Sunday, January 15, 2012

January Notes

I read somewhere in my winter reading that humans long ago would "hibernate” during the winter.  Before the advent of electric lights and heat from a switch on the wall, snuggling under a foot of blankets was an acceptable activity during long winter evenings and nights. And it's true that Mark and I have some of our best conversations from beneath two quilts, one down, one wool. Last night we were heading towards bed at 8:00 pm. What?

Raising animals outdoors and harvesting sunshine on acres of dirt, means our lives are tied to nature and the cycles of the season. The plants are in dormancy so a rancher should be too. Well not exactly, but it does give a chance if the weather cooperates, to get a little down time. And goodness knows Mark needs it, for calving season is just around the corner, and longer days ahead.   

Winter is also the time we visit our accountant and banker, pour over year-end figures, and analyze decisions for the year ahead. I do secretarial duties part-time for a few other agricultural entities, as well as the ranch, so year-end accounting is uppermost in my mind. I don’t mind the work, and as I sit at my keyboard and watch Mark bundle up to do the real work of the ranch, I feel spoiled. 
The slack season provides various learning opportunities to the ag community as well. I attended a “beef summit” last week to learn about our end product, carcass quality, eating characteristics, and consumer preference.

It’s the off season for the males of the cattle herd too. They’re hanging out on the “Frank Alan Corner,” a “forty” just down the road from us. I took my camera down one windy day to capture their vacation contentment.  

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