The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Under the Wire

To worry … or not


February 24, 2021

A few years ago, a friend of mine retired and moved to town. He had spent his entire life to that point on a ranch. I was curious how he would handle the change in life style. After several months had passed, I asked him how it was going. “The biggest change in my life,” he responded. “Now when I get up in the morning I don’t care what the weather is going to do that day.” I’m a long way from retirement, but his answer did make me think how things can be so important to you one day and not mean a hill of beans the next.

Last spring we had some calves born here on the ranch. Practically from the time the first one was dry, I began to wonder what they might be worth this fall. My obsession with prices is probably unusual since I make a pretty big part of my living reporting on livestock prices daily on our radio and internet market report. I am forced to deal with market prices and trends daily. It’s my job to watch the markets. Worrying about them, however, is optional.

As our own calves grew daily, I reported the markets as they went up and down. I have the greatest empathy for my listeners whom I bring either good or bad news to each morning. Just like them, I get excited on the good days. My spirit also follows the prices when they go down. There are others who live this daily roller coaster. A friend raises some of the best Foundation bred Quarter Horses in the world, according to him. Each fall he sends a few weanlings out to test the market. He, like me, spends the entire summer watching sale results and comparable sales. If he and I meet at a fourth of July parade the conversation would go like this.

Me: Great parade, huh?

Him: They sure had a good horse sale in Burlington last week.

Me: Calf market looks a little softer this week.

Him: Yep, nice parade. See ya.

Finally, sale day arrives for both of us. The auction may go well or less than well. Oddly, neither of us really care. Oh, we care, but we can’t do anything about the market. By then any input we might have had is done. Take the money and go home. Tomorrow begins next year in this business. Tomorrow something else happens, too. I wake up not really worrying about what the market will do that day. For a few weeks, like my retired friend, it won’t matter. He won’t worry about the weather. I won’t let the markets keep me awake. Of course, spring calving will be here before you know it.

One more thing. I occasionally ask Sue when I can retire and not worry about the weather. “You can retire,” she always answers with a glare, “when you get a job!”

Retirement is a long way off.


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