It’s a miserable cold day here in western Nebraska. I’m well aware that cold should be the norm this time of year, but I wish Mother Nature would of acclimated us a little first! The one advantage of cold weather is that it gives us time here on the ranch to catch up on some shop projects. The shop projects have been ongoing the last couple of days. The Boss Man tore “Bob” apart (yes, we named his Bobcat, and refer to it by name). The mice decided that they would infiltrate the frame and deposit upwards of a bushel of corn in their nests. The stupid critters also ate through a number of wires, including the radio wires attached to the radio that my brother and I had given as a birthday gift not even 6 months ago. Along with Bob; UTV’s and ATV’s got serviced or worked on, tractors received service jobs, shop was cleaned, etc. etc. The last couple of days have been also spent on the phone with the insurance company.
Saturday morning, I was driving my F350 down our gravel road. It had been a couple of tough weeks. Truth be told, the last couple of months have been challenging. Dealing with business decisions, procrastinating people, a chronic injury that is requiring 3 appointments a week, and trying to stay on top of all my commitments hasn’t caused me to get grey hair, but I would not be surprised to wake up with one. Saturday was no different, I wasn’t feeling up to par, and I had volunteered to co-host a dinner table at the community’s annual Habitat for Humanity fundraiser where my non Betty Crocker skills had decided to put prime rib on the menu.
So, there I was driving down the road, the sun was coming up above the hills, it was a brisk morning. I was driving through one of our pastures that we had recently moved our steer calves into. I remember the road being clear in front of me, and not recalling anything on my right side. About halfway through the pasture I had slowed up some to look at the calves on my left, next thing I know my air bags go off, I see a red blur in front of me, my pickup dies, my flashers are going off, and SYNC is dialing 911. It took me a couple seconds to gather my wits. I was going slow enough that the airbag had only hit my arm and not my face. I cancelled the 911 call, rolled down my window as the smell from the airbags was burning my nose, and turned off my flashers. The calf had crippled away to the side of the road. I get out and look at the front of my pickup, there are multiple colors of fluid leaking, my grill is gone, radiator is smashed in, and bumper destroyed. Even my Beef State license plate is laying behind the pickup about 10 feet up the road.
Boonie living means sketchy cell service, and even with two, yes two cell phones I still had to walk to the closet tall hill and call home. Luckily the Boss Man’s Wife answered and she and the Boss Man came to my rescue in just a matter of minutes. I have a wall hanging on my bathroom with a quote by Mother Theresa that says: “God never gives us more than we can handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” Sometimes when life gets in the way of living, it’s easy to feel that there is more out there than we can handle. The pickup was my final straw, I had my 10 minute breakdown, and then recognized that I still had commitments for the day that I needed to focus on.
How we handle adversary makes us the people that we are. By the time the Boss Man and I returned with a trailer and tractor to load the pickup and get it off the road. I realized how lucky I was. For what it could of been the damage was minimal, the calf was still alive (and still is to this day), Jazz was not riding with me as she could of been seriously injured, and I walked away without a scratch. Sometimes I forget to stop, and just count the blessings. November is a time to be thankful… so I’ve put together a list of things that I’m thankful for this month.
1. My family. The Boss Man for being the awesomest teacher, mentor, and role model, and the Boss Man’s Wife for being a rock, best friend, and support system. My brother and sister-in-law for being the amazing people that they are, and Haley, for being the absolute cutest niece in the world.
2. My friends. For saying it how it is, and for being a shoulder, or a kick in the butt when I need it.
3. My lifestyle. There’s no other occupation I can think of that lets me wake up every morning doing what I absolutely love to do.
4. Opportunities, both professional and personally.
5. People that make me laugh, whether it be singing idiotic songs, or making random comments.
6. The mindset that always wants to learn and grow.
7. Our industry. There aren’t many people that are better out there than those that raise BEEF.
8. Inventions. The important ones besides clothing and shelter….like wifi, Keurig, and baseball caps.
9. Animals, whether they are companions or part of the operation.
10. Most importantly, God; for the advantages, for the trials, and for making me the person that I am, and also for putting up with the person that I am.
There’s not reasons for a lot of things. Why do people get sick? Why are there car accidents? Why did this happen or that happen? But, staying positive, and counting the blessings that we do have make not only ranching a lot easier, but life in general. Sure the last couple of months have been challenging, they have also been amazing. There have been new opportunities, new joys, new laughter, and it sometimes just takes an event to stop and realize how blessed we truly are.