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.
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!