By Chris McClure

The best-laid plans never seem to turn out as intended. In time, gates sag a little, trees grow up in the fence line, and there always seems to be a mud hole where there shouldn’t be one. Is it just the natural decay around us, or is there something more nefarious at work?

Bulls are a pain to deal with. Bent panels, bent T-posts and stretched wire attest to their proclivity to push and shove each other around. If they aren’t trying to impress the ladies, they are grouchy because the ladies are all satisfied. If they don’t want to go where you want them, they go where you don’t want them.

Weaning pens are designed to hold calves that have no desire to be held. Net wire/field wire/whatever-you-want-to-call-it wire should hold the whiniest babies. How in the world do they manage to get through to momma in spite of it?

The tools I need are never where I need them. If I’m in the pickup they are in the Ranger. If I’m in the Ranger, they are in the vet shed. If I need them at one place, they are at another. Duplicates don’t seem to matter because they all end up in the same place! If I would learn to check my pockets more frequently that might not be such a problem.

There is either too much rain or not enough. It’s either too hot or too cold. If I plan for extra weeks of feeding cows, I don’t need it, but if I think there will be plenty of grass, I’m buying hay.

New tires don’t prevent flats. Thorns in the sidewall mean new tires whether they’re worn out or brand new. It doesn’t matter how many times you air it up, it will go flat again. Is that laziness or is it wishful thinking?

If I’m buying, the market is up. If I’m selling, the market is down. If I’m hedged, I shouldn’t be. If I’m not hedged, I should have been. If I grid them, I should have sold cash. If I sell cash, I don’t know if I should have sold grid, but I always wonder.

If I hire more help, I have to work to keep them busy. If I don’t hire the help, I can’t get everything done. The good ones quit, and you can’t run off the sorry ones.

That’s a nice set of black steers in the ring. April should have a good spread and they ought to grid well. What a wreck; I didn’t see that coming!

It’s time to get away for a while; I need a break. Flight cancelled? Sigh, we’ll catch the next one. What do you mean you lost my reservation?  Surely you have a room somewhere?

“Honey, turn your cell phone OFF! No, I’m not kidding. If you don’t leave it in the room, you can just stay here with it.”

“Ok, Ok, I’ll leave it in the room. What would you like for dinner?”


“Did you see that ranch up the road? Do you think we would have time to stop by tomorrow? That’s a nice looking herd and I’m curious.”

“You had other plans? Surely we have time for a quick visit; I just want to ask about their breeding program.”

“I had other plans too. I was planning on not feeling guilty because there are so many things that need done that I haven’t gotten to yet. I was planning on not feeling guilty for losing so much money on that set of steers I bought. I was planning on not feeling guilty for tying up so much money in feed when we have grass running out our ears.

“I was planning on having more time for you when I hired that guy who didn’t work out. I was planning on buying you a new Suburban, but we spent the extra money on repairs. I’m sorry the vacation isn’t working out the way you wanted it to; I really wanted some time away with just the two of us.

“There is one thing I’m putting my foot down on. We’re having a steak for dinner.”