Wow, I am sorry

Death comes with raising cattle: coyotes, blizzards and the inevitable trip to the slaughterhouse and dinner plate. But after 30 years of ranching, Mark and Mary Kaltenbach were not ready for what met them after a wildfire charred their land and more than one million acres of rain-starved range this month.

Dozens of their Angus cows lay dead on the blackened ground, hooves jutting in the air. Others staggered around like broken toys, unable to see or breathe, their black fur and dark eyes burned, plastic identification tags melted to their ears. Young calves lay dying.

Ranching families across this countryside are now facing an existential threat to a way of life that has sustained them since homesteading days: years of cleanup and crippling losses after wind-driven wildfires across Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle killed seven people and devoured homes, miles of fences and as much as 80 percent of some families’ cattle herds.

But for many, the first job after the fire passed was loading a rifle.

“You think you’re done,” he said, “and the next day you got to go shoot more.”

For decades and generations, ranching has defined people’s days. Mr. Kaltenbach would wake up at 4:30 a.m. without an alarm clock…“It’s our life,” Mrs. Kaltenbach, 57, said. “We lost our routine.”

“We did what had to be done,” Mr. Kaltenbach, 69, said. “They’re gentle. They know us. We know them. You just thought, ‘Wow, I am sorry.’”

~ Jack Healy, Burying Their Cattle, Ranchers Call Wildfires ‘Our Hurricane Katerina’


Notes:

no cows to milk

pen-paper-writing

Sometimes you wake up at four in the morning
with all this energy and no cows to milk.
So you just have to get up and
figure out what it’s there for.
Use it or lose it.
If you’re lucky
some part of you will know what to do,
but it’s not the part that thinks its steering.
Make sure you have your notebook and a pen.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


Photo: Anne with Where My Deepest Dreams and Desires Are Hatched

T.G.I.F.: It’s a beautiful day (Cow-style)

cab·in fe·ver: Irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms results from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.

32F yesterday with chilling winds.  Spring can show up any time so we can frolic around like Dairy Cows in Holland.  I’ve been around cows.  I’ve never seen this before.  Here’s 30 seconds of happy (very) wrapped in U2’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.”


Related Posts:

More Cow Bell…

I came across a post on Cow Bells and two thoughts immediately came to mind.

Thought 1: MORE COW BELL!

Several years ago, our team concluded a sales meeting with top performer recognition.  And my team (orchestrated by Elise) played the Saturday Night Live skit “More Cow Bell” to close the day. It was the first time I had seen it. I’m still laughing. Not sure if they intended me to be the producer Bruce Dickinson (played by Christopher Walken) or the cowbell player, Gene Frenkle (played by Will Ferrell). Either way, the depiction of my management style was not all that flattering. 🙂  Here’s a short clip of the skit:

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Thought 2: WHERE ARE THE &!@*# COWS? [Read more…]

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