Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Karma, good karma

Well good news!, I survived another Washington Cattlemen's Association summer range tour. This is not something as easy as one may surmise by reading today's blog post or reading a post about last years range tour

it has quite often became a matter of near death in a school bus. Now growing up I was a pretty good kid on the school bus because the bus driver and my Grandma Sally were friends and I knew any trouble would be reported directly to Grandma who was someone I never wanted to disappoint. Maybe that is why I tend to keep quiet and not let my white knuckles show on these tours because I am , well I am just an afraid man. I actually got a break today as I chose the front or "non dusty bus". This was good because the second bus was driven by a man that was so fearful he would be left in the forest that he had a following distance of .0000000478 seconds behind the bus I was on. On the downside my bus had a woman driver which as we all know can be dangerous, this reminds me of a joke; You know why Helen Keller was a bad driver? Well because she was a woman of course!

Anyway, great tour today and I want to thank the US Forest Service ( which when I thank a government agency is an odd thing) specifically the Pomeroy Ranger District of the Umatilla National forest and all the agency people and cattlemen that attended. This is a truly beautiful area of Washington state and the Pacific Northwest. Despite many challenges related to endangered species, environmental group lawsuits and some large fires in recent years it was nice to see a collaborative approach to ecosystem management. This is good for the "permittee" rancher, the local communities, the local forest service agency and their management, the United states taxpayer and most of all it is good for the health of the forest. Multiple use and dollars spun through local communities to create a strong and prosperous country, with a reasonable management plan that eliminates the idea of no use as well as the idea of overuse. I also would be remiss if I did not mention the ladies of the Asotin and Garfield County Cattlewomen's associations. Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray may have television shows but these ladies would give them a good beat down on how to prepare and serve lunch in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington. Really ladies, it was incredible from the marinated BBQ beef to the oatmeal cookies and everything in between.

It was great meeting some new people today and seeing so many old friends. Although my lady bus driver who seemed to have no problem bouncing a school bus over a cattle guard at 73 miles per hour (store this number) on a forest service road tried to send me to the afterlife today I am still here and breathing. We actually made it back to the ranger station late this afternoon, and despite the occupants of the second bus needing to be screened for miners lung for the dust they ate all day it was a awesome day. Thank you so much to all who attended and made the tour a success.

So all we had to do was make the trip home over the winding highways back to Connell, USA and life would be perfect. A pretty simple task for most people on most days but somehow difficult for me. We were a good distance out of Pomeroy and about 13 inches from the Garfield/Columbia county line when a diligent Garfield county sheriffs deputy clocked me for doing 73 miles per hour in a 60 miles per hour zone. When the conversation starts as , "Sir, please shut off the engine to your vehicle." you just know it is likely not going to be a friendly conversation about how law enforcement and the beef industry can collaborate. So I got a $113 ticket and a curt, "Do you have any questions?" from officer illegible. I thought about asking him if his wife was named "Moana" but I haven't had a ticket in a few years and was terribly out of practice. Things like this used to really piss me off but not anymore. Tomorrow I will be outside working with cows, grass, and mother nature and have lots of good friends and a great family and officer illegible will answering to a boss, being an asshole to citizens and will likely be the one of the few males in Garfield county not having sex with Moana. Oops, did I say what I was thinking again.

The day turned back around quickly as we continued on our trek through the desert on the way home. We blasted through Starbuck, Washington with a speed limit of 35 at 37 mph in an awesome show of defiance and I am sure we crossed the double yellow line on the bridge at Lyons Ferry just for good measure. Somewhere between Palouse Falls and the highway 260/261 Junction I spotted a rattlesnake in the road. We made a u turn without signaling; where are you now officer illegible? and Jack and Neil dispatched the head off said snake. Chelsey our summer intern now has a set of much coveted rattles and tomorrow we will gut and stretch a snakeskin for a future hatband. Now you try and tell me that there is no such thing as good karma for people like myself ;).

Today's picture is not from the tour because someone; Chelsey did not have her camera charged, but instead is calf 1302w on February 15th of 2010, I will try and get a picture of her in the next few days to show how much she has grown.This picture, like all pictures on this blog can be seen full sized by clicking on it.

Today's real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Meadow Foxtail aka Alopecurus pratensis.