Letter to Dave-Christmas
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Dear Dave,


How’s everything at the new shop? Our nephew Jamie and his wife Kristy stopped by your workplace in Carrington, North Dakota during Thanksgiving and they said everything looked great at your new digs. Case/IH now has a building worthy of it’s service manager and my brother.

Things have been kind of slow-motion around here. Our fed cattle are gone, so the pressure is off for a bit. We bring our feeder cattle to finish on forage so it’s a constant battle to keep them growing. To provide a decent piece of grass-fed beef you need to keep each animal gaining at least a few pounds per day. It would be nice to just relax and watch them stroll to and from each blade of grass but that isn’t the case. I move fences every few days until the grass is gone and then move right into a stand of grazing corn after frost. It’s more work than a creep feeder full of corn but it seems more like the way cattle should eat. I’ve read about the other benefits of grass-fed beef but I just like seeing the cattle harvest their food instead of gathering around bale rings. Our brother Steve called tonight and said the beef tastes great so I guess I did my job right.

It hurts a little when the cattle leave each Fall. I get attached to the animals, especially this year. One of our little animals broke his leg on a bale ring so the veterinarian fixed it with a cast. We had to anesthetize him to place and later remove the cast so there was a lot of close work. I had to provide traction to the calf’s leg, smooth the plaster cast and keep him calm so we became closer than normal. It was nice to see him survive if only for a summer and part of the fall. I love our animals but realize that one day every one of them is headed for the plate. I just try to make their lives good while they’re here and remember them a little when it’s their time.

I’m looking forward to our families’ Christmas. It’s the “soup and bread” format again this year which I really enjoy. I was studying Lisa’s cookbooks tonight for a new soup recipe but it may prove difficult to eclipse my salmon chowder from Christmas 2004. I feel like I need to write the word “Christmas” instead of “holiday” as often as I can before the politically correct crowd throws me into a jail cell along with the smokers and people who don’t use a seat belt. The book “1984” warned of a big brother born of large government but I’m afraid big brother will be born of small minds and their cell phones as they leap to anonymously report someone who prayed before eating their tofu turkey Christmas Eve. I hope it’s not a scary New Year.

Paranoid but not necessarily wrong

Your little bro’