Kambich: How not to die, the Beans way


The hardest part about being at Montana State University is how boring my life becomes. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hanna, c’mon it’s college! Go party, do homework, join a club!” While it doesn’t take much to entertain me, I find chasing steers around a mountain, fencing with my brother, or almost getting run over by a bull, way more exciting than livestock evaluation class or logarithm homework. I think it’s the adrenaline rush or the just pure entertainment I get from watching my brother get mad because, “You aren’t doing the splice right!”

Since I can’t be there to oversee the operation, and to make sure they aren’t having too much fun without me, I call home to catch up on all the juicy details (yes, I did just say “juicy” while talking about cattle). I called my dad, lovingly known as “Beans,” on Monday night to tell him I got a job and that my classes were going really well. I got some joy and entertainment out of this phone call. I mean, naturally he wasn’t in a good mood, so I had to contain my giggling (but it didn’t work very well). Here is how the phone call went:

Me: “Hi Dad!”

Dad: “Hi Hanna.” (Said in his signature tone of dulled excitement)

Me: “I just wanted to call and let you know I got a job and my classes went really well today! I am really excited for my range class! How was your day?”

Dad: “Good, I’m glad! Well, the day was there.”

Me: “Oh, what did you do?”

Dad: “Well I went up to the Big Hole. I found another heifer with pneumonia. I tried getting her to the corral. Well, that didn’t work. I had to run all the way back home (40 miles one way) to get the dart gun.”

For your information: The dart gun is a tool we use to doctor the ungrateful, four-legged, mooing animals in the field. You attach to a can of nitrogen to it and load it with a dart containing medicine. Then, you shoot it like a Nerf gun. No animals (or Beans) are hurt in the process of making them better!

Dad continued: “I got the dart gun and went back up there and was trying to doctor her on the 4-wheeler. Well, she was trying to kill me on the 4-wheeler. So, you wanna know what I did?”

Me: “Sure Dad, what did you do?”

Dad: “I went and grabbed the goddamn tractor and doctored her on that. She couldn’t figure out how to kill the tractor.”

At this point I was trying not to cry from laughing so hard (not directly into the phone of course). I can just picture little ole Beans, puttering up the hill in the tractor toward uncertain death. I really love making these phone calls to home, they make my week of livestock judging and logarithms a bit more tolerable.


Hanna Kambich is a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Business at Montana State University. She spends most of her time working on the family ranch and writes about the day-to-day activities in her blog “The Ranch Hand’s Life.”

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