Monday, February 15, 2010

Do you feel lucky

Well today was another beautiful day here in the great northwest. Temperatures rose once again to 50 degrees and the day was mostly sunny. It did not even freeze last night which is amazing for February. I am sure the global warming folks would be sure the end is near if they lived here. I prefer to use the lower electricity bill as an excuse to idle my pickup to produce more carbon dioxide to feed the grass and triticale but I am a real environmentalist. Tonight there is a 60% chance of more rain with tomorrow predicted to reach the lower 50’s again. This is such great weather I am starting to worry about what is going to happen badly down the road.

I have always been a bit on the suspicious side anyway and every time things are going well I can’t help but suspect something opposite looms. I do not know why I feel that way but being involved with agriculture has much to do with it I am sure. You always just come to expect the lows to match the highs in severity and duration. This seems to be the case with markets, weather, health and even personal sanity level. The good thing about having this built in suspicion and cynicism is that you never feel blindsided by something extraordinarily great or terrible.

The downside to feeling this way is you are always thinking maybe you can change the natural processes at work. Back in my potato growing days I was convinced that the particular shirt I was wearing was the cause of all things bad. If I had a day that the potato digger broke down often I would try to never wear that same shirt again while digging potatoes. The sad thing is if we were digging in a rocky field I sometimes had to wear a “good” shirt all week since all my others had been banned from the tractor seat. There is a saying that the harder you work the luckier you get. I do put quite a bit of belief into that but it is not 100%. Some days your hardest work is done dealing with some train wreck that was caused by bad luck or wearing the wrong shirt.

There are some days where the good and bad luck show themselves each several times. Today seemed to be one of those days. The first thing that manifested itself as bad luck today was my left ankle being twice normal size. I twisted it catching a calf this weekend and at the time it did not seem to be a big deal but it has since grown in size and pain level. The first thing I did was get my “lucky” work boots out that are one size too narrow and stuff my pained foot into them to change my luck for the day. Things went well with the yearlings and I was thinking I had shirked the curse for today.

I took Dakota with me today to check the special needs cows and fall pairs and as we fed I noticed the cow that calved yesterday had a swollen udder and was bawling and searching for her calf. Damn the curse is back was my first thought and I made a note of what shirt I had on. This stupid obsession with bad luck then caused me to make a bad judgment. We started searching for the calf in the thick brush and Russian olive trees instead of where I last saw the calf yesterday. As luck would have it as we walked and searched I saw a coyote within 40 yards. By the time I ran back to the pickup and my rifle it was well out of range. I was questioning my lucky tight boots that were giving me a blister but making me forget my swollen ankle.

After searching for what seemed like forever I decided to go look in the area the calf was yesterday. We drove close to it the first time without seeing it but on the second pass Dakota spotted it and I was jealous of her better luck. By now the cow was far away looking for the calf where we had begun our search. My dad would seldom move a calf but I could not trust my luck today so we gave him a ride to his mom. Seeing the calf nurse and his mother lick his back made me decide that I was done having bad luck today. You know that was all it took, the rest of the day was perfect but I did change shirts after lunch.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Bald eagle aka Haliaeetus washingtoniensis.

Today’s picture taken by Dakota is calf number 0052y catching a ride to his mother 7052y. Shortly after this picture was taken he decided he needed to urinate in my lap contributing to my bad luck morning.