probably have an inbox full of anger that I have to laugh at and not respond to. Heh! And probably a few reasonable people that have some questions about how, what and why I do what I do for a living and how they can exercise their food choices and enjoy safe, wholesome and nutritious beef for their families.

Todays cowman music selection is from the venerable Waylon Jennings singing "Working without a net"

Well, unless of course you are a dolphin hunter in Taiji, Japan then a net is probably preferable.

"Up on the high wire, I hear the crowd begin to call, some want you to fly, some want to see you fall" 

Freedom and choices folks! 


Monday, October 27, 2014

The greedy rancher strikes out

Hey there blog readers, yes its me, the guy who never comes here anymore. No excuses, I will try to do better but will likely fail. Tonight I want to address something I often hear when people try to tear down agriculture both crop and livestock production. I often hear we are "greedy" and everything we do is all about the almighty $. Admittedly many of the aspects of what I do involves considering what makes the most sense related to $ return. What many fail to understand is often the best return on the $ is also the best environmental, social, animal welfare and sustainability choice for this particular ranch. I can also confidently say that yes I need to make money in what I do but $ are not always the be all to end all when decisions are made on this ranch. I will also say we sometimes make mistakes in decision making, but we always try to learn from those and improve as we move forward. My Dad used to tell me if you ever figure it all out you might as well quit because it wont be fun anymore.

 I am going to tell you a story today about a cow named "Striker". My youngest daughter Dakota waxes poetically about how Striker got her name, "because of her face markings and because I was a doofus back then!"  Back story is in December of 2006 I bought some "broken mouth" cow calf pairs. Broken mouth means a cow is getting on in years and some of her teeth are missing, in our country that means a cow is likely 10 years old or more. This was a group of 12 year old cows and had calves on them that had been born in October of that year. Striker was born in the fall of 2008 to one of these now 14 yearold cows. Striker was born with a bit of a twisted front leg, nothing bad but slightly noticeable. The twist in this leg became worse as she grew up and she eventually showed an issue in her back legs and hips as well. She had a terribly twisted limp but could get around on her own. What I loved about Striker was she was a fighter. She would get pushed away by other calves and more dominant cows but she never gave up her will to live and thrive. Because of this defect she had little to no value to sell so I just decided to let her grow up thinking maybe she could grow into beef for our own consumption. (Ok I can hear the animal rights activists already, calm your asses please.) Sometimes we do things for reasons like this song by Trace Atkins explains. 

So Striker grew up and when she should have been bred (pregnant) as a 2 year old she wasnt. In fact she was probably about only 60% of the size she should be. I decided that she would be given 6 more months to breed as honestly I couldnt face telling my wife or kids that she was going to become dinner. 6 months later didn't produce the results I had hoped. She had grown a bit, had made it through a tough winter but as far as my left arm could tell she was empty inside. In fact by my assessment she had very odd inside female parts and likely would never breed. A very tough decision to put her in the feedlot pen sometime soon to eat some grain for 90 days was made. After this feeding period she would be butchered.

On about day 88 of this feeding regimen Dakota and I stopped at the corrals one evening after dark to feed. In the dark I could see somehow a small calf had gotten into the feedlot as it came running out of the barn. I was cursing until Striker also came out of the barn, ran to the calf, and the calf began nursing her. WTF? Striker had birthed a healthy and as far as we could see defect free baby! Oh how Dakota squealed! Oh how I questioned my ability to "preg check" cattle. (Admittedly I am no Veterinarian) So Striker raised her calf to weaning, and from a weaning vs. body weight standpoint did a whale of a job! 

Now the reality of the story. Strikers same aged counterparts that are still here have each raised 4 calves at this point and are currently raising their 5th. Striker has only raised 2. Economically she has not been a shining star but that being said, she is very small, has little value with her defect, and lives in about a 5 acre area of the home pasture year round on little to nothing. Yes I admit she is consuming forage that could go to a more productive cow but to my original point it isnt all about the $ all the time! Friday I gathered all the cows and calves in the pasture to do some sorting and weaning. These were spring calving cows with big calves that are ready to be weaned. Striker was off in her normal secluded spot and with her severe limp I saw no need to bring her in. I did however check on her Friday afternoon. What I found led to taking Dakota and Christine out to the pasture Friday evening.

 With todays cattle market this little coupon will go a LONG way to understanding Mother Nature isn't always perfect, females of any species can steal your heart, and life has a way of paying off in many ways and sometimes you make some money! Welcome to the world little bull calf, if you have half the heart and drive of your momma you will be something to watch grow. 
As we continue this journey of life we will still be true to my grandparents, parents and my own goals. We will raise real world cattle to help feed the world,we will do our best to care for our land and our animals, we will work to make a profit to sustain our operation while teaching our children about Mother Nature while showing them a work ethic. We will also as my Dad used to so eloquently say, "Have some damn fun!" 

Thank you all that frequent this blog. In my constant search for outlaw country music with twang and lyric richness I bring you Dry County with "Waitin on Hank" All pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them!

 "An were waitin on Hank to come on back, to lay a little senior boot to ass, and let the A and R man know he's takin this way too far. You don't pee with the puppies and crap in the big dogs yard!" 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Apology to the thief

Dear Thief or thieves,

I want to take a little moment and apologize to you. I hope that the log chain you stole from me is useful to you and you will give it lots of wonderful adventures. I know it has many stories to tell as it came to me second hand from an old farmer that retired and he was gracious enough to not only tell me some of its history, he sold it at a discount to the price I would of had to pay if I had purchased it new. I was very thankful for this and apologize that you wont get to feel the same way since you got it for free. I don't know if you are the same person that has stolen several items over the last few years but if you are I sincerely hope that it fits in the tool box you stole and if it breaks you are able to use the oxy-acetylene torch you stole to fix it. 

Maybe the Sheriff is right since I haven't put up a fence or locked  everything down. I don't know what I was thinking considering it was my property and everyone knows that in todays world if you don't put up a fence with security cameras you are practically asking to have things stolen. I apologize that I was raised that I should be able to leave an unlocked Mercedes convertible on the street of a major city with the keys in the ignition because if it isn't yours you would have no reason to steal it. I sure hope you didnt steal it out of spite. I apologize that last month when you tried to steal some gasoline from the tank labeled "Unleaded" you instead filled your tank with drain oil from several pickups and tractors. If your vehicle gave you fits I am so very sorry! I guess I really should have labeled the tank properly so in the middle of the night you didnt have to suffer any ill consequences of your actions.

 My mom used to explain to me that sometimes people do bad things because of their own lives. "Maybe they were a victim of a broken home" she often said to make an excuse for those that committed crimes. I certainly hope that if I did anything to make your own mother a whore and your own Daddy a f*cktard you will forgive me for doing so. It certainly wasn't intentional. With todays divorce rate I am sure it wont be long before people are stealing things because their same sex parents stayed together until death do they part. I mean not that there is anything wrong with that but I just want to make sure everyone needing an excuse is covered. 

Maybe you didnt steal my property because of your own life, but because of mine. Being a "wealthy" (in your eyes) and successful self employed rancher and landowner clearly I was given everything in my own life and have never worked hard or saved for something I needed or wanted. Because of this view I was deserving of anything that you happened to take from me. The cattle market is booming and on that fact alone I probably deserved losing something of value, I apologize that I didnt just offer it to you for free and that you had to sneak away with my property. Just this week I finished calving season. It turned out well and these calves will likely sell for more per pound than I ever dreamed they would be worth. Hopefully when the bills, taxes and other expenses are paid I will have enough to replace what you stole, if not I will just try again another year. I might think about replacing the chain by stealing one but I wont, I am weird like that in a non fucktard type of way. 

 All those times I contributed time or money to several charity organizations I am sorry it was not enough in your eyes. I will really try and do better and contribute more to my community. If I ever run for public office I will use the slogan of "A log chain for every citizen" God knows a good new one will set you back $30-40. I hope the one you stole from me isn't defective, I only paid $10 for it and the fact that I did not leave some safety glasses close by for you to steal will keep me up at night wondering if you are safe!

To wrap this up I have just a few more apologies I think are warranted. I am sorry I never fell into the trap of meth abuse, it must be some really good shit and being that I like being happy it is a wonder it hasn't happened to me. Heck, if only I had you and I could steal things together and commiserate about how unfair the world is. I also want to apologize that each time something like this happens my heart gets a bit harder. I sure hope that was not your little girl selling Girl Scout cookies last week that I so easily walked by without a purchase because I felt I had given enough already, if it was I am so sorry. For some reason as I get older I am getting to be a bit of a bastard and I dont even come from a broken home. 

Lastly I want to apologize for being a bit of a hillbilly redneck. I own quite a few guns and very rarely do I not have one close at hand. If I happen to be checking cows at 3a.m. and come across you stealing something I apologize for the attitude and the fact that you probably will have a few more holes than a chunk of Swiss cheese. Of course it will only happen because you charged towards me and I felt threatened, after all you did have that chain in your hands and  how was I to know you were not going to hit me with it? Sorry. I don't know officer, he has 6 holes in him, clearly it looks like a case of suicide to me. I am sorry that I have this attitude, it wasn't always like this.

Todays Cowman music selection is Blackberry Smoke singing "One Horse town" it is music like this that keeps me happy so I dont spend my days focused on the bad things that this world seems so full of.
 " In the tiny town where I come from
You grew up doing what your daddy does
And you don't ask questions you do it just because
You don't climb too high or dream too much
With a whole lot of work and a little bit of luck
You can wind up right back where your daddy was"