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Some good, some bad!

Agriculture.com Staff 05/02/2006 @ 8:26am

Another year is well underway in our lives. This year has been full of wild emotions from sadness to joy, happiness to anger, and plenty of confusion mixed into it all.

My Dad continues to fight the cancer battle. It has kept him indoors pretty much all year so far. This is a relapse of the kidney cancer he had in 2002, which was discovered shortly after we moved onto the ranch. The cancer has spread throughout multiple locations in his body, which causes severe pain at times. Cancer is a horrible disease and watching a loved one fight it is not anything I'd wish on anyone.

Due to Dad's diagnosis, this was the first calving season where I got to go at it alone outside! We had a couple of spring storms to get through. I am extremely grateful for the fact that Dad is able to be at home and I am able to ask him “what to do” questions. I have been home for a few years, yet having the reassurance to bounce an idea off Dad before trying it just gives me a little more comfort.

Lately I've been wondering if this cow pushing is worth the shrinking returns. Nothing new really to most in the industry: high fuel and land prices, continued drought and steadily declining calf prices. Trying to buy enough land or build a contract for deed to run livestock seems impossible, because it either goes to the highest bidder or is split into pieces for peace keeping. Most elderly people in agriculture want to see new ranchers/farmers start up, but often they are not willing to make the sacrifice to get them started.

Heidi's parents inherited some money this year and graciously offered Heidi and I a loan. Using those funds, we were attempting to try and purchase some of the ranch land from my parents, but for one reason or another, that idea never came to fruition. While we would love to have some sense of security by owning land, Heidi and I decided to borrow less money and to purchase equipment instead. I read one time that if land is not an option, start by buying equipment. We bought a used JD 3155 tractor and a Yamaha Rhino, and may purchase a self-propelled or pull-type windrower.

I bought the tractor from a dealer in Velva, ND. Apparently taking the word of salesmen for a tractor is like taking the word of a used car dealer. The second day of feeding, the radio and fan stopped working, to which I have discovered they put a 15 AMP fuse in a 0.5 AMP slot to keep it running and it appears to be an electrical problem somewhere. I am not sure if they are going to do right or not, but I am going to keep applying pressure. One of those not so good days!

The Yamaha Rhino is my tool of the year. I ride it daily to check the cows, fix fence, tag calves, etc. During the storm, the utility box was the slickest way to snag a baby calf and bring them in to warm up.

Kendra has had her first country school bus ride, as she went to kindergarten visitation for an entire day. The school bus picked her up at 7:15 AM about six and a half miles from our house. She came back very excited, as she is a complete social bug. Parker said he didn't miss Kendra at all that day, although he seemed pretty bored!

In the good and bad of it all, outnumbering the good days with the bad days is what life is all about. May you succeed at whatever your goals or dreams are!

Another year is well underway in our lives. This year has been full of wild emotions from sadness to joy, happiness to anger, and plenty of confusion mixed into it all.

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