Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio
I am going to talk about my brothers over the next few months. I will drop one column about each of them every few weeks or so in between columns about the sugar beet harvest, farming and life.
I won the Punt, Pass and Kick competition when I was eight years old. This is not a completely true statement in that I was probably the best-coached child who had ever entered that competition back in the seventies-my brother Steve and I won the competition.
Steve is the brother who owns Town and Country Meats in Newfolden. Steve was a really good athlete and pretty cerebral about how to play sports. He suggested I enter the PP&K competition and then coached me daily on being proficient in each phase of the event.
The proper traditional kicking technique from a tee is to approach the ball from three to five steps back , stay focused on the ball, head down and kick the ball square with a pendulum motion-the knee being the fulcrum. It’s like hitting a baseball-you have to just meet ball and let it do the work. If you try to kick too hard, you will have no control and most likely shank it to the same side as the leg which you chose to kick. I did really well during the punt and pass portion of PP&K however my kick really kicked-well you know what I kicked. I am still a disciplined kicker which was ingrained by all that effort from Steve.
My first real movie was also in the company of my brother Steve. The world still stops for me every time “the Electric Horseman” is broadcast on television. Robert Redford, Willie Nelson and Timothy Scott (who later acted in “Lonesome Dove”) starred in this movie about a former cowboy, turned cereal spokesman, who decides to free a horse owned by a corporation which keeps it drugged to stay calm during stage shows. It is a fantastic movie and played to my love of animals, the outdoors, freedom and country music.
Anyway, Steve and I had planned to attend a different movie but it was rated “R” and I was still too young. We instead attended “the Horseman” and created a memory that I still visit each time I watch Redford free that horse into the wilds of Utah on the tube. I’m sure we went to “Paradiso” for dinner that night but I can’t say for sure. It was a good time.
I think my time as a youth with Steve formed my basis for a relationship with Steve’s son, Jamie. When I was the older one, I took Jamie to rodeos and somewhere to eat until he reached a point when he could drive himself with friends. It is the sort of example started by Steve that now visits itself on Jamie’s two little boys when they spend time together.
I recently called Steve about hauling two steers to him for processing. Steve is incredibly busy but he knows I am the same and needed to get these steers gone. Anyway, when asked about the steers he put his convenience aside said “bring ‘em.” Football technique coach and cattle processing expeditor; that’s my brother Steve.
This letter has been delayed by at least 45 minutes while I manage our indoor herd of three cats. Twitch causes constant trouble and teases little Laine when he’s bored. Magoo needs more attention than any two year-old and even now has tipped a container of cereal and is testing its sovereignty. We scold Twitch when he is mean which causes him to go sit on his â€œpouting chair.â€ He sees my admonishments as play and leaps from his perch then beats me back to the computer where he sprawls on the seat of my chair and waits to be petted. We have no human children, however we have definitely have kids.
Today is a big day Dave; I am returning the heifers to our brother, Steve. I purchased these cattle in early 2010. During their time here, they have grown into a sort of bovine adolescence and are now ready to go back to their original home. When I deliver steers for butcher, it is a one way trip and a bit sad. However, today’s heifers will see familiar surroundings and their mother cow at the end of a road which leads to Viking, Minnesota. These animals start their life with Steve, spend some time at our place, then back to Steve’s farm. The only down side to this arrangement is that the cattle never get to hyphenate their last names because they are always Nelsons.
I tasted spring on Monday. If we first covet with our eyes, then it is logical that we first taste with our nose. Oppressive cold makes it impossible to smell anything and Monday was just warm enough to enjoy the freshness of winter which tastes a lot like spring. The first little warm spell of the fourth season is almost like seeing weakness in a seemingly unbeatable opponent. I know now that winter will one day die and it seems a little more approachable, perhaps the snow and cold is not so bad. I understand winter’s need to be, at times, stern and unapproachable. Mother nature enjoys irony and I understand the old hag will send winter back in cold and hard next week to mock the feelings winter and I briefly shared.
I hope Carrington, North Dakota and you are doing well. The last time we spoke was before Christmas; at that time Carrington had already received two more inches of snow than it received in the whole season of 2009-2010. We have received so much snow that I am now using a box blade to drag any new snow out into the pasture. I pile all of our snow next to ditches or other drainage so hopefully our spring will not be so wet-oh, that it was that simple in the Red River Valley. I plan to visit you for breakfast before the summer so you will have to find a piece of farm equipment for me to purchase-gotta deduct that mileage for taxes.
Tell, the wife, the kinder and their spouses hello
your little bro’