Double Duty

Some of you may know that a couple of months ago we got our Grass Fed Beef Sales website up and running.  We have a wonderful website developer and I  have learned a lot in that process.  Actually we are still learning and it is a steep curve for the technologically challenged (that would be me) folks!

I don’t know if you are also aware that we have another  blog on the beef sales site. Two active blogs and a few short years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was – how did this happen?  We originally intended to end this blog and consolidate to just the one on the beef sales site.  After a lot of thought, I have decided not to do that.  Instead, here is my revised plan. This blog will remain our “Friends & Family” site. And if a new customer or two wander over here, that is fine too.

Here I will continue to post about the everyday happenings on our little ranch.

I will include friends, children, dogs, flowers, cats, cows, quilting, chickens, sunsets, pigs, mushrooms and various wildlife as the whim strikes me.  Or not.

In short, it will continue much the same as always.  A hodge podge of whatever I come up with. The blog on the sales website will have all the “official” grass fed beef, cattle industry, beef sales topics. I will also include a little blurb (is that the technical term?) and a link to the Beef Sales Website when I post a new blog there – Julie the website developer says this is important.  This has something to do with Google analytics and search engine optimization.

Terms I use here casually but do not fully understand. Julie does however, and she says to do it. And what is the point in having a website developer if you do not follow her instructions?  So, probably no pictures and blogs there about the cats or quilting or the garden. Though I was just looking through my old pictures and found this one I took at the local Tulip Festival a couple of years ago that I will share with you.  I love tulips.  My goal is to someday have my front yard look like this in the spring.

So friends, you can read one blog or both or whatever works for you.

And here is the link to the latest blog post on the sales website and a “teaser” to go with it.

Several months ago we were in California and while driving back north on Interstate 5 we passed a feedlot or CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) as they are sometimes called. Have you seen a feedlot lately?

Doesn’t that sound official?

Not Over Yet

The weather the past few weeks has been amazing – it really hasn’t even felt like winter.  It’s been a great opportunity to work on getting our cattle sweep installed. The guys are filling in the area around the cement pads that the sweep will sit on.

Since we have lots of rocks available, we decided to use them as the retaining wall around the edge of the sweep area.  That area needs to be built up so it is level with the squeeze for all the pieces to attach together correctly.

We put the sweep up on the pads to see how it fits and it is going to work out very well.

And then Mother Nature gave us a little reminder that it is still winter after all.

Snow overnight! Not a huge snowstorm, just a bit more than a dusting really, but snow nevertheless.  Everything always looks so nice covered in white.

The mountains around us are one of my favorite things about living here and covered in snow they are especially beautiful.

The sun came out and already the snow is melting, but we’ve been reminded – winter is not over yet.

Makeover

As you have probably noticed, our blog site has received an update. Our old wordpress theme was discontinued and on this very rainy day I thought it would be a good time to add our ranch logo to this site – doesn’t it look nice?  If you look closely at the mountains directly above the Scout and to the right in the picture below you can see part of the inspiration for our logo.

I love the way it turned out. And we have a square version too.

All the old blog posts pictures and comments are still here on the site, just with a different “look.”  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give ourselves a makeover with just a few little clicks?  Also, our grass fed beef website is up and running and doing very well. You can check it out here if you are interested.  So, stay tuned friends, we are continuing to work on getting the cattle chute, sweep and squeeze completed.  Before we know it spring will appear (I hope!) and it will be time to load the cattle and take them down the road to our summer pasture and all the grass they can eat.

We need to get the chute operational before it is time to move the cattle. Back to work!

Slab Revealed

This past weekend was the monthly overnighter for my quilting group. Learning to quilt was on my bucket list for “someday when I have more time” and though I don’t really seem to have any more time I am doing it anyway. I belong to a wonderful group of ladies and we have a lot of fun together. This month I learned (among other things) how to turn this:

into this:

A Christmas Tree Skirt – doesn’t it look like it is woven?  Anyway, while I was away the guys were busy on the slab.  When I left it looked like this:

Rick used the backhoe on our favorite neighbor Roger’s tractor to dig post holes at the corners of the slab.

When I came home, the slab looked like this. As you can see, Tj was correct. The slab is for the cattle squeeze to sit on and since we live in a rain forest we added a cover. Though I must say a greenhouse is on our list of things to build too. And we do know someone who has their own standing circle of stones – but that is another discussion for another time.

The cement “boxes” behind the squeeze are the supports for the cattle chute and sweep to sit on – it all has to be level for it to fit together correctly.

I’ll show you more pictures when it is all complete. In the meantime, we got a little reminder that though it doesn’t feel like it much it IS still winter. Look how low the snow is on the mountains.

They are predicting more snow later this week and I really, really hope it stays in the mountains and not on us!

A Bigger Picture

We’ve had some very good guesses about what we are building with our cement boxes (see previous post). You folks always impress me with your imagination and creativity.  I feel it is only fair to give you a few more pictures in context so you can get a better idea about what we are creating.

In addition to the boxes I showed you last time, we (that means the guys who dug out and set up the forms and the person who watched and took the pictures) poured a cement slab. Our dog Grizzly was very helpful while they were setting up the forms.

I believe the slab is about 12 feet x 8 feet but that could be off a foot or two each way.  I was taking pictures not measurements.

It is hard work being in the way – I mean helping a lot, and Grizzly plopped down in the freshly turned earth and rocks to catch a quick nap.

Alex is digging out the footings for the slab.

Rick and John the builder pour cement.

The guys finishing cement in the boxes.

And here’s a look at the slab and boxes – all the cement we poured that day.

Does this give you any new ideas about what we are building?

Boxes

We’ve been taking advantage of our beautiful weather the past couple of weeks to try to get as much done around here as possible. It is hard to believe it is winter – last year at this time we had a foot of snow on the ground and it was freezing cold. Today Rick and Alex were working in their shirtsleeves.

One of the jobs on our agenda today was to get these boxes set up.

The guys had to work quickly to get things ready before the cement truck showed up.

The cement is poured and edged and setting up nicely in our lovely, dry weather.  And the finale was a beautiful sunset.

Any guesses what the boxes and cement are for?

Parts and Pieces

It is a fact that the nicer the weather the more we try to get done outside and the less time I have to update the blog.  After the snow and cold of the last few weeks, the weather has been AMAZING the past week, warm  – almost 60 degrees today – and sunny.

We have tried to accomplish a few things on our ‘to do’ list.  Somehow our ‘to do’ list never seems to get any shorter but we keep trying.

The red metal thing in the picture below is waiting to be assembled. Kind of like a giant tinker toy – do they still make tinker toys?? Maybe I should say Legos; I know those are as popular as ever.

Anyway, these parts and pieces have to be put together.

Mildred and Dolly our heifers seem to think they are just fine as rubbing posts. Those cattle rub on anything they can reach.

The difference between these pieces and the Legos Alex used to play with is that these are HEAVY. So heavy that Rick and Alex together could barely lift them.  So, it helps to have the tractor with the forks on.

We aren’t the only ones who appreciate the tractor. When Rick went to get in this is what he found.

Patches the cranky cat found the tractor seat to her liking.

She wasn’t giving it up either, though she did graciously allow Rick to share the seat with her.

All those pieces? They formed this.

A cattle chute and squeeze.