What does it take to manage a ranch?

The other day I was having lunch at the Parkfield Cafe. It was the first Saturday of our New Year and because of my Cowboy style of dress and with a notepad and pen in my shirt pocket. A tourist that was eating his lunch upon seeing me, he got up and wandered over to my table and asked if I might be able to answer a few questions like how long have I lived here, do I own a ranch, the usual questions. But then, he asked if I didn’t mind him asking: “How do you manage your ranch?” Well that’s a fair question but upon further thought I replied “I write a blog and of late my mind has been sleeping but your question has jared me awake as to what a topic to write about. I thanked him for his interest in my occupation and I said “your inquiring mind will get an answer.”

Let’s see, I think a good place for starters to answer your question “How do you run your ranch?” How about I begin with the shirt on my back and the pants that cover me from belt down. I want a shirt that has two big button down pockets, so that when I bend over everything doesn’t fall out on the ground. In my left pocket, In my younger years my shirt pocket had a notepad and pen and a roll of Tums but no reading glass now if you look in that pocket today the Tums have been replaced with reading glasses. If you use the Farm Credit system to finance a ranching operation you can get all “the just the right size to fit in your pocket” note pads for free and a ball point pen to boot. I wish that was the case back in the 1980s when the whole Farm Credit system was trying to go broke and trying to take me along with them for a memorable and scary ride, with interest that reached a high of 21% if you could qualify. Somehow or another Fam Credit and I survived that decade long wreck. So today I find that I’m now a depositor and I’m offered the handsome sum of 1% to deposit my meager savings. Anyway I have my free Farm credit notepads to remind me of a relationship that goes back to 1970. In my right pocket is this very new gadget for me that seems to be changing the world at warp speed and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not but it’s going to happen regardless of what I think. This 3x5x5and⅜ rectangle according to my indispensable pocket tape measure has stored in it, all the knowledge since man first climbed out of a tree called a “cell phone.” While my cell phone constantly informs me of the seedy side, the sad side and the dire side of life. Very little is said about the common sense side of life. Meanwhile my tape measure gives me mathematically correct information every time in ways that allow me to keep dimensions and sizes and shapes fresh in my mind.

So when next you see my dead body. It will be wrapped in a Wrangler shirt and pants. I don’t know when I quit wearing Levi’s probably when the “Hippies” took over San Francisco. You’ll find a tape measure and I can’t forget my Leatherman, “all in one toolkit,” and pocket knife. In fact, it’s way more important than my tape; it’s so important that I most willingly will drive 10 miles to retrieve it so I won’t feel totally unprepared for a days work. There is one more thing you will find in my shirt pocket it’s s a Farm Credit note pad and pen. I haven’t said much about all the things that have been found in my shirt and pants pocket like Hershey Bars that lay flat for winter time eating so they don’t melt and Jolly Rancher hard candies for the left pocket for the summer heat. Right front pocket will be some pocket change that’s just about worthless, various washers, and parts to rebuild water trough float valves, a mini size pipe wrench and wallet in my right hind pocket with today’s indispensable credit card.

I’ve said not a word about my boots that at one time were the real McCoy with pointed toe and a perch on my heel for my spurs to rest. That’s when I spent a lot more time on the back of my horse and wanting to make sure my foot came out of the stirrup if I was getting bucked off. But today I’ve decided that comfort and a four wheel side by side is better for getting around the ranch than my horse. So I now buy big round toe low top boots with comfortable sponge inserts to walk with no pain.

Well sir I didn’t say much about the real nuts and bolts of how to run a ranch because I’ve been doing it for 64 years and I haven’t really figured it out totally yet myself.

See Ya,


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