Monday, September 29, 2008

Cowboy Real Estate The Bailout and the Peach Tree

Back in 1998 -2004 My wife and I owned a Dairy farm in Missouri
Our milk house was a three on a side /side open gate type parlor, and I milked the cows on one side and my wife the other , That is when she wasn’t line dancing to the country music we always had playing on the radio. We had developed quite a system to save energy, electrical and our own, as any fresh cows (that is a cow who had as recently as the last three days had given birth to a baby calf)that still had colostrium(milk that contains natural antibodys,for the baby calf) would be milked last after all the others. In doing it this way we could just pull the pipe that the milk ran through in to the milk tank from the milkers, out of the tank and into a bucket that we would use then as calves milk. Then when finished we would flush the lines, and wash them as usual at the end of milking.
I always kept the new mommas in a corner stall of the big barn which was about fifteen yards from the milkhouse,but on the opposite end from the holding area.
Dairy cows like to be milked. For one it takes the pressure away from a swollen udder and makes them feel good, and as an added bonus we would give them grain in the milk house as they were being milked so that always insured they would be lined up at the door ready and anxious to come in.
This particular night we had finished milking and all that was left was Katie. She was a cow that had just given birth to a beautiful registered Jersey heifer calf two days ago. The rule is you keep the new milk separate from your regular milk for the first three days so we had Katie and her calf in the main barn and I went out to bring her around and down the fenced alley into the holding pen and then into the milk house.
This particular night It was pitch black out side, and as I opened the gate Katie instead of going straight and down the alley like she had the last five milkings ,turned left, through an opening between the gate and the alleyway and headed out into an open field.
Keeping in mind the fact that I played college football, and also the fact that I was in excellent shape from carrying buckets of grain into the milk house every morning and night for the last couple years. I took off after Katie to head her off and had two steps at a full sprint when I ran flat out into a 20”around Peach tree. On that pitch black night I saw stars. Well Katie after seeing she had gone the wrong way just turned around by herself and headed down the alley into the holding pen, and through the back door into a stall and when I stumbled into the milk house she was munching ground corn and my wife was milking her and looked at me standing there with blood running down my face, and said “What in the world happened to you?”
With this bailout I’m wondering if maybe running out into the darkness, might not be the prudent thing to do, that it could be the market will see it’s going the wrong way and turn around by itself. Even though it seems like the thing that needs to be done at the moment, I certainly wouldn’t advise running without knowing for sure what’s in front of you. It could be a Peach tree.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cowboy Real Estate the Squeeze Chute

When working cattle one of my jobs was usually running the squeeze chute. You pen the cattle first then usually(If the pens were built right, )You worked the cattle counter clock wise around in to smaller and smaller pens until you are at an alley way leading to bright sunlight for the cow ---but really they have to get through the squeeze chute first. The reason they see all this light like at the end of a tunnel is that you have the squeeze chute gate open for them to look through. Once they have their horns through you have to slam the gate shut quick or they will bust right on through. You can’t be day dreaming if you are running the chute. If a cow would bust through the chute it doesn’t get worked --as to say we wouldn’t be able to give it the preventative medicines and fly control we give them for their own good and health. So actually even though the cow doesn’t understand --Getting caught up in the chute is a good thing for the cow.
I was watching the commercial expired list right before the forth of July and saw a ten thousand sq. ft. warehouse listed for 1.1mil had expired. A lady in my office had told me that she had a buyer for exactly that so I sent the owners of record a letter.
The July fourth weekend came around and I went up to Rainbow River and floated the river with my kids and just kicked back. Bright and early on Monday morning I drove over to the warehouse to walk around it and see where in the world it sat. That is to say where it sat in relation to the world outside .Just something I do on land Was Taught that years ago .
I saw a sign on the front door saying where the prior occupants had moved and low and behold it was the same name as the owning company, so I headed on over to their new location to see what I could find out.
I walked into the showroom counter sales area and stood patiently in line and when the person behind the counter asked me if he could help me, I responded that yes I was going to be easy ,Who do I need to talk to concerning your old warehouse, I am in Commercial Real Estate. He told me the asst manager would be the one who could help me, and walked me over to an office door. The asst manager was on the phone so I stood outside the door and waited for him to hang up. I introduced myself and told him why I was there and asked him for a contact name and phone number at the main office of the decision maker. He gladly obliged and commented that It was over priced and that the owner of the building they were in presently had made an offer considerably less than the listing price. I thanked him gave him my card and asked him to pass it along to anyone he cared about that might need some real Estate help, and headed home.
When I got home I called the number and got a recording, so I left my number and said I would be calling again before the day was through. I called again later in the afternoon and got a lady who was not sure if the property had been relisted but promised to find out and call me back.
The next morning I called and left a message .Later in the morning a gentleman from that company called me and said “I know we have spoken before and I thought you were sending a listing proposal to me” I not thinking said Oh no I don’t believe we have spoken before but I would be glad to send you a listing proposal. He then told me that they were listing it with one of my competitors(MY Guess the company that apparently was day dreaming). I thanked him and then said By the way what price are you listing it at? He told me and it was 325thousand less than what it was listed at before I thanked him and hung up.Immediately redialing and getting the receptionist “What is your fax number?” I wrote up a listing agreement, at the price it was lowered to and faxed it off. I guess you could say I slammed shut the chute.-------I am showing it Monday morning at 10:00.---

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cowboy Real Estate--Step back and Take a look at your Resources

Back in the early nineties the Real Estate market was just rolling along at an even keel not much happening, not much fluctuation. I went along with another Broker to a listing appointment, as It was closer to my home than the listing Broker, and It was a Horse farm.
I am not an authority on Horses by any means. In fact, rather than use horses the old traditional way to gather up cattle I used the low stress approach, of a feed sack, and as long as the cattle were familiar with me, it worked pretty good. To me even though I defiantly qualify as a real cowboy, as far as I was concerned you can leave the horses over in the next county on a horse farm, as that way I won’t get kicked, bit, or run under a clothes line , but that was all in the past and a different story and I’m getting off the subject.
We pulled in the driveway and Bob, the Broker who was taking the listing started telling me the background story of the place. Seems as though a divorce was involved and the wife was selling the place to move into town.
We pulled up to the house and a nice lady came out to greet us .As introductions were made, we went into the house to look at it and find out a little more about what the motivation for the sale truly was. It seems that this place was her lifelong dream, and it was just tearing her apart to part with it. She went on to tell us about her background, in equine husbandry(that’s taking care of horses to you city people)and I was impressed of her knowledge and experience. We then walked out to the stables where she explained how a new buyer could rent the stables and charge fee’s for the feeding, grooming and exercising of over twenty horses. We walked behind the stables where she had a new exercise ring built, and she explained its operation. All and all I was so impressed, with the facilities, and the well thought out business plan she laid out for the buyer to enable them to cash flow the farm that When I had a moment to confer with Bob the listing broker in private ---I said why doesn’t she implement her own plans for herself? He said simply, she can’t picture herself in her own mind doing what she so plainly see’s someone else doing.
Sometimes it is easier for us to look at someone else’s problems. Someone else’s financial,challenges,and someone elses,family disfunctions,because when looking at someone else we aren’t emotionally blinded, to the obvious.
So I hope that I can somehow remember. when pondering an issue , when trying to make the right decision, When feeling somewhat overwhelmed.---Just take two steps back,and get under whelmed. Let go, and take a good look at the big picture. Opening my eyes to realize all the possibilities and resources I have at my disposal .
Then picture myself Implementing the corrective measures needed to keep moving ahead towards the completion of my goals.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Wonder if the Bucs are Hiring

Some people make it a career ,others get to live the life for several years ,most only a few, and some never at all. I’m talking about playing the game of football.
I started playing when I was probably eight years old with my older first cousin ,Allen and anyone else we could get to play.
My cousin Allen was three years older than me and considering the fact that I really didn’t start growing until my freshman year of high school, I was very small compared to everyone else. This mandated the necessity of becoming fast quick, elusive and mean, I excelled.
There was a game we played at our grade school that by today's standards would probably be deemed politically incorrect, as it pitted the mob against one. The name of the game was politically incorrect as it was called Black man. The game started out with one person (it )and in the center .Our playground had a fence on each side so the fences were base. The object was to run from one base to the base on the other side of the play ground without being tagged(or tackled if we were playing tackle).As each person was tagged(or tackled) they too would be the hunters till at the end you had a mob all trying to get one person. That person was usually me as this type of game honed my running back moves survival instinct ,and technique.
When I started my Freshman year in high school I finally got to play the game .Even though I could outrun all the running backs I was so fast explosive and mean that the coach put me on the line as Strong side guard on offence and weak side guard on defense. I quickly developed a preference to defense ;as on defense I got to go after the quarterback. One memorable play the strong side guard pulled to block for the halfback .As soon as the ball was snapped I shot across and of course the guy I usually hit wasn’t there he was pulling to the right behind the line preparing to block for the halfback who was running on the other side of the quarterback with the intentions of pitching to the halfback who was running around the right end. The play book somehow forgot to take into consideration a little farm kid who grew up playing football with all the older kids and was fast and meaner than …well you know.
I shot through the hole left by their guard, I grabbed the quarterback’s shoulder pads with one hand and half jumped half catapulted myself over him and slammed that halfback into the ground for a loss. The whole time the coach was screaming ,(That’s what you! are suppose to do)to everybody on the sidelines. I became particularly fond of playing kickoff and return special teams as I got more than my share of tackles. I played both offense and defense on the freshman team some games with only a couple plays on the sidelines before coach would put me back in, I hated the sidelines as I wanted to be in there. We were undefeated and I played the rest of the Jr varsity schedule and was one of only four freshman the coach let dress for the last varsity game of the season. Ironically the last varsity game The coach pulled my cousin who was a senior out of the game and put me in as his replacement. I forgot to mention the fact that as a freshman I weighted 120 pounds, and was only five foot two. Allen to this day says that it was a proud moment for him .
The same team I played with as a freshman, won the state football championship as seniors, but I was not with them.
My dad because of several reasons two which were farm commodity prices, and an opportunity to ease into retirement, took a job which took me away from my beloved river bottom farm, my cousins which I had grown up with and football, which for me was the most important thing on this earth. We moved over the summer to a small town in Ohio that did not offer football. I would find a ride to St Marys on Friday nights to watch them play football, On Sunday afternoons I found a that a bunch played tackle on the football field So yes I was there playing tackle football with no pads. The good thing was that no one could catch me. We usually played until someone was bleeding I made some lifelong friends out there beating each other up on Sunday afternoons out behind the High school.
I excelled at track and cross country, having some records that have stood even until my daughters were in high school ,however my main goal through all the track and all the running in cross county was to stay in shape for football college style.
I was accepted to Heidelberg college in Tiffin Ohio, and upon arriving went straight to the athletic department to introduce myself.. And they said who? From where? Never heard of you are you sure you are in the right building? I said yes I wanted to play football, and the coach told me that all the football players were there on scholarship, so you know they would be playing the chances of me playing were not good ,But they had no Idea the desire they were looking at.
\I Picked up all my equipment and practice uniforms and put everything in my assigned locker, then showed up for practice. I can imagine what all the other players thought .
At Heidelberg The way the varsity practices for its opponent each week is by running against the offence of he team we were playing that week from the films the scouts had brought back .The assistant coaches (One of which was coach Gruden--Jon Gruden of the Bucs Dad)would have us (the slaughter squad)Run the plays of the opposing team and the Varsity would try to stop us --Well all well and good except a halfback like me If I blew through the line for a huge gain the coach would say run that play again A) they know where I’m going coach B) That’s why they called it the slaughter squad.
I ended up catching the eye of the varsity coach because of my hard hitting and ended up playing special teams and backup halfback behind a guy names Simone who was an all state halfback from Niles McKinley high school In Cleveland.
We were getting ready to play Whittenberg and so we were running their plays . The coach called a play where I got the ball and ran between the guard and the tackle well I blasted through and ended up breaking through for a touchdown. The coach blew the whistle and started yelling at the Line backers then said run it again. When I hit the hole I had run through the play before I was met by zippy a 280 lb 6’4”defensive end and all the rest of the defense. Zippy hit me so hard that I ended up straight up and down with just my feet sticking out of the top of the pile and Zippy with a bloody nose where his face guard has cut his nose. Head coach Malmusar yelled Shriver if you can run the next play I’m starting you next year, I ran the next play but by next year I was on my way to south East Asia and Viet Nam I had joined the Marine corps.
I guess for most people that would be the end of the story but for circumstance it would be for me also.
Thirty years pass and My wife and I are milking sixty head of Jersey dairy cows on two hundred twenty acres in Missouri. We (After a successful Real Estate career in Florida) had sold our properties in Florida and basically moved to the Missouri Ozarks to raise cattle and retire. Our milk house had a large grain tank outside but was missing the flex auger that was originally there So I improvised with three large garbage cans in the pit that we scooped grain a scoop at a time for them when they were actually being milked. I carried grain in to fill The garbage cans every morning and evening in two five gallon buckets in the milk house ,down five steps into the parlor pit empty the buckets then back for more until the garbage cans were all full. This was my daily workout so needless to say I was in good shape. One of my neighbors came over as I was preparing to milk one afternoon and watched me as I carried those buckets trip after trip ,carrying those heavy buckets down the steps over and over, I just looked at him as he was shaking his head and I said to him--- I’m not Amish, I’m just poor.---
We were at the local high school football homecoming game when a friend of my wife’s nephew named Garrett Paulette looked over at me and said hey are you going to play in the alumni game tomorrow? I said why I didn’t Graduate from here ,and he said that they were short on players and asked me to come play he said his uncle was playing and he was almost as old as I was so I said sure. Turns out his uncle was playing but his uncle was in his thirties and I was fifty.
I was there the next morning at the high school locker room, signed the waver, paid my twenty dollars for insurance, and was issues my equipment full pads ,helmet, been a long time lets see where do all these pads go?
I played, and I hit hard ,I lined up across from Garretts uncle and he lasted about two plays then moved to the other side of the line .I found out that most of the guys that played had graduated only a couple years ago, and they really hit hard. I was able to get rid of a lot of pent up aggression and frustration that day ,I had such a great time I actually played two more years until the last year I had a couple ribs get broken as I got clipped, and that was the end of my football career. Well maybe,---who knows ,Maybe Jon Gruden will read this and want to use me for one play. Yeah that’s it I’m only fifty nine I bet I can still run one more play.

Friday, September 5, 2008

You can call me Cap'n

In the movie Lonesome Dove A scene involving Cap’n Call the trail boss and retired Texas Ranger played by Tommy Lee Jones, His Son Newt, Played by Rickey Schroeder, and a US Calvary unit, captured my imagination the first time I saw it and continued to make an impression, there after.
In the scene the army officer confronts one of the cowboys at the livery stable in town, and wants to requisition his horse. The cowboy tells the army officer the horse isn’t for sale and the officer, wanting to show his authority, infers that to refuse the army that particular horse would be treason, and proceeded to try to take the horse by force. When the cowboy is knocked down “Newt” grabs the reins and reiterates that the horse is not for sale. The Army scout at that time begins flogging Newt with his crop as the “Cap’n” is walking out of the store down the street. The Cap’n drops the sacks of corn meal he was carrying as he see’s his Son being flogged by the Army scout, jumps on his horse and at full gallope down the street and crashes into the Army scouts horse throwing the scout to the ground. What followed was one of the most intense and brutal exibititions of pure rage I had ever seen as the Cap’n first beat the scout with a branding iron then ran him head first into an Anvil. He then picked up a pair if tongs with deadly intent only to be roped by his friend Gus and after some rather fast talking and a lot of yelling to bring the Cap’n back to earth so to speak, the capt’n settled down checked Newt and everyone on his crew to make sure they were all right ,Mounted his horse and then calmly said to the startled onlookers” I hate rude behavior in a man,--------- I won’t tolerate it”.

So I was a Marine .Well shouldn’t say was you know once a Marine always a Marine anyway,when I came home from “ITR”(Infantry Training Regiment) for my leave right before going over To Viet Nam. My sister picked me up from the airport with a stranger in tow ,whom she introduced as her FiancĂ©. She proudly and innocently added that Rich was also in the service. If you know anything about Marines you know that they scorn all the other branches of the service and especially loath the lax, undisciplined, anybody can be one Air Force.
So I took one look at her brand new fiancĂ©’s and said whats he in the Air Force ? She very apologetically said Yeeeeees. So we drive home and as soon as we walk in the house this new guy calls my Dad Dad. My blood boiled.
Keep in mind that I grew up on a farm where I was the only son. I had worked side by side with my Dad ever since I was six years old. I had weeded beans, in the hot August sun in the gumbo river bottoms, I had plowed and disced the fields from early morning till after dark, I had paid the price, over and over, for years, Where was this guy coming from where He thought that he had any right to call MY DAD Dad.
Years after that, I relayed the story to my daughters and apparently that story made an impression because at my oldest daughter Tracy’s wedding after my new Son In Law had kissed the bride and I offered my hand to shake he said well Dad and my daughter said -real hush hush, -Oh No you don’t want to call him that So he looked at me and said “well what do you want me to call you?” I looked him straight in the eyes and said You can call me cap’n.
The story doesn’t stop there, Fourteen years later, I am at my daughter and Son In Laws house and my middle daughter brings her new boy friend over to meet the family. In the course of the evening, while playing darts Kristy’s boyfriend calls me Cap’n.I guess when my Son in-law picked him up and threw him on top of the bicycles on the other side of the garage He found out the hard way that he hadn’t earned the right. Hmmm I guess my Son in law felt the same way I did all those years ago, and I understood. Of course that guy that happened to make that innocent mistake---well he never came around anymore go figure.