Friday, December 3, 2010

Bring it home for the east

Ever have one of those days where you set your expectations low and then have it turn out wonderful? Too often it seems to work the other way; high expectations and the final result was disappointing. I needed to travel to the WCA office in Ellensburg today (90 miles) to a meeting discussing animal disease traceability and how to fund the program. The meeting included representatives from all segments of the cattle industry and the dairy industry. There were also representatives from our Washington Dept. of Agriculture (WSDA) including our state veterinarian.

I had to start the morning in the dark so that I could get cows fed before I left. Everything went great and I had forgotten my bride had taken the day off from work so she helped me get the feeding done in a timely manner. I was also happy to see that the roads looked mostly good and my trip as well as her and Dakota traveling to Tacoma for Connells state football championship game would be safe. I was on the road on time and the day was starting to look up. I was still apprehensive that today’s meeting might be unproductive but I tried to keep an open mind.

As Dwight Yoakum twanged through the cassette deck I made my way through Othello and Royal City. As I neared the elevation drop into Vantage and the Columbia River crossing I saw something along the road that really made me happy. In this area there are two schools Royal City and Wahluke that are in the same league as Connell. I am guessing this was the work of some Royal kids but that is just a guess. They have long been a football rival but share the same agriculturally based population as Connell. There on the side of a stack of hay, painted on the tarp was this;

Despite the rivalry of the past someone in the Royal area supported the Connell boys and their quest for a second consecutive state 1A football championship. They knew the Connell boys and their bus would travel this route and would see the support. I think that the rural roots of the people from these areas contribute to a shared passion. Eastern Washington is mostly rural while much of Western Washington is urban. To see that a local rivalry could be put aside in the interest of “beating the city kids” from the Westside really made my day. Thank you to whoever painted the sign and good luck to the Eastern Washington Connell Eagles tomorrow in their game. Bring it home for the Eastside young men! Here is a music video that I think sums up the rural community experience.

When I got to the WCA office I got another pleasant surprise. I had thought the meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. but it was only 10 to 12. This meant I would have a much easier time getting back home to feed in the daylight. The next happy dance was provided from the meeting itself. Excellent input, good discussion and progress was made today as well as a plan for a path forward. Great job to all the ladies and gentlemen that made today’s meeting so productive! Once again agricultural people did not fail at amazing me with their time, passion, hard work and genuine caring for the industry.

As I traveled home today I was really in a great mood. Two more things would make a good day even better. As I crossed the river on my way home I had an AAA behind me. AAA is for “a$$hole in an Acura” and this idiot really took the cake. Right on my bumper but yet unable to find the testicular fortitude to pass me while we were still on the freeway. When we got onto the two lane highway 26 his tailgating persisted. I knew in a few miles there was a hill with a passing lane so I made no effort to pull over and let him by. When he did finally pass I noticed a pretty lady in the passenger side and mostly ignored the drivers stare. When the lady looked over I did a mock kiss with a wink which seemed to really not be appreciated by the AAA. For some reason he gave me something that looked like the Number one sign as I laughed like a hyena at a pile of wildebeest guts. He took off at a high rate of speed and disappeared around a bend. When I rounded the bend I got the high point of my day. There ahead sat the AAA parked on the shoulder with a Washington State Patrol vehicle behind him with his lights flashing. I was barely able to resist the urge to honk as I drove past. Heh heh.

I made it home and as I turned on Scootenay road I had yet one more rejoice moment. The combine was running and rapidly eating away at the last of the standing corn. It had been idled for days because of snow and cold. This will really help with cow grazing logistics next week. I have a video of 16 rows of corn being gobbled by a massive John Deere combine while unloading corn into a bank out wagon. Sorry for the darkness but I had to feed cows first. I am having some issues loading the video but will try and add it to my next post. Tomorrow I am planning on feeding mid day and then heading to Okanogan for their annual county cattlemen’s meeting and banquet. We will see if anyone else thinks I am the number one driver on the highway!

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Eastern kingbird aka Tyrannus tyrannus.