Farmer Focus: Injured shoulder leaves me stranded in house

It has been an eventful couple of weeks on the ranch. Autumn is now fully upon us. 

The grass is completely brown and will be dormant until next May, and the cattle are all requiring supplemental protein to keep going.  

My shoulder operation went better than expected and instead of being down for 16 weeks I am only one-armed for six. 

It is a positive, but it’s hard to stay focused on that just week one post-op. Everyone else is running around from sunrise to sundown and, as an outside observer, I don’t see them making much progress!

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Feeding all of the freshly weaned calves is taking about five hours a day for one person. On top of that we have 1.5 miles of fence to build and breeding the autumn calvers will soon be upon us. 

Of course, when I say “us” I mean the rest of my family.

I am still the only licensed truck driver here and, while I did as much as I could, there are still several cattle delivery trips to western Kansas and Missouri that didn’t get done. To pay someone to do it would cost more than my surgery.

I have been confined to a chair this week, and, as stupid as it sounds, I am surprised at how much rotator cuff surgery hurts. Meanwhile, all that is on the TV is Donald Trump and Joe Biden looking deeply into my eyes and saying something to aggravate me. I’m a joy to be around!

To make it worse, cattle prices fell sharply last week, and corn prices are rising, for whatever reason. Corn just crossed the fabled $4/bushel mark (£121/tonne) – why wouldn’t it?

I’m desperately trying to get enough range of motion in my shoulder so that I can drive. I’ve ordered some branded stuff for the herd. I’m ready for a change of scenery.

My plan is to at last be useful on the sales side of the business as I’m currently so useless in operations.

What puts it all in perspective is reading The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It’s about the first settlers to Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. They farmed through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. They were remarkably tough.

I’m sure we will figure it out, but the rest of the family is going to be tired and I am going to be sore and grouchy.

Daniel Mushrush is a Farmer Focus writer from Kansas. Read his biography.