About Me

I'm a ranch wife of 27 years and loving every day. We have three grown sons and have one son home to continue our ranching heritage. My husbands family has owned this ground for over 62 years and my family has been in ranching for over 70 years. I love my heritage in ranching and the strong Christian values I have been raised with and have passed to our sons. ENJOY!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Long Hours

I live the best life!!

Yes - I took this on our ranch and that's my son who has grown up working with us and has come back to join us in out ranching business!  We were up before dawn and out of the house this morning to gather yearlings (year old cattle) to sell at market.  Although I know I live the best life - it is NOT an easy life but one I love.  Most of the greater populous of America would not work as hard or put in the hours that we do on a ranch.  And yet we LOVE IT!!!!  14 to 16 hour days are pretty normal this time of year and all through the summer months.  I'm not complaining or whining, it's just that there is work that must be finished.
     This week I watched as a comedian made a mockery of our legislative process.  Because of  Rep. Zoe Lofgren's (democrat) invitation, I watched in horror as our country's legislative process was turned into a side show.  Stephen Colbert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Colbert) had spent one day working with illegal immigrants to pick a field;  that made him an expect witness to the enormous problem of illegal immigration.   GIVE ME A BREAK!!!  Many would argue that any press is good press.  I completely disagree!! This was all bad press for agriculture.  The underlying tone represented here is that the farmer, who works the land, doesn't understand the severity of the issue of immigration.  The farmer, who has hired the immigrants, doesn't grasp the type of hard labor that is being done.  The arrogance of the current administration is mind boggling!!!  Because I chose to own my own business and dictate my own time and work with my family - somehow that makes me less educated that the idiot who asked this man to testify.  This was a political ploy to gain press time and unfortunately it has worked.  It has taken our eye off the main goal - what can we do about immigration.  In the Bible, in Proverbs 18:2 it says - "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions."  Colbert doesn't understand the problem, he was just airing his opinion which is worth absolutely nothing because he has no experience to draw his conclusions from.  One day does not make anyone an expect.  There isn't an American citizen that would want to work as hard as illegals unless the pay is increased.  And yet those same Americans want to keep their food costs at the current levels or lower.  If you ask the illegals to leave  - you will pay more for food in the grocery store.  It's that simple.  This problem has so many different issues...it will be extremely difficult to make progress.  But we must!!  Any idiot can make a statement or spew his opinion.  That was proven in Congress.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sound of Silence

This week has been full of sounds that are very loud and don't really subside for several days.  You see we 'weaned'.  We brought all of our cows and calves, which is over 900 cows & calves, into our corrals.  That's a bunch of sound makers. :) We did this on Monday morning and were expecting a long night of hearing them bawl.  However, at 4:30am I was awake to an odd and unnerving sound when you are weaning.  SILENCE.  This was not a good sound on the first night of having the cows and calves apart.  Upon inspection in the early morning we found that a gate had the chain latch broke in the night and let everyone back together again.  The only sound that is worse than silence when you are weaning is the sound of a fence splintering.  We called our neighbor and friend to come back and help us out.  Each one of thought that we were in for a long day of bringing a few head to the corral at a time.  You see, cattle get suspicious when you bring them to the corral. They know something is up and usually it's unpleasant for them (although always in their best interest).  We were mounted pretty well - this isn't the time to be stressing a young colt.  My rancher hubby Cash decided to bait the cows with the caker pickup.  It has cake or cubed feed that is kinda like candy to a cow.  They followed the pickup better than any of us imagined and they all went into the corral on the first try.  :)  :)  :)  I can't tell you or express how thankful we were that it worked that way.  We truly feel it was an act of God's intervention.  :)  Anyway - that intervention continued as they resorted themselves, moms from babies rather easily.  We do it all horseback and work cattle between the horses with one person on the gate and one person horseback to block the occasional mistake. Once the cows realize we aren't trying to contain them and are letting them back into the lot, they start walking by rather calmly.  My rancher hubby and son made a few revisions to the gate that broke and by Thursday, this am we have the calves moved to another meadow where they are grazing quite contentedly.  By putting the cows in the lot and the calves back out on the meadows, they calm much easier and don't go off feed.  Most calves go back to the last place they saw mom and lay down to wait for her.  We also start the calves on a supplement feed long before we wean and that becomes like a surrogate mother to them after weaning.  They know that the feed is there and it's yummy so they go back to it when mom is no longer available.
These were the last holdouts that we hauled up to the new meadow this morning.  

We feed the cows hay in the lot while we wait for the calves to become content in the new meadow.  We will drive them to a new pasture in the morning and they will be glad to see the fresh grass.  (and yes it was raining this morning which is nice because we don't have dust to cause problems
for the calves.)

This day as I'm typing I'm realizing I'm hearing silence again.  But this time it's when I should be hearing it because the cows and calves are weaned and HAPPY!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Immunizations for Fall

When someone in ranching mentions fall cattle work, I wonder if people understand what that entails.  I got to thinking while I was sitting on my horse, (my second best place to think) about how 'natural' we try to keep our calves before they go into a feed yard.  Yes, we do give them shots to prevent certain infections that have devastated herds years ago.  I think it's a lot like giving your own child childhood immunizations.  The calves we raise are given 'childhood' immunizations when we brand them at about 4 - 6 weeks of age.  Because we don't want our kids to suffer from MMR, polio and other diseases we have vaccine to prevent those.  Same thing with calves - we are giving vaccine to prevent disease from making them sick.  During the fall these same calves get a booster shot.  We work very hard to help these calves get thru this process with as little stress as possible.  We've spent a week dragging hose and sprinklers all over our corrals and a VERY large lot to help control the dust. When we started I told my rancher hubby that the one lonely sprinkler against the size of the lot looked impossible - however with perseverance we succeeded.   Dust can cause calves to get sick, mostly lung trouble which would mean we would have to give them more vaccine which we work hard not to do.  As soon as we were done on Tuesday we moved them back out on our meadows so they could find their moms again.  

While these calves are on the ranch - they live natural with a little help from vaccine.  Not much different than what our boys grew up doing.  They got to enjoy living out in the country, camping, fishing and enjoying nature.  Our boys were healthy because we cared enough to give them childhood vaccinations.  We also care about our livestock and give them the same advantage of vaccine so they won't be sick either.  

Well - my thoughts for today - we're working more cattle tomorrow so I will probably have more thoughts since I'll be back on my horse  :)
Have a GREAT day!!!  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer's gone

Did ya miss me or just wonder where I went??  
Well - I'm back.... seems like I just stepped away but it's been most of the summer.  I decided that summer is just too busy and I'm too crazy or unorganized or something.  Anyway - we are just ramping up and getting ready for our fall season of doing cattle work.  Now that is a blog post in itself.... I'm much too excited to share about the Ag Chat Foundation Conference that I attended in Chicago, August 30th & 31st.  Let me start.....
     I have a story.... that's all it takes.  Tell others about the wonderful, full and sometimes stressful life of agriculture.  It doesn't matter what aspect of ag you are involved in - 'you have a story' - most people on this planet are jealous or envious of your being able to do what you do as a profession.  OR they don't understand the care and effort that we in agriculture take to bring them the best food, feed, fuel and fiber on the planet.  We in agriculture are passionate about what we do.  It isn't just a job or something we do to pay the bills, it's our love of the land and heritage that have us doing what we do.  We in agriculture are a shrinking industry down to 1.5% of the population.  We need to find new ways of being able to "tell our story" to as many as will listen or want to understand what we do.  hence the beginning of #AgChat on Twitter (every Tuesday at 6 - 8 pm MDT).  What had started as an avenue to bring consumers and producers closer together has turned in a Foundation with a committed board and a group of individuals passionate about helping others reach out to those consumers.  
     What did I gain from the conference....I found an entire group of ag producers that are as nerdy or geeky - (sorry all) - as I am!!  :)  perhaps that it's just that we love to play with new technology.  The other thing I noticed is that we love to talk.  Now this group not only can visit up a storm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0j2leftzmQ (Yep-that's me talking to Jeff Fowle, the guy in the hat) but we are also pretty quick with our fingers.  Hence the ability to tweet during sessions and have it all make good sense.  We were encouraged to not only open Facebook and Twitter accounts but get busy with your camcorder and create a vlog or a clip or something from your ag operation. I also found that these folks want us all to succeed, they will have our back and encourage each one of us every step or typeset along the way.  Each one of us as ag producers needs to find those folks who know nothing about the products we work hard to deliver to them in the best condition and safest condition we can.  
     Remember - 'I have a story' - it's the best place to start......