Thursday, October 28, 2010

Does Ethel need a helmet too?

Between traveling to Toppenish twice this week to bring home cow calf pairs, going to Dakotas’s final volleyball game and participating as an interviewer for a cooperative extension job today I have logged quite a few miles. I usually enjoy driving because it gives me time to think, it is a pretty easy task and you get to see what is going on in someplace other than your own little world. The downside is that it gives me time to think, it is pretty easy and I get to see things going on in someplace other than my home little sheltered world.

Tuesday morning I was going to make a quick trip to Toppenish, pickup the remaining pairs and be home with a huge part of the day left to get things accomplished. Early that morning I could already see that I had some type of issue. There was one calf that was walking around the corral bawling like crazy and one cow with a swollen bag that was looking for a calf among the cattle I had brought home Monday. I did not panic and thought that obviously I had left one mother and one calf in Toppenish the day previous that would match these two sad individuals. I almost just trusted that to be the case but then had second thoughts. What if there was a larger issue and I possibly had an unmatched pair because of a sale yard mistake? I knew I had room for one extra cow and calf so I reloaded the cow and calf to take back. I figured that I would unload them, some left behind cow as well as some left behind calf would rapidly “pair up” and I would be on my way back home.

As I traveled that day I saw two things in particular that caused me some deeper introspection. In the space of just a few miles I had both a Dodge Neon and Chevy Malibu pass me. Both of these 4 door vehicles had spoilers on their rear trunk lid. In high school and college I was able to survive several drag races and several long trips way over the speed limit in a Camaro without a spoiler and twice the horsepower of these grocery getter cars that had just passed me.

So for what possible reason could these cars need a rear spoiler? Was there danger that grandma Ethel’s Tom-Tom GPS unit would fail her and put her in danger? “Turn right onto Super Speedway” says the GPS unit. Could it be possible that Ethel may have to challenge Kevin Harvick and the 23degree banking of the Daytona track and need the assurance that she would not break the ass end of her car loose and hit the wall in turn 3? Can you just imagine “Depends” undergarments as a major NASCAR sponsor? The thought made me smile but not near as much as thinking of Ethel getting into the rear quarter panel of Kyle Busch and spinning him into Jeff Gordon as she broke away clean to take the checkered flag. Later she was docked 200 points by Nascar because her spoiler was .00000012 millimeters too high at the post race inspection. (I know you non Nascar fans are bored but anyway) At this point I shake my head and realize I am going 87 miles per hour with a pickup and stock trailer because of the way my mind leads me astray.

I just kind of get myself back in focus when I see a billboard along the highway. Now you tell me what runs through your mind when you see a highway billboard with the words “Long on taste, 12 inches to be exact”? I quickly knew it was an ad for Sonic drive in and their Foot long Coney dog as the picture of a big chili and cheese covered wiener came into view. What did you think it was? If you doubt such a billboard exists I challenge you to look on the side of highway 395 southbound near Eltopia Washington. I got to Toppenish and the unpaired calf I returned quickly found a mother and the returned cow rapidly had a calf suckling her as well. I had just sighed in relief when I was presented with a new issue. I had 8 cows and 9 calves to load.

I wanted to get going, the sale yard personnel wanted me to get going and since we knew we had everything else paired up we loaded all 9 calves deciding it would just be Christmas if none of the cows had a set of twins. On the way home I passed a pickup and travel trailer that both looked to have been built in the early 60’s slowly traveling down the road. My initial thought was to feel sorry for the older gentleman driving the pickup and how difficult his life must be. Upon further thought I decided that the man had two very distinct advantages over the general public. Just think of the freedom that he must feel to know he can freely move to wherever he feels he wants to be at any given time. On top of that I pondered how lucky would it be that the spare tire to your pickup could also serve as a spare tire to your home because the bolt pattern and wheel size was the same.

Once everyone was back to the ranch I found out I did have a set of twins and chuckled at the good fortune of one extra calf. This particular cow has plenty of milk and seems to be letting both kids suck so for the time being she will raise them.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the mule deer aka Odocoileus hemionus.

Today’s picture is cow 3913g with her spring steer calf 0913g. This is what you want to see as you approach weaning, a big calf with a cow that is rebred to calve again next spring.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let them eat cake

This time of year there are so many mini triumphs but they also contrast with so many mini disappointments. I have changed my last hand line this year. Irrigation water on the hill went off last week and on the home and Dixon place the water goes off tomorrow. We had some nice rain this past weekend and coupled with a decent fall of moisture I am celebrating the end of irrigation water for another year. I still need to gather and store some of the system components but knowing that not moving a hand line will not result in a dry non grass producing spot is a relief.

There is also the downside to this time of year. One of the reasons water can go off here in the desert is because it has cooled enough both in daytime high temperatures and nighttime lows that grass or any other forage has either stopped growing or will grow at a very slow rate over the next 5-6 months. I have a much better “stockpile” of grass this year than I did last year at this time but the cows will soon consume what is still out there. After that you can graze dry pasture, graze crop residue or start feeding hay which gets expensive fast. Luckily here in the Columbia Basin there are options.

You have to balance the costs of moving cows, building fence and travel vs. staying home and feeding hay. Usually anything a cow can consume on her own as compared to being fed by you is a less expensive option. I will graze cows on both corn stalk residue and alfalfa hay regrowth this winter to try and keep feed costs down. Both of these are good feeds and if managed correctly can provide most all the nutritional needs of both dry (non lactating) pregnant cows and cows nursing calves (pairs). You still have to supply some vitamins and minerals and later in the winter possibly some protein supplement of some kind. I have more than once made people laugh that are unfamiliar with the cattle business by telling them that we use nutrition charts and formulas with different feeds to come up with a ration that provides the necessary nutritional values but at the least cost. Many large cattle feeding operations have a fulltime nutritionist on staff and smaller enterprises utilize these services as well.

I traveled to Toppenish again today to bring home some fall cow/calf pairs I purchased and will make another trip tomorrow. As I drove through the fertile farmlands of the Columbia and Yakima basin I reminisced on some of the “odd” feeds we have used at different times for cattle. Purple top turnips are an excellent feed with a high level of production per acre that can be used especially with weaned calves. Wheat stubble regrowth, hay regrowth after a good frost, and corn stalks have been used many times in our operation. Our family has even grazed unharvested cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and seed corn. Besides the things we have had cattle graze we have also fed many different crops. Potatoes have been used both culls and remnants from spud seed cutting but also French fries, tater tots, mashed and hashbrowns that did not meet food specifications. Pumpkins, squash, apples and pears have been fed at different times over the years. I know of one operation in Pennsylvania that is close to a Hershey candy factory that feeds candy bars that do not meet certain specifications for human consumption. With the four compartment stomach of a ruminant like a cow many items that would otherwise go into a landfill can be used for feed.

I feel that this post is mostly long and boring so I am going to add a story from the fair to contribute a bit of levity. My fair wife Debby (see blog post VIP September 1, 2010) has a son that is the same age as Dakota. Debby told the story of how she was missing several seasoning spices from her cupboards but really did not give it much thought. A few days later she was moving her 8th grade sons backpack when several of her missing spices fell out of the bag. She confronted her son and asked him, “Cole, what are my spices doing in your backpack?” Her entrepreneurial son answered, “Mom the school lunch is so bland, I have been selling it in the lunch room to improve the school lunch flavor. 50 cents a shake Mom, I have made over $10.” Capitalism, it works every time it is tried.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Rush skeleton weed aka Chondrilla juncea.

Today’s picture is cow 9099w with her fall calf. I wanted this picture so that if a member of the Audubon society ever tells me cattle are bad for birds I can respectfully disagree.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

With friends like this

The last time I was here posting I said I would talk about last Friday and Saturdays bull weigh in and tagging. I wanted to talk about the camaraderie and fun that a bunch of cow hicks can have when they are working together. I was lucky enough to experience some of that same fun today. I really do not know why but cattlemen are just a bit different than say, oh normal human beings. I do not know if it is the things that cattlemen will experience in life that is very different from most of humanity or if it takes a bit of mental instability to be in this business or some combination of the two. It could be that cattlemen are just weird.

I do know that there is no other “type” of people I would rather spend time with. When I talk about different things than most humans ever experience that has many examples. How many of you have ever stuck your arm up to your shoulder in the anal cavity of a bovine? Yeah, I just narrowed the group considerably. If we were playing Survivor 99.98% of the world’s population would be leaving the game because the tribe of smelly arms has spoken. That would be to the extreme but I can think of many other things related that are different to “normal” humans even at the most basic level.

There are only so many people that are willing to share whiskey with their friends in the absence of cups but I have yet to find a group of cattlemen that will shy from such a feat. Personally it works for me because I don’t think like “normal” people. When I swig whiskey out of a shared bottle I do not think to myself, “Ugh, I just put my lips where Cletus put his lips.” I prefer to imagine kissing Cletus’ wife when the bottle hits my lips because I am sure at least once Cletus has kissed his wife with his lips. I do not think about it too much though or pretty soon my whole group of fellow whiskey drinkers are making out with Christine!

Last week I showed up in the late afternoon Friday to help weigh in bulls. I had not been at it long when one of my friends, who had been at it all day asked, “Did you get my text?” after rolling my eyes (I hate text) I said that I had not to which he said, “It was just two words.” I then asked him if the first word was “bring” To which he answered in the affirmative. I told him that it was on the passenger seat of my pickup under a bag of ice. I won’t tell you the second word but it started with a “B” and ended in an “R” and had an “E” in it. No, I did not have a bear under a bag of ice in the passenger seat of my pickup. It was almost like we had some type of mental telepathy that I have never felt when working with my plumber, florist or psychiatrist.

On Saturday when one of my friends slashed his finger with a tag cutter all of us were very concerned for him and his well being. This concern did not manifest itself before we had a hearty laugh and had called him every feminine name in the book but the concern was real. I was so concerned that I even let him use some of my special red duct tape to close of the wound. Very few people share these kinds of special friends outside the cattleman world.

We also had one friend that showed up with his Hereford bulls that he had been issued brand new handwritten ear tags that morning. After removing these new tags to replace them with “official” tags we chuckled at his wasted effort. In most instances that would be the end of it but not for a group of cowboys. We took his newly made tags that we had removed and later placed them into the ear of an orphan “roping” calf of a different breed combination lacking of any Hereford characteristics or color. Not only that but we are planning on taking some pictures of this less than stellar animal wearing the tag of our friends ranch and publishing it with an advertisement saying “semen available” from XYZ ranch. It takes some pretty special friends to help each other out in this way.

Today I helped some “friends” haul some of their calves to the auction. Besides the freeway bravado of Dodge vs. Ford nothing was really off limits to comment on. From remarks on the growing size of someone’s gut to the symbolic comments about the decreasing size of someone’s testicles it really was just the loving compliments among a group of cattlemen. I especially enjoyed the underhanded compliments such as, “that is so weird, last week I could only get 14 of my own calves on this trailer but yours must be smaller because 17 fit just fine.” This type of friend is hard to find these days and even harder to find with a bottle of whiskey, lack of cups and a wife and/or girlfriend that is pretty enough that you can imagine kissing her when you swig whiskey. I sure hope none of my “friends” are in trouble over this post. The embarrassment over their small calves is shame enough without knowing I am dreaming of kissing their wife and /or girlfriend.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the prickly pear aka Opuntia polyacantha.

Today’s picture is 7234w with her new fall calf last week. 13 years old and still productive and one of the smartest cows I have ever known.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Son of a Beotch

I doubt I will get this posted before midnight but it is at least another post for the month of October. I had a pretty great day today and it was really due to all the great people around me. As I start this post I have nothing really amazing, humorous or profound that I am planning to share but I charge forward anyway with hope, testosterone and stupidity.

Dakota was home from school today which is always a happy occasion not just because she can help with some work but also because I really do enjoy our time we spend together. Much to her detriment I think she thinks a bit too much as her father does but that really makes for some really great discussions and laughs. I am really looking forward to the day when she says something like I would say to her, “Holy shit, are you gonna smoke that bastard or what?” as I try to get a rockchuck lined up in the sights correctly and she laughs.

We started the day checking on the fall calving cows and the calves we had treated for various issues Wednesday evening. Everyone was much better and alive and upright which was enough to make me have a good day. We left those cows with the pipe trailer in tow and headed to the home place pasture. After unhooking the trailer where it would later be needed we went to restart the Dixon place pump and move what we call the “super sprinkler” which is a Nelson 85 end gun connected to 1 to 13 links of aluminum hand line. For those that are lost you can make an appointment next summer. Gus (Dakota) and I will teach ya just what a hand line is and as a bonus show you how to move them.

Then we spent the next couple of hours discussing and looking at calves that we will keep for replacement heifers and show steers. It is early but we have a friend wanting to choose a few steers out of the herd in early November and we will have to make sure he does not take a “fair worthy” steer. I enjoyed a little internal chuckle today as I realized how confusing our conversation would be to an outsider without internal information related to our cows or the cattle business. Here is an example of our conversation.

Me: “What do you think about Bubba’s little brother?”

Dakota: “Well, he is ok, but attitude wise I think 0136w that belongs to the hippie cow would be better.”

Me: “Yeah I guess, but we already have Rainbows calf and you need a steer with some stretch to him, what about 52’s calf?”

Dakota: “52 grandma or 52 little black bitc, err I mean 7052y?”

Me: “To be honest both calves would probably work, and you can say bitch if you wanna, after all Festus’ mom was a bitch.” Technically, Festus is a “son of a bitch”.

Dakota:“ Daddddddd, that’s gross, I don’t know, how about that goggle eyed 0158?, And please concentrate this is important”

Me: as I turn towards Festus, “What do you think you sonnaofabitch?”

Dakota: “Dadddddddddddd!”

The conversation would be like listening to a Vietnamese person ordering Greek food from a Taco truck in Kosovo if you were not in the loop.

We finished our work and then I delivered Christine’s lasagna and some frosted pumpkin bread from my Mom to the neighbors that lost their patriarch yesterday. I told them to not hesitate to call and told them how much their husband; father and grandfather would always brighten my day whenever I chatted with him. I know I mentioned it yesterday but may God bless this family as they prepare for services and deal with so many other things.

I then headed to Eltopia to the Bonina facility to help weigh, vaccinate and log in bulls for our Washington Cattleman’s Bull test and sale. I think that I should save that experience, the after dinner and tomorrow for another blog post.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Redhead duck aka Aythya Americana.

Today’s picture is my Festus (who technically is a son of a bitch) going crazy with a cornered rock chuck this spring. Remember all pics can be seen in full size by clicking on them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Up and down

Wow, what an up and down 30 hours or so. Yesterday Christine called me to let me know that Dakotas volleyball practice had been canceled and to expect her home on the regular after school bus. I smiled knowing I had a very able bodied hired hand that would be available with some daylight. I knew that there was one fall calf that needed some attention because she had a foot rot issue. We got up to the hill pasture and immediately saw we had another issue. There was one of the older calves that were suffering from some type of respitory issue so our job and time needed had increased. As we made a plan of action we also drove around and found that one of the newest calves was suffering some respitory issues as well. I grudgingly sighed and looked at the sun in the sky and questioned if we had enough time to deal with everything and if we could if we did have time.

We made a priority list and decided that it would be best for me to use the Honda horse to either catch in the corral or bulldog the two sickly calves. We had not even found the foot rot calf at this point but that seemed like a small matter compared to the other calves. It did not take long to figure out the Honda was out of gas. We ran down to the shop and got 16 oz of gas out of the gas tank which I knew was all but empty but was waiting to get to the 15th of the month before buying more. The whole time the sun dropped rapidly in the western sky and I was fretting quite a bit. We caught the young calf in the corral and treated him and then let him free to be with his very concerned mother. We then caught the older calf and her momma and treated her but as sick as she was I was not very optimistic about her chances. We were able to catch the foot rot calf and treat her despite the best efforts of her mother to keep us from completing our task. I had went from feeling nothing could go right to euphoria knowing that we had done everything to give the calves our best care possible.

This morning we had our first frost of the fall. As I waited for the pickup to warm up I hoped the older calf we had kept in the corral with her mother would be at a minimum alive. When I arrived at the corral in the crisp morning air I was very encouraged. The calf that seemed so sick 13 hours previous was now active and had suckled her mother completely. I drove around and noticed the younger calf we had treated was feeling much better as was the little girl with the foot rot. The morning was turning out wonderful and as I checked the other pairs I noticed there seemed to be a large amount of traffic coming down Scooteney road and onto Mail road. Hmmm was there some kind of detour? Had there been an accident on highway 17 that was diverting traffic?

I drove to the top of the hill and saw that there was something going on and flashing lights near a neighbor’s house on the highway. I quickly hoped that nobody from the residence had been involved in an accident as I drove down the ditch bank towards the scene. I felt better when I pulled into the yard of Mr. and Mrs. D because Mr. D’s pickup was in the yard, Mrs. D was visible in the window and their sons’ pickup was also in the yard. My security was soon shattered as their son emerged from their home obviously distraught. Without going into details I found out Mr. D had went out to get the newspaper and had been hit accidently by a pickup on the highway in the darkness. My heart sank and knowing the suddenness and shock told their son that if there was anything I could do to please let me know.

I think no matter where someone lives, they have known some “old man of the neighborhood”. The person that knows everyone, knows the history of the area and is just someone that makes your day better whenever you see them and have a chance to speak with them. Many people have told me that my own father was that “neighborhood old man” to them before his passing. Mr. D was my “neighborhood old man”. I had really enjoyed our chats on the ditch bank the last couple of years and there will be a huge hole in many days not seeing him tending to his siphon tubes or tilling his soil on his farm. Mr. D was a master at setting up a moldboard plow and his perfection of his tillage and cultivation was something I often marveled at. His equipment was always impeccably maintained and he would freshly paint his tractors on a regular basis.

The thing I will miss the most though is his smile and demeanor. Mr. D smoked those long skinny cigars that smell so sweet and good and seemed to always be in a pleasant mood. I had rented his cornstalks for grazing a few times. He had been a registered Hereford breeder back in the day and we had some excellent chats and had shared memories of the neighborhood and the cattle business. Knowledge of his passing really ruined what had started out as a nice morning. I changed some water then took the day basically off and went to the cattle auction to keep my mind occupied.

I was hoping to purchase a few bred cows or cow calf pairs today. I was stymied in those efforts by very high prices and lively bidding. Although I was frustrated by that I was also happy knowing that the bovines I currently own are worth more money than I had thought. As I drove home this evening I thought a lot about Mr.D. I do not think I will ever look at a well maintained 4020 John Deere, a rill irrigated field of corn or a perfect tillage job without thinking of him. Christine made lasagna tonight that I will take to the family tomorrow and I want to thank her for that. May God bless this family as they deal with their loss over the next days, a really nice and gracious man is no longer here with us. Mr. D, may all your fields be smooth, all your rows straight and all your weeds be sprayed, shriveled and dead. I will always appreciate knowing you and thank you for being my friend, giving sound advice and helping me through my difficulties of losing Dad.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Coopers hawk aka Accipiter cooperii.

Today’s picture is some of the spring yearling heifers grazing on the hill, corn circle in the background, Scooteney Lake in the far background.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Talkin trash

So in continuance of my focus on high school football aka “The boys of fall” yesterday. High school football is not just something you do as a young man, it is something you live. From leaving the fair early or late to attended “two a day” practices to those after game dances where you wore your mesh “half shirt” hoping some young lady would slow dance with you, life in the fall as a high school male revolved around the sport. In my last blog post I talked about Kenny Chesney’s latest song and how it related to me personally when I played football in school.

One verse of the song that really hit me the first time I heard it is “Well, its knockin heads and talking trash, it’s slingin mud and dirt and grass, It’s I got your number, I got your back, when your backs against the wall, You mess with one man, you got us all, the boys of fall.” From a male perspective I cannot stress the importance and fun of the “knockin heads part’ anyone including myself who ever loved the game loved to “hit”. That crack of shoulder pads and helmet against those of an opposing player were gold, solid gold I am telling ya. You hoped in the collision you had the most velocity and put a “hurt” on the other player but even when the hit rang your own bell and made you stagger there was just something fun and magical about that crack of a good hit.

I was not the biggest player on the field, nor was I the fastest, most talented or strongest. I was decent but not great but one thing I feel I excelled at was the mental part of the game. No, I did not know every play the opponent was going to run nor were my instincts particularly honed. The verse in the song “knockin heads and ‘talkin trash’ was probably my forte. I am a true believer in a good mental game can give you an edge in competition. For me it started early on game night. Often you had officials (referees, zebras etc) on a regular rotating basis, knowing these gentlemen was tantamount to success. A quick and friendly pregame, “How are you tonight Mr. Johnson, you look like you have been working out” usually was good for at least one call going your way on any given Friday evening.

The next thing to focus on was your opponent and to learn all you could about them on a personal level. Knowing that your opponent’s real name was “Eugene” even if his team called him “Moose” could be handy as you walked to the line of scrimmage saying something like, “Hey Eugene, did your momma come to the game?” When Moose answered “Why yes, she did”, you would say, “Good, that way she can comfort you on the way home after you get your ass kicked tonight.” Moose may have been 4 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier but the bitchslap he had just been given would keep him off his game for at least the first quarter. At some point in the night a quick “What the hell kind of poosy name is Eugene anyway, it almost sounds queer?” would quite often draw a flag and 15 yards to the good for your team on a personal foul penalty. Make sure Mr. Johnson (who has not been working out) the line judge is in a position to see the retaliation and be sure and thank him for keeping the game clean. You can laugh as you go to your own huddle but keep it fairly low in volume but make sure Eugene sees you laughing.

The mind games did not always have to be used directly on a player to be effective. Suppose you were playing middle line backer and sacked their quarterback on a particular play. As you helped the little man up from the ground you could say, “Man your left guard is almost acting like they wanted me to sack you or they are afraid or something, maybe you should talk to them, I would hate for you to get hurt because he wont block for you.” This would usually cause some discourse on the opposing squad as they huddled for the next play. *snicker*.

It was important to compliment opposing players as well when they made a good play but always leave a hint of doubt. Let’s just say their star running back made a nice 20 yard run, as the pile unfolded you could say, “That was a nice run, if your tight end would block you would have scored a touchdown.” You always should watch and see if your comments cause some fighting among the other side so you can throw gas on any personal fire that may present itself on subsequent plays. If you happened to be personally knocked down by an opposing player it was not the end of the world. Just say something like, "I bet that felt good, now you know how great I have felt knocking you down all night!" *chuckle chuckle*

If you happened to be lucky and be a defensive lineman and especially noseguard your night could be full of wondrous moments. Hey center, “is the snap count on one, two or twenty five?” as their quarterback barked calls would usually be the impetus for one, two or twenty five offside penalties during any Friday evening. Even on offense you could use the mind to your advantage. You could tell the male across from you that you had heard that, “the free safety and he were lovers but their secret was safe with you, but you would be calling them "jotos" the rest of the night.”

The best I ever had mentally was an outside linebacker/tight end from Granger that I knew was the boyfriend of a pretty cheerleader on their side. All night I taunted him and could not get him to react which was starting to get a bit frustrating. We had a good lead but I still was focused on him responding to my vocal games. We were close to the end of the 4th quarter when I brought out the big guns. On a kickoff to them after a touchdown that had been on his side of their defense I finally to got him. As the play ended with him blocking me fairly well I said to him, “Hey Michelle (his real name was Mike), that was some good blocking, if I had not been so tired from grinding all night on that cheerleader (I pointed to his girlfriend) I would have made a tackle” Besides I said, “It was worth it because she was the hottest thing I have ever experienced, she was just flat dirty!” Mike threw a punch that missed, but I staggered backwards and fell to the ground like Keanu Reeves getting hit by a rubber band. Luckily, Mr. Johnson saw the whole thing and gave Michelle (Mike) an unsportsmanlike penalty which placed them deep in their own territory and effectively ended the game. *damn I loved playing High school football*

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the two tailed swallowtail butterfly aka Papalio multicaudata.

Today’s picture is of some of the fall calves on a nice fall evening.

The boys of fall

So here it is after midnight on an early Tuesday morning. With all the evenings I have had the ability to post a blog and have declined I am wondering why I am doing one at this odd time. Of course I am also the type of person that laments for hours over whether it is politically correct to make “small” talk with a midget?

The fall season is here and the early sunsets really make me look forward to climbing into bed at a much earlier hour than in the summer. Tonight I had a fair market stock committee meeting in Kennewick and on the way I noticed the sun is now setting before the 7 p.m. hour which is just depressing no matter how many pharmaceuticals are coursing through your body.

A lot has happened since I last posted here. Last weekend we attended the nuptials of a young couple we know. This makes sense because I have never attended the wedding of a young couple I did not know but I plan to in the future. Congrats Danni and Blake aka Nacholibre, and thank you to both families for the great reception and party. When yours truly drives home because I was the sober one and the next day has to explain to my wife most of what happened the night before because she drank too much to remember it is a great party in my mind. I hope nobody was too upset that Cody, Erica and I let the Traeger BBQ and the bacon wrapped chicken thighs catch fire. Let that be a lesson to anyone. If you have midnight snacks that do not include beef bad things likely will happen!

This past weekend was rainy mostly but Dakota, Christine and I did do some tagging, vaccinating and miscellaneous work on some pairs and yearling heifers and got them moved on Saturday. Friday night we attended the Connell football game and watched the Eagles trample Mabton 62-0 after leading 48-0 at halftime. We have been attending the games quite regularly because my 8th grade daughter is wearing the visiting team jersey of a young freshman suitor that has made the varsity team. (*eye roll* *teeth grate* and reluctant *smile*. Actually the games are pretty fun but not as fun as they were when I was a young man on the field. Kenny Chesney has a recent song about high school football called “The boys of fall” The song really captures the essence of what high school football is all about.

Because I loved high school football so much I am going to fill two blog posts with memories connected to the lyrics of this song. I have a good friend that coaches grid kid’s football. A few years ago he was able to rally his team to him while at the same time gain the scorn of a few mothers with a quote on the first day of fall practice. He told the young men that day, “Football is the most fun you can have with your clothes on as a young man!” I could not have argued with his assessment of this All American right of autumn. The song starts off appealing to senses that are forever locked in your mind “when I feel that chill and smell that fresh cut grass, I’m back in my helmet, cleats and shoulder pads” Anyone who has ever experienced that will always remember. The song then talks about standin in the huddle, the crowd cheering and going crazy and how it was an exclusive club that not just anyone was part of because it took every ounce of heart and sweat and blood. Ladies may find this thought juvenile and pathetic but honestly it is a huge part of not only being a young man but an adult male as the years roll by. “To get to wear those game day jerseys down the hall, kings of the school man were the boys of fall”. It carries on into adulthood in that feeling of working for something and having it pay off by being recognized.

The song then talks about the game itself “Well turn and face the stars and stripes, it’s fightin off them butterflies, I remember those times so clearly. Standing next to your buddies, in reverence to your flag and country and at the same time your legs were twitching knowing the whole night you would be facing #67 or whoever on the far sideline. Then they talk about the game itself which will be the focus of my next blog post. The song also mentions how important it is to a small town and the town’s history and identity. The song also talks about the input of the “old men” who know it all and how the girls will dream about the boys of fall.

That reminds me of my dad and so many other dads that helped and believed in us. I know some of you will remember those late summer mornings in Basin City as they tried to show us and make us believe in our potential. I often talk about embracing life and how important it is. At the same time I will always believe that no matter how much you seize the joy of high school football, it is a feeling like few others you will enjoy in life.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the alsike clover aka Trifolium hybridum.

Today’s picture is cow number 9912G with her steer calf #0912 which is a big boy this fall.