Sunday, December 02, 2007

The value of a good education.

I have a PhD, really, I do.

My wife stayed in college and earned her B.S. in Animal Science from U.C. Davis. I had to leave after two years to keep food on the table and help on my father's ranch, but I always wished I had stayed in school to get my degree.

But I did earn a valuable education growing up on the ranch. Here are just a few of the lessons learned;

Hard work is hard, but necessary.
Potential means you really haven't done anything yet.
The reward for hard work is the opportunity to do more of it.
The ability to arrive on the scene of a crisis and know what needs to be done is a priceless asset.
Cows are a ruthless adversary.
Good horses are rare and should be adored, bad horses are everywhere and should be sent to France.
Good neighbors are like the Britts, they will show up when you need a hand without even asking.
Bad neighbors are like the French, they're always there when they need you.
A four year old ranch pick would be considered 'totaled' by an insurance company.
You better be able to make anything with a torch, welder and grinder, town is long way away.
You can install a five strand barbed wire fence up a 65 percent incline.
A good cow dog is worth two cowboys, a bad cow dog can make enough extra work for ten cowboys.
Rounding up loose cattle from an almond orchard horseback is darned near impossible.
And the most important lesson I should have learned is digging post holes by hand is no way to earn a living.

Which brings me to my current fencing project at my house. I have a 30 horsepower John Deere tractor with a post hole digging attachment and it works well. However you still have to clean out the holes and sometimes make them bigger the old fashioned way. By hand.

These are the tools of ignorance. Yesterday my wife and son helped me put in another 14 pipe corner posts. Three or four sacks of cement per hole makes for a long day.

I told my son as he was digging out the holes. Don't worry, keep working on your education, you're working on your PhD.

Post Hole Digging.

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