Letter to Dave


Dear Dave,


Had a few minutes so prepare for a note to drop your way. Our cat, Magoo, is seated in between me and the computer screen; he likes to edit as we go along. I allow him to edit for spelling and grammar but never for content. Oh yeah, Magoo says hello too.


This week the first grass-fed steers of the season are set for processing. I usually sort and load them the same day and then haul them into our brother Steve, for processing. This year I put them into the barn several days prior so it makes for less work the day of hauling. I am feeding them some nice alfalfa during their confinement which I purchased from Lyle Swanson. Feeding cattle one forkful at a time reminds me of the fair when we used to bring cattle in for showing. I don’t go to fairs much anymore-too many people in one place. However, when I feed our steers I have close contact with them and it really takes me back to a time when our show cattle had fresh straw each day, got fed individual-sized portions of feed from a pan stored in our carefully packed barn box.


Dave, there’s a huge celebration going on in town for Arctic Cat; they’re celebrating a silver birthday. Arctic Cat has meant an awful lot to the area for many years and it all started with Edgar Hetteen’s dream. I drive an little Arctic Cat 250 ATV which has helped me build fence, check cattle, spray pasture and even relax at the end of the day. I use my tractor maybe once a week, the pick-up two-three times a week however that little ‘wheeler and I spend as much time together as Magoo and I do on the couch. Thanks to Arctic Cat for my little helper and happy birthday, too.


Dave, I have never been more organized however I’ve never been so busy. We have more cattle than ever on pasture but they are what we need to process all that forage into meat and fertilizer. I recently had a sample done on our pasture and found that it has all the nitrogen, phosphorous, etc that it needs. Here’s the kicker-we haven’t fertilized it for three years. The legumes in the pasture create nitrogen which feeds the grasses while the cattle process what they don’t need into manure which goes back into the ground. Photosynthesis from the sun does the rest. Anyway, I will have no fertilizer bill this year and that feels good.


I finally had a moment for a project, Dave-it’s called a Dorothy room. A Dorothy room is a free-standing tornado shelter built to specifications from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA.) I am using the specifications but am building it under the steps. The finished part which faces the hallway is made from the counter from the old Viking cafe. I am pretty confident when it comes to building fence, cattle feeders or anything rough, however indoor works makes me nervous. I typically build by eye however I am using tools for this project as foreign to me as a shovel to the average teenager. Anyway, I should finish it just as the tornado season ends and it will be the subject of a future column.


I hope the rain stops at your home in Carrington, North Dakota soon, Dave. In case it doesn’t, I have attached a pdf file of specs from FEMA for a floating structure-it’s called a Noah’s ark.


Your little bro’

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