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8/2/2004

Round & Round

I’ve been spending my spare time on a tractor lately. Yeah, not quite the image ya had of The Cowboy. There I am, going round and round in circles on an antique John Deere tractor. Truth is, Gray’s Ranch has operated with a fair amount of farm ground since the early 20th century.  
My grandfather established the Hereford cow herd circa 1912. The family history reads like the great American novel with great success, devastating failure, love lost and won, and tragedy beyond imagination. Part of that history includes farming. Someday, maybe I’ll write it all down.  
For now, summer fallow ground needs to be worked. I’d like to say that our place is a beautiful showplace, but economics they way they are, I’m lucky to be even on the place. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon, “Cowpokes”, then you can get an idea of the state of Gray’s Ranch. I’ve always said that the artist must have gotten his inspiration from us. 
Now, if ya don’t know what summer fallow is, I’ll try to explain. When growing wheat or most other crops for that matter it is often not a good idea to plant the crop over and over; year after year. The ground “wears out”. Continual cropping saps the moisture from the soil. In the Great Plains moisture conservation is essential to consistent production of crops.  
So, ya leave a piece of ground “fallow”, meaning farming it to keep the weeds and grass from growing and therefore, preserving or stockpiling moisture in the sub-soil for the future crop.  
So, here I am working the ground. This Fall I will plant it to wheat and with any luck I’ll have a crop next June. Tractor work is not all that exciting. I’d much rather be horseback following a bunch of cows. Guess I’ll jest sit back and think about that for awhile… 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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