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Those Who Work the Land

Sadly, there are very few Americans left who resemble—and thereby cannot possibly understand—Cliven Bundy. To put it bluntly, most men today couldn’t qualify to carry his jock.

I know, ‘cause I’ve been there, done that.

In January of 1960, at the age of twenty, I accepted an offer of employment from a friend who was the general manager of a large cattle operation in Lincoln County, Nevada. The closet towns were Hiko (Pop. 04) and Alamo (Pop 125). This ranch was about 100 miles Northwest of Bunkerville.

My position was simply “ranch hand.” The tasks I was assigned included anything and everything from burning weeds to clear irrigation ditches, mending fence, mucking out corrals, spreading manure, leveling and discing land, feeding livestock, equipment maintenance and mechanical repairs, welding, irrigating huge fields of alfalfa, and anything else the boss told me to do.

A day’s work began before sunrise and ended at dark. I worked seven days a week with one free weekend a month. My pay was $200 per month plus my room and board.

Of note is that my friend, the boss, was 74 years old; and for the first month I was there he literally worked me into the ground every day. As the general manager of this large operation, he didn’t have to do physical work. But he did because he loved it. It was the only way of life he’d ever known.

Such is the life of those who love and work the land.

This ranch had also leased a large tract of Taylor Grazing land. It was some thirty miles distant from the ranches deeded land and at a higher altitude. If the winter months produced sufficient rain or snow, one could generally count upon three-to-four months of natural wild grasses as grazing feed for a good sized herd.

Of note is that the owners of the ranch had spent meaningful time and money to improve the grazing land’s site. They’d built a line shack, a corral and made enhancements to an underground stream that significantly increased the flow of fresh water.

While this is pure speculation, I can’t imagine Mr. Bundy not making improvements to his leased grazing land; for to not do so, he’d have been going against the most dearly held tenets of his profession: being a good and caring steward of the land.

I get the federal government’s diabolical position in all of this; for at best…government is force. But what I have a really hard time digesting is the fact that the employees of these three-letter agencies are all Americans. So I ask these armed bureaucrats: how in God’s name do you sleep at night?

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Feeling sad after reading

Feeling sad after reading this post. You need to know the definition of life. Life is a mixture of pain and pleasure. So, do not worry at all.

I worked on my grandpa's farm

I worked on my grandpa's farm as a kid. I do have a physical job that keeps me fit, but I really miss those days on the farm.

The Good Earth

As a suburban kid, I can't imagine the life of a farmhand. This post did remind me, however, of a book I had read in high school by Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth. From what I could vaguely remember, the themes of hard manual labor and the value of land were explored through the eyes of the main character. Interestingly, while searching for more information to share about the author, not only did I discover that Buck had won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for her work, but I found that the The Good Earth was the first book of a trilogy.

Pearl S. Buck interview, discussing Communism (10 mins)


Review of The Good Earth (Synopsis starts at 3:30 min mark)


Good post

I can relate. My work is extremely labor intensive but also involves a great deal of problem solving/troubleshooting.

I've got some service related injuries that keep me from performing at 100% but I can still work circles most folks.

Nonetheless, I realize how easy I have it and how weak I am compared to the generations who have gone before me, the men who settled the land and built our country.

So here's to all you tired, sore, worn out, run down, hard working patriots out there, especially the Old Timers.

Tomorrow when that hot Texas sun is beating down on me, and I start to get tired I will remember this inspiring post and keep on truckin!

"I'm Ron Paul." - Ron Paul

Good post.

I worked 6 years in excavation, 2 years of roofing and some other odd jobs that were labor intense. But none came close to the 18 months I spent on a dairy farm milking 30-40 head of Holstein during my seasonal winter lay-off from the excavation firms.

We used belly pulsators and did most everything by hand including shoveling the grain out of the silo. This farm was run by a man near 70 who had been doing it longer than I have been alive. His name is Don. The winter I came to work for him his house had just burned down. While it was still aflame he went back in for his work clothes so he could do the days chores.

He beat me to the milk house every morning and was the last one to leave every night. I learned more about hard work in that year and a half than I did the rest of my working life. Walking two five gallon pales of milky water down an icy incline in near freezing temps to feed calves helps put things in perspective. So does lying on your back on a shitty barn floor with a bloody new born calf writhing on your chest and dripping all over your face after you fell while delivering it and twisting your knee in the process. And for a real grit building experience nothing beats dehorning and castrating with the same equipment and methods grandpa used. The strange thing is, I loved it. Not every day. But something about making an animal work for you and produce for you is something...timeless.

I see guys these days, guys my age, that can't handle the least bit of physical discomfort or freak out when the pressure gets turned up and I think of old Don and try to just be thankful for the lessons he taught me without even knowing it. Mainly patience. People can't help the fact that they were born in the era of convenience. His kind really are a dying breed.

When I watched the goings on the Bundy ranch I couldn't help and think of Don. Someones grandfather, someones son carrying on a family business. To try and answer your question, the armed bureaucrats probably never had a Don, or a Clive or the man you worked for in their life. If they had, they may have found a more rewarding line of work.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin

I read an article from a

I read an article from a Bundy family member where they described how the family/ranch maintained that land since their family settled there over 100 years ago. They maintained the roads, bridges, irrigation, etc, to keep the land usable for their ranch.

Then at some point the BLM came in and offered to help maintain the land in return for a fee. If I'm remembering correctly, the Bundy ranch did pay the fee to cover the maintenance costs but then stopped paying when the BLM stopped maintaining the land. BLM no longer wanted to provided the agreed upon service but still wanted to collect the fees.


on a pillow of taxpayer money?

Some men will sell their soul for a million dollars... some for significantly less.

At their inceptions, the #Liberty, #OccupyWallStreet and #TeaParty movements all had the same basic goal... What happened?

I'm afraid

I don't understand, popfreeradio. Could you please elaborate? Thanks.

Logic dictates that: Wrong action has to lead to wrong results; and right action has to lead to right results. Period. No exceptions.

your question was:

"So I ask these armed bureaucrats: how in God’s name do you sleep at night?"

They sleep on pillows made of taxpayer dollars... they've sold their souls for federal reserve notes.

At their inceptions, the #Liberty, #OccupyWallStreet and #TeaParty movements all had the same basic goal... What happened?

I'm a manure shoveling fool...

Hard work is good for the character.

Appreciate you sharing your story.

Statistically, most folks grow up in the city and think the meat and produce they eat just magically appears at the grocery store. Most have little or no appreciation for the people who actually make it all happen.

we work the land

7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our backs hurt. Our fingers are stiff. We don't really make any $ per se. We always had plenty of organic food to eat, free vit. D daily, breathing fresh air. There's nothing else we'd rather do.

Thanks for sharing this

honest work and honorable men a rare find in today's world.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."


But he did because he loved it.

I have a son like this.
I find it admirable in a young man.

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul