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.
Summer is busy. Farmers work long and crazy hours and the cowboys start before dawn to try to beat the heat.
By the way, the picture of the baler in the dark was taken by Ryan. I wasn't out there that early.
The ranch produces a lot of hay. This requires a lot of work.
That's a big sprayer. Spraying for weeds is important to get good quality hay.
The sprayer is one of the many machines Ryan operates.
I think they were wondering why I was in the field.
These are two of my nieces. They are part of the farming crew in the summer. These girls have been farming for several years. All of our kids have grown up farming and ranching, starting at a very young age.
See the steam? This is a steamer on the baler to help put the right amount of moisture into the hay. Making good hay is a science and I don't know much about it. Luckily the farmers are very knowledgable.
Not only do they farm and produce the hay, but sometimes they truck it to the buyers. Ryan took this picture on his way home from taking a load to Arizona.
While the farmers were farming the cowboys were cowboying. They have been getting an early start these hot summer days.
Of course it was dusty.
This young cowboy has been working all summer. It's his last week before he heads back to school. The cowboys will miss his help.
Early morning is so beautiful.
The farmers and cowboys have been at it all summer. I'm sure they'll be glad to see fall arrive. I know I will.
My last blog was about processing the calves. But before we could do that we had to bring them home off of the desert. We have been doing a lot of riding lately.
We have had all sorts of weather. It started out windy, very dry and cold. Then dry and quite hot. Then, after the heat wave we got several days of rain and cold. The rain was welcomed, although not the most fun to push cows in.
I haven't been that wet riding before. We had good rain gear, but keeping feet and hands dry was a challenge. When it rains in these parts the temperature drops. It was 37 degrees.
On the side hills the ground was like a giant wet sponge. The horses and cows sunk into their knees with every step. They really had to work hard.
The pictures really don't show how muddy and wet it actually was. Trust me, it was WET. These are the days REAL cowboys are made of. Guess I passed the test.
This is what it looked like the next day when we went out to process those calves. Stay tuned for my next blog to see how it went.
We've processed three herds of calves. We are at the half way point. I always look forward to the end of branding season so that our summer can start. It went really well. We have such a great crew.
This is Maggie, Clay's three year old filly. She is one tough little horse and super smart. Clay has really done a great job training her.
Who needs a horse anyway? Haha
Everyone was hard at work.
We had a couple of new trainees. I'm not sure they were all that thrilled with the job.
These kids were little when they started coming to the brandings. Now they are a big part of the team.
My boys were little when they started out too. Look at them now.
The next generation looks like they could be handfulls. hahaha
I love these people and these beautiful horses. See you next weekend.
We decided to get a jump start on processing our calves this year. This is the North herd. We usually process them in June. By June these little buggers aren't so little, the weather is terribly hot and usually windy. Also, there are over 400 in this herd. So we gathered all the calves we could, and took them to some corrals nearby. It was slow slow going with little tiny calves.
A little stream of water. I took a picture because this is a rare site in our neck of the woods.
This is Clay on a horse he is training. It was about his 5th ride and first time out in the open. He did great.
The calves aren't very old and have a hard time keeping up. Then they get scared and confused and want turn and run the wrong way. Nothing about moving pairs is easy.
We got them into a fenced area, and the next day went out to brand. (Remember when I say brand, I am referring to how we process our calves. We don't actually "brand". We vaccinate, castrate, earmark and ear tag.)
Because we have such a wonderful bunch of people who volunteer their time to come help, I was able to take a bunch of pictures. So beware, there are way too many in this post.
You can't say we discriminate against women around here. The women make up about half of our team and rope and work just as well and as hard as the men.
The pictures tend to focus on the ropers. But the ground crew is crucial in getting the job done and done properly.
There is a lot happening on the ground. It is busy and everyone needs to stay alert.
These aren't fancy pictures, but they show what it's like at our "brandings". We have about 6 more bunches to do, so stay tuned.