Elf on a Ranch
6 days a week this operation moves at a rapid pace,
but on Sundays things are a little slower around this place.

With church done and our prayers said,
I thought I'd take the opportunity to in part some wisdom into the new
guys head.

If he wants to go from a green horn to a top hand,
about bovine he better understand.  

At the end of the day,
our goal is to raise the beef that's consumed from New York to L.A.

I showed him bulls and cows and heifers, too.
I told him how cows have four stomachs, and their cud they do chew.
I really tried to teach him all that I knew.

(December 5, 2016)
The group to move cows were all assembled,
bundled up from head to toe,
It was 14 degrees, but we still had to go.

The stalks where the cows were at,
they'd eaten all the corn.
I looked at the help, shivering and quite forlorn.

Except for the new guy, who stated with a wink,
"The weather sure is nice."
I looked over and he was in the tank sitting on a chunk
of ice.

I started to tell him to get out of there, when I heard a
shriek, louder than any choir.
Why that little fool was sitting on top of a hot wire!

I should have given him a piece of my mind or even
the whole load but alas it was time to get the show on
the road.

The cows went swiftly, quickly across the field,
only slowing once when a herd of deer crossed our
path, forcing us to yield.

The new guy, dressed all in red, was getting cold by
the end of the cattle drive, so into the nearest warm
glove he took a dive.  

With the move complete the new fella wanted to  drive
home.   I said nay, nay.   But he finally convinced me it
was just the same as a sleigh.  

He did alright,
Although, at one point I thought we just might take

(December 3, 2016)
I'm afraid at this point, our story, we must pause,
but I'm sure you'll see it's for a righteous cause.

With embarrassment and no small amount of shame,
I must admit I can't think up a name!

So our Elf has been described as the little lad, the new guy and the man in red.  
Simply, because no clever moniker has danced through my head.

Here is my plea,
add your suggestions, on Facebook, in the comments, and a winner there will

Then ahead with our story we can go,
and I won't have to continue calling him old so and so.

(December 6, 2016)
Winter is finally here and the temperature has really began to drop,
so it's time to put out straw to protect our bull crop.

I explained to our little elf, when the temperature gets this low,
to our bull's masculinity it can deal a real blow.  

In the yearling bull pen, we unrolled three bales,
the calves all jumped and ran, and in the air were their tails.

The coming two's they bellowed and played,
but the old herd bulls, quickly snuggled in and on the straw, they just laid.  

(December 7, 2016)
When the weather is this cold,
working outside gets real old.

Even the smallest of tasks becomes quite hard,
but luckily, I had my little elf on guard.

When we got the water to the cows, we had a fright!
The pipe on the tank had frozen quite tight.

But a little bit of time and a lot of heat,
and we didn't have to admit defeat.  

My little gnome, he sure felt at home,
he made angels in the snow, until it was time to go.  

(December 8, 2016)
This morning I greeted him with a giant, "Hello."
and followed it up with, "How you doing little fellow?"

He stomped his feet and squinted his eyes at me,
there was no doubt that he was as mad as could be.

He shouted, "I don't like to cuss!
But Kriss Kringle on a cracker! Don't you know my name is ANDY ANGUS!"

All I could stammer was, "Golly I'm sure sorry for my folly."

"Well, we better make it official,
I have some paperwork for you to initial."
Today was just a grind,
lots of work, Andy and I did find.

In fact, it was pretty intense,
we had to fix a fair amount of fence.  

Around the stalks, it was the second day in a row,
the deer are proving to be a considerable foe.

Then we unrolled the aged bred cows a bale,
if anyone is looking they're still for sale.

Matriarchs of our herd, they are definitely the right kind.
You can look far and wide and nicer cows you will not find.     
I am not a mechanic,
in fact when things break around here, it sends me into a panic.

Luckily, my newest hire, Andy
has proven to be quite handy!
Farms and Ranches are known for breathtaking views and wide open spaces,
but they can also be very dangerous places.

As a new employee,
it's time for Andy to be educated about farm safety.

I showed him warning signs to inspect,
and we discussed how you have to treat live animals and large machinery with respect.

PTO's, augers, chains and other gear,
you have to make sure you keep your hands and feet clear.  

At this point I had to stop and wipe the tears from my eyes,
Statistics show that every day another farmer is in an accident and dies.  
Way to many that I've known, and they were tremendous gals and guys.

I know that I scared Andy a little, but I did it because I truly care,
if you do too I hope you'll give this post a share.  

Farm Safety For Just Kids
USDA: Farm Safety
Tonight as we dined on Crooked Creek Angus Beef,
Andy let out a large sigh of relief.

"This is great, a real treat,
I usually only get reindeer meat!"

My missus was quite elated,
she hadn't had that much help in the kitchen since we dated.

Chef Andy even gave us cheese and wine,
an appetizer of sorts, before it was time to dine.  

When the last bite had been destroyed,
he washed each and every dish, Jeanne was simply overjoyed.  

(December 13, 2016)
Today I told my hired man,
that I had came up with a plan.

It was a little test you see,
to determine if he was a self starter and independent he could be.

Time for you to work on your own,
of all the daily tasks, you've been shown.

I gave him the afternoon,
and frankly I don't think I returned any to soon.

What did I see,
why he had put up a Christmas tree!

All I could do was give a big sigh,
with so much work to be done, why?

He gave a brilliant smile,
and stated, "Because the magical Christmas season only last a little while."
Andy just looked at me with disgust,
we needed to build fence again, it was a must.

I know that the fence building is getting old,
every time we get some done, there is more needing unrolled.

But before we could worry about the wire,
we had to go and fix a tire.

It looked like Andy was good help to me,
but I'm not sure the guys agreed at Frontier Equity.
Today we put out straw again for the little men,
it's suppose to be even colder then it's been.

As has became our routine we went ate together around midday,
lots of times Captain Hooks but today it was Subway.
As we were eating, Andy did say,

"You better do something about those long locks,
if you don't want to be teased this weekend by the Blachs."

I gave the mirror a long stare,
sure enough all you could see under my cap was hair!

So off we went to get our do's done,
and as you can see we had great fun!

(Bulls playing in straw video: https://www.facebook.com/174582629261450/videos/1214706291915740/
I sent Andy to get the mail today,
he came back with a stack of bills to pay.

I noticed as he looked at the mail,
he was growing quite pale.

He said, "This ranching has been a fun deal,
but looking at the pile it's became a little too real."

As I glanced at the bills from Mizer, Andrist and John Deere,
I had to admit, if we're making any money isn't quite clear.
Andy and I had to make a trip across the state,
Frankly, road conditions haven't been so great.

We went to celebrate a family friend being put to rest,
She was simply the best.

I had intended to capture fantastic "road trip" content,
But these roads have required me at 100%.

Sorry for another story delay,
We'll be back tomorrow, perhaps it'll be a better day.
I asked Andy to walk through the calves in the lot,
he soon reported back, there was one with a lot of snot.

Sure enough a heifer was moving pretty slow,
and her head was down low.

With ease we had her cut from the group and out the gate,
which was good because it was getting late.

"Temp her." I said,
Andy nodded his head.

And you should have seen the look on his face, when I shouted, "That's the wrong end!"
We gave her some medicine and returned her to the pen, she'll soon be on the mend.
Andy loves the cold, he's just grinned the past few days at the low wind chill,
but honestly I've had my fill.  

I'm excited to see the sun,
and see if we can't get a few more things done.

At the first light of morn,
we set out to grind corn.

Finished that project without delay,
mixed the corn with a little hay.

Then we moved the cows on stalks to their new abode,
it was just directly across the road.

Moving the tanks was a battle,
the things I do for these cattle.

We hammered and chiseled and pounded and shoveled the ice,
and I only cussed twice,
to which Andy reminded me, "...HE knows if you've been naughty or nice."  
We arrived at the pens at 6:30 A.M.,
if the sun was shining at all, it was pretty dim.

Today we were freeze branding calves, it's a type of permanent ID.
So we had to move quickly, you see.

We fed the bulls and heifers and the breds, too.
Just as we finished, we saw the arrival of  the rest of the crew.

Even though they'd just been fed,
we quickly pushed the heifers up to the working shed.

Now Tyler and Dan are the best of hired hands,
and this is the third year, I've trusted them with all my brands.

They were busy setting up all their loot.
Equipment required: clippers, dry ice, alcohol, and a good working chute.

We exchanged our greetings and I introduced them to Andy Elf,
they said he could help, but he'd have to watch out for himself.

They had a job to do.   With that they set to it.
I'm pretty sure they enjoyed Andy.  Although, I doubt that's something they'd admit.

Cow critter in the chute,
turn on the blower, with the toe of your boot,
clip away the hair,
until the hide is bare,
alcohol applied,
in one quick stride.
Grab the irons from the cooler,
and make sure it's as straight as a ruler.
With that done,
bring me another one.  

A minute for each digit, it's a pretty slow process,
So when night crept in I think we were all ready for a recess.

Tomorrow we'll start again at first light,
and with any luck, we'll get the 79 left to go, done before midnight!
Freeze Branding Day Two,
went quickly as everyone knew what to do.

It left a little extra day,
for Andy and I to finish getting ready for the holiday.

Jeanne and I let him open an early present, his own little herd to keep when he goes back to the
North Pole.
He was very excited and stated, "This sure beats a lump of coal."
As we walked out to the shed,
Andy stated, "Don't worry I won't let the fame go to my head."

I must admit it took me by surprise, causing me to stop in mid stride,
looking at the elf, he was just beaming with pride.

I was curious to what he meant,
but it didn't take him long to give me a hint.

"You know, now that I get fan mail and everyone knows my name,
why an article on agweb.com, won't change me, I'll still just be the same."

I rolled my eyes, wondering what I was going to do with my new little "star",
when he suddenly took it a little too far.

"But I probably do need a raise!"
I just stood there with my mouth gapping open, in a daze.

I wasn't sure what to do,
but I didn't have much time to stew.

All of the sudden there was the pounding hooves of reindeer,
and what did a hear?

A jolly booming voice shouting, "Why you naughty little elf,
get back to ranch work or I'll return you to the shelf!"

Luckily for me, the quick reproach from St. Nick,
seemed to do the trick.

So we went on about our way,
and had a very productive day.
After the cows were watered and the calves fed,
Andy and I went and drove through the heifers that are bred.

From the looks of them, it's pretty clear,
Before we know it, calving season will be here.

The realization gave me a little fright,
so we walked through the calving barn tonight.

I noticed a few things that we need to repair,
but not enough to cause me much despair.  

We even went into the office and after giving a few piles a look,
we found the 2017 calving book.

Most of my post have been about all the work we do, but occasionally we do play,
for instance this evening Andy and I went and celebrated our friend, Tadd's birthday!  
I was a little sad today,
watching Andy pack to go away,
I told him, "Lots of folks think you should just stay."

He insisted that he had to get back to his reindeer,
but promised that he'd stop by, if only briefly, next year.

I had awoke with a cough and a runny nose,
just my luck, I suppose.

I thought this isn't going to be fun,
and the day got worse when the feed truck wouldn't run!

Apparently, yesterday I wasn't using my head,
left the scale on, and so the battery was quite dead.

It seemed like even the simplest task was turning into a chore,
I was really starting to roar!

When Andy said, "I think Mr. Jones you've forgotten the reason,
for this special season."  

I gave him a halfhearted shrug,
which he met with a great big hug.

"All the work and fun, has been sublime,
but the best part of helping you compose this rhyme,
was adding some magic to people's lives at Christmas time."

"While elves and Santa are enjoyable, and it's good to remind people you have cattle for sale,
it's much more important that people remember the real Christmas tale."

"She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus."
Merry Christmas from Crooked Creek Angus.
For in Bethlehem a baby was born on this day,
and they laid him in a manager filled with hay.
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