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I was stunned by a bright light. It suddenly appeared in the eastern sky and steadily climbed higher by the minute, welcomed by all the critters and me! We appreciate the rain, the wonderful life-giving moisture that we gratefully received for about four days. Then the sun returned and I am here to say I do not tolerate dark and damp days very well. After about 72 hours in the dark, my brain gets to shorting out and then gets mushy. How thankful we are that we have a God who sends what we need.

I left tracks, or ruts, all over this rock pile as I put out hay. The little bit of dirt between the rocks was so full of water that it let the rocks keep on sinking. Well, it is gonna be OK because it always is after a good hard wash out. The creeks and ponds are clean and running full. The groundwater level is up again and the lakes that water the cities are also full. I am sorry to have complained about the dark and damp days, but I sure do need sunshine to keep myself on an even keel.

Spring calves are almost all on the ground now. There are seven more to happen and we have lost two and no cows. I have decided to keep the cow that delivered the hard assist calf and give her another year. I know that is not a businessman's best way to financial wealth, but I am too old to start with that particular cow anyway! The vet examined her and said she is sound, so I am giving it a try.

The hay season for this year is sneaking up on us in a hurry. We have several tons of leftover hay in the barns and I am a greedy farmer, so we will pile in some more. I am pretty sure that the day will come when we will need all we have and then some and so never let it go to waste. We sent several tons of hay to places that were burned out and we are thankful we could.

My close relative is able and ready to take over the duties she had allowed me to try to handle. I am not the neatest person or the best menu maker and certainly don't recognize the need to sweep the floors when they are just sorta dirty. I did sweep up the big stuff. I am sure glad she is on the mend and ready to take on the world. The house duties were bad enough, but I would balk at the yard primping.

Crossbreeding seems to be high on the agenda again. We have gone through 20 or so years of keeping breeds pure on our individual operations. Talk around the sale barn, feed store and round table has had the mention of crossing up breeds to get the F1 cross and take advantage of the extra weight on calves. I know some sell calves, never intend to retain heifers, and some don't even want to bunk break the bunch.

I can't comfortably work that way. I need to like the offspring of the cows well enough to keep the best for breeding. We sell some bull calves, the steers go to the feedlot or the culls go to local sale barns. I am once again sure that all the folks that raise beef are each one different. We are an independent bunch of critters. I am expecting to see some crossbred cattle on lots of grass this next summer. Composite cattle is what some call them. They are always around, composed of the milk cow and the neighbor's bull. Some are better than others and all are the result of trying to better a person's plight in life.

It is my opinion, and we all have one, getting ready for spring is one of the best parts of this occupation. I am ready to buy fertilizer, seed and whatever we need to keep us together and moving on. I know the flies are gonna swarm and I will get hot and sweat, but I am ready! I am stepping lightly on the grass to keep from bruising the tender little shoots, and in a month I will be mowing them down! Watch for hummingbirds, and between now and April we might even see some snow but it won't last long!

Don't put your long johns away yet, but now is a good time to go ahead and wash them!

Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 03/07/2018

Print Headline: Getting ready for spring is one of the best parts of this occupation

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