I love raising cattle and sheep and producing the food we all eat, but just like everyone else I have bad days at the office.This morning was one of those days, so let me tell you about my bad day at the office.
This morning started off rainy and miserable. The weatherman had said it wouldn't rain until noon. Because of that forecast I decided not to fill hay feeders for the cows until this morning. That was my first bad decision, the first of many.
I slogged through the mud and muck, getting wet, to feed the calves and sheep in the pens. While these chores went relatively, well they did take longer than usual. Like many of my fellow farmers and ranchers, I have an off farm job and that usually puts me in a time crunch each morning. That led to my second bad decision.
I decided to feed the cows with the pick-up truck. Normally in muddy conditions I use the tractor to haul the 1100 pound big round bales of hay out to the cows, but tractors move slowly and I can feed much faster with the pick-up. Shortly after entering the pasture I got hung-up in one of the many deep ruts made by the tractor this winter. That meant there was nothing else to do but make the long, cold, wet walk of shame back to the barn to get the tractor.
The tractor easily made it through the mud and ruts and soon I had the pick-up pulled out (after laying in the mud and who knows what else to hook the chain up under the pick-up). To my surprise when I went to unhook the truck I found that the doors had locked on the pick-up (with it started, running and using expensive gas). Also in the pick-up was my cell phone (which really made no difference because it was dead, so I guess not plugging it in last night was my first mistake). So again I made the long, cold, wet walk of shame back to the house to call my dear wife (and boss) for help.
Jennifer also works an off-farm job and I did not look forward to making her leave work to rescue me from my bad decisions. However, during our phone conversation she reminded me that both sets of keys were now locked in the truck which was running and burning expensive gas out in the muddy pasture. For some unexplainable reason I decided it was her fault that I had chose to drive the truck instead of the tractor and locked my keys inside. That was my last bad decision of this sad string of events. I angrily told her I had decided to break the window out and hung up, only to see the emergency set of keys hanging above the phone.
I made the final, wet, cold walk of shame back out to the pasture and unlocked the pick-up door. The 1 and a half hours later I finished feeding the cattle with the same tractor I should have started the whole sad thing with in the first place. Interrupted by the helpful neighbor my wife had sent to rescue me from breaking an expensive window. The morning ended with me finding a new calf (healthy and happy) and arriving at work one hour late while apologizing to my wife on the phone.
What is the moral to this story? I guess it would be that one bad decision should not be compounded by another and never, ever yell at the boss. However, for all the heart-burn and grief that the morning caused me I also realized that even on the worst day, I still love ranching and raising the food we all will enjoy on a wet, cold night like this. So if you will excuse me I have some serious groveling to do with the boss.