Friday, January 8, 2010

Day of the procrastinator

I am not really sure when I became a procrastinator. Neither of my parents are and I can not remember a certain time in life it happened. As far back as I can remember I have always been a wait until that last minute type.
Today started very typical for this time of year. I was jarred awake by my cell phone ringing. It was my mom calling to tell me that somebody had called her and I had a, not plural, A cow out. As my daughter was headed out the door for school I asked her to start the "brown Ford" so it could warm up. 10 minutes later when I went out to go check on the cow I noticed the flat front tire on the pickup. Apparently at 13 years old you do not notice things like that! Really it is not a big deal I have between 2-5 old pickups around here to drive depending on their particular propensity to run on any given day.
I knew exactly what cow it was and where she was. This particular group of cows are my fall calving pairs and also the spring calving cows that are old ( I refer to them as old enough to vote because some actually have met the age level), the 2 and 3 year olds and any others that for whatever reason need a bit more daily nutrition than the general group. This one particular cow technically was "out" but she was miles away from any road and she was just in the part of the field that the rest of the cows have not been allowed access to as of yet. Every morning it is the same drill, she sees my pickup coming, she walks to her particular spot she likes, and jumps the single electric wire fence back into the group. I sometimes think she is just making sure I know she can jump in and out as she pleases.
This group of cows needed to be given access to a new part of the corn field this week.Here it was the end of the week so time was up for the procrastinator. Early in the week I kept putting it off because the ground is frozen 5 inches or more and it makes pounding fence posts a bit difficult. Had I not procrastinated and built the next section of fence 3 weeks ago it would be a simple matter of dropping a wire and giving them access. There is one more section after this one to fence. Next week when it is supposed to be in the 40's I will probably put off building the last section for some reason. So today I was committed to getting the new section fenced even if the ground was frozen. I spent most of the day doing that and still did not quite finish. A couple hours tomorrow though and they will have 90 new acres of corn stubble and some additional ungrazed range.
I often justify my procrastination on being "behind" on projects. Which seems to be always. I have resigned myself to the fact that on a farm or ranch you just never get to a point where you say. "everything's done". There are always things that need to be done and never enough time to complete them. Actually, I am fine with this reality. I remember the day that the Bear Stearns Company collapsed. I was watching the people filing out of their offices carrying their personal items. One guy in particular that was interviewed was crying and said, "this job has been my whole life, I have no idea what I am going to do tomorrow" I turned to a friend of mine that is also in agriculture and said, "see there, look how lucky we are, we will never not have something to do tomorrow."
I really don't know why I ever put off building fence. Especially hot wire fence, it is fairly easy to do and you get a lot of ground covered in a day which adds to a sense of accomplishment. Building fence is also a really great time to think . You can run cost of gain and profit/loss scenarios all day long and only smash your thumb with the hammer two or three times in trade for your lack of concentration. Even on a day like today it was fun for the most part. 30-35 degrees but the sun was shining most of the day. From my perspective I was having a much better day than some poor soul working in a 70 degree office.
The only other thing I accomplished today was the everyday chores of feeding hay to the "special" group of cows and the spring calves which are weaned and turned out on what we call the "home" place. Everyday there are things that have to be done, and if you get those done you may have time for the extra things. The constant fence mending, equipment maintenance, YUCK , and on a really good day maybe a ranch improvement project of some kind. Those days do not happen often. Somehow there are always little holdups to completing the basics.
Things like flat pickup tires and A cow that gets out.

Have a great weekend, I know I am planning on it. Today's species for the real environmentalist is
Elaeagnus angustifolia L. aka Russian Olive tree picture at top of the page.