<blockquote>Writing – so different from ranching.<br />n<br />n“Writing is all in your head,” Groneberg says. “Ranching is all body, and you can get by without too much thinking.”</blockquote><br />n<br />nI read the above quote in <a href="">a story about Tom Groneberg</a>, author, rancher,hired hand, and all around good guy, and thought I was going to have to get upset. I continued to read the article and then looked back to find the quote. After reading it again, I decided I wouldn't get upset. <br />n<br />nI really don't think he meant it like I originally thought. When I first read it I thought he was saying, ranchers don't think, and don't need to be able to think. Closer reading of the statement leads me to think, which I'm not sure I do according to Tom ;-), that he meant you can "get by" without thinking. Get by, to manage to waddle through life, or your job, without ever excelling at it; to succeed with the least possible effort or accomplishment; to just barely survive. You might be able to "get by" as a rancher with out thinking, but you are definitely not going to get ahead and do well. You will just "survive."<br />n<br />nI would say ranching is <u>all about thinking</u>. Thinking keeps you ahead of the game and prospering. Without thinking, you do the same thing, year in and year out whether it's working or not. You never question the why something is happening and how to fix it. By thinking you can learn and adapt and prosper.<br />n<br />nI have been noticing while feeding cattle that there are a larger number of drys than I would like to see. In fact a lot of them are coming three year olds which is really troublesome. What's the deal, why is this and how do I fix it. Without thinking, I wouldn't know. So, I think about it. A large part of the dry problem I would attribute to the dry summer last year. It stressed them too much to cycle and breed. But why are so many coming three's dry? I think, yes Tom I do that, that it was my choose of pasture to run them in. It is a rough pasture that isn't watered the best in the world. Normally I can run two year olds there and they breed up fine but with the dry year, lack of grass and water in their pasture, led them to not breed even worse than normal. A mature cow would have wandered in the rough pasture better looking for grass and water and had a better chance to breed. So what can I do? since I never know if it is going to be dry ahead of time, I will just make a point of not running two-year olds in the rough pasture. I could just blindly do things the same way all the time, or think and learn how to do things better.<br />n<br />nAs for a rancher being more body, I would even have to disagree with that. The more thinking you do, the less body you need since you are planning ahead for ways to do things easier with less effort. With <a href="">my back</a> I am always looking for ways to do things with less body and more mind and planning. Thinking helps accomplish this.<br />n<br />nI'm sure Tom just made the comment to impress the literary establishment in Missoula. He probable never thought a real rancher would read the thing. Well I fooled him, didn't I? One of the unthinking in the world read the article and called him to task on it.<br />n<br />nNow for confession time. I know Tom and am just giving him a bad time here. Fooled you didn't I Tom. I understand what he was trying to say, even though I have given him a bad time here, and hope he takes my jabs in the humor it was meant. His books, <a href="">The Secret Life of Cowboys</a> and <a href="">One Good Horse</a> are both good books and I would recommend them as a good read. The Secret Life of Cowboys is a very good story about how the West, and eventually Montana, drew a city boy out and he learned who he was and what his life was about. Did he ever become a cowboy? I would say he did, I can see it in him from his writings and our few conversations. He might never see it in himself, but it's there. One Good Horse is a little different book. I had some hard times with this one. It hit pretty close to home at times. I would say the main focus of this book is his family and how the birth of one of his boys, Avery, affected him. Avery has Downs Syndrome. Some of what he goes through in this book so parallels my experience with learning my boy was autistic that it really hurt me some. It's a good book, don't get me wrong, it just touched me in ways I can't explain. Back to the mind/body thing though, I took no offense at his statements, he's lived too much of the life for me to criticize him for his choice of words. I take them in the spirit they were meant. <br />n<br />nBut I do wonder how such a statement leads the public to believe all farmers and ranchers are dumb hicks. It might just reinforce the stereotype out there. I use that stereotype to my advantage at times, it really works good to play the dumb as dirt rancher when dealing with government bureaucrats, they can't help but think themselves better than you and let things slip through the cracks for you since you are so dumb, so I can't complain about the stereotype either, I just wonder.<br />n<br />n<strong>Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. Aristotle</strong>



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