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Posted 1/31/18 (Wed)


I’ve a good friend who has lots of stories. They are stories about cows, cowboys, and old pickup trucks.  
Remember the Peanuts cartoon when Snoopy is writing a book. It always starts out “It was a dark and stormy night.”
My friend’s stories always start out, “We was drinking one time, it might have been Cheyenne. Or it could have been Calgary.”
And I’ve decided that cows and cowboying are really good for one thing. They are good for stories. That is because I am working on our taxes. I’ve often said, “Income taxes aren’t my problem. Income is.” Or rather lack thereof. But I’m too dang old to change.
In many of our philosophical discussions, we discuss crossbreeding. Is it best to use Hereford bulls on black cows? Or should you use a Charolais bull? Should you use polled or horned bulls? What do you think of those hybrid Simmental/Angus bulls?
But by and large it always comes down to the same thing. The very best thing to put on your cows is an oil well and a wife that works.
My friend, who like me, is getting a little long in the tooth. And he is thinking about retiring. He has met with attorneys and estate planners. He is really getting serious about his retiring deal.
I asked him the other day how his retirement planning was going. He said that his attorney told him that he could, “retire this week and do whatever he wanted the rest of his life. But he would have to die by Tuesday!”
Most ranchers are a lot like that. You don’t see a lot of ranchers retiring at 65 or 70. I guess it is not just the finances. It’s nice to get up and have chores to do. And cows to check. Horses to grain. Dogs and cats to worry you.  
I remember years ago, my mother talked Dad into going on a cruise. They were down around the Bahamas somewhere and Dad was up early in the morning. He had gone up on the deck to overlook the ocean. It was just starting to get light out and he figured he was the only one awake other than the crew. He was bored.
He grabbed a cup of coffee and was leaning on the rail watching a beautiful sunrise. They had been on the boat for 4 days. As he was watching the sun come up another guy came up with a cup of coffee. He was wearing a seed corn cap so Dad surmised that he was a farmer from Nebraska or Iowa.
It was a beautiful, still morning. Just a hint of a breeze and the ship was gliding through the water, barely making a noise. Most people would have loved it.
This guy took a sip of his coffee, looked at Dad, and said, “Same damn thing today!” Dad agreed.
I’ve got to go feed horses. And cows. A few bulls. Eight horses, three colts, a pony, two cats, and a dog. I love it.