Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Leaving the nest

This is pretty great, I am posting another blog post and it has only been 2 days since I last posted. I finally got some new pictures and I am going to share a few today that I took yesterday. Today I traveled to Ellensburg for a WCA Board of Directors meeting which I felt was very productive. Good attendance, great participation and awesome discussion today ladies and gentlemen. You people are truly incredible and a great inspiration with your unselfish donation of time and effort for the betterment of this beef industry. I am very grateful to be in this business and share it with so many hard working dedicated individuals.

Usually when I am away for a day to serve industry I feel guilty or that things are potentially failing at home. Today I actually felt pretty excellent. I had a very productive day yesterday building fence and moving cows to some new feed. I had such a good day I almost did some much needed paperwork and record keeping last evening. I say almost because I ended up pushing manure in the corrals with the loader tractor instead. I do not know what it says about your mental state when you reward yourself and the day’s accomplishments by pushing manure in the dark with a 30 year old tractor but I am not going to mention it to my mental health professional. It is not like I worked all night as I did take my bride to a local tavern to have their Valentines Day dinner special of a steak with all the extras. The “Brunswick” tavern in Othello Washington does steak and prime rib as well as any big city white table cloth establishment and last nights meal was outstanding. You could also not beat the ambiance of classic rock blasting from the jukebox and the click clack of pool balls being broken in a building full of stuffed game fish and mammals on the wall! Hey when you are in love all that really is just fluff, enjoying a nice steak dinner with my bride was very nice.

I mentioned the other night that I shipped my yearling calves last week. Even with the excellent prices we are enjoying in the cattle business it is always bittersweet to see calves leave the ranch. I still have 24 replacement heifers here and Dakotas 3 show steers and one odd ball steer from last springs calf crop here on the ranch but the rest are all gone now. I guess the fact that I was likely the first human to see each of these calves when they were born last year and spent the last year watching them grow is why it is hard to see them leave. As each calf walks up the loading chute onto the semis you have some specific memory of almost every one of them. Knowing all their mothers and many of their fathers and the history of each makes you reminisce of the past and dream about the future.

A few of the specific memories of each calf are things like the weather on the day they were born or maybe a particular marking or attitude one of them displayed over the summer or fall. To see them as 700 pounders now when they entered the earth a few short months ago at 60-85 pounds makes you inspired and proud. A few of them have new sisters or brothers already born this year and those connections are prevalent in your mind as well. In the end to see a years worth of work and effort and a lifetimes worth of decisions and preparations is hard to let go of. It is almost like seeing one of your own kids leave the nest but there are many of them and it happens year after year. I was very happy with the 2010 spring calves and I felt Dad was watching and smiling seeing how they had turned out. Knowing I had raised these calves, vaccinated, fed and cared for them to the best of my ability so they were prepared to be off to be “finished out” and in turn would provide wholesome, nutritious, and sustainable protein to help feed a hungry planet made me very proud to do what I do for a living.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Red three awn grass aka Aristida longiseta.

Today’s pictures are all from of a particular cow family here on the ranch and I will try to explain the connections and the family history. In the top photo to the left you see a black brockle faced bull calf number 1154w, he was born to cow number 1154w on January 18th 2011 to the red cow facing away from the camera. Are you with me so far? In the lower picture is cow number 9154w which is the older sister of the previously mentioned calf. She was born on February 5th 2009. She in turn is standing next to her FIRST calf, which is also a black brockle faced bull number 1154w born January 18th 2011. In human terms an uncle and a nephew were born on the same day.You see any resemblance? You got that progression right? Good. Remember ALL pictures can be viewed in full screen by clicking on them.