Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Random Thoughts From a Weary Rancher

We have officially hit the busy season. I am not sure which direction to turn. I could be fixing fence, burning pasture, planting corn or working calves. It’s funny how that everything hits us at once and it seems like an endless stream of things to do. However, for all of the stress we have never failed to get the cows out on grass or the corn planted. Somehow it will all get done, but that knowledge does not lessen the immediate stress.
That is why this week’s column will be a series of random thoughts I have had in the past week. With everything going on I am not capable of any in-depth thought. Thoughts like, I would like to find the engineer who designed my 1997 Ford F-250 Heavy Duty feed truck and have him take a tire off after a winter of feeding. For those of you who have not had the privilege of removing a tire off of one, the lugs holding the tire on are about six inches long and catch a lot of “stuff” making the tire changing process a long, miserable chore if you do not have access to an air wrench.
This past week I have clipped and sprayed trees and I have burned pasture. If anyone from the EPA is reading this, burning is a much preferred method. It is quicker, cheaper and has less of an environmental impact. Sure the air quality numbers might spike for a day but I am sure that more than offsets the decreased amount of herbicide used. The bottom line is that burning is the only way we will preserve the tall grass prairie we have left. It does seem as though we are doing a better job of not concentrating the smoke this year and spreading our prescribed burning out a little more. But if we don’t burn we will be clipping and spraying a whole lot more.
I ran a wire underneath of my thumbnail on my right hand, not much of an injury. However, it is amazing how much you bump a sore finger. Especially when typing. When in the midst of a dry spell it is important to remember that a 30% chance of rain means there is a 70% chance it won’t. I am also pretty sure my cows are so bored that they are watching the grass grow. One morning of forgetting to plug the fence back in after chores and I will have turned the cows out on the brome, whether I want to or not.
When I take bales of hay out to the cows right now they are about as excited as I am when we have left-over, clean out the refrigerator night. One bucket calf adds twice as much time to chores every morning. I am sure that is not true, but it seems that way. Remembering to turn the water off is the hardest thing for me to do.
A watched ewe never lambs and the last thirty calves are not nearly as exciting as the first thirty were. It is turkey season, I sure have seen a lot of them and they call almost constantly. This time of the year a farmer’s cell phone battery hardly lasts through the day. I will let you decide if the last two thoughts have anything to do with each other. On a related note, I will agree that turkeys (I am talking about the birds now) are weary but they are not smart. Many of us who hunt them give them too much credit for outsmarting us (then again…..).
Nothing grows faster than your lawn when the mower is in the shop. I have also noticed that the weather is always perfect while you are waiting for a part during planting or harvest and almost always changes once the part has arrived and the repairs are made. This time of the year you should always take a jacket and be prepared for colder temperatures no matter what it is like that morning. If you don’t believe me go to a track meet. We should also pass this information on to all teenagers.
Finally, it must be spring. This past week I experienced the migration of the red tractor from its winter feeding grounds to its summer home. Unlike most migratory species red tractors migrate north for the winter and South for the summer; at least they do on our farm. Well, enough of my scattered, random thoughts from my harried mind. Back to work before I get myself in more trouble.

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