Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Run Forrest, run

How is it that the more you seem to get done the farther you fall behind? I had a really great day today, Dakota was home from school because of a teacher’s in-service day and I had her help me most of the day. She was in charge of pressure washing the John Deere today which was no small task. She did a great job and made servicing it a much more pleasant task. She now knows what grease and a zerk are and she also knows how to use what she calls “that grease pumper thingy” (grease gun). She also helped me bring the “white Ford tall” off the disabled list today for awhile until a flat tire sent it back. Thanks for the help Gus and for not teasing me about the ear tags on the dash of the Dodge.

It was another nice day and after some early morning showers it was sunny all day. I even got a tanline on my forehead today and it is only mid February. All the cow stuff went well today but even though I worked a long day I still feel like I am farther behind. I guess it is natural this time of year with calving, fence pick up and fence building, still trying to get 2009 books done and get a general financial outline for 2010. What I find really annoying and scary is within 40 days irrigation season will be starting. Irrigation season is basically like 7 months of living in hell but for most of those months I am sure hell is preferable.

This place still has lots of really old irrigation equipment and although we are slowly upgrading it is still a huge daily job. I am sure that if I had a dime for every 40 foot long stick of hand line I have carried in my lifetime Bill Gates would be asking me for a loan. Last season 2 of the four pumps were completely rebuilt after dying within the first 10 days of the season. From that point on I was behind on irrigation all summer. I have one other pump to pull and get in next week to be checked and hopefully the start to this season will go better. We are also in a much better moisture situation at this time than we were last year. Hopefully that will hold as well.

I usually enjoy driving because it gives me time to think and I also get to see lots of different areas and situations. This time of year driving just gives me time to agonize about how I am going to get everything done that should be done the next few months. I so look forward to late May when all the cows are out on grass, the calves are worked and growing and even though changing irrigation water is a pain that will be pretty much all there is to worry about. Until that time there are so many things to do such as harrowing the pastures, which I need to start soon, but first I need to change the water pump on the old Massey Ferguson 1100 that I use to pull the harrow. The John Deere is nicer but it is not nearly as fuel efficient as the Massey is. The Massey is also very loud so I do not hear my cell phone ring when driving it. That can be a huge plus on most spring days.

I wish I had some funny story to tell about today but nothing really happened that was funny. I did watch a cat stalk and kill a pocket gopher today but that was just fun to see but not really funny, especially for the gopher. I did spend some time at the main group of spring calving cows today just watching the calves run, jump and enjoy the sunshine. No matter how your day is going it is always uplifting to see the calves grow and become more active and also curious about their new world. I had one calf today practically run right into me as he ran around being a calf. You will see it in the video I post with today’s blog.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Orchard grass aka Dactylis glomerata.

Today’s picture is a video of a few of the calves running around me as I waited for all the cows to come to the hay. Watch in particular one black brockle face calf that almost takes me out. The background noise is courtesy of a non muffled Cummins diesel motor.