Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dad, 8 years gone and still here everyday

Testing this thing on? Man, when you get out of the rhythm of regular blogging it is like everything is brand new again. Clearly though this is just like riding a bike right??? right??? Hello....hello.... I could tell you about excuses for not blogging but I have done that enough, I just havent, please keep that in mind as you read this post. 

So today is the 8th anniversary of my Dads departure from this world.He is seen above with my youngest Dakota... I don't know if I was any better prepared for it than I was 7 years ago. I am actually doing pretty well, calving has been going great and all in all although life is not perfect things are pretty damn good here. Hardly a day goes by that I look at the news and the rest of the world and just shake my head and appreciate the life I have. In fact, just the other night after a long but good day I shared this thought on Twitter..

 That being said I still wake up most mornings and it takes awhile for my mind to wrap around the fact that Dad is no longer here. Sometimes I still wake up with a dream or a joke from the night of slumber that I can't wait to share with him and then BAM..... I realize...nope that isn't going to happen. 

That certainly doesn't mean a day goes by that I cant feel him around me. Certain weather, the spring grass greenup, the slight whiff of a burning menthol cigarette, many things still happen that make me know that he is not gone....he just isn't here, or maybe he is and I along with other mortals just can't see him, or who knows what the fuck, but I damn sure know he is still around. So in the glory of a story, let's share the latest.

Back in the fall of 2007 before Dad passed in the spring of 2008 he bought some Holstein steers. His idea was to put cheap gains on these calves and then re-sell in the spring. I was NOT a proponent of his venture. I felt his feed resources were much more suited to bred cows or feeder cows but it wasnt a make or break deal and he wouldnt have let me change his mind anyway. So he bought him some Holstein steers and somehow ended up with 1 Holstein heifer in the bunch. Now in most instances a Holstein heifer would have good value but this was supposedly a "freemartin" heifer. For those who dont know...

So no big deal, freemartin dairy heifers are often sold with the steers and are animals for beef so whatever.... 

So fast forward to March 24, 2008 a few days after Dads passing. So we have these cattle that are ready to market and part of them are those Holstein steers and that freemartin heifer. As she makes he way down the sorting alley I see just a little something that makes me wonder. I probably said something really scientific and politically correct like,  "Is that silly bitch pregnant?"....So we put her in the chute, I think I found an OB sleeve and after a palpation I was kinda laughing my ass off because by damn this little Holstein "freemartin" was going to have a calf which I hoped was able to shake it's head as hard as I was at that moment. That first calf was a heifer calf and she is still in the herd as is 7514W the number assigned to this "freemartin". So now going on 8 years every spring #7514 aka "The Holstein" has brought us a calf. Her calves are usually pretty average but she does have 2 daughters and 1 grand daughter in the herd. One of her granddaughters just had her first calf this past week...

So this little "flyer" of a bovine purchase has actually did pretty well for herself. Even if come late fall she is one of the first cows to test the perimeter fence and spawn a phone call about a cow "Next to the road". She also spent one night years ago harvesting the neighbors sweet corn in their garden. Luckily, the fact that I had helped them by hauling off a dead steer of theirs they didnt make much of a fuss.

The hardest part of Dad being gone is one moment I am angry at the world that he left us way too soon. (He was 60 and healthy) and in the next moment I feel guilty that I was able to be the son of and have the mentorship of such an amazing man.

 #7514 was with 4 black Angus bulls last summer and 1 Shorthorn bull. So there was a 4 in 5 chance that her calf would be solid black in color or maybe have a white sock or 2. Many of her calves have been solid black which from a marketing standpoint is ideal. But today, on the anniversary of Dads passing what did #7514 the little "freemartin" heifer that liked to breed bring to the table???? A little red and white clone of herself which because of her color and markings wont be a highly sought after calf next fall from a $ standpoint. I guess I will just keep her red and white spotted heifer as a replacement heifer and see what Dad and Mother Nature have in store for the future.
Because that is just what we do....make the best decisions based on the circumstances and face the fact that although a solid black bull calf may have been the common choice for marketability, sometimes taking a chance on Mother Nature and embracing something a little unconventional is not always the worst thing to do from a profitability and fun standpoint. We love you Dad and we miss and feel you in our lives every single day, even if you like playing some jokes now and again! 

Today's Cowman music selection is "The Dirt Road" by Sawyer Brown...."Daddy worked hard for his dollar
He said some folks don't-but that's ok
They won't know which road to follow
Because an easy street might lead you astray" 

Thank you for all you taught us and all the sacrifices you made so my family and myself can live the life we do!