I saw the pickup when he turned into our long driveway. I was on my way to the barn to do the chores. It was sure frosty, so I was stepping lively. The hour felt early but it wasn't really early, just after sunrise. The truck was coming in slowly; I suppose he was looking things over to see if he could see signs of life.
I waited at the feed room door and he finally saw me standing there and gave a nod toward me. He spoke and stuck out his hand. I didn't know this feller from Adam's off ox, so I smiled and shook his hand and wondered. Friendly and congenial, I was pretty sure he wasn't an FBI agent, but his hand was pretty smooth so what in the heck was he doing here this time of day.
He said his name, stated he worked for the University and wanted to know if I would be willing to allow some of the students of the University to do a survey on one of our pastures. The nature of their survey was to see what grass would grow and produce seeds in the coming year, regardless of the amount of rain. They would need to fence off a five-foot square and be in and out during the year.
I was always one to encourage education and especially agriculture advancements. But, did this feller know what it would be like to try to fence off a square of pasture and keep the bovine from tearing up the fences? The old hides rub posts, stick their heads through the wire up to their shoulder to graze "the grass on the other side" and a five-foot square would not be safe. I told the man that, to me, it sure didn't sound like it would work.
This University employee who was doing his job so early in the day did not seem to understand what I was talking about. I asked him if he ran any cattle. He said no, he lived in town. I asked him if he had ever watched any cattle for a spell, seen them act normal and do their bovine stuff. He said no but he had read some informative books.
I grinned and told him they would be welcomed and the only thing he needed to do was let me know where they wanted to do their project. We did not want it in the middle of a bull pasture or hay meadow. He was certainly glad, thrilled was more like it, and I was pretty sure we were in for a delightful spell of watching the process.
It is my opinion, and everyone has one, the small joys we experience are relief from the menial chores of our profession. Cleaning out a water tank, replacing a board in the bed of the welding trailer and scooping out a stall are not jobs for a rocket scientist. New activity on the place and in the name of education would be a treat for all of us. I encourage all you fellers to be open to assist if this gentleman happens to inquire on your place. I don't know how many plots they are gonna need, but we sure want to be cooperative. And pay close attention as to how they build a fence that cattle won't riddle in 30 minutes.
Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 11/29/2017
Print Headline: The small joys we experience are relief from the menial chores of our profession