I was watching George paint the other day. It was entertaining, to say the least. He would take his paint brush, and dip it into all the colors, then get mad when the picture didn’t turn out like he had imagined.
And he expected me to fix it.
This little artist gets frustrated when his “masterpieces” don’t turn out as he had planned. Sometimes instead of being a beautiful piece of work, it’s just a mess.
He couldn’t understand that the problem had nothing to do with the paper, or the colors, or me, but with the brush he was using and how he was using it. And it reminded me of a conversation that occurred online just a few days ago.
Someone had asked for anyone that calves this time of year to explain why they were doing it, or what benefit they perceived that they received from calving during winter months. I simply replied that with our operation and our location, calving now was what made sense for us. It’s easier for us to deal with snow and ice, rather than mud and muck.
It’s not always fun making sure the cattle stay protected in the winter, but the snow and ice are easier to deal with than…
…the mud and muck of spring.
The responses that were received from people who also raise cattle was surprising, to say the least. One claimed that “winter calvers” are not profitable. Another claimed that some people were too willing to work too hard to make less money.
At first I was somewhat offended. And then I found a little humor in the situation. But it wasn’t until watching my son getting frustrated with his paintbrush, that I realized the lesson that could be learned from it all.
The humor? Well, if winter calving operations aren’t profitable…then there’s a check or two that I’d like to cancel. Mainly to the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, Boss Man will be relieved to hear that our days of paying taxes are over, now that we’re a non-profit livestock operation. Whew! What a relief that is! (Yes, my dear reader, that is sarcasm. At its finest.)
The lesson? When you’re working to make a better picture, using a broad brush will get you nowhere. Neither will dipping your brush in all the colors, expecting for everything to work out.
The same is true in agriculture…or any industry, actually. What makes our way of life great is the reds, the blues, the greens and yellows. All the different colors, all the different sizes, shapes and methods of operating. Together, agriculture makes a wonderful picture. But if you try to shoehorn us all into what you perceive to be the “only way” to farm or ranch? Well, you end up with a big old ugly mess.
We all have the same end result in mind. A great, abundant, affordable food supply for anyone looking for it. And the beauty is, in the great country we live in, the choices are there for you to make. You can decide the types of food you want, the way you want it raised and the price you want to pay for it…there’s always a decision, even if it’s take it or leave it.
Making sure that our calves are healthy and happy…that’s our main objective, same as most anyone raising livestock.
And we have choices, too. We decide our methods and what works for our operation – whether it’s calving now or in the fall, using no-till or conventional methods, growing organic crops or using biotechnology. It’s one of the main principles our country is built on.
I was upset by the insinuation that our operation was sub-par because of the decisions we made, but after the lesson my son taught me, I’ve taken something valuable away from what could have been a disappointing situation.
And that was my choice, too.