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...."