Nothing, just kidding, my mind runs a hundred miles an hour. I get kidded a lot for thinking outside the box or being so creative or just being a problem solver. All of these are for the most part complimentary but sometimes it also causes problems. The times it becomes a problem is when people around me cannot handle the number of options I can throw out and especially when I verbally make things easier than they really are. So here is where you should go look up Julian Codding's website (a good old Foraker/Shidler boy) www.juliankcodding.com and listen to him talk about keeping things simple. Back to the story.
I don't know when it started in my life but somewhere I found this talent to figure out solutions to problems. I guess if I look back to Dad, Cliff Olson, I should know that an acorn does not fall far from the tree. I remember Dad could stand and look at something and come up with solutions that were far from any idea I had. A couple of examples: we had a problem with cattle getting out because it was next to impossible to build a fence across Beaver Creek to keep them in. So Dad devised what we called a Water Gap. Truthfully I still don't know why we called it that but here is what he did. We went to our trusty old junk pile where we kept all the used machinery and parts. Every farmer had one. We took an old lister (used to cut and bundle wheat or grass) and proceeded to the south end of our property where the creek crossed over to Aunt Helen's and Soup Wade's property. We then took a super heavy steel cable and hung it across the creek and we wrapped it around two trees, one on each side of the creek. If you cannot visualize this think of hanging a piece of wire between two posts or trees and then needing to tighten it to get it straight. With a cable about 1 inch in diameter you should be able to understand there are significant problems with this. First it is extremely heavy when you stretch it over 100 feet and of course we used the tractor to tighten it. But think about this, how are you going to take that cable and get it wrapped around the tree when it is attached to the tractor? And what happens if that cable brakes? Someone is going to get killed, literally. Honestly I do not remember how we solved this issue but we did or I should say Dad did.
Well I have to tell you that was just one big problem and when you stretch a cable like that it is NOT going to be straight across the creek and you would not know it but that creek was very deep at this point. Second problem: How are you going to get that lister attached to the cable and hang it in the creek and how is that going to stop the cattle when the creek is much wider than the lister. You think you are pretty smart? Dad takes the cake. We cabled the lister to the other long cable then used the tractor to pull the lister off the creek bank to be suspended into the middle of the creek. Next problem? how do you get the gap between the lister and the creek and the banks of the creek to be blocked so the cattle cannot get through? Temporarily we attached barbed wire to the lister but the real solution came with the rain. Yes, the rain. When the creek rises the dead trees and limbs float down the river and accumulate around the lister creating a damn or a fence which stops the cattle. Problem solved. Actually there is another story about that Water Gap I need to tell but later for it.
I loved the engineer in Dad even though he never went to college I would put him up against anyone on solving problems. He had a talent that kept me in awe. The funny thing is his grandsons got it just like him: Cliff Crow, Richard Crow and Chase Olson.
Well what do you learn in the Osage?
- Street smarts starts on the farm
- Perseverance and common sense far outweigh IQ
- Don't ever judge a person by their ability but by their results
Thanks for listening,
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