August 27, 2014

A Rancher's "Easy" Button

Being a rancher and a mom have a few things in common. It doesn't matter what time of day, what the weather is, or if you're under the weather, there's no calling in sick. You still must take care of things. Today was one of those days for me. The kids are back in school, and the germs are coming home. At first I thought it was allergies, then the aches set in, but there was work to do on the ranch, not to mention children to take care of. So I decided to use my "easy" button. That is, as soon as the ibuprofen kicks in, you go to work. I headed to check on and move the cows up north. A heifer on the wrong side of the fence in the neighbor's pasture greeted me. She'd have to wait while I got the 4-wheeler off the truck and took the plug out of the water tank so it would drain.

 With no gaits in sight, I decided to use the easy button again. I saw a place in the fence where she probably got out, pulled some fencing staples and pushed her through. Then I put the fence back together. I'm so glad our cows are gentle. We take care of them that way, so I wouldn't expect anything less.
 On to the electric fence. Roll up the wire. Unroll the wire somewhere else. Remove fence posts. Set up fence posts somewhere else. Everything was going as planned beside the heifer being out. It was a good thing too because even though the ibuprofen was working, I was starting to feel feverish.
 The cows had gathered at the fence, clearly ready to move on to greener pastures. But you can see from afar that there were some stragglers on the other side of the canyon. Never load your 4- wheeler up until you know for sure you're done. I unload the 4-wheeler and head down the canyon to the other side.
 Four jovial heifers without a care in the world. One good thing was that while pushing them out of the canyon I did have a small comforting feeling of being home in the mountains of Idaho.
 Now that they were back with the herd it was time to open the gait, sing happy birthday and cake the cows. Ok that's a joke we have about caking the cows. Cake is a compressed protein suppliment the cows love. I don't make tons of chocolate cake...although I could really go for some right now! I thought it would be easier to lure them to the next pasture than chasing them through.
 It wasn't as easy as I thought. Some cows came through while calves lingered and ran up the fence line to catch up with their moms on the other side. I drove the truck back into the old pasture and slowly drove out, waiting for everything to leave before driving down the lane. After a little effort and chasing a few calves, they were all where I needed them. They followed me in the truck to where I started pouring the cake on the ground.

 With that done and over I decided it was time to get home, get some lunch and rest. I zoomed out of the drive, then realized I hadn't shut the gate to the pasture we'd just come out of. I hate this gate too, because I'm not strong enough to shut it. I have to use my fence stretchers. So I drove back and shut the gate.

I love the idea of an easy button. We all make our own I guess. But I also think a lot of it is in our attitude and determination to do what must be done.

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