Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hardest Spring Ever (at least this year)

I don’t know what it is, maybe it is age, or maybe things do get harder each year (blame it on climate change, the sequestration, partisan politics or the designated hitter) especially in the spring. This year I was more relieved than ever to get the cows out to grass. The rain was very welcome and the ponds and grass look far better than I thought they would at this point. It will take me at least a year to complain about rain and moisture, but this was a hard couple of weeks.  
That is why I lingered and watched for just a little while as the last couple of cows stepped off of the trailer and stuck their heads straight down into the grass. To be honest, I think they were just as relieved as I was. Very few things in this world are as satisfying, to me, as soaking up the warm sunshine on a spring day and watching the cows graze new grass.
The other thing I find relaxing this time of the year is to get back to our working facility and just enjoy the silence. Just an hour or so ago, this same location was a bustling place with cows and calves. It was so loud that phone calls were either missed because we didn’t hear the ring or intentionally missed because we couldn’t have heard anything anyway. Now it is just complete silence, except for maybe the birds chirping or the wind rustling.
I enjoy that first morning after the cows go to grass realizing that there is no hay to feed or cows to worry about getting out (well not for a while at least). Sure there is the picking up, putting up and cleaning up that goes along with being done working cattle, but even that seems to be at a slower more relaxing pace. Well, most years.
This year was a little different because we still had to finish planting corn. That was another product of the wet, cool April. Again, I am not going to complain about cool springs and especially wet weather. But it did give us a greater sense of urgency to try to get closer to being “caught up”. That too passed, a couple of good days and we had the rest of the corn in the ground and life was good.
It is funny how each year is different but somehow things are really the same each year. We stress about getting the cows to grass, and it seems that each year has some sort of obstacle we have to overcome. Maybe it is running short of hay or it is the weather, but there is always a sense of urgency both in the days leading up to working cows and the days we actually haul them to summer grass. Yet, each year the cows end up on pasture despite the challenges.
Planting crops is no different. Each year has its problems. It might be too much rain (that would be nice), too little rain, the temperature isn’t right or any one of a million other things that can and do go wrong. Again, we worry and stress over them, and in the end, the crop gets planted each year. It would seem that the worrying did nothing but occupy the hours we could have been sleeping and gray our hair even more.
Why do we worry? I am not at all sure; I guess it is just what we do. What I do know is that as I watch the cows stick their heads into the grass and munch away or as I look down the freshly planted rows of corn, it was all worth it. This time of the year reminds me of how lucky I am. I live in the best place on earth doing a job that I find satisfying. Life does not get any better.
But that moment is fleeting as reality again sets in. The soybeans need planted and it is supposed to rain for the next three days. A quick check of the weather shows that the rain chances have decreased. What if the rain knocks us out of the field for a few more days? Or worse yet, what if it doesn’t rain anymore this year?  So much to worry about and so little time.

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