Thursday, March 25, 2010

How far to Prosser?

I know that some of you are thinking I should change the name of the blog to the weekly cowman at this point. I do finally seem to have my computer working correctly but in all honesty it was more the week of work that kept me away from here. This week has turned out to be a week full of industry service time but for the rest of March and most of April I am going to have to concentrate on things here on the ranch. I feel that if a person is involved in any industry and feels it is important then they should spend some time working for the betterment of that industry. Today’s post is about the things I did this week for what I hope helps the beef business continue to not only survive but thrive here in this great country.

It started last Saturday with our annual steer weigh in and tagging day at the fairgrounds in Kennewick. I have volunteered as a co Beef superintendent at the Benton Franklin County Fair since Dakota began showing. My Dad held the same post for many years and it is a fun way to contribute and help youth in the community that are interested in the beef business. We weighed in and tagged 101 steers total last Saturday and will weigh more this Saturday in Connell. We decided to share tags and weights with the Columbia Basin Junior Livestock show in Connell which has their fair 3 weeks after our Benton Franklin County fair. We keep gaining kids which is exciting and amazing given the time and expense commitment that goes with growing and showing a steer. I think the glory of showing a steer compared to the shame of showing a lowly hog, lamb or goat and my continuing outspoken opinion on this has helped us gain kids *snicker*. Really there are some great kids in the other barns and being able to help with something that I feel made a positive contribution to my own life as a kid is a task with many rewards. One volunteer summed it up best, “this is an investment in good kids.”

Monday morning was spent doing a few things around here and some time chatting with my Mom. Then some more volunteer time was on tap. I traveled to Prosser to help set up panels for the bull sale that The Washington Cattlemen’s Association (WCA) sponsors. I was just a small part of many great people who contribute time, sweat and money to make the sale a reality and success. Tuesday morning I did early checks and feeding before heading to Kennewick once again. There is a two day “farm fair” and many agricultural groups have booths set up there. I helped with out WCA booth and talked to 5th grade students about what we do in our industry in rotating 6 minute time slots. Each generation seems to get more disconnected from the farm or ranch. This is a great way to educate these kids about where their food comes from. Tuesday after noon I continued up the freeway back to Prosser for our WCA March board of directors meeting. Once again spending a day with so many passionate, hardworking and intelligent fellow cowboys and cowgirls left me in awe. I made it home to finish feeding and calf checking in the last slivers of daylight.

Yesterday after doing some morning chores I was off to Prosser once again. This time it was mostly for me as I attended the bull sale and made my final bull purchase of this spring. We had a great sale and for the most part prices were strong. The best thing for me was I waited patiently for the bull I really wanted and was able to purchase him for right at my $2500 top end price limit I had set. I will get some pictures of all the new bulls (4) as spring progresses. Each bull gets a personalized name and I will share those as they are given. The four new bulls will replace High Head, Jupiter, Budweiser and Retard who were sold last fall. Wednesday night I spent about 4 hours after dark shredding ryegrass which got me to this morning.

This morning I did a quick check and then a bit of sorting at the corrals. I still had a few miscellaneous yearling calves around and decided to get them sold while the market is strong. Dakota was home today because of conference week so she accompanied me to the auction in Toppenish. I hope she someday cherishes days at the auction with her dad. I certainly have great memories of going to cattle auctions with my Dad and grandfather as a kid. I doubt I would know half the swear words I do today without that life experience.

On the way home today we stopped in Prosser at the bull test station and picked up the bull I purchased yesterday. I would have bet a million dollars I would never travel from Connell to Prosser four times in four consecutive days but that’s what the week was. When we got home we unloaded the bull at the corrals and Dakota and I just spent some time comparing him to bulls of past years and watching him explore his new home. I have high hopes for this bull. He not only has the body type I like and a pedigree I love he walks with his head held high and already acts like a seasoned veteran. I would say he almost has a swagger to his movements. I am thinking we might name him Tiger Woods or Jesse James!

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Foxtail barely aka Hordeum jubatum.

Today’s picture is once again of some Sandhill cranes and was taken from the tractor seat. They are everywhere this time of year.