It's been a tough year already. As if everything else going on in the world isn't enough, we have had terrible heat and drought in our neck of the woods.
Due to the lack of rain, there is a lack of feed, so we decided to wean the calves a little early this year.
We start early in the morning to beat some of the heat.
Some water in the irrigated meadow. This was a treat for the cows and the horses.
Despite the weather, it's still another day in paradise.
Well it's been a long journey, but I'm back, at least somewhat. I'm not quite up to full form, but am headed in the right direction. I am 8+ months post multi-level spinal fusion surgery. I was medically cleared to ride again. What great news. This is my first day back on a horse. After that major of a surgery, I found having strength and balance to be a bit of a challenge. But I actually had fewer muscle aches and spasms after riding a little.
Even though the first day back was a terribly windy and dusty day, I couldn't have been happier. Being out of it for a while gave me a new perspective and realization of just how much I love what I do.
The cowboys have spent the last month or more bringing the cows into the pastures on the ranch from the desert range. These days are long, slow and can be frustrating at times. Not to mention the weather in the spring can be anything from cold to hot, and almost ALWAYS windy. I just got in on the tail end of the job, helping bring in the last bunch.
Once the cows are in the pasture, we need to process the calves. This starts by us corralling the cows and calves, sorting out any dries, (dries are cows that did not come in with a calf ), then separating the cows from calves.
Normally we process our calves by roping them, which involves quite a large group of people. Because this year has been crazy with the COVID-19 pandemic, we needed to stick to a small crew to get the calves processed. So we used a calf table. Process, in our case, means to vaccinate, castrate, ear mark and tag the calves.
It works well to run calves this way, but is not the chosen way of the cowboys. They sure did a great job of it though.
My mom is here and she even got in on some of the action.
This little calf had a perfect heart on her forehead.
It takes only about 1 minute to process each calf once they are on the table. Then they jump out and go on their way without too much stress or trauma to them. When they are processed they return to their moms and go about grazing in the green pasture.
I hope to be sharing more of my story in the near future. I hope I haven't lost all of my followers. It's great to be back.
It saddens me greatly to say I have to hang up my spurs. I hope not permanently, but for quite some time at least. My body just can't seem to keep up with my mind.
This line of work is hard on the body. My back has given out again and requires surgery to fix it.
I will miss this view and riding my beautiful horses.
Maybe I won't miss the cold days all that much.
Thank you for following my blog over the years.
HAPPY TRAILS, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.
About a month or so before we wean our calves, we pre-condition them. This simply means we vaccinate them. The reason we do this before we wean, is to cause less stress on the calves at weaning time.
We separate them from their moms, run them through a chute and give them two shots. Then they are turned back in with their mommas and go about their day.
The cowboys always start very early in the summer to beat some of the heat. It's a great way to watch the sun rise.
We gather each herd out of the pasture and put them into a corral where they can be sorted.
Then we run them through a chute to give them the shots.
This is just one of the many jobs the cowboys have been doing this summer. Stay tuned for more summer photos.
I haven't fallen all the way off the face of the earth, but close. Here is a blog touching on our very busy spring work.
May 1st we AI, (artificially inseminate), our heifers. When they have been bred we move them onto "greener pastures". This is where they will spend most of their summer.
We are busy in the spring bringing all the cattle in off of the desert. This makes for a lot of long hard days in the saddle. Moving momma cows and their babies can be really hard work.
This spring we had some crazy weather. It snowed the end of May and cool rainy weather into June. The green grass on the desert was amazing, even if I complained about the cold, just a little.
When we bring our East herd home, we go across what we call a "hard pan". This always makes for cool pictures.
And of course we have multiple barndings to get all of the calves processed.
Another busy busy spring. Thanks to all of the good help, we got it done again. Happy summer!
We have been at it already. This is the third of six or seven brandings we'll do this spring. There are so many things going on at the brandings. The ropers seem to be the focus of the pictures, and often the ground crew gets over looked.
We have some that are steady ground crew. They keep things running smoothly and efficiently. But all the ropers take turns working on the ground as well. It is crucial to have that kind of team work.
It is a lot of hard physical work.
You certainly can't over look the ropers. There is no way we could get the job done without ropers dragging calves to the nord forks, or heading and heeling.
And the horses are so beautiful and talented.
It's impossible to get pictures of everyone helping. We sure couldn't do it without them.
Most important are the faces of the future generation. They are the reason for it all.
This was New Year's Eve. We ended the year right by taking the last of the desert cows out to the range.
It was plenty cold that day.
By the end of January we started calving our heifers. The weather started out pretty nice for the first bunch of babies to be born.
We still had some orphan calves though.
Sometimes a mother has to be put in a corral to be reunited with her baby.
You can't tell by the pictures, but the weather turned pretty cold and very windy.
We take the calves and their mommas to another pasture when they are a couple of days old. This helps us keep track of things and the heifers from being more confused.
It's slow going with such little calves.
That's me on Gaucho.
The wind keeps blowing, not much snow, but plenty cold.
The miracle of life.
And today, this happened!
The work goes on no matter the weather.
Dave's face after me telling him, I'll send someone if he needs something.. haha. Right.
Warm before the storm. Till next time. Stay warm!
Yes, I've been out of the picture for a while. I worked a different job starting last March, ending in October. After that I had foot surgery, which has had me laid up for a bit. But now I hope to get back to my blogging. Now, just because I have been laid up, does not mean the work stopped. Our cowboys have been out there every day, in every kind of weather keeping things running smoothly. They were nice enough to share some pictures they took with me.
In October the cows need to be checked to see if they are pregnant. This is done by our local vet. The cows are put through a chute and the vet checks them. (yes, you are probably picturing it correctly. No ultrasound, just the sense of feel). The cowboys also spent time on the mountain looking for stray cows that didn't come home with the rest.
Also in October the first herd of cows is taken to winter range on the desert. These pictures were when they were taking the cows across the hard pan. (a dry lake bed, I guess is what it is).
In November more cows are taken from the fields and out to the desert. It looks like the weather has changed. The cowboys are really bundled up. We also had a very special visitor in November. We like to start 'em young.
December is more cold weather riding. We have more cows to take out. We will have five different herds of cows in different areas on the desert. The last picture above, is of the cowboys gathering a few stray cows that were finally spotted on the mountain. Brrr
The cows on the desert have to have water. Beings it's a desert, that means there isn't much "live" water. We have to take water with a semi truck to tubs. The weather is cold, and that means ice. Each day someone has to go out and break the ice so the cows can get a drink. The tubs are also moved frequently, along with the cows, so that they don't over graze one area.
This is Christmas day. Dave and I went to the feedlot to see if there were any sick calves that needed doctoring. This is another task that the cowboys have been doing every morning since weaning. Looks like a pretty good Christmas setting to me.
I finally helped out for a while today. It was cold, but so so pretty.
Well here's to saying good bye to 2018 and ringing in the New Year. I hope to be back to my regular blogging. See you soon.
In August we weaned our calves. We gathered the cows and calves from the pastures and took them to a corral where we separated the cows from the calves. Then the calves were loaded onto a truck and hauled to the feedlot in Baker.
The weather was hot so we started early.
We had a unique visitor in this herd.
He wouldn't leave the cows. It will be interesting to see if he stays with them when we go to the range, and more interesting if he's still with them in the fall.
It's kind of sad to see mommas say good bye to their babies. But they are already bred to have their next calf, so they won't be sad long.
The sky was so beautiful this day.
The horses got a chance to do some fancy cow work.
Then onto the trucks the calves went.
Once at the feedlot the calves were unloaded, weighed, counted and put into pens.
We had some good dog help too.
Calves were counted, weighed and put into pens.
The weaning went on for several weeks until all the calves were in the feedlot, with the exception of some we still have to gather off of the mountain.
In August and into September, we wean our calves. We gather the cows and calves out of the pasture and take them to a corral where we separate the cows from the calves. Then the calves are loaded onto trucks and taken to our feedlot in Baker.
This was the first bunch we weaned, back in August. The cowboys have since weaned 4 other herds. The mountain herd is the only one left to take care of.