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AMY KIRK: 2013 good for driving, lacking in cow-related dilemmas

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Amy KIrk, Daily Republic Columnist  At the close of another year I like to look back and reflect on how things went for me. I take a moment to remind myself that I did survive any setbacks, problems or accidents that I experienced and acknowledge that they are now in the past and to look ahead with a positive, fresh start attitude.

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For starters, it was a good driving year for me. I do recall a couple of close calls, but not once during the whole summer did I back the bale bed pickup into any stock tanks or hit them with the water hauling trailer. That’s always a plus, because it’s not very easy to hide those mistakes from the hubs (husband).

I am always grateful any year that my car stays intact the whole 365 days, which is a feat because I’m somewhat of an accident-prone backer-upper, and I also drive daily on deer-populated highways to and from home. Regarding my transportation choices, I also viewed 2013 as successful because over the spring and summer my jeep didn’t leave me stranded at any locations that required running or walking home or getting towed home, which in some years past have been bad in that regard, not to mention sometimes embarrassing.

I consider any year a stellar one if I didn’t have to call on our neighbors to help me handle a cow-related dilemma on a day when my husband’s gone. If neighboring ranches call me regarding our cows out or our cows are mixed up with theirs and action is required on my behalf, I don’t count such phone calls as me having to depend on my neighbors. I know it has to do with my pride, but I’ve always had this thing about proving that I’m just as capable of handling a situation by myself as my husband is.

This year’s haying season went well for me I thought. The whole summer I managed to operate our equipment and not be the cause of any major equipment problems. This was an accomplishment considering how many rocks and gopher mounds I encountered while cutting hay in our fields this summer. Call me a ruthless, uncaring mother if you want, but when my teenage son was linked to the windrower breaking down this summer, I was glad it wasn’t me. It does make a huge difference that he is a few notches more mechanically minded than I am in helping resolve the problem and that he is also a male who speaks the same language as his father, the head mechanic.

Looking back over 2013 I can honestly say I don’t have any bad memories of places where I got the feed pickup, farm equipment, or my car stuck in snow or mud this year as I have in some years past. I have become better about checking out driving conditions first, avoiding hasty decisions, not assuming vehicles and machinery have invincible capabilities, and not underestimating weather and roads, paved and unpaved.

Like any year, I’ve had my share of dilemmas and went through a few hair-raising moments, but overall I don’t consider any of the problems I encountered in 2013 too terrible because I haven’t been the main character in any of my husband’s retelling of new favorite and comical ranch stories.

— Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.

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