Sunday, March 20, 2016

That Black Angus Bastardo............

     I had a run in with our youngest bull, not my first, but my closest so far.  All turned out well, neither one of us is hurt, unless you count my look that could kill, but I do not get the impression he was disgruntled by that.

     Always being prepared, with my guard up is the only reason I was able to escape him.  Plus, he had tried the same action just the day before, therefore my eyes were peeled for him and I knew my escape route.

     First let me apologize for the curse word I am using for him.   Knee deep into a Ralph Compton, western book series with tales of long, arduous cattle drives and Spanish speaking Indians, I somehow feel that if I say it like the men in this story say it, then it doesn’t really count.  In Spanish it doesn’t seem as curse-wordy.
We first brought this beautiful slab of beef home when he was just a wee little guy.  He was hot and ready to work, day and night if need be.

     Once when walking to the feed bunk, I noticed that look in his shiny black eye, his left one to be precise and I knew.  That black bastardo was going to kick me.  Always carrying a five-gallon bucket of feed between myself and our livestock, his hard hoof planted on the plastic that I was carrying instead of my tender flesh.  Never having another altercation for an entire year, I was a little perplexed when for the last month he developed a little of a “tude”.

     One more thing.  Do not label me as racist for calling him black.  It’s a descriptive word and I feel those who do not know Angus cattle may not understand there are also red Angus cattle.  Now you have an image to go with this story.

     Back to cattle drama.  Each day I don my custom braces while working on the farm to increase my stability because of my fused ankles.  Sixty-two (my name for our bull because of ear tag) had developed a habit of closing the gate to his feed lot, cutting himself off from grain.  It swings one way and each time I tied the metal barrier open, the next day, as sure as the sun shines, this hunk of muscle has broken what I thought was my solution.
He’s still young, maybe he was entertaining himself or maybe he was being an ornery male.  Here’s where it gets a little precarious.  The gate has to swing outward and he must walk around it, enter the alley and ambulate to his feed bunk.  He is big, clumsy and impatient.  Not understanding he must wait for the gate to open wider than his chiseled flanks, he would inadvertently get himself caught in between the gate and pipe fencing or close the gate again.  I tried and tried, but he was not a thinker, he was a reproducer and it was showing.  It was also wearing on my own patience.

   Standing at the end of the gate where it met the pipe fencing, I would hold it open while he pushed past the other end.  With just enough time, I could climb to the top rung and watch him stride past me.  Usually with his nose in the air snubbing me.  After the second day of this he came to the fence to flare his huge, wet nostrils at me, pace three times back and forth in front of my perched self before deciding his growling stomach was more important.

     Not enjoying this experience and wondering what the heck tightened up his bung hole, I made a pack with myself, for my safety.  If the same scenario happened one more time, Carey would not feed this moody beast.

     You know it’s always that next time, isn’t it?  Next day, gate closed, I hold it open and begin climbing to the top rung of the fence.  This day he was again not patient, but he was not clumsy either.  It’s like he mastered a martial arts class in one night and became as agile the Karate Kid during his last tournament. 

He was coming for me, eyes not wavering, focused on me.  I was the only thing that existed for him.  Almost to the top rung, his head dips down only to raise up swiftly.  Already having my right leg over the fence, I pull my bent left leg higher as his massive hard head catches under my knee and there I go.  Like an awkward ballerina flying through the air, trying to catch a glimpse of him but yelling to the blue sky and white clouds, “ Youuuuu Bastardoooooo!”

     Apparently my left hand still encompassed the metal piping, pulling hard, I righted myself in mid-air and came down feet first.  Having mentally prepared for any fall, I hijacked my right knee to my arm pit, knowing I will do anything not to land on my right foot, I put that left foot down and waited for the sting to ride up my leg as I landed.

     Holding my breath, bending forward, riding out the wave of fire traveling up to my knee, I turn my head slightly to the left as I look between the rusty pipe fencing, only to see a smirk on this muscle butt’s face as he says, “Booyah”.

Recovering more quickly than I thought it would take, I straighten up while muttering incomprehensible words at not only Sixty-two, but myself.  “You win; I’m not messing with you anymore.  I’m done.  Wait ‘til Dad gets home,”, I spat.

     I challenge myself daily, prepare before entering any situation and am constantly aware of my surroundings, due to my situation and career I choose to work in.  This day is the reasoning behind that.  It is also the reason that there are times I must accept that some jobs cannot be mine.  Usually taking a few times to find a creative alternative doesn’t always pan out, as in this case. 

Giving it my best shot, I admit, it is in my best interest if I keep a pipe fence between myself and this black Angus bastardo. 
WINNER: Sixty-two.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Amberley Snyder-Using Her Tragedy to Change the World

     Early in 2015,  a suggestion from Instagram guided me to follow a pretty spectacular cowgirl based on others that were already in my news feed.  Instinctively, wanting to know more, I hit "Follow" and began to read her story.  Miss Amberley Snyder.  An hour later I knew this woman was going places and quickly. 


 Watching her online audience explode the rest of the year has been exhilarating.   Promptly feeling a kinship with this young woman, I scoured the web to find any speaking event of hers that was located near me.  


There are snippets of her presentation online, but I wanted to see it, more so I wanted to 
feel it.  We enjoy the same activities, both started riding horses at the age of three, both of us experienced tragedy and were now speaking of it publicly.  What I really desired was a one on one.

   It just so happens that my friend, farming partner and the FFA adviser of Bourbon High School felt so enraptured with her testimony at the National FFA Convention last Fall that he brought her to Missouri to speak at three of our local schools and asked if I would like to spend the day with them.   That message was sent by text so he didn't hear my artless snorts of, " Well Yeah!"


  Listening to her message and watching her influence decisions
that day, anyone could plainly see she was made to provoke thoughts.  She moved and spoke with ease, calling attention to ability, motivation and attitude.

     Enjoying a lunch between speaking events, I quietly studied this vision of motivation.  She has a beautiful, contagious smile for anyone who crosses her path, but it was the genuine look in her eyes that hooked me as a fan for life.  She has a naturally, honest heart of a cowgirl with a side dish of sass. 

      I enjoyed her company, I admire her fight, I praise and respect her ability to share and I loudly applaud her for "getting back on that horse."  I urge you to read her story and use it as you need for your own growth.


 Her positiveness is palpable.  She will continue to crush her life's challenges, succeed in influencing others and I know I will watch her compete in her dream rodeos.  I am but a minnow in her sea of followers, but I will be cheering just as loudly as the next at her new found accomplishments.   

     We all wish you well in your upcoming endeavors and will remind ourselves of your equation to prosperity. 

Ability +Motivation +Attitude=SUCCESS

     (Amberley's photo)

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