Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Best Laid Plans of Farmers

The best laid plans, well we know what often happens to those plans. Each day I walk out the door with an idea of what I am going to do that day. I am not sure why I try to have a plan, very seldom does my day ever go as planned. Often I walk back through the door at night, shaking my head and wondering just what happened to the day. Today was one of those days, and we aren’t even to noon yet.

I had my day scheduled precisely. I needed to get two lambs to the locker to be processed, they needed to be there by seven that morning. I would get up early, do my chores, load the lambs and be back between 8:00 and 8:30. I even had breakfast planned, had located my favorite travel mug to put coffee in, after that I would write my column, drive into town for a lunch meeting and spend the rest of the day running a few errands.

Breakfast, chores and my coffee went along just as I had planned. I caught the two lambs without any problem and loaded them on the trailer. OK, so not everything had gone as planned. When I hooked up the trailer and connected the lights, the ground wire came out of the light connection. I backed the trailer up and fixed the connection under the yard light. I only lost about ten minutes to that bump in the road.

I pulled into the locker plant at 7:20, I am still not real sure where the other ten minutes went but my plan was still intact somewhat. I backed up to the unloading area and noticed a very angry cow. She was next in line just ahead of my lambs and she was not happy about it. I think most of her surliness probably was there before she arrived at the plant and much of it may have been a life-long, and now, terminal condition.

The cow did not want to cooperate and seemed to not care that she was holding up the line. It took some time, all hands on deck and ingenuity to finally get the line moving again. I don’t know what happened to bring that cow to that point but I certainly agree with the management decision made to get her here.

I unloaded my lambs now 45 minutes behind my schedule. No worry, I did have quite a bit of slack in the schedule so the day was not lost. That was when the phone rang. It was Dad and we had a cow out, how far away was I? Too far really, but we could make it work. I would run home, drop the trailer off, grab fencing supplies and my computer. I would write my column after attending to the cow.

I was now starting to worry about my plan. Most of my slack time was eaten up and the noon deadline was looming large. I did not panic. This should be easy, put the cow in, fix the fence and write my column. After all, this was going to give me the idea and inspiration I needed. I pulled up to the pasture and old number 56 was standing in the road. Dad positioned the pickup behind her and I got out to walk her up the road. She did not want to go.

She was not wild or mean, just stubborn and had a sense of where she thought she should be. Her plan for her day and my plan did not match up. By the time we got to the top of the hill and the gate I had nearly decided old number 56 would look better as a number 3 on the extra value menu at McDonalds.

The fence had to be fixed. That should be hard, it was probably a water gap or a tree on the fence and most likely close to where she was located. We fixed a couple of spots but that glaringly obvious spot was not to be found. This also meant we had to walk the entire fence. Quickly the hope for a fast solution disappeared and what was going to be a small bite out of my schedule soon turned into a huge chunk.  It was now 11:15 and I was not yet started on the writing project that was to be started at 8:30 or 9:00 at the latest and due by 12:00.

A quick email was sent off and the lunch meeting was moved to 1:00. I fired up my computer and soon learned that my column was already written, I just had to type it up. Suddenly I had made up time and my schedule wasn’t so shot. But, of course, the day is still only half done and I had a plan for the rest of it.

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