I grew up working on weekends and in the summers on ranches. I built fences, worked cattle, ran irrigation equipment, picked pecans and anything else that needed to be done. I had part time jobs during school at Sears and at the Cattle Auction Barn in Abilene. Most of my adult life was spent with a job in the city but I went to the country and worked when I could or when the family needed me to do so. I am very familiar with what it takes to run a farm or ranch and it is not something new to me. At sixty years old I moved back to the country where we have a sheep herd of around 100 head of ewes and also do a few other things.
This last week I cut up a deer, ground the meat and made summer sausage. I bought a couple of show hogs I am feeding for a couple of weeks to finish for the processor. I also have a bull I am raising for beef and just bought a nurse cow and two calves to raise for beef next year. For the last two weeks we have had mostly drizzling rain and sleet with temperatures hovering around freezing at night. All of the livestock must have supplemental feed daily in this weather. The ranch is a lob lolly of mud and the truck, our two seat buggy and the stock trailer are covered in mud. Boots have to be cleaned or taken off to go in or out of the house. My clothes have been covered in mud and my fingers burn from the cold. The livestock is always appreciative of the feed and I worry about the small lambs making it in this cold drizzle. It always seems like they are always born in bad weather.
I have had no problem falling asleep at night for the last two weeks but the alarm to get up seems to come much to early these days. This morning I was supposed to go pick up a cow and two calves around 8:00. I walked out the door to feed the show pigs at 7:15 and to my surprise the pigs were not in the pen. I have portable sheep pens and they had simply taken one panel apart and made their escape. The barking of my border collie drew my attention around to the back of the barn where I found my dog nose to nose with the pigs. I got a feed bucket and took some feed to the hogs and let them have a taste, then proceeded to coax them back into the pen and put it back together. By then our bull, the guineas and the chickens had come over to see what was going on and beg for feed. After feeding the beggars I then hooked up the trailer and proceed to drag it out the muddy roads in four wheel drive. When I got to the county road both the truck and trailer were covered in mud and I left a trail of mud to the highway. I got to my appointment at 9:30 instead of 8:00 as planned, where I bought a cow and two calves and made a new friend. Upon my return I had to drag a trailer now heavier with a cow and two calves back through the mud to the pens. After unloading the cattle and putting out feed I put the trailer on the back side of the barn and unhooked it. My wife hollered out and said lunch was ready. I ate a hot lunch and feel like I am ready for bed already but it is only 1:30 and I still need to go to the front pasture and feed the sheep. I love this life but I should have moved out here when I was younger. It almost makes me mad when people say that they bet I am sure enjoying retirement and not having to work. I wonder if they could keep up with everything I do with my time in day. Wild Ed