Working Ranch Blog
Apr. 19 2012, 6:43 PM
The day started like any other. Well, not really. This should have been my first clue. Shorty called at and asked if I was out and about yet. I could tell he just wasn’t curious. Heifers were out at his place...again. (I'm sure that fence genie was supposed to have been here by now.) The good news is that they got a gate down, so I guess my other two fixes were holding.
By the time I got there, about twelve were out on the road and the other 80 were headed their way. I guess there are some benefits to farmering up once in a while. A few honks and they were following me back to the gate they had rubbed down. Five minutes later, Shorty was headed back to his truck and I was headed back to my breakfast.
The plan was to get on the road by That would put me at the sale barn by . I could get back to
I headed down to get the trailer after a few chores were done at home and, despite my gate-challenged heifers throwing a wrench in the works, my schedule wasn't too off.
Once again, I honked the sale cattle on in and that saved me some time from having to saddle up. The sorting went smooth. The pairs were kicked back out and numbers checked and double-checked to make sure I didn't have a calf bawling when I got back because I just accidentally shipped his mother.
The five heiferettes went on the front and one in the back and that saved plenty of room for the three yearling bulls that were at my place. After a little finessing and some help from my lovely wife I was loaded and ready to go. Of course this would have gone much faster had I not had to get a bull out of my yard and repair an electric fence and call Shorty to go to the
So, needless to say, I was a tad bit behind, one hour to be exact, but that was no big deal as that would still leave me with plenty of time to get 'er all done. That was, until, I heard a flapping under my hood and steam rolling just this side of
At first I thought I had a blowout because my steering became hard, but when I saw my temperature gauge climbing faster than the national debt in an election year, I knew I had a bigger problem.
The flapping I heard was my serpentine belt. (Editors note: After you've asked your husband and he says that a serpentine belt was what God made Adam after the fall to hold up his palm leaf trousers, just click here.)
This is what was left of my serpentine belt. I'm guessing it still wouldn't hold up Adam's trousers.
I rolled her on along as far as I could to get closer to town. I saw a Sheriff's car so I figured that was as good as place to stop as any. He gave me a ride to pick up a new belt and tools. Of course this was the one time I didn't have any tools with me.
Now, this normally would have been a twenty minute job. However, for those of us with bale beds, you have to contend with the hydraulic pump, which is pretty much in the way of everything. I got back and began to dig into my project and soon discovered that I was gonna have to take my fan off and was gonna need some large wrenches to accomplish this, so I walked down to a Tractor Supply an bought a set. By the way, if you ever need a new workout, try carrying a set of 2" to 1 3/8" wrenches along with a large crescent about a 1/4 of a mile. It'll get the job done.
So I get by and I'm doing pretty good. Actually I only had to carry them about halfway as to a good Samaritan drove me the rest of the way. As we were chatting about his cattle and how much I thought I would get for mine, I managed to go and break the overflow nipple off of the radiator. I got the fan off by the way.
After a few choice words I'm not real proud of I knew I needed a change of plans. Time was now ticking faster and I was still an hour away from the sale barn. It looked as if I needed an entire radiator now and that wasn't gonna happen on the side of the road. So I called Kirk to ruin his day too. He thought for a minute and called a friend of his who lived close. Soon his wife called me and said she was on her way with a truck that I could use.
This is the straw that almost broke the cowboy's back. I think my new metal one might last a tad longer. Maybe I should get a patent.
So I gave in and called a tow truck and began to pick up. Just then another good Samaritan stopped by. I had went to his shop originally and asked to borrow a tool. His secretary called him as he was out on a call. Now he was back and began to examine my predicament. After we conversed for a few moments on the ill-gotten logic of a 1/4" molded nipple made of plastic that is in a constant flux of hot and cold, he said he thought he could drill it out, tap it, and screw in a new metal (what a concept!) nipple and it would probably be better than the original design (not that it would take much).
Within about 30 minutes he had it in and I was calling the tow truck off and piecing my rig back together. I decided to go ahead and swap trucks anyway. She would take mine back to her place and I would go on and pick it up on the way back.
Soon she pulled off south and headed home, so I knew the fix was good. I was westbound and down as I was fairly anxious to get these cattle off the trailer and to a pen with water. I was grateful that it was in the 70's, but it had been a long morning. Sometimes I think we forget cattle have a higher internal temperature than us and wear fur covered leather coats year round.
I got them off about and headed to the cafe' for an overdue dinner and ice tea. As I sat down at the counter to my cheeseburger and had me about fifteen ice teas, I began to ponder my day. I was simply grateful that my cattle made it through and I now had something to eat and drink, and other than not working out as I had planned, I lived to fight again. Oh, and by the way, the R.W. thing was the next day. I should have known better.