Cow Heads, Knee-Deep Manure, and Perspective – Life on the Farm

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,570.87
Total Paid Off: $16,739.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

Disclaimer: What you are about to read is 100% true. However it’s also 100% gross. If you have a weak constitution and get nauseated easily, turn back now. You have been warned.

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There was a time in my life where I was 100% content with knowing that I was going to inherit my father’s cattle farm, work it until it broke every ounce of spirit in me in my old age, and then pass it on to my children to continue the cycle.

At the age of 20 however I decided that the cattle business just wasn’t for me and so I moved to the Seattle area, eventually landed a job in videogames, and the rest is history. I’m thrilled with how my career has gone, but I also think I would have been very content if I was still working on that farm to this day. We’ll get to that later…

Farm life was not always fun, and the relentless nature of it at times was downright torture! Keep in mind that we had close to 3,000 head of cattle, and cows don’t take a break from eating. They require food 365 days a year, and that means no breaks for those humans in charge of feeding them, which mostly fell to me. From about 17 years of age on, I drove a large yellow front end loader and used it to scoop all sorts of ingredients into a giant auger truck that I then drove along the 2 mile stretch of stanchions as it slowly barfed out the mixture for the hungry cattle. It was highly monotonous and took a LONG time! My typical day started at 5:30am with morning feeding that took around 4 hours. I would then take a break from feeding to help with administering shots, branding, etc. and then would climb back into the feed truck for another two-three hours at the end of the day for the second feeding, usually wrapping up around 7:00pm.

It was hard work that was compounded by harsh central Washington state winters. Temperatures often dipped down into single digits, and we got lots and lots of snow. The snow wasn’t the problem though… the problem was what came after it was gone.Read More »