May Day Wishes

Happy May Day!

Mom always told me there are people better off and people worse off than what you are.  Be grateful for what you have…
That was reinforced today after I read Kari’s blog at http://montanaforreal.blogspot.com
My pitiful couple of inches of snow pale horribly in comparison to Kari’s 5 foot (yes, I said “foot”) drifts at their place along the Canadian border!
Our calving has one cow left to go… they are in the middle of it.
I’m very empathic to her situation…
Those are hard, long, horrible days.
I heard on the Morning Farm Report a message that says to the effect… “People in agriculture have to have a thousand things go right in order to produce their product successfully and only one thing has to go wrong to ruin it.”
Blizzard.
Disease.
Markets you have no control over.
Drought.
Grasshoppers.
Bloat.
Wrong genetics.
Hail.
Lightning.
Wildfire.
We walk that fine line every day, every year.
The guys work 10 hour days and often longer than that.  No weekends off.  No paid vacations.  No holidays most of the time.
When trouble hits, like Kari, you go out and work hard for your cattle, reuniting calves with cows, hauling feed anyway you can, putting them in protected areas.
I didn’t grow up on a ranch, but I’m awfully proud now to be part of the ranching community.  To witness the hard work, the dedication, and yes, the humor, that we throw at days like today.
One spring, a year or two after we were married, we had a tremendous snow storm.  The cows and calves had already been turned to the hills.  The storm didn’t create the 5 foot drifts like Kari is fighting, but the ground was covered.  The cold intensified and held on, and the sun came out.  A brilliant blinding glaring sunshine held on for days. The cold didn’t allow the snow to melt under the sun’s gaze.
Back then, we raised Herefords.  Herefords have a lot of white on them, even their udders are white.  White udders and glaring sunshine bouncing off of white snow.  For days.
Soon we were riding, gathering the cows.  They had such sunburned tits that they were kicking their calves off, not allowing them to suck.  We were going to end up with a herd of bummed calves.  Not good!  Every rancher around was in the same boat.  We ran the cows into the squeeze chute one by one, and milked out their sore tits while using copious amounts of Bag Balm.  Soon there wasn’t a can of Bag Balm to be found in the country!  Store owners special ordered a good supply for us…
We had to do that for days… applying the soothing ointment… milking them out so they didn’t dry up… and these aren’t milk cows!  They’d never been milked before in their lives, so you had to keep from getting your hand kicked… and I’d never milked a cow before either!  I learned fast.
No wonder when we switched over to Angus, that we kept the ones with black udders over their white bagged sisters!
Best wishes to you, Kari.

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