Yesterday was the sale over at my friend's ranch. There was a pretty good turn-out but maybe not as many as he had hoped. One fellow flew in for it and landed in the pasture. They sold three tractors, a truck, many implements, saddles, household effects, some antiques, lots of tools, and of course a world-class collection of nuts, bolts, nails, screws, and miscellaneous stuph. It took three big flatbeds to hold all the small items.
Despite being his decision, it was a sad day for all. It took six hours to sell the accumulation of four generations of a ranch family's life. How could that not be wrenching? At least they are going to a comfortable retirement life not too far away.
I can't help but feel we have our priorities screwed up in this country. It's hard for farm and ranch people to make it at the best of times. Right now the wealthy and the wannabes -- often the same folks -- are buying up land at two to three times the going rate. Much more if it being sold for hunting. Of course, that immediately becomes the new 'going rate' and the real ranchers, the old timers, are squeezed. The new land values drive up the tax rates which are already high, especially in the light of the relative paucity of services actually received by the taxpayer. We just don't treat our primary ag folks very well.
We'll ship cattle in a week or so, and that will be it. That will be another tough couple of days. Most ranchers, like dairymen, really like their critters. This fellow has always treated his cattle very well, as he has a deep streak of kindness for them. Anyone that shows up to help move them and likes to whoop and holler and poke 'em with prods is asked to desist. He won't put up with that sort of behavior around his stock.
The world is always changing. Sometimes it's hard to see that the change is for the good. And sometimes it's easy to see that it isn't.