Petersen: Government help
Being a rancher means:
… you have an “organic” connection to the land every single day and lots of nights.
… unless you’re a movie star, it takes a second job to support your ranch. Which is why many ranchers and most horseshoers marry school teachers or nurses.
… if you take care of the land, the land will take care of you…
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… you buy an expensive pedigreed bull to improve your herd and he snubs your cows but tears through three fences to breed the neighbor’s scrub heifers.
… the neighbor sells 700-pound calves every fall and hasn’t had a bull on the place in years.
… you receive respect and useful help from the government which in its wisdom has taught country folk many things… such as coyotes and wolves only eat field mice, especially if dressed in lamb wool.
To make it in ranching these here days,
You gotta branch out in particular ways;
Monty Montana owned a truly fine spread;
Ran cows and sheep on the old homestead.
One sunny morning he rode in the pasture
Checking the critters for potential disaster;
Testing the fences, makin’ sure they’re tight,
When over the hill on the road to his right
Roared a BMW in a cloud of dust;
The driver braked and eyed with distrust
The herd of animals scattered around,
Munching lunch on the green grassy ground.
“Howdy,” said Monty — he couldn’t help staring
At the spiffy clothing the feller was wearing;
Hundred-dollar sunglasses hid his peepers,
His sophisticated suit was a fashion leader.
A fancy tie embellished his shirt;
To look at this vision made Monty’s eyes hurt,
The Stranger spoke with a patronizing smirk,
“Cowboy, are you doing your cowboy work?”
Monty allowed as how that might be true;
The Stranger smiled, “Here’s what I’ll do —
If I say how many cows you have
In your herd — and I’m right — will you give me a calf?”
Monty chewed on a grass stem and pondered,
“Ya mean them four-legged critters out yonder?”
The Stranger nodded. Said Monty, “Why not—
So how many cows d’ya think I got?”
The Stranger pulled out a computer, and,
A cell phone hooked to the internet, and,
A Global Positioning System, and,
Got a location fix and,
Then he printed a full-color report
Of a hundred fifty pages or more;
And turned to Monty and solemnly said,
“Here’s the total number per head
Of cows and calves you have in your herd.”
Monty just sat and said nary a word.
Said the Stranger, “So, do I get my pick?”
“Well,” said Monty, “You figgered it right,
Take one of them critters; I won’t fight.”
The Stranger selected one with a star
And stuffed it into the trunk of his car.
Then Monty drawled, “Well, here’s my quiz,
If I tell you what your business is,
Will you give me back that little calf?”
The Stranger said, “Sure!” And then he laughed.
“Well, you’re a man from government.”
The Stranger stared with wonderment.
“ Why, that’s correct! How’d you guess?”
“No guessing required,” Monty confessed.
“You showed up here out of the blue,
You want to be paid to tell me what I already knew;
You told me what I sure never asked,
And supported your b.s. with made-up facts.”
“You made out to show me how much smarter
Than me you somehow believe you are, Sir.
But, these cows that’s got you all agog —
They’re sheep. Now, give me back my dog!”
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