Always do what needs taken care of when you see it or when you know it!

The rush and crunch of labor undone and trying to catch up is hard on me. When we quit in the afternoon at three to go for some entertainment, it has to be paid for in some way, and I am paying now!

We totally enjoyed all the programs at the school, the parades, church parties and company at home, but farms seem to take vengeance when put off too long. We are spending extra hours making up the time spent celebrating!

It was still a long time before the sun broke daylight in the east when I started chores yesterday and plumb dark when I finished last night. The boys worked right along and laughed and talked all day. I didn't pay too much attention to them but picked up on the line of thought when vacation was mentioned. Yes, they want a winter skiing trip. Their mother has mentioned it, and I think they begged her to help them. Even the female parts of the family are acting strangely.

I remember times I could have used a trip, but I didn't have a boss to ask for time off! I was the boss -- for show -- although my close relative and the banker were higher than me! We had jumped off the cliff and were drowning on this farm at the time, and I felt like the work was necessary twenty-three hours a day! I made it because she didn't stop either and we could imagine daylight at the end! We were young and had a family to take care of back then. I remember, and that is the salvation for the boys!

We pulled cedar posts and loaded them today. The fence already had new T-posts we put in one hot summer and left the cedar ones there. Actually, the cedar posts were still in surprisingly good shape. We are arider than we were fifty years ago, and the cedar is tough. I bought the load of posts from a salesman who was stranded in our town waiting for a part for his car. We met at the coffee emporium, and he sounded desperate for a sale and to get to Waco! A real good deal and the banker agreed, so we did business and he even hauled the posts to the farm! When he pulled out, he headed to Waco in a hurry.

I suppose my hunting days are pretty well spent until spring. We start calving next month, and I am ready to see some new stock. The heifers in the bunch look so good this year, and all the cows are calm and wide. We have been feeding some expensive feed and mineral this winter and, you know, I sure hate to spend money. The additives and new knowledge of such is paying off for us.

The automatic water tanks also make a difference besides providing water. Ponds are so full of every kind of germ and nasty thing you can name, and cool, clean water is so much better. I was one of the fellers writing letters begging for help with the fencing of ponds, and it finally came through! Cows no longer drink and mess at the same time they bathe!

I saw the in-law pickups and the grandkids at our house this morning as I hauled a bale of hay to the horse pen. I bet, and I am not a betting man, that the females are plotting against me with the help of my own daughter. They have no clue I have already decided to allow a week's vacation and will wait for the call begging for more time in Colorado! It depends on the over-aged hay truck and the weather here if I can accommodate the request or if I need them home. I enjoy doing things the exact way I want to without the palaver that they provide. I am smart enough to eat without instructions! Ha!

I guess the lessons I have learned this week are as old as mankind. Always do what needs taken care of when you see it or when you know it! We messed around, put off and played a lot of hours away, and I don' regret any of it, but it is a lesson. We should have downtime, but the cost can be pretty high!

Our preacher has been on a tear about growing the congregation for about three months. We have meetings, talk about new people in the area, and know they don't want us asking! The town folks have been invited for many years, and I would love to have them and their families at every service, but I can't rope and drag them to the front door. Old Satan is working in the neighborhood and is winning for now. We gotta do something because old members die off!

Be diligent in taking care of your arms and your loved ones! Rust sets in fast in both areas! Remember the Alamo!

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