I have too many irons in the fire – both literally and figuratively. But most people don’t understand from whence came that saying. I literally had too many irons in the fire at branding this year.
Every cow owner in the West has a brand registered in his name with the state. I don’t know how many thousands there are in Montana. The brands are registered in a specific pattern, in a specific location on the animal, and in the specific county where these cattle will run. At our branding we had calves from three different owners besides the ranch. So we began the branding with four different irons in the fire.
Our branding pot is propane-fired, and has only so much room. Those four different irons were too many for the available space: too many irons in the fire.
That saying also applies to the rest of my life. Because our ranch is “too big for a hobby and too small for a living”, I do a lot of work off the ranch. I write, I take interim jobs as a healthcare administrator, we have a formalwear business, some commercial buildings, and a small place in the Shields River Valley. I have figuratively too many “irons in the fire”.