Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Edgar Allen NO

Today’s picture is of cow number 2302w and her new heifer calf. This Charolais cross cow is one of the few cows that have actually been given a name here in our operation. This is something the kids usually do with any cow that is particularly unique in some way. “Pretty” is one of the kid’s favorites because she usually has quite unique colored calves and she is one of very few Charolais cross cows we own. She did not disappoint today on the calving check rounds. She may be pretty but from previous experience her calf will not be getting a tag before branding time. Bravery is fine but trying to mess with this cow’s calf out in an open field is just plain stupid. I have found from previous experience with her that she is no bluffer when she puts her head down and makes a charge to protect her calf.

I had to get up early to post this so I can stay on my daily schedule. I had to get up early to feed the yearlings before I leave for the today anyway. Today I will be meeting Washington Cattlemen’s President Dick Coon at 6:30 am to head to Ellensburg and then on to Olympia our states Capital. It is our regular monthly executive meeting but there is a bill related to industry that we are going testify on at the legislature today. I doubt I will be back before midnight so I am posting this now. Since I am going to be spending time with fellow beef producers today it made me think of all the talented people in our industry.

As you spend time in the cattle business you meet so many great people. The range of personalities is amazing but one thing that stands out is their passion for what they do. I guess that may explain the different talents outside of the life that so many people possess. Certainly on a ranch you have to be versatile and know a bit about many things. It is not uncommon in a single day to not only test your skill as a cowboy but also as a mechanic, electrician, accountant, carpenter, nutritionist or as today will be, a lobbyist. One thing that many cattle people do is write poetry related to their life experience and sharing their world with nature.

So often I am just taken aback by the talent exhibited by the “Cowboy Poets” in our industry. My father was amazing and could string together some prose about any given situation virtually on the spot. Sometimes it was inspiring and comforting but sometimes it also reminded you of the struggles and pain that this life can be known to offer. I have tried at times to be a cowboy poet but usually it comes out as something like this.

Angus can be red,

Angus can be black,

Honey, before you go feed the yearlings please fix make me a snack.

There have been times I have put together some lines that I was proud of. I wrote a poem in honor of my father and it was part of my eulogy at his celebration of life. I will share it here sometime in the future possibly. As I was doing some cow and fence work yesterday I tried to examine why I struggle to put together good poetry. I came up with a few possible reasons and that is what today’s post is about.

I think one issue I have with writing poetry is I am too focused on details in the poems. The things that really describe in depth just what you are dealing with at a particular time. Face it; it is not easy to get anywhere with a poem entitled “The uterine prolapse of cow number 5722g”. I feel poems need to have some rhyming qualities and there just are not many things that rhyme with diphtheria or even Mannheimia haemolytica.

One other issue is the structure of good poetry. I really like a good haiku now and then. If you remember what Mrs. Voelker or some other old lady taught you in high school English class it consists of 3 lines, 5, 7 and 5 syllables on each line respectively and it is supposed to NOT rhyme but it is supposed be about nature. Oh how freakin wonderful, just try to fit something like, “pasteurella multocida treatment” into that form.

There are other times you have the perfect way to describe a situation or object or even a person. Sometimes you even have a way to make it rhyme and fit some structure as you describe the particular person. The problem arises when the follow up words just do not fit into something that makes sense. For example, I tried to write a poem about Nancy Pelosi the other day. I knew exactly how to describe her and I was sure I was on the right track until I tried to fit the words “plumb and ditch” into a follow up line. I guess I am never going to be the next Edgar Allen Poe.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the American bullfrog aka Rana catesbeiana.