Anyone else as excited as I am to see the end of 2020? I know that Jan. 1 will be just an-other day on the calendar, but for every second that leaves this year in the dust there’s a part of me that’s going to celebrate.
I’ve been through some tough years, as I’m sure everyone has. There were years of jaw issues that peaked with 14 hours of surgery, a divorce that took years to finalize, personal and professional challenges that left me with a lot less trust and some scars that have not healed. But this year ...
I think if someone made a movie of my life this year it would be a toss up between me hiding in the closet sucking my thumb or running out of the bushes with arrows flying around my head while I’m breaking off the ones that stick.
The year started with the ranch “officially” going through succession Jan. 1, 2020. The Boss Man and I had a partnership agreement that completely changed over the spring as health issues plagued my parents. What started as a “buy-in” turned into a “let’s speed this up five years.”
Looking back, there were very few stumbles, but probably only because the Boss Man is forgiving and I get too stubborn to quit.
Around that time, myself and two others were trying to get a direct-to-consumer beef business off the ground. We were meeting with investors and retail groups, and then the pandemic hit.
All of a sudden our whole thought process had to change. And as we had more and more cattle piling up in the feedlot that we can’t move to the “big four,” I had to keep pulling them off to send to the direct business.
Nothing happened like how we intended. We were trying to adjust to a pandemic just like everyone else.
Spring turned into summer and I picked up a new lease within UTV driving distance of the ranch. It was a godsend – especially when the drought conditions started.
I’ll say it time after time – for the cattle’s sake I’ll take a drought over excessive moisture in our area But for the management’s sake, it presents a huge challenge.
At the Home Place we plan on this and have a backup plan in place. On the North lease place there really wasn’t a backup plan, and the business partner and I were starting to have some serious discussions on what we were going to have to do there.
Oct. 18. I don’t remember dates. I can’t even tell you when family member’s birthdays are unless I look them up. This one is etched.
I got bit by a dog when I was 4 years old. I remember everything about that day how many years later. Oct. 18 will be the same. I lost a friend and business partner while moving cows.
I know accidents happen. Doesn’t make it hurt any less or seem any less unfair.
The time since then has been a blur. I vacated the lease on the North Place for multiple reasons – the top one being the best interest of the cows. With the Boss Man agreeing to bring the cows home and the new lease and a new land management opportunity, it should work. I’ve spent days buried in paperwork and projects that a lot of times have ended up in tears at what was.
Christmas rolled around. I chose to try to ignore it as much as possible. The magnitude of every-thing this year was just plenty. Family made the decision the week before the holiday that COVID -19 fears would keep people apart. To each their own, but it was a final cap on a crap year.
For all the struggles, I would be amiss to point out there were some great things that happened – new friends, new opportunities and days that you realize that human kindness is still out there. Those have been what kept me pushing forward – that along with a love for the industry and the lifestyle.
Things are coming together, though they may never be the same. But that’s OK. Because how will we really ever know what we are made of until we are challenged?
From our little corner of the world, may you have a new year of peace, blessings and determination to not give up. Happy New Year!