Friday, August 20, 2010

Living in hell

Sabbath eve. August 20, 2010.

This week started on a sour note. Monday morning Victor called to tell me he planned to turn out our stallions in order to clean their stalls. We’ve been so busy with hay of late that the horses have gone neglected. Truth is, Victor probably had a hangover and used this as an excuse not to come out to the ranch. Monday afternoon he called to tell me that Racing Rhinocerous, my solid black fifteen year old Thoroughbred stallion was dead. Then he said something like, “I don’t know what happened….”

Well let me tell you what happened, you (expletives deleted)... It was 102 fucking degrees in the shade and about 120 in the direct sun. You put the horse in a pen with no shade and probably no water. Noss died of a heat stroke. Made me want to stake Victor out in the sun for a day. But…

I too bear responsibility for this cruel and senseless act. I pay others to assume my responsibilities, and have not been diligent in ensuring that things get done. Poor Noss has lived in a cage (stall) for a couple of years now and I didn’t take the time to check on him. I relied on someone that has proven himself unreliable.

Do not try to console me for this shortcoming. You nor any other creature on this planet has the authority to forgive my sin. I hope someday when I die, I go where Noss is and that I get the chance to say I am sorry.

Tuesday, I learned that another friend had been hit while riding her bicycle and was in critical condition in an Austin hospital with a shattered arm, a compound fracture to one leg (protruding bone) and a punctured lung. Sarah is an intelligent and pretty young woman, trying to stay in shape by riding her bike. I don’t know exactly how she managed to get run over, but it’s a tragedy, regardless of the circumstance.

My corn crop is past ready to harvest, waiting on the combine, but we’ve had a bumper crop in these parts. Despite a board price of $4.36 a bushel at the moment, local buyers are full and not taking corn. Feedlots might take a load here and there for $3.50 a bushel if you get down and grovel. I was told that all local storage bins are full and some farmers are leaving corn to stand in the fields, to cut and sell to feedlots, as needed.

I grew white corn, non-genetically modified, also non-hybrid, so the seed can be re-planted. It is suitable for human consumption. I made tortillas from it last week and they came out great. Feral hogs are testing my fences daily and have managed to do quite a bit of damage. The corn is dry and fragile and any kind of rough weather could be devastating. Luckily, I found a man that once raised hogs and was forced out of the business with an empty grain storage bin. It needed repairs and a good cleaning, but we’re on the way to getting it fixed up and should start cutting corn Monday, good Lord willing.

The heat continued to hammer on us for the remainder of the week; each day temperatures reached a hundred or more. Pastures are turning brown. I don’t know if we’ve reached the end of this year’s wet spell, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if that turns out to be the case. At least we have plenty of hay stored and possibly feed and food as well. I don’t call a job done until it’s done.

Meanwhile I’m irrigating once again. Preparing a fall garden. Doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense at the moment, but I’ve learned a man better do all he can while he can for the day will come when you can’t.

I think people are beginning to realize that this downturn in the economy has just begun. We are about 3 years into what will turn out to be a 20 year crisis, with no guarantee what survives. But something will survive, and a new day will dawn on this planet.

Of that, I remain relatively certain.

In the meantime, there’s no need to go looking for hell. We’re living in it.

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