When I was young and in my prime I used to wear those traditional cowboy boots with the pointed toe and high heel. At the top of each boot was a loop big enough to put your index finger into. Then with some grunting, heavy breathing and pulling, your foot slipped into place just like a tongue giving a French kiss. Back then, any cowboy worth his salt knew that this style of footwear allowed your foot to come out of the stirrup if your horse was really serious about bucking you off. I was in the camp who knew that getting bucked of was more likely than staying on and the ground was going to greet me shortly. With that in mind, I’d better be looking for the best place to land, and I didn’t want my foot hung up in the stirrup when I took my high-dive.
But no more! Today I ride my friend Fuzz, who assures me that he doesn’t want to use all his energy to put me on the ground. Besides, we have a mutual admiration for each other. With hitting the ground no longer an issue, and no longer wanting to make a fashion statement, comfortable shoes with no point-to-the-toe here I come! Today my toes can wander, no longer trapped inside like a bunch of folks squeezed into one of those high rise elevators in New York City.
I’m also finding pleasure riding a new horse who my daughter has loaned me for the spring cattle drives. Bugs is closer to the ground, so gravity is not such a big issue. I can throw my saddle on without having to grunt and groan. Getting on a tall horse used to be a big event that required hunting for a log or a rock to stand on. With Bugs, why, I can just get to his high side and hop on like I could in my younger years. Yes, comfort is more important these days than the pain of breaking in new shoes. My current shoes have take care of my feet for the past four years. They are so comfortable that they are going to get the call for almost any occasion. Happy toes are more important to me than people’s opinions. I mean the people who see me coming and whisper to each other that if that guy had just saved for his older years he wouldn’t have to wear those scruffy, comfortable shoes.
What else takes about 7 years for the grower to harvest his first nut (this guy is nuts) and 10 years to be able to start paying some bills? Just think, if a person wants something to look forward to, why not a pistachio? Yes, there are other options out there, like wine grapes, which take as few as 3 years to come into production. And if you drink enough of your own raising your liver will probably succumb from having too much fun, taking you with him. Or you could raise oranges; now what could be better than that? Why, you would never be deficient in vitamin C. But are you ready to get out of bed at midnight on the coldest nights of the year to start your wind machine or sprinklers to keep your beautiful oranges from freezing? I’m not. So for me it’s pistachios. I get more years to look forward to my first nut to go with the two I’ve already got. Just think: when I’m 90 I’ll be able to start paying the bank back. Now many of you at this moment are thinking, this guy is missing a few bricks out of the load. Well, it’s too late to try to reason with me as the trees are coming and I have to get ready.
Of late there certainly has been a lot of print delegated to how much water farmers and ranchers use to provide town folks with three meals a day. I think my urban friends who are suffering along with those of us in agriculture in this interminable drought are beginning to be inconvenienced enough to start lashing out at the hand that feeds them. Just the other day I was reading an article that caught my eye in one of my farming magazines. The author must practice voodoo mathematics for I know of no other way that he could arrive at the preposterous figures that he used to make a case of why almond farmers use too much water to make this very healthy food available to the public. This charlatan that works on the theory that most people who see something in print think it’s the Gospel knows he doesn’t have to defend his figures to the gullible public. He can say that it takes a gallon of water to raise one nut and that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to put one pound of beef on your dinner table and no one questions him.
I want to do a little number crunching and then let you folks out there be the judge. Cattle will drink about one gallon of water per day per hundred weight, so a 1,000 pound steer will drink 10 gallons of water per day. Then again, when they’re out on the range and the grass is green they may drink half that amount. Let’s say our steer is harvested in 720 days (2 years). He will have consumed about 7,200 gallons of the wet stuff. If we use voodoo math we will multiply 1,000 pounds X 1,800 gallons per pound of weight = 1,800,000 gallons this this steer will have to drink in 720 days. The poor steer will have to drink 2,500 gallons of water per day, or 2.5 times his body weight. I believe most would consider this animal cruelty of the first order.
On that account, if we all want to eat, then part of the process is to just add water. The question then becomes: how much? I suggest that because water is an expensive part of raising our food, our farmers and ranchers will use it in a very miserly fashion. I hope most of you will come to the conclusion that in order to eat you will cast your vote for the person that raises it, knowing we have more credibility than voodoo mathematicians.
Before closing, I do have a wonderment: why is it that I never hear a word about the water used to make wine, which is not necessary for your health?