Those Who Work the LandSubmitted by sdsquid on Wed, 04/30/2014 - 17:53
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?