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The Texas Side Of Things

published: April 17th 2020
by: Jim Banner

I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about heard all I want to about the Corona Virus and how it has changed our daily way of life.  For those of us who work cattle auctions for a living, this virus has just about shut us down and presented a big dilemma for the producers that had sales scheduled in the months of March and April.  Because I go to a sale just about every Saturday, these days I wake up and worry about where I’m supposed to be and then I remember…I’m not supposed to be anywhere.  So, I’ve decided to tell you how things have been going for me and what I’ve done to be productive during the last four weeks to keep myself occupied.
    When the first official alarm was sounded, I finalized as much as I could at the office here in San Antonio and left for the ranch in Castell, Texas.  I thought I would be safe just hanging around with my cattle and hoped I wouldn’t encounter many other people and I might even get some much-needed work done.  But three days later we received several inches of rain which was enough to cause the creeks to rise and of course, wash out the water gaps.  So, for the next couple of days I fixed the water gaps and did some other fence mending but then I became a little antsy.  I got this great idea to climb into my Bobcat skid loader and take out my frustrations by doing some clean-up work.
    Now besides the two inches of rain I just told you about, we had also received prior rainfall that totaled around 5 inches between March 1-April 10.  This amount is more than enough moisture to make everything look beautiful, but it also makes the pastures somewhat hazardous if you decide to venture off the pasture roads.  So, I decided to take my Bobcat out and do a little cleaning up, but I would stay on higher, drier ground and hopefully stay out of trouble.  Everything was working just like I thought it would and without any problems clearing out some prickly pear and smoothing out some burn piles. I had successfully been running the Bobcat for nearly five hours when I noticed a huge mass of prickly pear that I wanted to remove. So, with total confidence I headed towards it, but before I could get to it I felt the machine slowing down and to say the least, it was too late….I was stuck.  Now let me tell you, I wasn’t stuck just a little. The hole I created was deep enough that you could just about see Beijing, China.  The whole back end of the skid loader was buried about three feet below the surface of the ground.
    Of course, the first thing I said was…well I can’t tell you what I said, but my next thought was, I knew I should not have done this, but patience and better judgement wasn’t on my side.  I’ve always said the difference between a young person and an adult is that when a young person makes a huge mistake, they have to ask for help, but an adult is embarrassed and will spend just about any amount of money to try and fix the mistake before anyone finds out about it!  Knowing that I was in more trouble than what I could fix, I called a wrecker service.  They were willing to come to my rescue for only $175 per hour which, I was informed, included the travel time to and from the ranch.  I asked them to please come but drive fast!
    Three hours later and $525 less in my checking account, the wrecker operator finally pulled the Bobcat out which really made me a happy person.  Before leaving I promised the operator that I would not do this again, kind of like telling your dad, but he said not to worry about it and go ahead and get stuck as many times as I wanted.  To say the least, the Bobcat has been parked and I’ve turned to my attention to other things to do like burning brush piles, repairing fence and watching Perry Mason on TV.  Patience is a hard thing to endure but just like this quote from Winnie The Pooh, “Rivers know this, there is no hurry. We shall all get there some day.”
    Stay safe, stay patient and I hope to see you all real soon.

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