When many people were just headed to bed on Thursday night, the Cowboys and I were getting up to ship starters at the feedyard. This “Moon-light” shipping, if you will, is the lucky draw from the meat plant. No one loves to get up at 2 a.m. and ship cattle, but I won’t complain as long as I get to go home that afternoon before 3. Everyone at the yard rags on the cattle department work hours, saying we like to come in late (late being 6:30). Well, this day we were half-way finished shipping before the mill ever started up at 4 a.m.After I finished working the scale house and counting cattle, our cook at the yard was gracious enough to have a breakfast casserole prepared for us. Much better than a cold Daylight Doughnuts burrito. We were sitting around the table, finishing off the breakfast and coffee when stories began to flow. Every topic was covered and each had his own “Tall Tale.”

Of course there was the topic of the cattle markets. Cattle markets are high and there are many cattle going to market this year. Everything from the $1.50cwt calves here in Dalhart to the $2,500 bulls in Arkansas. The guys expressed their opinions about cattle order buyers, the “interesting thugs” that are known to work the back at auction barns, and the high prices of fat cattle from the yard this year. These topics spared some interesting quotes from the crowd:

“I’d rather manage cattle over people any day of the week” — Referencing those interesting truck drivers that make the trip to our yard every day.

“Work with cattle long enough you’re gonna get run over. Live with bears long enough, you’re gonna get eat.” — In a story about a couple who lived with grizzlies and were eventually eaten by the bears.

For some reason this last comment led to a discussion about Man vs. Wild. Interesting comments for sure:

“You know that man’s had the shits before.” — If you’ve watched the show before, no explanation needed.

“I’ve eaten many wild game in my day. That’s why I stick to eating cow and hog meat.” — Spoken by a cowboy from the mountain ranges of Wyoming. For some weird reason, I believe him on this one.

And you wonder what goes through their minds as they are riding through all of those cattle every day…

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Did you thank a farmer or rancher for working hard to produce the food that will be on your table today?