If I were to win the lot­tery, I would buy a big ranch

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Bill

We rolled up many bales of good hay and hauled it to barns and sheds. We cut ev­ery sprig of stand­ing grass that could be spared from the graz­ing herds that have to have it. We cut some more on shares with a neigh­bor, his field, and it was a rough sucker, but we got half of that hay. The re­cent need and find­ing none in the barn made believ­ers out of many of us. This long wait for spring cost many of us beef pro­duc­ers money that had to be bor­rowed — just one of the joys of our oc­cu­pa­tion!

I do love sum­mer but re­mem­ber old Sneaky Snake does too. We put up some square bales so we would have them to feed penned cat­tle and horses. I helped stack in the barn, and we were about halfway through when I picked up the bale. I mean THE bale. I grabbed the string and then looked at the far side of the bale to see two eyes look­ing back at me out of a black snaky head. Yes, I screamed like a lit­tle girl, threw the bale al­most to the roof and was out the door in five sec­onds flat! I don’t know how I got out the door with­out fall­ing or bust­ing some­thing be­cause we have a 1 x 12 nailed up there to keep the chick­ens and other an­i­mals out. Maybe I just flew over the whole thing. Well, of course, they laughed, got down on the ground and rolled around like off­spring do! I count it as one more thing to add to my dis­taste of hay sea­son.

I am still en­joy­ing the sum­mer weather. I know it is hot and we al­ways could use some rain, but I love the sum­mer. My close rel­a­tive keeps the head­quar­ters so dang cold I have to have a blan­ket over my legs when I get to sit in my chair. She moves around at the speed of light and, so, she main­tains a fur­nace in her­self and is never too cool. I don’t com­plain aloud be­cause she does slave over a hot stove daily.

I wish the cat­tle would all shed at once. I sure like to see fat slick bovine on this rock pile and some of ours are still fuzzy. If they were show calves, I would be try­ing to grow hair on them, but that time is long past. I am go­ing to mix some cot­ton­seed meal in the min­eral to see if that will help. What do you fellers think would en­cour­age faster shed­ding?

We count our­selves for­tu­nate that we aren’t suf­fer­ing any pneu­mo­nia in the calves. A neigh­bor to the west of us has been hit hard with it and is doc­tor­ing ev­ery day. We had a few scours but, right now, we are busy grow­ing. Thank the good Lord for that! The old main herd is do­ing fine. They feed the ba­bies, eat tons of grass and sleep in the shade. I count them al­most ev­ery day, and some days they get a sack of cubes just be­cause they are good cows! It makes pen­ning so much eas­ier.

We de­cided on AI bulls for about two-thirds of the cows that calve in spring. Yes, quite a lot of ex­tra work and cost, but you fellers know we poor beef pro­duc­ers can­not af­ford to own bulls like the ones we can buy se­men from. The off­spring fig­ured out how to time the breed­ing time in the late af­ter­noon, around 6 or 7 o’clock when it was much cooler and that worked out well. Now we wait to see how many set­tled.

It is my opin­ion, and ev­ery­one has one, if I ever were to win the lot­tery, I would buy a big ranch, hire a good crew to work it and just ride around on a good horse and watch them work! I don’t need any things, don’t get ex­cited over new boots or hats and, even at this stage of life, more land does move me. I be­lieve all in our pro­fes­sion en­joy work­ing be­cause it is our work, our place to make or lose, our fam­ily to feed and, by golly, we love the land that is ours! Don’t hold your breath about me win­ning, I can’t af­ford to buy the lot­tery tick­ets.

Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area au­thor of this weekly column. Opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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