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From the Barns: A ‘fire’ sale

Dry! Dry! Dry! While the lack of rain has been great for harvest and field work, our pastures and all of the wheat and small seeds we’ve been planting since August are in trouble if it doesn’t rain soon. Manure pumping is progressing better than any year in recent memory.

Drew and I went to Georgia and gathered up and shipped home all of those calves. We went straight on feed with all of them. Weaning our Illinois calves is still months away and we will be revaccinating them soon to take advantage of the great weather we’ve been experiencing. The cows that don’t have access to stalks are getting some supplemental feed and lack of moisture will have us feeding more of them long before we want to.

We’ve been placing a lot of cattle at the feedlot and space will soon be an issue that will have to be dealt with. Health has been pretty good in the feeding cattle, but there have been a few challenges that have come with the warm daytime temperatures and much cooler evenings. Interestingly, bigger cattle have been the issue with respiratory challenges and the younger cattle have remained healthy.

Gathering up and processing off-quality corn to use in feeding cattle rations is a project that takes some time and effort, but is well worth doing as feed costs trend higher. I bought a bin of corn that had suffered a dryer fire and went myself to haul off the well-smoked corn. Much to my surprise the corn belonged to reformed cattle feeders that also happened to be the in-laws of our longtime veterinarian — what a small world. We had a good time roasting Dr. Barclay even though he was back at our place testing bulls. I always enjoy meeting new farm folks even when the circumstances are less than great.

All the day-to-day issues we as cattlemen in particular and farmers in general face seem somewhat futile in the face of the election that took place on Nov. 3. Our long held belief that if our elected leaders don’t perform as we expect we can simply vote them out of office next time around may not be true. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, and believe there was voter fraud, or you don’t, bottom line everybody now has this nagging question at the very least at the back of their mind: do we as voters and citizens have the power we have always been led to believe we are supposed to have? All Americans love to win, but not if they win by cheating, or in error.

Even in something as inconsequential as sporting events we have instituted instant replay and the right to “challenge the call” when teams don’t feel the officials got the call right. In this election President Donald Trump is throwing the challenge flag on the vote count results. The officials in this contest are our elected representatives and they must review and recount, if necessary, the results of the election if we as citizens are to ever again trust that our democracy is alive and well.

Our elected representatives, from both parties, Republican and Democrat, must challenge this election with the same zeal and ardor that they spent the last four years investigating Russian collusion and Ukrainian phone calls or else the claim that those things were done for the good of the country will seem more than a little disingenuous. Nate and Hannah always take their kids along to the polls so they can feel the weight and responsibility of voting. Great idea! By the next election both Josie and Ian will get to cast ballots. I’m afraid there could be at least 71 million Americans that voted for Trump that might have a hard time explaining to my grandchildren why voting matters in America if we don’t get true closure to this election.

Linda cooked up some great ribs for supper tonight. Delicious ribs are always messy — and voting shouldn’t be. It’s pretty easy to let yourself get riled up over politics and the election. I know I’ve seen enough. Thankfully, I also believe the good Lord has all this mess included in a plan for us all and He will ultimately make the final call.

Astoria, Ill.

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