Although Richard and I have “wet” fly fished for many years at a local trout park, we had yet to experience “real” fly fishing, and we certainly weren’t prepared for a day of fly fishing on the South Fork of the Snake River August 19. But, never fear, our guide was there to assist us!
Grey, a very patient and knowledgeable young man, knew the words to say and the way to say them to get across the greatest knowledge in the least amount of time. After all, we were just going to be on the river for about eight hours, and he had to help us catch fish to make our day complete (and help encourage us to come back).
Grey said there are basically ten main points to fly fishing. Although he didn’t actually line them out, at the end of the day I came up with the following list, how they helped us catch fish, and how they can also help us be better stock-handlers.
Richard and I read a great article today about a new (to us) term, “Complexity Bias.” Basically it says that people prefer the more complex answer rather than the more simple answer. We find this in our schools where people try and complicate things when it’s really not necessary. This is a good read no matter what business you are in!
“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” – William Blake
I was going to write something myself on stress, but then I came across this post Mom wrote on the main Stockmanship.com website. I can’t improve on it, so will just put the link here and encourage you to read it all:
I have come to the conclusion that most livestock don’t feel safe in their home pastures, no matter where they live, which is why, when Bud moved them,they were convinced that the place he left them was safe and the place they wanted to be. The increase in production and the decrease in illness bolsters my feelings on this. The fact that it makes the stock easier to handle and utilize your pastures better is frosting on the cake. Bud felt that the modern way of moving animals with feed has created neurotic cows that instead of the cow taking stress off of her calf, actually puts stress on it. Read the rest here.
You might have heard of other days, weeks, or months set aside to bring special “awareness” to various situations such as (not a joke!) International Carrot Day (today!), National Gardening Week (April 11-17), and Mathematics Awareness Month (April). Read more about them here.
One that stuck in our minds is that April is also Stress Awareness Month! During April let’s talk about stress and your livestock! How can you tell if your livestock are stressed? If they are, what can you do about it? And, why does it matter?
At the same time, let’s also talk about stress in people because, that’s also part of what we need to talk about when discussing “Proper Stockmanship.” Proper Stockmanship can only be attained when both the livestock and the people are in the proper frame of mind. If you are under some sort of stress which you are not managing well, the livestock you are responsible for will know it and not respond well to it! I know, that sounds pretty far “out there!” But, stick with us through Stress Awareness Month as we talk about all these issues and many more.
Valentine’s Day, the day after we got back from our 2 week California trip, was beautiful (in fact, the last beautiful day for a long time)! I needed that time to unpack, wash laundry and get caught up a little bit. Richard put the cattle into a little spot in our yard near the clothesline to graze, and we noticed how they weren’t afraid of the whipping clothes. So, Richard decided to try a little “placing” and see how it went.
Our three loads of laundry whipping in the wind didn’t worry the cattle at all.
Animals want us to lead, not with a carrot, but with a calm assertive energy.
— Cesar Millan
One thing Richard and I have noticed is that, after every stockmanship/marketing school, we turn to each other and say, “that was the BEST school ever!” I told Mom this, and she said she and Dad always said the same thing too! It’s such a wonderful thing for Richard and I to be able to travel around and put on these schools which attract the BEST of the BEST in agriculture! Sharing information with these forward-thinking people is extremely satisfying for us, and hopefully for them too.
Special thanks to TomKat Ranch for bringing us in to hold a one day stockmanship school here today near Pescadero, CA.