Tales from the O-NO Ranch: Challenges of a new year | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch: Challenges of a new year

by “Mad” Jack Hanks

Wellington, Colo.

Well, gentle readers, whadda ya think about this new year of 2002 that we have somehow slipped into all of a sudden? I gave some thought about past new years that caused me to pause and ponder my responsibilities as a husband and father.

Sunnie, our daughter, was a December baby and Andy was a March baby. One born right before the new year and one shortly after the new year. I had great expectations about each and what I would need to do as their dad in that new year to prove up to my own responsibilities and expectations.

Another time I was really excited about the new year was when I had just completed six months managing my first large diversified ranch. I had done okay, but I had so much to learn and as Dan Reeves said in a commercial on T.V. one time, “Never let them see you sweat!” I was sweating and hoped that nobody had noticed. They had.

I had friends in the community that knew what I had been through already and what I was up against, and they had plenty of suggestions to offer. I listened, took advantage of some of their advice and cast some of it aside, as I felt I had to make some decisions on my own merit.

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We had just finished a long haying season and now had some 4,000 cattle out on winter wheat. There were decisions to be made about marketing the steers that coming spring and early summer. I had never had the responsibility of contracting so many cattle as I had only been cowboyin’ full-time for a couple of years and had only managed a small cow outfit for a few months before I got this big ranch to manage. It was an exciting time for me filled with a great deal of apprehension and worry if I would make the right decisions at the right time.

There were some in the community that wanted me to run for the school board and others that wanted me to run for president of the local Farm Bureau and others that had already labeled me unfit for the position I held at the ranch.

I ran for the school board and lost, but was made president of the Farm Bureau, and the job as ranch manager lasted for 10 hard, fun-filled and educational years. Now here I am again excited about this new year. I am excited because I see a UNITED States.

Something we haven’t seen in a long, long time.

We have a new set of twins to be grandpa and grandma to plus the other four that we adore. I see my art business improving, and I see my artwork itself improving. I have opportunities this year that, if handled correctly, will go a long way in easing any concerns about finances as I get closer and closer to being an old codger. I am lookin’ forward to workin’ hard and pestering every little kid I come in contact with.

I am already thinkin’ about spring and I know, yes, I know, it’s a long way off. I may even be able to buy me an old tractor this year. I have been wantin’ to do that for several years but there were other things more important and more pressing.

I was given a gift certificate this past Christmas for a tree from one of the local nurseries. I love trees and look forward to planting as many new ones as I can afford each spring.

Back in the summer I traded one of my paintings to a chap-maker for a fancy pair of handmade leggings (shotgun chaps) that I had designed for him to make for me. He will bring them to the Denver Stock Show, and I will pick them up there as he has a booth there also.

I hope that all of you have something to look forward to in this new year. I hope it is an exciting, prosperous, and meaningful year for you and yours. You must find a reason to make it so. You will, won’t you?

Stay tuned and check yer cinch on occasion! C. Ya.