It seems like the amount of people escaping city life to live in the country is multiplying daily. I definitely understand, I lived in the city for a full month this past year and I don’t know how people do it every day, I certainly couldn’t wait to get home. However there are some things that I think you need to know that bug those of us that make a living out here.
- Just because you don’t see cops checking speeds on back roads doesn’t mean that it’s the autobahn and just because you haven’t seen any traffic on the roads doesn’t mean the stop signs are optional. Their is more traffic then one thinks and with as fast as y’all drive it’s sometimes hard to see over the blind hills in time if someone is coming. So stopping at stop signs is a good idea. If your in a hurry take the highway, backroads are where we like to meet and have a quick chat with neighbors, sometimes livestock have escaped (especially during weaning time,) we check and count cows and whatever is in the pastures so we don’t have to drive in there and disturb them, sometimes we use the backroads to move cattle to a different pasture and sometimes kids like to ride their horses and bikes down the road. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean that one day you will. Besides you moved out here to enjoy the slower, quieter life so start by driving a decent speed.
- Stop lobbying to get rid of dirt and gravel roads. If you are worried about your vehicle getting dusty, wash it when you get home if it bothers you that much. Paved roads are great when they first get put down but they quickly get cracks and pot holes which are patched and never go back to being smooth. Gravel roads get a little rough and then the road grater comes out and it’s back to smooth sailing. Gravel roads provide a little more traction when we get ice storms and winter flurries like were getting right now and although you probably didn’t have to go to work your ranching neighbors have to get out and tend to their livestock. (P.S. our roads will be the last to get attention while the road crews are busy opening the highways and main roads) It’s true you can’t, well I’ll say shouldn’t drive as fast on them and that’s fine because it’s not the highway.
- Keep your animals and heck even yourself on your own property. Just because you like Fido and don’t think he causes any problem’s doesn’t mean that he isn’t getting into trouble. Coyotes get a bad wrap but I have never seen a Coyote chase cattle around and I certainly haven’t been chased by a coyote but have been by a dog that was visiting a pond. No one likes your dog as much as you do! So keep it on your property and if you don’t, don’t be surprised if they don’t come back. We don’t like getting rid of problem dogs but, were trying to make a living on very thin margins and can’t afford having cattle chased through fences, stressed and calves killed. Luckily we haven’t had to deal with trespassers but I have many friends that have told me stories and it always amazes me about lack of respect.
- Pick up your trash before it blows into the neighbors fields. Calves are like toddlers and put everything in their mouth and unlike toddlers they can’t pull it out of their mouths, once they have started eating it. Not to mention, I’m sure you wouldn’t like to pick up trash scattered in your yard. Trash can blow a long ways away and it sometimes get’s away from the most dedicated person against littering, so I totally understand that not everything is going to get picked up. It would be nice if you didn’t just leave your trash thrown all around to get blown all over the county.
- Agriculture is under attack and those of us that make it our livelihood solely farming and ranching are working really hard to raise animals and crops ethically, humanely and sustainable. We work hard to keep our animals healthy, well fed and our land not over stocked and overused. I see lots of people move out here and buy livestock and then not take care of them or the land. Someone driving by might not notice that the starving and or sick cattle on land that is basically a weed field are basically a pet and not a true representation of agriculture in the area. Animals are expensive and their is a lot to learn about taking care of livestock. So if you are going to get some talk to your neighbors that ranch about what it’s going to cost to run them, how many you can realistically run on the amount of land you have and how to take care of them. I have known a lot of successful ranchers in my life and they are all the same. They are going to leave you alone unless you ask for help or are curious about how to do something. They are very passionate about the work they do so they love to talk about it but they aren’t going to tell someone what to do. If you argue with them they won’t help you again. They know what they are doing you don’t. Coming from someone that took all of the classroom college classes about agriculture I can tell you the real world is much different then reading about it in a text book.
I hope that you remember that you moved to the country to get away from the city so don’t bring the city out here. Wave to your neighbors and enjoy the peace and quiet. More than anything I hope that you respect that your neighbors are working hard every day, all day long in a very noble profession of feeding American. So make their life easier not harder. We got blessed with the best neighbors and they work really hard to make sure that we can keep feeding America, they have made dinners for us when we were spending all day breaking ice and feeding, they constantly help us with whatever project we need an extra hand with and they let us share with their kids what excites us (playing with bottle calves, looking at baby horses and enjoying a home raised steak). They definitely aren’t townies but they also don’t make their living farming or ranching and fit in perfectly so you definitely can as well!
The Rambling Ranch Wife Selena