My husband looks forward to getting the same thing for Christmas; a new calf record book/calendar. He gets anxious until he’s able to transfer his important information into it before the New Year starts.
A number of years ago, I started keeping a pocket calendar to write down ranch information in that I thought might need referencing later. My husband would ask me questions like how much seed we bought the year before, what we paid for it, if I remembered what day it was that we doctored a calf, bought a bull, or sold open cows, and I’d have to look it up for him. Finding it in my pocket calendar was quicker than digging through a drawer full of files for a particular invoice or retracing days in my head.
Several times, I had mentioned to my husband that he should start writing stuff down in a book of days, so he wouldn’t have to always ask me, but I worded my suggestion wrong. He assured me he wasn’t a writer and wasn’t going to keep a “diary.” He’d seen how much I filled up each day’s little square of my pocket calendar, and it was the equivalent of a girl’s diary to him. The only recording he did was jotting down calving dates and calf details in a thin, pocket-sized calf record book.
One December, his mom sent him the complimentary pocket-sized calf record book/weekly calendar her vet gave her; thinking he could get some use out of it. At first he stashed it in a drawer because he was used to the thinner, plain old calf record books that he used every year.
About the same time his mom sent the record book, my mom told him about a couple she knew who kept a daily log of their farm/ranch activities. Keeping track of all kinds of farm and ranch related information in a book came in handy for them, especially at tax time.
When March rolled around and calves were showing up, our son wanted his own calf record book to record cows’ calving dates. My husband went to the drawer where the red calf record book was and dug it out to give our son. My husband was rummy from lack of sleep and struggling to remember what day it was, what he’d done the past few days, and what still needed done, while thumbing through the red calf record book/calendar before giving it to our son. I left the room and came back to find my husband at the kitchen table copying down stuff in the red one his mom sent and our son with his dad’s basic calf record book in hand.
The next time my mom visited, she noticed my husband jotting stuff down in the record book/pocket calendar. He told her how her advice was one of the best suggestions he ever got in helping him keep track and remember stuff.
Of course that really made me mad, because I didn’t get the credit for mentioning the exact same thing numerous times. That’s why if I want him to take my advice sooner, I just tell our moms.
This column was originally published December 28, 2008-January 3, 2009