Archive for July, 2012

Have you ever had times in your life when you think people are simply unbelievable?  That some people just cannot be happy for others because they are so blinded by the knowledge and success of others?  As we grow and experience life, we begin to realize that some people spend a lifetime creating drama after drama after drama.  Their goal is to suppress others from being successful.  And, in the end, the one who is constantly delivering the punishment is the one who is self-destructing.  I cannot help but feel sorry for the persecutor, for they bring endless shame to themselves.

Yesterday, I received yet another phone call that highlights another personal attack against me.  I listened.  The very notion of the message was another desperate attempt to drive people away from my successful cowdog breeding program.  You really have to wonder how shallow and small-minded some people are.

I ranch.  I ranch full-time.  I get up early, come home late. I have a successful retained ownership beef cattle operation.   It’s been successful my entire life.  I’m 54 and have been involved in cattle ranching my whole life.  I embrace doing a good job.  I embrace helping people.  I have a closed cowherd.  I have a closed cowdog program.   The people trying to discredit me are wasting their time with their useless, endless jealousy.

Soon, I will be posting the full details of my acquiring a dog related business over four years ago.  Some of you have been extremely supportive to me because you know the people that have waged a devious battle against me since I acquired the business.  I never anticipated that I had been set up for failure.  So when the failures began to kick in it was anticipated that I would give up, give in and would want to give back the business and the dogs.  That anticipated and hoped for end result never came true for the ones hoping I would fail.  Thus, the endless rollercoaster of lobbing more bombshells my way.

I filed a legal suit.  I won.  The people were legally exposed.  And the last several months, the latest tactic is to use another route to achieve their statement of, “I will ruin you in the dog and cattle business if you don’t give me my dogs back”, is to attack my sexuality.  Well folks, I am married to a male.  A man that is not remotely interested in my ranching lifestyle.  I do my ranching work myself with the help of my cowdogs.  And we are successful.  We will be successful today, tomorrow and clear into the future.

So to the people who breed Hangin’ Tree cowdogs and want to continue to “pull another show-stopping rabbit out of the hat”…shame on you.  This latest salvo will not work either.  Shame.  Shame.  Shame on you.   I’d suggest you go back to the drawing board.  Here is an idea, “Grow up.”  But, I know out of experience when you are dealing with people that are “self-absorbed drama addicts” you might as well just let them be because they have no remote clue how much better their lives could be if they lived in the values of truth and honesty.

So, as you:  (1) see their local, regional and national ads, (2) see or go to their low-stress cattle handling clinics, (3) see or go to their cowdog clinics and demonstrations, or (4) see them at ranch rodeos and tradeshows…remember this, “they have spent a lifetime bashing, trashing and hurting others”.  Afterall, the main reason they wanted to get out of the dog business in late 2007 was, “All the people you deal with are stupid and I am sick and tired of dealing with all the stupid people.”

I do appreciate all the lessons I have learned since December 2007 and the activities and events surrounding the expansion of my cowdog breeding program.  And, I feel sorry for those who have spent the past few years with burning up their mental minutes with trying to destroy me.

But, as usual, I hope everyone has a good day.

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5  a.m. this morning I awake. The news man says, “Rain to the west of us.” It’s in the mid or upper 80’s. I scamper outta bed cuz I gotta salt block on the flatbed and I thought I’d toss it under the pickup to keep it from salting up the bed.  Plus, my windows were down … they have been down since, hummm…March, at least!

The lightening was maybe 20 mi. to the W. ‘Round 6 or so an itty, bitty sprinkle that almost wettened the sidewalk trickled past. I go to the door, open the inside door, open the outside door, poke my head out to get a whiff of rainy air. DANG, STRUGGLE, SLAM THE DOOR. OM that was close…the humid air grabbed me, wrestled around and nearly suffocated me. Geez!

Lesson learned!  Shoulda left the windows down and the salt block on the flatbed!

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Well, not much has changed in my world.  The drought that was forecasted?  Well, it’s still here.  The 105+ temperatures?  Well, they are still here.  The most common temperature is 107F.  I think I am getting used to it!  At 4:00 a.m. this morning it was 88F, but I focused on 87F and I think I felt cooler…lol,..just kidding!  The plus side to all this?  Well, the humidity is record low.  I never thought I’d spend a summer in central Missouri with humidity levels less than 30%.  But, we seem to be in the 23-27% range.  With 30 some days over 100, it appears the ground is baked out!  I wonder why?  It is to be 97-99 for a couple of days which is good, but, the weather fella says to expect “clammy” “humid” conditions.  OH DEAR!

I’ve spent the last few days spraying fence rows, ditches and wooded areas.  Spot spraying right now is easy.  If it is green, then it is a thistle…so, what I am saying is that you don’t have to hunt for or remember where you saw that durn thistle…it stands up tall and green…just waving at me, “Here, spray me!”  If you cannot tell, I am just trying to make the best of a terrible situation.  I’ve been through drought before, but not beginning so early, nor such a long stretch of days from 105-108F.

So today, I took a bit to add to my “digital diary” to capture the memories of how sad things are looking.  I did capture a couple of laughs while I was out feeding cattle hay.  At the 1st gate, I get out of the tractor and a fly zooms under my cap bill.  I get back into the tractor and chase him out from under my cap bill and he/she lands in a spot that is directly in line with the AC air.  The fly rode in the same spot for over 3 hours…never moved one step.

Bandit and Hawk wanted out to do some business and 1/4 mile later at a gate they were ready to “ride” again.  I had to chuckle…they are not dumb…not by a long shot!

It is more than dry.  I am feeling more tired each day.  I hope there will be the ability to pick up the pieces someday.  Right now though, it is very bleak around here.

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The cowdogs and I know how the calves feel.  Bone dry, dirty, dusty, hot, runny noses, droopy, eyes glued shut.  We got an early start to work another group of calves to do some treating and some preventative care.  Gonna be another 104-6 day I guess.  It is extremely important to work cattle at a slow pace in conditions like this.  Leave the cowdogs alone and let them simply do their job.

We set the corral up to receive the calves so that we did not make the cattle wait while we set up the chute area and pens for sorting.  I sent the cowdogs from the place that I wanted them to return to with the cattle.  Most of the cattle were pretty close.  But I had the cowdogs hunt the woods, search the rest of the drylot area.  They did not find any other cattle and returned to the group and simply, quietly, respectfully began to move the cattle on towards the corrals.  I never had to say a word.  It is really enjoyable to have cowdogs with brains, brawn, respect and the decency to do their job well. 

The blue merle cowdog is Bandit, a son of Bert & Hawk.  The black cowdog is Miss Hawk, Bandit’s mom.  I love working cattle!  Even on a very early morning to get ahead of the 104-106 degree heat.

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Ranch & Reata magazine, June/July 2012, is once again an issue packed with great writing…from the front cover to the last page. A.J. Mangum, Bruce Pollock of Range Radio, along with their contributing writers (including Paul Canada) have pieced together another timeless keepsake print issue of, “The Journal of the American West”.

Dear to me are pages 17, and 38-44. These pages have stories and photographs covering how cowdogs are used in various parts of the United States in varying ranch operations. Articles packed with good information about the various uses each of the ranching operations have and how their varied cowdogs are key to getting the cattle work done.  My contribution to the articles on these pages were to share the story of “Bert” and how his gave himself to my ranching operation…both in his earthly life and his everlasting life in Heaven.  Bert lives on through his sons, daughters, and now his grandbabies.

http://www.ranchandreata.com has an on-line version of their magazines and remember to click on and crank up Range Radio while you are getting things done on the worldwide web.

If you get a few minutes, you might look for www.ranchandreata.com on the web.  Plus, subscribing to the print-version of this magnificent publication is a monthly “I can’t wait to get it” treasure when it lands in your mailbox.

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Least you wonder we are still here.  Each day for the past couple weeks has been simple…hot, dry, windy.  The drought is in full-force.  The last couple loads of hay hauled went directly to pastures for feeding.  I always thought feeding hay by the 1st of July was, “Not a good thing.”  But, since we are “living history”, I got to start feeding hay about a week and a half before July 1, 2012.

It is definitely another year of learning how to live and manage the extremes of Mother Nature.  Our temperatures have been 100-108F for over 2 weeks.  There is a chance of below 100F later next week.  Our humidity has been less than normal just out of the mere luck that no ground moisture is left to bake upward.  Our humidity levels have been super low for here…39-50’ish percent.

Had I not made the decision to downsize may cattle operation a year ago I would be a basket case by now.  My current cow herd calving season will be the Fall (October).   The cows are taking the dry, hot weather and lack of good things to eat in pretty fair order.  About 100 head are being fed hay.  And, a couple hundred others are foraging on burnt up grass and being supplemented with ADM’s Red Mintrate Rumensin blocks.  Calf birth wts. will definitely be smaller.  And, it will be important to not supplement too much so that birth weights take off during the last trimester.  It is better to have smaller, thrifty calves in hot weather versus larger, slower going calves.  An upside to cold weather calving is that stressed calves have a tendency to last longer than their counterparts born in hot weather.  It kinda sums up to, “Never a dull moment around here.”

I will admit that I am finding it hard to be cheerful each day.  I think it is just the drain or cumulative effect of being hot, slightly dehydrated and pooped each day for the last few weeks.  I think of cold & snow each day and that makes me grin!

The timber loving snakes are on the move the past several days.  The wooded areas and branches are bone dry…extremely bone dry.  I have been spraying fence rows, brush and thistles for a week or so and have happened upon a few out-of-place timber rattlers and cottonmouths/cooperheads.  They are obviously on the move looking for water, food and cooler places to spend their time.  One rattler had made its way to the underneath side of my back deck.  Not good!  This morning I opened my inside basement door and there peering up at me was a baby ring-neck.  I offered to him/her that it was at the wrong house and the God truly intended it to live outside.  So, I know I will have to go home early to look around the basement to shop vac to see if I can round-up any brothers or sisters.  Just gives me the creeps!

The cowdogs have put their last round of shedding into overdrive.  A few nights we have spent some friend time in a shady spot with a comb.  Bonding, I guess you could say.  It is just hot and we are all just in a slower mode of action. But when they see me come out of the barn with “the comb”, they all gather ’round for an “AHH” moment.

So, we are still here.  Wondering how much more cattle liquidation the beef-related industries can stand.  Wondering how much higher the corn and bean futures will rise.  Wondering what the impact of the ethanol plant shutdowns will have on the cattle feeding industry.  Wondering what my cattle feeding friends are going to do with the yard expansion projects that are not paid for yet.  Wondering.  Wondering. Wondering.  Wondering about the lack of pasture, lack of hay, and lack of water in a HUGE geographical area of the USA.  Hum, wondering about a lot of things that cannot be planned for, cannot be controlled and cannot be made to go away on a short-term basis.  The impact of the drought is only manageable on a long-term basis.  Wondering what type of fiscal maneuvering will have to occur to “make it through it all”.

Guess it is time to head back outside.  I even resorted to digging out a few of my dad’s old handkerchiefs to tie my hair up and cover my ears from the scorching sun.  I get all this spraying done then I can get back to a hat.  But the last thing I want is Grazon Next, Remedy Ultra and surfactant mist on or soaking into is a hat…caps can be washed!  Dad has been gone since Labor Day weekend 1996 but his old hankies are sure serving me well.  Kind of like having him ridin’ around with me as I work.

Happy 4th of July to all my friends!  And, shoo the snakes out of your living quarters!

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