Friday, July 23, 2010

The smell of gunpowder in the morning

The last two days have just flown by. Yesterday my nephew Chase spent his last day of the summer on the ranch. Rather than move irrigation water all morning He, Dakota and I did some target shooting and thinned down the carp and rock chuck population. There are few things more satisfying than teaching a kid how to use a firearm safely and properly. It also gives a great opening to teach them about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and how owning a firearm is their right in this country.

Today Dakota and I moved irrigation water and then I did a few things around the corrals while she worked with her fair steers. Knock on wood this group of steers has been the easiest to tame as a group that I can remember. They are really starting to enjoy the almost daily rinsing and leading around on these warm days. Today was not so bad, 85 degrees but there was a nice breeze all day. We then came home for lunch and a break and I had another small project to complete.

In this area you “order” irrigation water either “on” or “off” or if you need a “change” in the amount of water. You usually have to order your water changes by 3:30 p.m. the day before you want the change. I had the corn water go off on Wednesday but forgot to call yesterday to order it back on for today. There are people who are “ditch riders” that travel a portion of the irrigation system each day to make the requested changes. I really needed the water turned back on today so I called Dan my ditch rider. Luckily he thought he would have enough extra water for me and if necessary he would shutoff one of my pasture units leaving more water in the ditch so he could restart the corn water. Dan has saved me more than once and is a great guy to work with. I put together a package of rib steaks, hamburger and roasts in a cooler and left them at the water “turnout” gate with a thank you note. Dan left a thank you message on my phone today as I primed the pump and restarted the corn circle. Thank you to Dan for helping me out and thank you for being a beef eater.

This afternoon Dakota and I traveled to Connell to pick up grain and a new hose for the gas tank at home to replace the one that split and doused me with gas 2 weeks ago. The Grain Growers was a hopping place as wheat harvest is in full swing and trucks arrived and left at a steady pace. We also stopped at the Grange supply for the gas hose and Dakota bought a magnet with the promise that she could use it to get the broken off key out of the John Deere tractors ignition. Dakota also thought we should stop at the Sun Mart convenience store for a snack. I agreed on the condition that we each only could buy 2 items and they had to be something that we individually really liked the taste of. Dakota bought a single bottle of Vanilla Coke and a bag of Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos. I understood the game much better and bought a 30 pack of black licorice and a 18 pack of beer.

This evening I spent some time checking calves and a bit of water changing. The two calves I treated on Tuesday are much better and there are a few others getting over whatever they had but it looks like things have run their course thankfully. On the way home tonight I stopped on the road and chatted with my neighbor. Ishmael is the employee of another neighbor but is my emergency contact whenever I am away and become aware of some problem at the ranch because of a phone call. After a long chat about life, a cow and heifer calf of his bosses that is in my pasture and the joys of being a Dad to teenaged daughters we parted ways to let a tractor pass right before the sunset in the western sky. Pretty exciting day wasn’t it, now you see why I do not post something daily even if I have time.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Painted Lady butterfly aka Vanessa cardui.

Today’s picture was going to be of a Painted lady butterfly but my memory card on my camera was full of images of kittens, Festus and the teenaged dork who filled the memory card! Sometimes it is hard to believe that she can 3 inch group on a target at 75 yards with her 10-.22 Ruger. Love you Gus