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We got another load of propane and I cut another load of wood. They cost the same! I consider the wear and tear on this old woodcutter pretty expensive and my close relative just throws on another log any time she passes! We do not expect the fireplace to heat the home but we do sorta enjoy the fire. I have grown past wanting the flickering flame for ambiance if I ever did. Cleaning out the ashes will never be my favorite chore!

So we have ended another month without the dreaded blizzard/ice storm! I have seen January stiff and ice-covered and the muddy one is so much nicer. The grass is not yet growing, the trees are still sticks and we have February to endure but, God willing, we will carve another notch!

We gathered the little boy herd today, bulls we kept from last year's spring crop of calves. They are sure sassy and looking pretty good, not what I hoped for, but they may never be that! I still look at the magazines and expect to raise four or five just like that picture! All I can do is try and plan. We like the looks of most of the boys and started picking out the ones to feed and actually track their growth and maturity.

The bullpen is ready and I am going to get the welder from the big city to come work on some of the little things that have worn or busted. You can't expect bulls to play nice and even preplanned, forged metal feed troughs can be destroyed. I am reminded of my dear old Pappy who always bought bulls, said it was cheaper and safer!

I sent all but one of the boys back to the pasture. I need a trip to market just to ease my pent-up nerves once in a while. OK, maybe not a good excuse since I am less pent up than most fellers, but I enjoy a little visiting and catching up. Besides the trip, there is the added delight of a check and I am sure it will be small this time. The market has slipped a cog again, always on a slippery slide but that is the way of life for a beef producer.

The wind howled all day and it was cold. I am sure glad we had the indoor pens to work in. But I am like everyone, wishing for more or better! I wish there could have been a way for more natural light. I suspect an engineer would have been handy for the planning of said set of pens but unavailable!

It is my opinion, and everyone has one, that cup of hot coffee before daylight is about as close to pure pleasure as I can find. The quiet is so pure not even the birds fluttering sound as solid as granite. Then the light of day, unspoiled and ours by the mercy of our Lord, appears and all creation starts unfolding. Bacon, coffee and the sounds of cooking are added and what a way to start the day! Smile, you are blessed and, by golly, let everyone know you are happy about it!

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

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