This year, it appears that planting season will never end. We will just take a few short breaks to fix the equipment. We finally gave up on planting corn and switched to sorghum/sudan on our acres after wheat harvest. We pumped manure on those acres first and then jumped on the seeding to try to capture as much moisture as possible. I’m afraid that despite our best effort, there’s still some seed trapped above the moisture in dry soil waiting for a rain so it can grow. Unfortunately the growing days are dwindling and the fear of an early frost will come to bear on all of our crops, for sure.

We fired up a couple of Rain Reels I brought up from our Georgia operation to do a little irrigating to help get some forage start growing before it’s too late. This project is pretty time-consuming and makes me understand why center pivot irrigation is the preferred method. We will take advantage of the dry conditions and prepare some acres to be seeded to alfalfa in the next few weeks. We haven’t grown alfalfa in years, but I’m wanting to use it on some smaller fields that are hard to farm and chop, but will handle hay making just fine. Pastures have plenty of grass, but some of it is pretty rank and the cows really want to go back to the short lush stuff, if given the chance.

We’re starting to refill the barn with feeder cattle. As pasture conditions deteriorate around the country, customers have been sending their yearlings to get started on the path to market. The price of corn has everyone a little nervous, but maintaining the gain put on during the grazing phase and keeping the momentum on to market is a good idea. All but one of our cow groups has made it through the chute, and we hope to get them wrapped up this week before the help heads back to school. We’ve got a couple of bunches revaccinated already. These cows were headed to some remote and hard-to-gather pastures, so we did a little preplanning and got their second round of shots in first. All that’s left to do on these groups is wean the calves whenever they run out of feed, and by the looks of the pasture, winter will be soon enough.

I attended my 45th high school class reunion last weekend and really enjoyed catching up with so many of my classmates. In hearing about how they have spent their lives and about their families, it made me realize just how blessed Linda and I have been in our adventure of 42 years of marriage. While there have been some rough patches, the chance to have our children and grandchildren here taking part in our feeding, farming and ranching business on a daily basis is a rare and truly wonderful thing. Most of my classmates get to see their offspring a few times a year. We see ours a few times a day and many nights there can be several found sleeping somewhere in our house.

Last week, all of the grandkids except two of the girls — they abandoned me for office jobs — showed up to work a set of calves. Cows have a lot of respect for eight or 10 mounted cowboys and even with one or two old bags that like to head for the brush, gathering cows has never been easier. I haven’t been horseback since my accident and Jett is nursing a full shoulder-length cast after breaking his arm getting bucked off his horse, so the two of us just cruised around and blocked roads for the gather. Riding around with a grandkid or two is my new lot in life — and I couldn’t be happier.

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