Friday, February 5, 2010

Where is a damn pen?

People often ask me where I get my ideas for the blog. My answer usually is that I have no idea. I do carry along a legal pad each day so if something in particular goes through my brain I can write it down. Sometimes I won’t be able to find the legal pad under all the crap I carry around in my pickup so I write it down on whatever is convenient at the time so I do not lose the idea.

If the legal pad is not handy I have written thoughts on several things at different times. The back of receipts is a common place I write things down. This works fine until tax time rolls around and the receipt is in the hands of my accountant. She is already having to sort out what is deductible as a business expense between a medium mocha, a quart of transmission fluid, a lemon lime 5 hour energy shot, a pair of gloves and a can of sardines. Then to add insult to injury she turns it over for a possible explanation and all it says is, “invent beer flavored Jello”. I really do not know why but she is not amused by these things.

I also carry what people in the cattle business call a “redbook”. It is a book with premade forms for writing down calving information, pasture usage dates, vaccinations and things of that sort. The book is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket yet large enough to block a single defrost vent on the dashboard of a Dodge pickup. I received my “redbook” from my American Angus Association representative so my redbook is black this year. The problem with writing in this book is deciding if I have less use for the page dated July6th, writing over top of the time zone page or hoping I never have to enter a frequently called number under the letter “x” in the phone directory. Then actually finding what I wrote down at a later time can be a problem as well.

One other issue that frequently manifests itself is finding a writing utensil when an idea is at hand. I am sure there are probably 92 (estimated) pens in my pickup but they have an amazing ability to hide. I usually always have a tag marking pen available in the ashtray this time of year but that presents it’s own problems. A tag marking pen is basically a permanent Magic Marker that they charge you $5.95 for. I guess this is because the companies are on to us and know about the massive profits in the cattle business. These markers work fine but when the clerk at Wal-Mart sees “vegans have skinny arms” written on the back of your hand it can cause some unnecessary conversation with a clerk that often weighs more than I do and has better facial hair. This can really destroy a male’s ego, not to mention his sex drive.

The worst that can ever happen is you can’t find any writing utensil or any available place to write down a thought. In the winter time you can always shut off the heater and write a thought with your finger on the inside of the windshield but you better have a good coat on. If the thought is small you can always spit on the center console and then use your finger to write down a thought in the dust but it really has to be a small thought or you can dehydrate yourself by the time you get home.

Nothing too exciting today but I did spend over an hour trying to find a calf that was brand new yesterday. Because it was brand new yesterday I did not tag it and it was not with momma when I was there checking today. I knew the calf was fine and the cow knew where it was because the cow had obviously been sucked and she was not actively looking for it. However, I did want to find it to give it a tag. You would think it would not be that difficult to see a black calf in a corn field but you would be surprised how well they can hide as you will see in today’s picture.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Lambsquarter aka Chenopodium album.

Today’s picture is of calf number 0906g who was very difficult to find. The picture was taken a mere 30 yards away and the calf is below the red arrow. Remember you can click on all pictures to enlarge them.