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