Beepbeepbeep. Ugh, I thought, as I rolled out of bed, the joys of living on the farthest edge of the territory you work in. My only lifesaver was the meeting was in Mountain Time, so I gained an hour. So really, it was 4:45 am MST, not the 5:45 am my clock showed.
I drove 7-hours for a 6-hour meeting. We meet at headquarters, which is three and a half hours from my house. Typical meeting- get the group together from across the district, meet the new staff, and hear updates. I learned we are getting a new email system, updating the website system, and the reporting system has been recreated. errrr- I am not much of a techy, but after several years, I could use all these systems. I can email (even to note I am out-of-the-office), I can update my website (including pictures and wait for it…videos. gasp.), and I begrudgingly fill out my online annual report.
On the ranch, you live and learn. You learn not to mess with the Phantom-Cow-from-Hell’s calf. If you can read her tag number (980 yellow), you are too close and she is eating your lunch. You check the wind direction before you throw out the scrap bucket. You realize stepping on the clutch while raking down a large hill is a bad idea. (I remember bouncing to the bottom of the valley, unable to get the R tractor back into low gear, finally stopping, breathing, and thanking the heavens my rake was still attached. hmmm- this may be why I only mowed in the hayfield after that). You learn none of the hay equipment, rake included, has breaks. You check the weather before moving cows to the far pasture (and I had the hail bruises to prove that). You learn to test the ranch pickup brakes before pulling up to the wire gate, while also learning that wire gates have some stretch to them. You learn not to get your gloves wet while chopping ice from the water tanks. You learn not to stick your tongue to the propane tank in frigid weather, even though your brother tells you to. You learn to warm up your horse before you get on, even if you are in a hurry. Get the kinks out, or your horse will get the kinks out while you are falling from the saddle. You learn to use mirrors to back, instead of craning your neck around. (Newt had me back the ranch pickup and trailer. I turned around to look out the back window and nothing, I could see absolutely nothing. The caker was blocking the entire back window. Suddenly I could hear Grandad, “Use your side mirrors, kid.” Rats, he was right!) Live and learn.
Yes, these are principles on the ranch. Rarely do they change from generation to generation.
And yet in the age of technology, the age I’m forced to live in, I don’t live and learn. I relearn, relearn, relearn…