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Published October 24, 2011, 05:30 AM

The things you can’t have with kids and cattle

TOWNER, N.D. — “I guess we can’t have nice things.” It is a saying most of us have heard from a deflated mother at some point in the rearing of inadvertently destructive little people. Or an exasperated, “I have nothing nice left anymore!” when one her little angels has smashed the last of the nice dishes or knocked some other fragile heirloom off the wall.

By: Ryan Taylor, Special to Agweek

TOWNER, N.D. — “I guess we can’t have nice things.” It is a saying most of us have heard from a deflated mother at some point in the rearing of inadvertently destructive little people. Or an exasperated, “I have nothing nice left anymore!” when one her little angels has smashed the last of the nice dishes or knocked some other fragile heirloom off the wall.

A friend of mine told the story on Facebook of a Wii bowling game gone bad that ended up with a big, new, broken flat-screen television. Can’t have nothing nice. Others chimed in with stories of Wii remotes flying through the air, intersecting with a ceiling fan and being hurled just inches past a china hutch. Another mother’s month-old flat-screen was pulverized by a flying Lincoln Log. For some reason, only boys were mentioned as the perpetrators in the heinous destruction.

Maybe that’s why we don’t have a flat-screen TV. Or a Wii. Just doesn’t pay to have some of those high-tech and fragile things in a house with three kids younger than 8, and two of them being boys, the aforementioned usually guilty party. It’s the same reason my wife passes on the cute, breakable glass knickknacks when she sees them in a store.

It’s nice to see that “distressed” furniture is becoming popular. We have a table that came with the “distressed” look — dimples, dots and scratches highlighted with a dark finish. It was nice. It started that way, but every piece of furniture in this house gets that distressed look after a week or two.

Cow destruction

I’ve used the same demoralized words of the Wii-weary mother with our cattle the last couple of weeks. We’ve been hauling the hay in and stacking the bales nicely in straight, even rows. The bales were tied tight and looking good.

Then the cows, who have plenty of grass and no reason to want anything more, broke out of one pasture and stood in the corner of the one next to the hay pen until some fence crawler got the gate knocked down and they all camped out in my hay pen for a day while I was gone from the ranch.

They ripped into my beautiful, green, second-cutting alfalfa and tore twine from my nicely tied bales all the way up and down those nice rows.

“I guess we can’t have anything nice,” I muttered. I also yelled a couple of other observations at the cows as I chased them out of the hay pen.

A few days later, I was moving some bulls, and it went like it often does if you’re moving more than one bull anywhere. One bull is a walking bull, two bulls are fighting, bellering, fence-wrecking bulls. Sure enough, when I was moving a half-dozen of them to another pasture, two got to fighting and — CRASH! CRUNCH! They demolished one of my better barbed-wire gates.

“I have nothing nice left,” I concluded as the horse and I broke up the bull fight and got them straightened out.

But even amid all the destruction, I like our cattle and love our children. It wouldn’t be much of a ranch without cattle, and it’d be a much duller home without the children.

We may not have nice things, but we do have a nice life.

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