Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a junky lesson in life

If I could put together a string of days as productive as today was I would take a full day vacation and not even feel guilty. Maybe the key to having a good productive day is not having a plan. Last Monday I had a plan, I had a list, I had goals and I ended up spending most of the day spinning my wheels. Today I had no plan for the simple fact that I had so much that needed to be done a plan was not needed. I had not made a list because I did not have enough paper and I made no goals because I did not want to strive for anything more spectacular once I awoke this morning and knew I had not died in my sleep. Wasn’t one accomplishment enough?

As it was I did get many things completed today. The morning irrigation went well with no major issues. I had friends who started scrapping some of the broken, outdated, unused farm equipment museum pieces that my father and grandfather had acquired over the years. It looks to be a slow and thankless task but I am encouraged by how much they accomplished today and how much the scrap was worth. I could almost hear my ancestors cussing as I walked around with a can of spray paint painting the letters “ok” on any items that I deemed unusable in my lifetime. Don’t worry guys I am saving the entire decent pipe, angle, channel and other iron that could possibly be of use in my lifetime.

I did however decide that the 11 (yes really) International Harvester forage choppers had no chance of revival by my hands. I can just hear my Grandpa Paul now, “you might be sorry someday if you need one of those corn choppers!” The chances of that are about like winning the lottery which nulls the whole idea. If I win the lottery I am damn sure not going to chop corn with a pull type two row corn chopper that was already worn out when it arrived on this ranch sometime in 1971 through about 1987. I sometimes still wake up at night shaking my head after having a nightmare that Grandpa had filled the silage truck just a bit too full and sent little pieces of silage corn down over the cab, into the window and down my fragile teenage back. I only had to endure that from time to time, my poor mother was the designated silage truck driver in the field for 3 weeks every September back in the day.

The corn choppers are actually fairly recent arrivals compared to many items at the corrals. The 1948 F6 Ford truck that brought my grandparents belongings to the Columbia basin is part of the old equipment parked and piled there. I almost feel bad parting with some of the stuff. So many memories and stories of days gone by live in those old relics. I do need to get the place cleaned up though, the scrap price is decent, and I keep telling myself the money brought in will be used towards many needed upgrades and fixes around the place.

As I sorted through the junk pile today I remembered a story that is funny to me today but was not so funny back when I was 15 or 16 years old. One summer I had gotten the fever for extra cash. I would ask Dad or Grandpa about a certain old equipment item or parts of items that I could sell for scrap. For the most part they agreed to my longings except for one time when Grandpa would not let me cut and scrap an old model 57 International Harvester wire baler. We had been putting up round bales with newer machines for many years and I was not too happy that he would not allow me to scrap the old small square baler. His excuse was that the baler had better than scrap value in certain parts of the world and that one day someone would come by and want to buy the old machine. I asked him how much he thought it was worth and he said at least $300.

He was correct as later that summer a gentleman did stop by the corrals to inquire about the baler. I was there working with show steers and trying to be a big man I told the guy I would like $350 for the baler. He readily agreed to the price but I said we should go down to my Grandpas house to confirm that it was ok to sell it for that price. I proudly told my Grandfather that I had offered the baler to this man at $350 and he had accepted my offer. Grandpa seemed to be pleased with my sale but as was his custom he visited with the man about where he was from, what he farmed etc. Grandpa seemed to really like this man and as the conversation wore on he told the man, “Why don’t you just take that baler and do not worry about paying for it.” I quickly said goodbye and left on my motorcycle to sulk and be angry because I felt totally betrayed. I was none too happy with my Grandpa over the next few days. About 4 days later he told me he had something for me. He said I had done a good job of selling the baler but he just did not have the heart to charge the man for it. He did however have for me a $50 savings bond for my efforts at selling the baler. That was the way my Grandpa taught me much about life and what was really important in this world.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Tumble mustard aka Sisymbrium altissimum.

Today’s picture is of a Pheasant trekking through the pasture on a beautiful June evening.