Sometimes, the best way to learn is to do it all wrong

So, we had a bull calf born out of cycle last spring, and for some reason for the past year, I’ve assumed I was going to band him for a steer.

Now, we don’t really need a steer that will be ready sometime in the fall, but that’s what I had in my head, so that was what I was going with today when I marshaled him into the head gate to band him.

Or, that’s at least what I thought I was going to do. He had other ideas.

During the course of getting stepped on and almost kicked in the head, my mother-in-law remarked, “Just sell him,” and at first I balked. After all, I was intent on banding that bull for a steer.

But why?

After all, I put off banding him for a year, don’t need him for the meat, and frankly, he’s just too damned big to band now anyway. But, that’s how I did it last year, and that’s how I was going to do it again this year, right?

After thinking about it, I realized that the answer is really “no”. We have calves born around here every six months, and they’re far easier to band when they’re small and when I actually need them, so now the big guy is going to be sold as a yearling bull.

In the mean time, I’ve learned to think about the whole process a whole lot better than I was even just a few hours ago. I’ve heard what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I suspect that’s because we learn not to do that again.


Upside down

I’ve always heard about how dangerous farming can be, and looking at all the big machines and whirling widgets leads me to believe that’s true. I’ve worked very hard to be as safe as possible, but frankly, sometimes, accidents just happen.

An example was last night, wherein the hitch pin for the borrowed tedder I was pulling came out, causing the tongue to dig into the ground and flipping the thing completely over. Amazingly, the only serious damage was that the sheer bolt and bearings on one of the PTO shaft u-joints were completely destroyed, which means replacing the PTO shaft. Otherwise, the thing is still in good working order and is a testament to quality Hesston engineering.

Nevertheless, the whole incident reminds me that farming is not for the feint of heart, and it takes true love of what one is doing to overcome all the crap that can tear someone down. I hope everyone remembers that kind of thing the next time they’re standing in a grocery store looking at all the food: in those boxes and cans and displays are a thousand stories just like that one, and I hope that it might prompt a few more people to go see what goes on at the source.