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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chances Are

So a little quick post to finish out 2013. Hopefully I can get in a groove and post here more in 2014. Back in 2010 one of my first blog posts was about how I met my bride. You can read that post HERE 

Todays post is going to be about this incredible woman who has given so much of herself and totally changed the way I view life. Those of you that know me in real life probably already have some idea but those of you that only know me through social media may not know that I am not always an easy person to even like yet alone love. I tend to fight the status quo and I am sometimes just a little too honest in todays politically correct society. The upside is you wont ever really doubt just where I stand on an issue or given situation. Add in a little stubbornness, a whole lot of independence and the fact that I constantly have a few demons that my mind is fighting. She is going to heaven on an express pass simply for the fact that she has put up with my shit. I am not a "Southern Man" but this song by Whiskey Myers gives a little idea of that independence and middle finger attitude that comes along with me. "I can't change my ways but I know who I am, I guess thats somethin' you don't understand." Well she DOES understand and loves me just the same.







She gave up a comfortable life in Texas to come be a ranchwife in Washington. She has given me 3 precious daughters that have added so much to my life and my happiness in this world. She has learned to be quite a cattle sorter and has mercilessly kept the amount of laundry I attempt at a very low level. Her and the children she has given me were not the only but the primary reason I was able to go on after losing my Dad. All of this and not to mention the fact she is smokin hot! 

So to my beautiful, loving, hot and caring wife, thank you so much for always being there and supporting my dreams of being a cattleman working with Mother Nature often at the expense of your own wants. Believing in me even when I don't. Curtis Grimes sings "The Cowboy Kind"


Lastly, it was 19 years ago tonight when I met this incredible angel and I love you so much and cant wait to share our next step in life when we become Grandparents later in 2014. One more song today that I think sums up just how low the chances were the night we met that we would be here today. "One foot on the narrow way and one foot on the ledge, sifting through the devils lies and what the good book says. If I'm going anywhere I'll probably go too far......" Garret Hedlund sings this incredible song "Chances Are". Thank you for helping us beat the odds and Happy Birthday darlin. I owe my life to you! Happy New Year all, and thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cold is here, but in the meantime.....

Just to get a little something up so that I get a semi- regular post here. We have turned cold, highs in the mid 20's and lows in the single digits. This isn't the end of the world it just means a little more management here on the ranch. I spent today making sure every vehicle had an antifreeze level acceptable to the cold temperatures and adding some Power Service brand diesel conditioner to anything that runs on diesel. My past days of trucking especially in Canada taught me what a great product this is. Diesel fuel will turn into something with the consistency of Jello if it gets too cold.

I am lucky in that it looks like our cold weather is going to be accompanied by dry weather which is much preferable to snow. Cattle are much tougher than many people would expect. As long as they have enough feed and a open (non frozen) water supply. With some shelter from the wind, even natural protection like trees or an elevation change they are quite hardy and will survive and even prosper in conditions that would make a human miserable. This past weekend I got the 1st calf heifers out on corn stalks with the bred cows and now they are pretty much on cruise control until the first calves start coming in late February early March. That's the plan anyway. Here is 2221W a first calf heifer this year as newborn in February of 2012




  A young calf in May 2012 and as a pregnant 1st time expectant mother this past week. 


This is the circle of life in Mother Nature that I work with hand and hand everyday and makes me absolutely love what I do and am amazed that I can actually make a living at doing it even though it isn't always perfect or always a really great living from a monetary standpoint. I would do what I do to the verge of starvation just to be able to see this glory everyday. So in my last post here I mentioned we got an early calf that wasn't planned. My daughter was upset that this new calf would not have any playmates owing to the fact that we were not planning on any calves until late February early March. I told her that if one cow had found a way to have an early interlude with a bull I doubted that she was alone and a few more calves would hit the ground early. I am not always right about everything but I know cows and I know how Mother Nature works. Now that first heifer calf has a male (bull) playmate out on the cornstalks.


 Sometimes it is just better to just laugh and appreciate the spontaneity of Mother Nature and count your blessings! As we prepare to face the week of low temperatures with dripping faucets and engine block heaters I want to share my Cowman music selection of today. Chris Knight sings "In the meantime" Love finding this obscure beautiful country music! Enjoy and as always remember all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them and comments and questions are always welcome. 
Guitar twang and lyrics like "Sometimes I wonder where my next dollar gonna come from
Keep my head up and something falls out of the sky
Daddy taught me how to use my bootstraps and carry on
He said God will be good to you son if you try" Oh yeah!


 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Schedules, Planning and oh hell lets just roll

How many of you go through your days following or trying to follow a particular plan or order? I commend you that do and have the patience for such folly and at the same time I am very grateful that I rarely do. My Dad used to say two of the best things about being a cattleman are: 1. You never run out of things to do. 2. You can do what you need to do in just about any damn order you please within reason because you will never finish everything anyway. I used to have some jobs that required a very ordered and structured day. I used to carry a dayplanner stuffed with itemized time schedules, lists, and lots of notes for future reference. Now on a good day I have 2 pages of scribbled crap on a yellow legal pad that likely has some coffee, Rockstar or spittoon juice dried on it and on a bad day I have illegible scratchings on a few C-store receipts, the back of my hand, and/or the dust on the dash of my pickup.

Today was a good example of not having a particular plan and how things tend to work themselves out in the end. I am desperately behind on paperwork and office things. I had planned a quick check of cows this morning, then some paperwork time. Well my cow checking turned into a 2 hours of time pissing away just watching cows grazing corn stalks, looking at and digging in cow manure and trying to gain some insight and knowledge about how they think and why they do things the way they do.



 But you know what, I am ok with that because I think I did learn a few things in that 2 hours. When I did get back to my desk and the pile of paperwork I just couldn't resist logging on to see how the live cattle market was going by watching a few cattle auctions with internet feeds. Oops, another few hours of daylight during a time of short daylight hours burned away.

  
By this time it was time to get my afternoon chores completed and prepare some nice T Bones for the grill tonight. When I took a look at the cows grazing stalks again I got a little surprise from one of my cows. Apparently #7320W had ignored my plans for March/April calves and was able to find a little time with a bull last February and rebred about 18 days postpartum (rare but it can happen). While this isn't optimum a live and healthy calf born ahead of schedule wont cause me any lost sleep. My daughter Dakota is worried this calf won't have any playmates for awhile but if one cow did this I expect there will be a few more calves before the March/April rush. It just shows that you can plan all you like but when working with living things and Mother Nature sometimes she will tell you to go screw yourself.  



Things tend to work out. The flesh (stored fat) this cow is carrying, the fact that the corn stalks this year have lots of grain in them because of fall windstorms will assure that she will be able to provide for both herself and her new heifer calf just fine through the winter. One last thing about planning is I never really gave it much thought and certainly no planning but I found out this week that in June I am going to be a Grandpa. Congrats to my oldest Amanda and her husband Kenneth. 


This news did cause me to make plans for November of 2014 when a little cowboy or cowgirl will get a chance to dig through cowpies with their grandpa to make sure the cows are getting enough corn in their grazing diet! 

Today's Cowman YouTube music selection from Justin Moore is a tribute to both of my Grandfathers that both were great men and taught me so much about life. I plan on being as good at that job as you both were. Lets hope that plan comes together. All pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them and as always thanks for reading and any questions or comments about what I do for a living are always welcomed. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

CMA awards and my personal Country Music take

If you dont follow me on Twitter or Facebook you may have wondered if I fell off the earth being it has been a long time since I posted here. Just busy and honestly IMHO Facebook and Twitter are tough on a blog because instead of a drawn out post you can post quick fleeting thoughts. Things are slowing down and maybe I can get a few more regular posts up here. Tonights post is about country music and my views and is a bit drawn out.

Firstly, I am NOT a Taylor Swift fan. I dont dislike her personally but I dont enjoy her music. Is her music "country" or not is part of this discussion. Tonight as the CMA awards were presented my Twitter feed blew up with mostly negative comments about the state of today's country music. (Follow me on Twitter here TheDailyCowman) I was highly amused at many of the comments and often in agreement in that country music isnt what it used to be. The plastic cowboy hats and booty shorts sported by some of the artists make me laugh more than bother me. Much of the "mainstream" and "award winning" country music probably doesnt really fit the definition of country based on years past. At the same time I understand how the world works and what sells is what wins the awards. This is why I don't take anything away from artists like Miss Swift. Is she a rolling in the dirt, cow punchin' woman that could pull a breech calf or turn a barrel course in 17 seconds? I doubt it, but she is an artist and an entrepreneur and like it or not she has a huge following. I can respect her, her choices, and what audience she targets even if it isn't something I really embrace.

I enjoy "classic" country music and try and support artists that still strive for that sound. At the same time I would guess that my Grandfathers would have both thought something like this wasnt really "country" when they were my age, while to me this is a "classic". Go Waylon!



Myself I am grateful for the variety and the fact that even though much of today's country isn't quite "country" it has brought a whole new level of fans than it had when I was a teen. Should someone that sells millions of songs be given a CMA trophy isn't a argument I am going to waste time with. Do some really great modern artists not get enough airtime because they are not "mainstream" probably yes. I guess it is just like the cattle business. Many people have different markets and niches to fill and sometimes, maybe even often, the really great ones never receive the awards and accolades just because they are different from the mainstream. For the most part those that are doing something they love and making a living at it could careless how many CMA awards or purple ribbons they get in a lifetime.

I also liken this to the cattle business in that much of what works for me in the cattle business is the same as it was for my grandfathers but much of it is different. Should I expect everything from Jason Aldean to sound like George Jones while at the same time using technology and markets that are different for myself than they were for my grandfathers? I think there is some hypocrisy in that. You know what I really LOVE is when one of today's artists puts together something that makes you dance while at the same time giving some reverence to those that came before them. I think this song by Jessta James (many are saying who is that?) well take a listen. I think this is "country" as he sings a tribute and story song to Waylon Jennings! "There was and old cowboy beside me, and he was hunched over a Jack and Coke...." 



Now that being said I still can very much appreciate those that sing something that is not only "country" but is also "old school" and while it is sad these artists wont likely get the awards they are at least more accessible now with the internet and related technology that didn't exist years ago. I sometimes wonder how many Rhett Akins recorded great songs like this back in George Jones days that never got the recognition they deserved because someone more popular like Blake Shelton recorded them later? BTW I love Rhett, Blake and Aaron Lewis who all recorded this song. 



So in summary I "get" some peoples frustration with what sells these days especially considering so many more obscure artists are making great music that doesn't get played but remember variety is the spice of life and what we all enjoy isn't the same. At the same time I cant be angry that some artists will chase a certain "type" of song in an effort to sell more copies any more than I will accept a country music artist telling me what kind of cattle I should raise. To me country music isn't just a certain "sound". It is about life, lyrics, and passion. I am going to finish this post with another song by Jessta James that is a different kind of country entitled "If that ain't country". But that "twang", lyrics about living in the country and something that I crank up when it comes on the radio will always be appreciated even if it doesn't get the airplay or trophies I would give them. "Some of them dirt roads wind down the mountain and roll out over the plains...."





 



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day letter to my Dad

Today's post is going to be a little different from what I usually post. Being Fathers Day I am going to write a little letter to my Dad. I know for some of you, hell possibly many of you this post may seem a little morbid but for me it is therapeutic.  I will also share a few pictures from this spring and summer that I wish Dad could have been here in person to see. Here we go......  



It has been so damn long since I have been here I am not sure I will even be able to get something posted. I was on a good run there in March and then BAM, life and my sometimes wavering balance jumped up and bit me. I really thought getting past the 5th anniversary of your passing I was in good shape but I guessed I fooled myself once again. Was it easier than the previous years sure, but still as exciting as springtime is there will always be somewhat of a tempered optimism because of losing you that March day. So here we are at Fathers day and once again my mind is heavy with your physical absence but thinking about you brought me back to sharing some thoughts with the world unfiltered. I sometimes laugh because I just wonder how you would have taken my blogging, tweeting and Facebooking about life. Especially knowing that anyone with an internet connection could see these thoughts. So here I go again despite knowing that your words of "sometimes you gotta just toughen up son" don't square with the fact that I was tougher when you were here in a physical sense.



You and I often used to test each other just as much as we both enjoyed testing the foundations of other humans that we had contact with. I still do that in my own way but I sure don't enjoy it as much as I did when you were here to see it happen. I know I sure miss watching you being you. Nobody did aw shucks, don't get all tightened up about a little nothing like you did. I want you to know that I am getting better at recognizing when you show yourself through someone else that still walks this earth. Last week at Bobs corner when I first saw that guy leaning against his pickup smoking a cigarette I did not approach him because he reminded me of you. I approached him because I saw him buy that pack of Kools and I knew that if I talked to him I would get a second hand olfactory memory of so many of our conversations we shared over the years. Honestly I really didn't pay much attention to what he said but when he mentioned being in the witness protection program I did not doubt him nearly as much as I felt it was you just seeing if I was paying attention. I appreciated the laugh and the smell of that smoke.



A few weeks ago at our branding I really felt you around that day. Pretty smooth day wasn't it and I damn well know you noticed I didn't miss a single cow through the chute that day. I bet you never thought I would learn that you run a chute based on where a cow is GOING to be, not where she currently is. I remember that first time you showed me that idea working those yearlings that cold fall day so many years ago when I could barely reach the handles. In preparation for branding day we cleaned the working shed floor down to bare concrete and you could see where I wrote "Olberding Farms Feb. 20th 1984" when we poured that slab. I also could see where little sister made her big "87" for her graduating class that made me so mad and gave you such a big laugh the day it happened! I remember our exchange that day when I was mad she wrote so big and at an angle after I had so carefully written my inscription. You asked me who told her she could write something and I said it was me. You said that is a good lesson for you son, never try and guess how a female of any species will do anything, just accept it for what it is move on. At the time not knowing I would be a husband and a father of 3 girls I didn't appreciate that wisdom but I sure do now.Thanks for that.





So in the morning I will be up early and I will sit with you and we will watch the sun rise together. I know it does not happen often because you rarely missed being up before the sun while I on the other hand rarely go to bed before 1 a.m. but as time goes on I see more of our similarities than our differences. I was watching a Sopranos episode a few nights ago and it reminded me of one of those moments when we both knew at a base level how similar we are. Remember the night that I test drove that 1971 Camaro in Moses Lake that I wanted to buy so badly and you said it was not a good idea. We were both so mad at each other that night but when the Kinks came on the radio to sing this song we both reached for the volume button at the same time to crank it up! Maybe that is the biggest gift you gave me of all, not being like everybody else. It is memories like that one that cause me to both laugh and be sad at the same time.



Well Dad i sure miss you but I appreciate all you did for me, all you taught me, and most of all for still showing up almost daily in some aspect of life. I have quit trying to predict when it will happen but this great country song by David Ball sums it up. Happy Fathers day Dad.


 


 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Celebrating National Ag Day I am #agproud

Today is National Ag Day and to start this off I want to thank all of my readers both ag employed and otherwise from every corner of the globe. As a great person once said, "If you EAT, you are connected to agriculture!" As I share today's post I will also intersperse some pictures that relate to what make me #agproud.  I also must mention two specific people. A young man, a great agvocate and an all around nice guy named Ryan Goodman who runs an incredible blog     Agriculture Proud  where this passionate and hard working young man works tirelessly to share agriculture's story. He and his efforts inspired me as well as another great agvocate and also wonderfully cheerful and funny lady named Janice Person who also blogs at A Colorful Adventure  asked fellow ag bloggers to share why we are #Agproud on National Ag Day. It was through my efforts to share my story and jump into social media that I found these two great people and I was able to meet them both last year in Nashville at NCBA's Cattle Industry Convention. Thank you Ryan and Janice for doing this, for being great agvocates and for becoming friends. I am like a first year grid kids player to a NFL all star compared to these two when it comes to social media and agvocating so this opportunity means a lot to me. Thank you so much!  

So let's talk about what makes me #agproud. There are so many things but I think at a base level what makes me most proud is the people involved in agriculture. My Dad used to tell me this over and over that the best part of agriculture was the people. I don't think I ever fully appreciated this until just a little over 5 years ago. As I steeled my emotional composure for his services at his celebration of life I took a look at the overfilled parking lot outside of the church. Seeing the plethora of pickups of all makes and models with some sporting spring mud and a few flatbeds with bales of hay was certainly a "I told you so" moment for me.



 Everyone from those in production ag to those that help make it go by driving trucks, selling seed, or installing a GPS navigation system on a tractor or picking crops. My Dad had a firm belief that most of these people were great people and I would concur. We will use the term #agproud and the letters to compose this word to define why these are such great people and why I am #agproud.

Agproud "A" Appreciative; people in ag are thankful to be able to do what they do for a living. They understand that life is not always perfect but the chance to be connected to such a basic thing as raising food for people is a noble endeavor. They appreciate the chance to share Mother Natures beauty as well as her tribulations in what they do every day. They appreciate the opportunity to teach their children and grandchildren a work ethic and the joys of life and the realities of eventual death for all living things.

 

aGproud "G" Generous; generous with their time,money and talents. Time by coaching kids sports teams, volunteering to lead events like county fairs and participating on school boards etc. Money by supporting 4H and FFA kids at their market stock sales, scholarship drives as well as supporting things like disaster relief for those in need. Generous with their talents by helping a sick neighbor in need to plant a crop or calve out their cows. I have witnessed this so many times at such a common level but it never fails to amaze me how generous they are even when sometimes it isn't the best choice to their own operations or circumstances from a monetary standpoint.

agProud "P" Passionate; No matter where I travel, no matter what segment of the ag industry these people are connected to, they live and breathe what they do everyday. They do it with a passion and vigor that is hard to find industry wide in any other calling.I have yet to meet someone involved with agriculture that lacks a passion in their life for what they do.



agpRoud "R" Respectful; I have yet to attend an ag related event where I wondered why a younger person did not hold the door open for an elder. People in ag do the little things like say "please" and "thank you" and they mean it. They also carry a great respect for the land, their animals and for those who came before them in this ever evolving industry.





agprOud "O" Observant and Optimistic; People in ag have to be observant and they are good at it. They have to "see" that a particular calf might have a fever or a particular crop is lacking an individual nutrient and then make management decisions to remedy those situations. They also must observe things like weather and market trends and constantly do a delicate dance with that information. They know by the return of certain species that spring has arrived and by the color of a crop that it is ready to harvest. Optimistic in even when markets are not good or weather not perfect that in the long run it will work itself out. Optimistic that in every mistake there is a life lesson, in every disaster an opportunity in the future.

 

agproUd "U" Unique; I firmly believe that people in ag will often fool those who try to stereotype them or their individual personalities. That lady brand inspector might be the most gifted and artistic leather worker and that broken down bowlegged pen rider might play the piano like Beethoven. That dairyman may have spent his younger years working on Transatlantic ships and have some great stories to share. When you open the door to a combine and hear Adele singing "Rolling in the Deep" or see someone that usually wears Wranglers and spurs in a suit testifying before a Senate hearing you should not be surprised.  

agprouD "D" Dedicated; This trait is practically a necessity in the agriculture industry. There are so many other places where people with the intelligence and skills needed in ag that pay more, offer more time off, more certain hours and less uncertainty about the future than ag. It takes a special person that is dedicated to their passion to get into and stay in agriculture. 

So I salute you fellow agriculturalists. I am very #agproud to be part of a group of so many people that are appreciative, generous, passionate, respectful, observant, optimistic, unique and dedicated. If you think agriculture is not important or part of your life you might one day be hungry and this Vern Gosdin song captures what you will be feeling. "Do you believe me now?" 



 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Profitability can be "ugly"

Today was a pretty great day when looked at from a total perspective. I did have one moment this morning that gave me a bit of attitude anger but overall it was a pretty great day. I needed to clean out Griselda and sort the tools, fencing supplies, empty beer containers, garbage and matted up hay remnants. This went pretty well as I tossed the fence supplies and hay remnants on the ground and put the tools into an empty protein tub. The mistake I made was leaving the cleanup area since Griselda is without a tailgate. Whoops!
The highlight of the day and the subject of tonight's blog post  was the first calving of a specific heifer #1902. This heifer is a good enough heifer but because her mother is a cow that is bigger than I really want to own from an efficiency standpoint she was right on the cutoff line of being a replacement heifer or being sold as a feeder heifer. Here is 1902's mother 4902 with her calf in 2012. As a reference 2902 is still here as a replacement based on her deep body and what I see as future profitability.





 
 The problem was as a young calf 1902 developed an abscess on her face. My assumption at the time was that she had some kind of "sticker" that had lodged in her skin and with the quick puncture of a sharp scalpel one day I was proven correct. Fetid pus and liquid spewed forth and in total amazement I caught the offending sticker in my hand. I was happy with this because I knew it gave her some swelling relief and also because I hoped her lump would shrink and she would no longer be stricken with this feature that did not adversely hurt her other than from an aesthetics standpoint and her marketability.

One thing I have learned in the cattle business and something my Dad and I agreed on and spent many hours discussing and debating. Just about every bovine, especially females bovines have at least one "win" and one "wreck" in her at some point of her lifetime. For the rest of this discussion win means profit and wreck means loss from my perspective.Others have a different view as to what winners and wrecks are. Like many things in the cattle business there are few absolutes but many generalities.

I look at these wins and wrecks all the time when making marketing decisions. They are much like "turnovers" in a sporting event in that sometimes they are the difference between winning and losing. I will readily admit that sometimes these gambles or games do not always come out in my favor. I have at times tried finding a win in discount cattle and failed miserably but each time I learned and kept that for future reference. The key is finding more wins than wrecks. I won't give you a long math lesson here but the reality is that because of her superficial facial defect 1902 would have likely been severely discounted as a feeder heifer calf going into a feedlot and becoming beef at around 18-24 months of age. I am not saying this is wrong because if a feedlot buys a calf with a lump on her face and it turns out this blemish hurts her ability to eat and grow they would be looking at a potential wreck or loss for themselves. For me as a primarily cow calf guy and knowing this would likely not hurt her ability to be a calf raiser I decided to make her a cow by breeding her and adding her to the herd. That being said I doubtfully would buy a heifer calf to breed with a lump on her face unless she was deeply discounted in price because of the same concerns as a feeder. 

So last spring and summer 1902 spent her time grazing and growing with the company of a bull. Sometime in early June of last year 1902 became impregnated. Today 1902 did just what I had hoped and produced her first of hopefully many offspring over the next few years. Yes, she still has her facial blemish but she also has a beautiful udder just like her momma and should raise a quality and profitable calf. She also calved unassisted in a 350 acre pasture, cleaned off her calf, got her calf up and provided her with the all important first milking (colostrum) with zero human assistance (or as i say interference) Here she is with all her ugliness and beauty with her first child. Welcome to the world 3902!


Certainly at some point her calf production life will come to an end and she will be sold as a "cull" cow based on age, a lack of pregnancy or potentially other issues. When that time comes she will probably still suffer some type of discount because of her facial feature but it will not be near as severe given the fact that she will go directly into the beef complex at that time.


Two conversations in recent memory related to this, one on Facebook and the other in person. In the Facebook conversation a young man in the cattle business asked me, "What kind of cows do you run?" My answer was, "I run cows that I think will make money. I don't get too hung up on color and /or breed. I like little efficient cows that raise profitable calves."  The other in person conversation was with a couple that raise purebred cattle of a breed I wont mention because their selected breed is not the problem in my opinion. "We look at bull calves with a less than a 85 pound birth weight as throwaway calves because you just cannot make any money on those kind of calves because they wont grow!" They also added this gem, "For us having cows that "look" like winners is more important than anything!" I just politely listened, nodded and made a mental note to not ever buy their bulls. To each their own and I do not give unsolicited advice to anyone in the cattle business because freedom is what built this country. But here is a classic country Bobby Bare song that captures the sentiment of being a perceived "winner" in my humble opinion. Or in other words, "sometimes ugliness can be very profitable". You just keep on keeping cows that look like winners and I will just focus on making a profit for a living. All pics can be viewed in full size by clicking on them.





So as we plod along through this life especially the cattle business you are welcome to laugh at my small or ugly cows. You see, my ugly little cows take it real personal when you laugh at them. Make sure that everything you own looks like a "winner", my mistake 4 coffins.





 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blog school and Chicken lights

So the past few days I have been studying in "Blog school". Well technically it is a Facebook group called "Blog overhaul" led by a great agvocate, blogger and all around nice lady named Judi Graff. Check out Judi's site and blog at http://www.grafflandandlivestock.com/  
I met Judi and her husband Bill "in real life" (IRL) at NCBA's annual convention in Nashville in 2012 after following her blog and Twitter account. I was invited to this group but was hesitant about joining for several reasons. In my first post on the site I thanked her for the invite but hoped that I would not be the dunce student of the class. Everyone else in the class already had better blogs in my opinion then I could ever dream of having. Content is not a problem for me, dealing with technical issues, updates and getting things to look how I want them to look constantly test my patience level.

Growing up I did pretty well in school, not spectacular but other than some algebra math I was a mostly B student and a sometimes A student. Part of my problem was I could cruise and get a B or give some extra effort and concentration and get an A. Now you know why I got mostly B's and just squeaked by on GPA to be allowed to wear a coveted "honor cord" at graduation. One other issue for me that I still fight with today is patience. For instance just today on my way to Dakotas volleyball tournament I was third in line at a red light. I have never comprehended why everyone is not like me and famous drag racer Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and constantly trying to understand why everyone does not have a 0.084 reaction time. You can practice here http://www.quikclikrt.com/   so you don't piss me off next time you are ahead of me at a traffic light. Green means go damn it and those clutch plates can take a little slippage!

So back to blog school. My blog DID need an overhaul no doubt. My comments were not working despite literally hours of actually some pretty good effort on my part to fix them. My blog was certainly a bit bland and I decided to give blog overhaul a try. Things did not start off well for me. I would try something new, not like it and then struggle to at least get back to where I was in the beginning. I could not just cruise and get a B I was going to have to give some effort and take a pass/fail. I have been close to quitting the whole blogging thing more than a few times and I was getting close once again. 

Well teacher Judi stepped in, offered to help me out and 4 great things have happened. Because of her attention to the guy (me) that felt like I was a 23 year old senior that was still hanging around thinking maybe that the more years I was here the better the chance of being elected class President in High School.

 On the main page you will see some new tabs for new pages.
1. I now have an "about" tab that will be evolving but sums up what I want to offer to readers and who I am.
2. There is now a "contact" page where you can get all the information needed to engage with me about the blog as well as Twitter and Youtube. You can also now easily subscribe by email with the little "follow" widget in the right hand sidebar of the blog.
3. Judi got my comments section fixed! Now anyone including my old cowboy friends can respond to individual blog postings.
4. I have some renewed blog energy and think more engagement from readers will compound that.  

So now that I have a YouTube channel here is my latest upload from a twin bull calf that is seen in our mud room at the top of the page. You might also notice that I must be waiting for someone to offer some cash for broken down old Tony Lama work boots by looking in the background of the picture HA!




So tonights Cowman twang music selection is from Jesse Watson called "Chicken lights and chrome" the beginning of this song and the little rift from about the 2:24 to 2:36 mark in this video are pure twang heaven! So please give me some feedback on the new "chicken lights" that the blog is sporting and as always thank you for reading!

 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tribute to good Mommas


I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my Dad and all the things he taught me and how much I miss him every day. Today I am going to spend some time talking about my Mom who did just as much to support, encourage and raise me. Being in the business that I am I get to see first hand the importance of having a good mother. Today I was able to actually video just how strong a good mommas natural instincts are and I can attest to how much positive difference a good momma cow can make in the life of her calf and the profitability of a ranch. So today I honor my Mom with some commentary and good mother pictures taken today. Happy Birthday Mom, I love you very much!



Being the first born and only son in the family certainly did not hurt but my mom was there for me. From cookies for a Cub Scout meeting, frying up fresh beef heart and scrambled eggs for breakfast when asked, to being the one who would get dad calmed down before he meted out punishment for some of my misdeeds as I grew up, she was always there. There were plenty of times that our individual personalities clashed and at times still happen but I never doubted her support or love. 





As an example, like many mothers she would remind me to always wear underwear that was clean and not torn or tattered. I mean what if I was involved in some sort of accident we clearly did not want some paramedic seeing this! I announced to her in 1981 that I had finally embraced her wise words and had solved the potential problem permanently. She beamed with pride for a few seconds until she asked me how?  I told her that I was no longer going to wear underwear of any kind so no more need for her to worry. It is and was moments like this that her love is tested but has never wavered.


 Thank you Mom for all you have done for me, all that you sacrificed in your own life in pursuit of being a good mother to me and my sisters. Thank you for being a great Grandmother as well. We all love you.

Today's Cowman Youtube video selection is a song by Shenandoah dedicated to my Mom on her special day.

 
  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Get busy livin, or get busy dyin'

Another great day here in the Columbia Basin. We got some rain, a whopping .17 inches but hey when you live in a desert you take what you can get! After a quick check of calving cows, tagging newborn calves and some sorting and loading I headed to Toppenish, Washington to the weekly cattle auction. Other than the rain coming down all of these tasks went spectacularly even if they took a bit longer than hoped. I was west bound and south bound but a good "twang" song related to how I felt driving today is "Eastbound and Down" by Jerry Reed from the movie Smokey and the Bandit, one of the most amusing and fun movies ever. This is also a movie that transcends generations as my kids and I can always laugh and have fun whenever we watch this classic together. You Sumbit@h!



I arrived at the salesyard, unloaded my cattle and then Festus and I proceeded to climb the cat walk to look at cattle and bullshit with fellow cattlemen. One fellow cattleman I spoke with today was Greg Rathbun from Rathbun Angus Ranch in Moses Lake, Washington. http://www.rathbunangus.com/
The Rathbun family is a great family that is very engaged in the cattle business and agriculture. I have some Rathbun genetics in my herd and they have a bull guarantee that is unsurpassed. I laughed today when Greg surmised that "You are way too old to be as brave as you are!" related to my YouTube video about tagging calves.



I laughed because as I told Greg, " You gotta die doing something!" Yes, I am more careful than I used to be around protective mothers and there are a few cows with calves on the ranch not sporting tags just because I know certain cows likely are faster than I am on my fastest day. This is a result of past knowledge of certain cows and their habits around their newly birthed children. I used to work like crazy to tag every calf but these days I get what I can with a reasonable amount of risk and let the others wait until branding day. Sometimes even when you get a calf tagged if it is done in a hurry the tag is not properly placed and can fall out. I had this experience a couple of days ago. I found a calf without a tag away from the group of cows. At first I thought it might be a twin but then I noticed this little guy had a hole in his ear where his tag had once resided. I got the calf up, headed him in the general direction of the cows and a mother and child reunion took place as I shot some video.   




On the way home today I thought about what Greg had said and my response. Sure, I give cows their proper respect but in general I am not afraid of them. I really do not spend time worrying that some mother cow is going to end my days here on earth. If such a thing did happen it would not be the worst way to go, doing something I love. That does not mean that I never have anxiety or think about my own death.

What does make me worry about death are much more simple things in life. What if I am waiting for my turn at the DMV and die of a heart attack? What if one day I am working on a budget and keel over? Heck, for that matter even if I passed while typing out a blog about the incredible life I am able to lead it would be better than the two aforementioned scenarios. Life is about LIVING and I can attest that I am not just living, I am living a dream. 

This evening as I fed cows I had a bit of a dilema in that I had left my twine cutting knife in the other pickup. No reason to stress or worry, just make do with whatever you can to get through said situation. As Crocodile Dundee exclaimed, That's not a knife."



As I finished the day I had to improvise and find a "knife" of my own for cutting bale twines!