Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hayin's Done!

            Finished baling yesterday and finished stacking today.  Finished irrigating as well.  That means that we have no more work that must be done yesterday  until the feeding starts coming winter.

            That doesn’t mean that that we can relax and enjoy it, however.  With the hay off I can now see the field bindweed that is still spreading in the hayfield around the grade.  The house and deck still need a coating of stain.  We have barely begun to fill the ruts in the road left by our May deluge, and the section of collapsed barn foundation must be repaired.  The field below the house needs to be disced, and we need to spray and plow that 20 acres up west.  We haven’t even begun on the five miles of fence that needs to be rebuilt every year just to keep up.
            We need to get the hay equipment back into shape while we still  remember what needs to be repaired: the ignition switch and clutch on the balewagon, the sprocket on the swather, the gas gauges.....
            I haven’t done my annual pasture monitoring photos; there’s a bull that needs to go to the auction; the stackyards need to be closed up.
            I need to pick up the baler I bought, and bring home the sprinkler pipe.  We should fire up that new sprinkler for a test run....
            And second cutting...
            In Billings the second cutting is already in the stack.  They are in the middle of putting up second cutting in the Bozeman area.  On the West Boulder, however, we won’t know for a month what the weather will allow.  So we’ll restore the haying equipment to “ready” condition for second cutting this year or first cutting next year, and see how it all plays out.

            I have heard about the “relaxed” lifestyle of ranching – but I have rarely experienced it.  There is always work to be done.  With feeding, calving, irrigating, and haying behind us – at least now we can take Sundays off.  But a rancher doesn’t get paid for the hours on the timeclock, he gets paid for what he accomplishes.
A rancher is his own boss, and he can take time off whenever he chooses.  But whenever he chooses to be gone, there is a growing backlog of jobs that are costing him money.  Will we ever get caught up?

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