A rancher’s New Year’s resolutions
Craig — In a few days, we’ll celebrate a New Year.
Some of us think about what we’d like to do differently in the new year and even make resolutions (though we don’t always follow through with them).
For example, a rancher might resolve to do the following in 2009:
• Keep the books updated for income tax purposes (instead of putting receipts in a drawer or box).
• Keep the propane tank topped off.
• Start Christmas shopping in October so packages can be mailed before December 24.
• Find all of the livestock feed pans before they are covered by snow.
• Check the furnace out before cold weather sets in.
• Buy extra parts for the furnace, just in case.
• Keep watch when filling the livestock water tanks, instead of going off to do something else and letting them run over.
• Not feed the cows right in front of the corral gates (as this author sometimes does), causing build-up of hay, manure and snow so the gates won’t open.
• Put up Christmas displays and lights before it begins to snow or the ground freezes.
• Make sure the gates to the livestock pens and pastures are securely closed, even if the intention is to come right back through them.
• Check overboots for holes before winter sets in and, likewise, irrigating boots for holes in the spring.
• Put the axe used to cut open the water hole where it can be found each day.
• Situate the pitchfork on the truck so it doesn’t fall off on the way to the feedlot or else it will be found much later buried in deep snow or perhaps not until spring.
• Not wait until the last minute to get grain, dog food or cat food or else get caught without during a blizzard.
• Remember that a 20 percent chance of rain may turn out to be a 100 percent chance, so always take a slicker when riding in the cow pasture.
• Never leave a wallet in a hip pocket when riding a horse because there’s a chance that it will come loose and fall out in the tall grass and sagebrush (perhaps never to be found again).
• Order parts needed to repair haying machinery in the winter and get started working on the machinery even though haying season is five months away.
• Clean the manure out of sheds and the barn before it gets so frozen down that it has to be pried loose with a bar.
• Purchase more than one pair of work gloves at a time.
• Remove the big rock that semi truck drivers have to maneuver when backing up to the cattle loading dock.
And as 2009 begins, ranchers are probably thankful that:
• There’s enough hay to carry the livestock through the winter.
• Corral gates haven’t been drifted shut (yet).
• And all of the mountain snow will provide needed irrigating water in the spring.
Happy New Year, everyone.
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