Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Goin Postal

I got up early this morning and headed to Sunnyside to meet a few fellow Cattlemen’s executive committee members. We met with the Washington Dairy federation board to get their input on possibly increasing our beef promotional assessment. I stopped in Basin City on the way and dropped off “Chocolate milk” a steer we had been feeding out for ourselves. After the meeting I traveled back to Pasco and picked up some vet supplies for this weekend.

As I traveled home today I saw a friend and fellow cattleman along the road near his corrals. I needed to chat with him anyway so I stopped and found out he had some heifers to gather and haul. Even though it added some time to my commute home I did get a chance to try out my new cattle rattle paddle. Then it was decided since it was on my way home and since all the heifers could fit in my trailer I would haul them for him. That was not a problem because we often trade back and forth helping with gathering and cattle working days. I really love that about country people in that they help each other out when needed.

As I traveled today I heard a news item about something else that needs some help. Our US Postal service is broke yet again and needs help. They are already considering cutting Saturday service and say that may not even solve the money problems. I think I can totally solve their money problems and actually make the post office somewhere people want to go. I am only suggesting these things because in the country spirit I like to help.

The first thing is their main product sucks. Now I know great aunt Bertha still likes to send her birthday cards via the postal service but that is so slow and inefficient in today’s world. Why doesn’t the postal service get with Hallmark, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft and do this. Set up computers in the post office where aunt Bertha can send an Ecard for half the price of what she pays now for one damn stamp. She will be sending Ecards all over hells half acre and never be the wiser that there are free Ecards online.

The next thing to do is get more efficient employees. By the looks of most of them I am sure that 99% will need to be fired. Don’t worry though because we are going to hire twice as many people back with that same amount of money. Instead of having some non personality 55 year old woman working the counter at $20 an hour with benefits we are going to replace her with 2 Hooters girls at $10 an hour and they can use their tips for benefits on their own. Now you try telling me that most men wouldn’t mail more cards and letters to their wives and girlfriends if they could get some fried pickles and a cold beer while waiting in line? Plus the added benefit of viewing shiny pantyhosed legs, orange shorts and, and, and I was going to say whatever colored tops Hooter girls wear but for some reason I have never noticed what color they are. I do however know they are low cut. Now I dare any man to tell me one particular about the current post office uniform. Yeah exactly.

Candi and Bambi can also help in other ways at the USPSHooters. I looked online at what they had for stamp choices at the current time. Now really, who would rather see stamps with ten different designs of Kelp forests, or would you rather see 10 Hooters girls from say the Thief River Falls Minnesota post office. I thought so. Now, people may be concerned about the drinking at the post office and then driving home. I have that covered already. No matter who comes in, no matter how drunk they get, we know that sometime in the next 24 hours a jeep or van will be driving by at least their mailbox. They should be able to walk the rest of the way home after getting their ride.

I think there are all kinds of ways I am sure other business could be brought in to help as well. I would think a Starbucks could do a brisk business at a post office given the normal lines and service times. We will go ahead and shutdown Saturday mail service but the Hooter girls who want overtime can work in the parking lot washing cars for tips on the nice days. I do have one concern however. Some of those old crabby ladies that once worked the front counter may not be too happy about my changes. For this reason I think we should forgo putting a guns and ammo store in close proximity. I would however suggest each post office have qualified mental health professionals on hand, you know, just in case. Just think, neither rain, nor sleet, nor 38DDs will keep us from our appointed rounds.

Today’s real environmentalist species is Showy milkweed aka Asclepias speciosa.

Today’s picture is calf 0502w getting a bath from his mom.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Get lucky, damn lucky

You need to at least read about yesterday’s picture for today’s post and picture to make sense. At the top of the blog I state that I am the luckiest man in the world. That may be a bit of a stretch but for the most part in my mind that rings true. Certainly not everyday is perfect, but I don’t think a lucky man would always have everything perfect. Sometimes life’s little and big imperfections can be positive if given enough time and reflection. Even on the very best of days I certainly don’t feel lucky all of my waking hours. As I have grown older I feel luckier everyday. The luckier I feel usually makes me feel good in general and that opens my mind to being appreciative which begets more feelings of good luck.

Today was the kind of day that really made me feel lucky and happy with life. I changed some irrigation water this morning and that in itself is not lucky but the fact that nothing broke and it went smoothly made me feel lucky. I then did some work around the corrals in preparation for this weekend’s spring calf working. The corrals are one of my favorite places to spend time working or otherwise. I have lots of great memories from time spent there. Most everything related to being a cowboy that I know was learned there. To be honest much of what I know about life was learned there because Dad and I spent so much time there. The corrals, the machine shed, the hay barn, the working facility shed were all built by my grandfather and father, with some help at times from my Grandma Sally, Mom, uncles, probably some people I don’t even know or remember and I. I guess being at the corrals there is always a reminder about being in the cow business and how lucky and thankful I am for that.

In the early afternoon I headed to Rathbun Angus ranch north of Moses Lake. I had purchased two bulls there in November and it is now time for them to be turned out with the heifers. I had not seen the bulls since November and was anxious to see how they had grown out and wintered. I was very pleased and excited about how the bulls looked. Mark the herdsman helped me load the bulls and I headed back into the town of Moses Lake for a few supplies. As I drove I really felt lucky that I am my own boss now, doing something I love and although not getting rich, certainly making a living and for the most part having lots of fun doing it. How much luckier can a man be than that?

When I pulled into the parking lot of the Big R ranch supply store I really felt lucky. There were two young (guessing early twenties) men that were standing next to two fairly new, lifted, shiny clean 4x4 pickups. There were also two girls about their age that they were showing off their trucks to. When I pulled in with my dirty, noisy 12 year old Dodge there had to be some luck in the air. Between Festus hanging out the passenger window and the two bulls in the trailer these two young ladies dropped their conversation with the two young men and walked over to where I parked. They asked a few questions while standing on the running board of the trailer looking at the bulls. Festus was nice enough to let them both pet him and they tossed a baseball for him to fetch that he had brought along and they kept smiling and commenting on how “cool” the bulls were and how “smart” Festus was.

The two young men also grudgingly came over as if they needed to protect their mares or something. I am sure these girls were also going to comment about how handsome I was but hesitated with their young suitors so close at hand. I did get a little dig in on the boys. I asked them how often they washed their trucks. They both quickly answered that they usually wash them daily and wax them weekly. I then said maybe if they did not spend so much time washing and waxing their pickups they could get a job, save some money and buy some bulls and a red heeler which would increase their chances of not having to marry each other someday. The girls got quite a laugh at that. The two young men, not so much.

On the way home I had one of those life moments that really made me feel lucky. 68 miles per hour, 70 degree sunny day, window down, new bulls in the back, Waylon Jennings singing “I’ve always been crazy” on the radio and a new cattle sorting paddle in the back seat. Lucky, damn lucky.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the hooded merganser aka Lophodytes cucullatus.

Today’s picture is another view of the wreck I posted yesterday. This proves that even in something bad, you can be lucky, damn lucky.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It seems like every week I talk with someone new who reads this blog. Usually I am surprised mainly because there are more people than I ever imagined. I guess I was kind of expecting it to be something a bit more anonymous like the internet is in general. I figured a select few relatives and friends might read it but mainly it would be strangers that stumbled across it while surfing. That’s how I usually come across things on the net. I start with a subject, stumble into something related, and eventually end way off course. That is not always a bad thing, since being online I have learned a lot of things about a lot of subjects that I otherwise would not have pursued.

So today my oldest little sister (does that make sense?) and my brother in law had a party/BBQ/social/poker tournament. This is an annual event and you will not find better food, conversation, people and time in general anywhere. Thanks to them for again having an awesome party. I talked to three people today that read this blog at times and I was surprised by the comments. One person said he expected to see a blog based on my forays into the darker side of life. Most of these stories would be history and now I am too old to survive the things I once did for fun. The other issue is you never know who may be reading this. What if I tell a story about the heavy set twin sisters I met, and oh never mind you get the point.

The other person asked me if I really enjoyed doing the blog and where did I find the time? Since I started doing this blog I have become much more aware of things around me in any given day. My mind always was mostly in high gear even if it was disjointed most of the time. Now all through the day I try and think of something in the day that would fit into a decent blog post. On the really good days most of the post is already in my mind when I sit down to type it out. The actual typing, quick edit and posting usually only takes around 30 minutes on those days. I do enjoy doing it for the most part but I keep putting more pressure on myself for what I deem to be good material as I find out more people read this.

I am amazed though as to what posts sometimes end up the most popular or that spawn the most feedback. People have so many different reasons for reading this so what they deem as good may not always be something I deem as “blog worthy”. Personally I like the posts where it leans towards the absurd with some humor thrown in. The ones related to family or life experience are often the easiest and heartfelt but I always fell I missed some aspect of what was going through my mind. That is a big reason for missing posts lately. Besides being tired from long days I often type something out but won’t post it because I feel it is not to my standard.

That really makes no sense at all. When I have no idea how many people are reading this and how many people like it why would I let it matter?

I guess it is because of the compliments and encouragement I have gotten from so many people. I once had a counter on the page to tell me how many people visited the blog. The counter is what disabled the comment section. Now I have the counter deleted but the comment section STILL is not working. Someday I will find someone that can help me remedy that issue. I hope each of you that see something in particular you like or dislike will let me know. The email to this blog is and I welcome comments from anyone on any subject. I will say that if you have a dislike of something in particular does not mean I will automatically quit doing it. HA.

I am going to close this post out. From my view this is the kind of post that I feel is really not very good. I guess I did say this blog would jump all over the place and I can feel secure that I have delivered in that respect. Have a great week everyone!

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is four-wing saltbush aka Atriplex canescens.

Today’s picture is something I stumbled across online. Please come back tomorrow for a related picture to this one. This picture alone would remind me of this poor blog post. The story goes the driver was traveling right to left, went through the guard rail, hit the concrete culvert, flipped and rolled and came to rest upright. Supposedly the driver walked away. If he did he was lucky, tomorrow check in to see just HOW lucky.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boys will be boys

Well, I made it home and without any arrest record but certainly a bit lighter in the wallet. We had a great time in Seattle and a productive WCA meeting in Ellensburg today. In many ways I would argue that women have many advantages over men and sometimes I am envious. One thing that I do feel us men hold the upper hand in is ability to have fun and be shameless when you are with a group of guys. I think this stems from the fact that as a man although you cannot fight off the effects of aging the ability to be immature forever comes quite naturally to us.

When you take four “huckleberry farm boys” and give them an evening in a place like Seattle there is virtually no chance that they will not have some fun. What is amazing to me is in so many ways these out of town male bonding trips are pretty much the same at age 43 as they were at age 23. There are a few distinct differences that I did notice on this particular trip compared to trips of years gone by.

At age 23 when a group of us would embark on a trip like this we often drove whichever vehicle that had the best chance of making it there and back coupled with the least amount of petroleum to purchase. On yesterdays trip the vehicle was chosen because it had as much room as possible and leather upholstery. When we were younger the hotel was mainly chosen based on low cost and proximity to whatever male indulgences we planned to spend our time doing. On this trip the main requirements for the hotel was comfortable beds (age) secure covered parking (leather upholstery) and continental breakfast menu (hangovers and lack of a mother or wife to prepare breakfast).

I really think that if someone wanted to do a reality show based on these types of manly excursions it would have a huge audience. The smart aleck putdowns of each other, the unbridled ability to both praise and ridicule anyone that was not in the group, and the ability to feel like we all but owned the city for the night really added to the humor and general male debauchery. I have to do a delicate balancing act here on telling about some of the evenings highlights as some of my fellow travelers have not properly trained their wives in how to not be allowed an opinion or dissenting view of the nights festivities or venues. Kidding, kidding, chuckle, chuckle now.

I will say that we had a great time and I am glad that I do not have the time, money or energy to do these kinds of male only trips very often. I was draggin butt a bit today but at least I was not the one lying in the back seat of the SUV moaning, vomiting at a gas station and saying things in a whining voice like, “man, someone get me a Gatorade while you are in the store.” *laughing* Anyway, gentlemen thanks for the fun time and remember if your bride really presses you as to where you went after the baseball game the best answer is, “well we went somewhere and listened to music that did not serve alcohol.” That should cover you ladyboys.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Common yarrow aka Achillea millefolium.

Today’s picture is cow 6930g and her calf that decided her mother did not have to be standing in order to have a taste of milk.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Escape from Olbertraz

I know this is not my normal time to post but I am cutting out of here for the day. Three friends and I are on our way to Seattle to watch the Mariners play tonight. I really probably should not go as there is so much to do around here. We are staying the night and coming home early tomorrow. I have a Washington Cattlemen’s Executive meeting in Ellensburg on Wednesday so I am going to leave my rig there. I debated whether I should go or not but sometimes you just have to take a break and have some fun. Besides, sometimes the best drug for good mental health is a short escape from the pressures and responsibilities of everyday life.

I also am going to be busy on Thursday which I guess is Earthday so I needed a way to celebrate that day. Going to Seattle in a diesel burning ¾ ton pickup seems like a good start. I might even buy some bottled water at some store and ask that it be double bagged in plastic. In some ways I am disappointed that I can not celebrate the day like the God of saving the planet Al Gore. If I was Al I would fly in my private jet to the game, take a limousine from the airport and have a press conference surrounded by 30 media outlet vans to tell the world how wonderful I am.

I guess my hypocrisy level just is not up to a true envirotards level. I will just have to be satisfied with caring about the environment everyday as a rancher and leave the glory to the “look at me for 10 minutes crowd” while I do what farmers and ranchers do all day everyday. All this Earthday hype has made me ponder something the last few days. Is it possible for a double leg amputee to have a large carbon footprint? See ya’all on Wednesday night.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the American Robin aka Turdus migratorius. Yeah really.

Today’s picture is a picture of me with Al Gore. Al Gore is the name of my 1969 Cadillac Coupe De Ville. I named it Al Gore because it is fat, white, and noisy, uses a lot of fossil fuels, blows a lot of smoke and is bad for the environment in general.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Rose

Tonight I am going to post about my maternal Grandmother. Grandma Rose has as much to do with my sassy attitude and distaste for slackers as anyone. Grandma Rose weighed in at maybe 100 pounds if she was carrying two buckets of water in the rain. She barely topped five feet in height and was the definition of a fiery redhead.

Grandma Rose was as “cool” of a grandma as one could ever have. When you are in junior high and your grandma picks you up from school in a red Chevy Nova your friends tend to remember. Grandma Rose also had no issue with exceeding the speed limit which later became a built in excuse for me as I amassed my own list of traffic citations.

Grandma Rose knew how to live and embrace life. She was very active and rarely did she seem to be in anything less than a joyous mood. I can only remember one time that I was ever mad at her. My Mom was in the hospital having my youngest sister. Grandma Rose was watching the rest of us at our house. Grandma Rose came out and told me I had a new baby sister and I was not very happy. I was just sure that after having two sisters already that this time it would be a boy. I guess somehow I thought Grandma Rose had the power to decide what gender my siblings were.

One thing that I am truly thankful to Grandma Rose for is her love of fishing, especially ocean salmon and halibut fishing. The very first time I went out on the ocean was because Grandma Rose overruled my parent’s decision that I was too young to go. Grandma Rose did not just love fishing she was damn good at it as well. Many times she was the envy of the whole charter boat for the fish she caught.

The best advice I ever got from Grandma Rose came in my early twenties. I had financially failed in my venture as a potato farmer. In my mind at that time I thought life was basically over. As I talked with her one day about the situation she asked me, “What is wrong with starting over, you are young, healthy and have lots of life left to live.” I responded, “Grandma, to be honest I do not want to be poor.” She immediately laughed and said to me, “Poor is not a financial place, poor is a frame of mind. Do not worry about being poor. Just do not be a poor person to others.”

Grandma Rose also appreciated a good joke. If that joke was a bit off color or naughty that was fine as long as it was funny. As life went on we used to trade jokes on a fairly regular basis. Although she seldom swore herself Grandma Rose was not immune to using a bad word as part of a joke or repeating a story. She once took my cousins to the theater to watch Bruce Willis in “The Last Boy Scout”. I had seen the movie and knew it had a lot of colorful language in it. So the next time I saw her I asked, “Grandma, how did you like The Last Boy Scout? Without even a waver she said in her best Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) voice, “It was a f*ckin great movie!” as she rolled her eyes. I still laugh to this day as I picture her saying that.

Today's real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Bull Thistle aka Cirsium vulgare.

Today’s picture is cow 5909g relaxing in the sunshine with her calf 0909g.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grandpa Paul

Wow, has it really been 10 whole days away. It seems like it was just 9 and a half. I would apologize if I felt I needed to but I do not feel that way. Seems that sometimes life just jumps in and ruins a daily blog post. It is really too bad because I actually had a fair amount of material over the last 10 days. I missed the anniversary of the passing of both my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother on the 10th and 11th. Both of them had great influences on my life and my views and I have thought about them many times over the last ten days.

I will take today’s post to talk about Grandpa Paul. With as much resistance as I offered Grandpa Paul still had so much to do with my outlook on life and who I am. I guess it was not really resistance as much as it was our different generations added to us both probably resisting the ideas of the other at times. As I grew older I came to understand and agree with his views much more often. As a teen I viewed my grandfather as someone old fashioned, cautious, afraid of risk.

As I came to be an adult that view totally changed. I do not think a cautious man barely out of high school signs up to serve his country in a time of war. You cannot be afraid of risk and become a pilot of a 55,000 pound bomber and fly it at over 200 m.p.h. Old fashioned people do not sell a dairy and pick up a family in Idaho and move to the eastern Washington desert hoping to make a better life based solely on water and land.

I was pretty lucky as a kid. So many kids only get to see their Grandfather annually or a few times a year. For my first 18 years there was seldom a day that passed I did not get to see Grandpa Paul. He was always teaching and he mostly led by example. Grandpa knew so much about so many different things. The house I live in now was designed and built by him. He was always about practicality. Things had to have a purpose, a reason, nothing was ever done just for show. When people I know talk about him there seems to be few but very common descriptions. Hard working, salt of the earth, honest and a “good man” are often terms people use to describe him.

Grandpa was a big man, over 6 feet tall, big shoulders, strong as an ox and he knew it. He sometimes ruled with a somewhat “iron fist” but he also could be as gentle as a tame bear. I think every grandchild was swung by his large arms in his “swing” as he would recite his poem about going up in the swing so high. For me grandpa was a great moderator between Dad and I. Once as a teen my family was at a wedding reception. My folks left early and I was allowed to stay longer and come home with Grandma and Grandpa. Well, some other kids forced (well that’s the way I remember it) me to try hard liquor for the first time. I can still get the dry heaves to this day from the smell of Southern Comfort. Anyway, I ended up crashed on the floor and had to be poured into my grandparent’s car. Luckily I spent the night at their house and woke up the next morning actually feeling not so bad physically but scared as hell.

I walked into my grandparents kitchen with my head hung low that morning. Grandma Sally only had one concern and that was did I want eggs, bacon, toast, fried taters or any combination of the four. Grandpa Paul had a deeper concern. I remember exactly what he said to this day. “Junior you did a bad thing last night. Your parents trusted you and let you stay at the party and then you got drunk and stupid. I am sure that your parents will give you sufficient punishment, but we need to find a way to tell your Dad. You certainly deserve some punishment but your Dad is going to want to kill you and that is probably too harsh.” LOL, I took Grandpas advice and was straight up with Dad and told him what had happened. He was not happy but I am still alive so it ended well as could be expected.

Grandpa Paul was a never ending source of humor. His down to earth ways and absolutely blatant, and I do mean blatant, honesty would often translate into some gem that can still make me laugh many years later. I will tell a few of those stories in a later post. Thanks for your patience with me and my missed posts. I am going to focus this week and try and be here daily.

Today’s real environmentalist species is something I did not know existed at all yet alone on the ranch. I spotted a new bird last week and with some research found out just what it was. The bird is the downy woodpecker aka

Picoides pubescens.

Today’s picture is something I took awhile back that reminded me of my Grandfather.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bubble hair girl

Today was another really great day. I got another irrigation pump started and also got a few cows moved to places they needed to be. It was mostly windy once again but the temperature was not too bad.

I am taking today to wish my oldest daughter Amanda a Happy 23 rd Birthday. Amanda was 7 years old we came into each others life. We have both grown a lot as people because of each other. She is now a grown woman and both her mother and I feel old whenever we see her. Amanda has always been the quiet shy child but has her own way of being free spirited and independent.

I sometimes marvel at the way Amanda lives life day to day with what seems to me a no worries or concerns about the future. Admittedly, this sometimes makes me terribly jealous of her ability to live in such and unconcerned manner yet at the same time it drives me nuts as well. I will say she has come a long way from the kid who had to have her hair just so or she would scream out, “I have a bubble in my hair!” Amanda lives close by and after some college is working in retail and we certainly miss having her around the house on a regular basis. Happy Birthday sweetie and may all your dreams come true.

I do have to tell one story about Amanda. She was about 9 and was looking at a jellyfish on the beach. She exclaimed, “Look at its testicles!” (tentacles) Sorry Manda I could not resist.

I am really beat tonight after two really long but productive days so I am going to cut this short. Hope you all had a great day as well.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Barrows goldeneye aka Bucephala islandica.

Today’s picture is a video of calf 0514w acting like a big stud to a irrigation riser.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

H 2 O

Well I have finally come to a conclusion about this blog. If I do not post on the nights when I am tired I will be here only once a week or so from now until fall weaning time. I am just going to have to buck up and get something posted here some days even if it is brief and without much insight or humor.

I enjoyed a nice Easter Sunday with family and so far this week has been pretty good. Today was especially excellent, I would love to have days as productive as today was on a regular basis. The irrigation season is here and despite my pleas, prayers and raindances it is time to start things up. I usually use both the brown Ford and the gray Dodge for my main modes of transportation during this time of year. They both have regular pickup boxes and if you start with your tools and supplies neat and orderly they usually stay like that for a few hours. I like to have them supplied in case one or the other goes on the disabled list. The problem was they both were needing some assistance to start the season.

I know starting the day doing mechanical work is not the best idea for me. The neighbors tend to look at you funny when it is 7 a.m. and you are already frustrated and on your third beer. I bravely departed the house today determined to get both pickups roadworthy. I started with the Dodge which just needed a power steering belt. I purchased the belt about a month ago but no matter where I laid it on the dash the steering was still tight. Apparently you have to put the belt actually on the power steering pump to make it work properly. I got the needed tools like two crescent wrenches, a large screwdriver, some WD40 and a sledge hammer. I also got some knuckle bandages out of the house just in case. The belt actually went on fairly quickly and I was soon dodging the segregated yellow center line stripes on Scooteney road.

I then traveled to the corrals where the Ford had been setting for a couple of weeks needing a new solenoid. Putting in the new solenoid only took about 10 minutes but finding the screws in the dirt from when I removed the old solenoid took about two hours but it was now mid morning and I had fixed two mechanical items and still had drank nothing but coffee. I then started tossing things from one pickup to the other to get a good balance of tools and irrigation supplies into each one. I also found the bones to a smoked turkey I had put in the back of the Dodge to take to a neighbor back in December. I also removed quite a few broken sprinkler parts from last year and about $70 (estimated) worth of aluminum cans from each pickup from the 2009 season.

I had ordered irrigation water for the center pivot for today. The water is usually turned in about 1 p.m. and I was ready and waiting. The pump started fine and the circle did as well for the most part. I do have one broken sprinkler that I had to plug off and both endguns are running all the time which is not correct but at least it is moving and putting down water to the triticale. I looked outside awhile ago and the pivot light is still on meaning it is still moving. I hope the starting of the other side of the road tomorrow goes as well as today.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Big bluestem.

Today’s picture is calf 0401w who was in the wrong place at the wrong time while nursing his mother.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gambling help available

Today was a pretty good day. It was kinda windy and the wind was a bit on the chilly side this morning but it was still much nicer than yesterday. I decided earlier this week that three different sections of fence were not only going to be fixed, but completely rebuilt this spring.

Sometimes there are areas of fence that after years of mending, stretching, adding posts, stretching again and mending again they just need to be completely destroyed and started over. This particular area also had a swinging gate that is broken and does not swing so that was going to part of the reconstruction as well.

Dakota helped me with this project for a bit this morning before she had to leave and color Easter eggs with her cousins. Happy Easter to everyone by the way. Dakota also had a good idea of changing the angle of the gate for better access with long trailers and other vehicles with bad power steering. Her idea is going to make life much better each time I go through this particular gate with the stock trailer or pipe trailer.

These are usually the types of projects where I spend so much time working alone that I get some good blog material. I really did not have anything in particular come to me today but I did listen to the radio most of the day and that gave me a few thoughts. Back in January on the 16th I did a post about the power of music. Being that I like almost any kind of music I changed stations many times today and tried to focus on how whatever song was playing fit a particular moment in the day.

Before I even was able to focus on a song I had to run back to my pickup and write down a phone number. The number was an 800 number and said it was a gambling “Help line”. I am guessing this line is more for professional gamblers than us lowly farmers and ranchers who gamble on life. Either way I feel the number might be helpful at some point. What if I am deciding if it would be better to gamble on bred cows or yearling steers at the auction? Now I can call the help line and see what they say. What if I am in Vegas and am playing Blackjack and am dealt a soft 17? Now I can call the gambling helpline and ask them, hit or stay? I think this will be a very valuable service to people like me. I would bet someone $20 that they will need multiple lines for all the people calling asking for gambling help.

Once that advertisement was over the song “Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider came on. I have always liked this song and it also reminded me I need to call my Doctor and make an appointment before my prescription runs out. Right after that Aldo Nova played “Fantasy”. Oh that made me laugh, do any of you remember the metrosexual in the leopard print leotard exiting the helicopter and then using his guitar to blow open the door on the warehouse in the video for this song? You want a good laugh check it out on youtube, oh metal band days.

After that I decided it was time for some country. One of the songs I heard today was Montgomery Gentry’s “Hell Yeah”. The song has one of the greatest verses of all time, “He’s got a redneck side when you get him agitated, He’s got the gold tooth look from a stiff right hook, He’s proud he took for his right wing stand on Vietnam say’s he lost his brother there. I always have a great visual in my mind from that verse. I also heard Keith Anderson singing “Picking wild flowers” today. It has the verse, “Hey Daisy don’t worry ‘bout your momma, like 007 we can keep it covert. Undercover on the ground by the water, gonna get a little ‘peace’ on earth. Talk about an excellent play on words.

One other song I heard today was Foster and Lloyd singing “Texas in 1880” It has the verse, “Our hearts will get broken and our heads will get busted, but we’ll always believe the things that we trusted. There’ll be those nights when glory comes round and we’ll tip our hats and wave to the crowd.” Go to you tube link to see the video with some excellent vintage rodeo clips. I did not get my heart broke today or get my head busted but as I left tonight the yearling heifers were all close by watching me finish the fence. Just for kicks I tipped my hat and waved to them knowing that if they had hands instead of hooves I would be leaving to thunderous applause.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Kochia aka Kochia scoparia.

Today’s picture is of calf 0420w, he is the brother to one of Dakota’s fair steers named Homer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The day from Hades

The day started out with so much promise. I was up early, feeling good and although it was a bit frosty it was sunny. I had plans to take a few cull cows to the auction today but I really wanted to capture two more cows than I had ready to go. I loaded a few bales of hay and headed up to the hill pasture. I drove into the corral and began calling and feeding some hay. The two cows I wanted came into the pen and I quickly shut the gate before they decided to leave. I spent the next while sorting and kicking out cows and calves I did not want to take to the auction. This went pretty well and I finally got down to the two cows I wanted to keep and two others.

Rather than risk losing what I had by self sorting I went back to the house and got Dakota out of bed to come help me. She was groggy and whining and I told her to cowgirl up and move it. When we got back to the corral I asked her if she wanted to be the “cutter” or the “gateman”. She chose the gate and I explained to her that no matter what, even if it took 20 tries do not let out the two cows I wanted to keep to load for the auction. We got one of the extra cows out but there was one cow that I wanted to sell that is quite smart and we had several close calls of her almost escaping through the gate. I once again told Dakota that no matter what do NOT let her get out. I cut the last extra cow out and yelled for Dakota to open the gate and let her out, the wild cow ran quickly past me too. Dakota was still waking up apparently and both cows got out the gate because she was too slow in slamming the gate.

Now I know she is only 13 but she has been around cows her whole life and has sorted cows since she was 6 years old. I angrily yelled at her with some pretty harsh words, slammed the gate shut and told her she might as well go home now that there was nothing else left to mess up. She left for home on the four-wheeler and I went down to the main corrals to load the cows I already had captured. Festus got a bit anxious and overbearing and screwed up the loading on the first try and as mad as I was and because he knows better he got a pretty severe training beating. The day was really going to hell in a hurry.

I finally got the cows loaded and headed down the road. I was just starting to feel bad about my scolding of Dakota when one of the trailer tires blew out. As I slammed tools, luguts and a spare tire around I was as angry as can be so changing the tire took an extra long time. Once I was back on the road I knew today I was destined for a permanent bad mood and I cussed the cows, Dakota, Festus, the tire, this life and anything else I could think of.

I got to Toppenish a bit late but did finally make it and I unloaded. I went inside and watched the sale for a bit and fumed at my day. All I wanted to do was see my cows sell, get a check, and then go home. The day dragged on and my cows sold terrible but I finally had my check and was on the way home. I got some diesel in Granger and after spilling diesel all over my boots I was headed northeast for home.

The route I took takes me across the Columbia River at Vernita and there is a state weigh station there although it is rarely open. Well this afternoon it did happen to be open which did not help my mood. I took a few deep breaths and thought since the trailer was empty I would probably be fine crossing the scale. Sure as hell the weighmaster motioned me to pull over and bring in my papers. The paperwork was fine but he wanted to do a “quick” inspection. After close to an hour of quick inspection he had a list of 5 defective equipment issues including two inoperable clearance lights and (get this) and inoperable license plate light. The total ticket was close to $300 but at least I did not snap and murder the guy.

I finally got home and was feeling like I should find Dakota and at least make some apology for my hurtful words. Before I even hit the door Chris was all over me because she had talked to Dakota earlier in the day and was not happy with me about the things I had said. Dakota had left for the night for a sleepover so my reluctant apology was going to have to wait anyway. I grabbed a few beers and headed out to go shred some ryegrass for the evening.

I know some of you are either feeling sorry for my daughter, dog or wife at this point and really could careless how bad my day happened to be. Well that’s ok because it is April 1st and you have just been fed a blog of bullshit for Aprils fools day….LOL.

Today went great; Dakota sorted like a pro, Festus herded like a pro, there were no blown tires, the cows sold excellent, the scale was not open and my bride helped me check cows tonight when I got home and I finished shredding ryegrass tonight. Hope ya’all had a great Aprils Fools day as well.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Great egret aka Ardea alba.

Today’s picture is calf 0816w, I love the markings on this bull calf, no foolin.