Calving Season Begins

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Calving season is in full swing here at the ranch. We’ve pulled two calves in the last 24 hours. It is very unusual to have to assist in a birth with our cattle – this is the first time in the four years we’ve had calves born that we have needed to help. Our first time heifers the past four years have made it look easy and handled their births and raising their calves like pros. This year it’s been a bit different, both the calves we pulled were big bull calves from first time heifers. I had seen calves pulled before, but never actually done it myself – and now we’ve done two. We got them both out alive and the second one A-2 is doing great. This guy above A-1, has not got off to a very good start. He’s very weak and can’t nurse so we are tube feeding him at the moment and hoping he will be strong enough to nurse on his own in a day or two.

Of course the calves have been born at night. We pulled A-1 about midnight. The good news is it’s been beautiful weather, so if you are going to spend days and nights working with the cattle it is nice that rain isn’t pouring down.

I’ll try to get more pictures today to share with you later. And now I’m off to mix up milk for the calf.

The Foundation

On a beautiful bright sunny day our little construction crew poured cement for the foundation of the new ranch store.

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Every time we do it, I am reminded of how much hard work it is to pour cement.

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And how much it helps to have someone who really knows what they are doing directing things.

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After a very long day, the slab is finished.

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The weatherman called for below freezing temperatures the next night which could damage the cement that was still curing.

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As a precaution we covered the slab with plastic and put a layer of straw and old hay on top to insulate it.

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And as soon as Rick got the straw and hay spread out over the plastic . . .

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 . . . Molly and Grizzly did their jobs and lounged on it.

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I’m noticing a pattern here with these dogs.

New Pasture

In addition to our construction project out front we are working on developing our back field into a lush pasture for the cattle. It is a beautiful location if I must say so myself. The snow-capped mountain towers above and evergreen trees surround the field. Not a bad place for a cow to live.

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When we had some logging done last year they left the ones they didn’t want laying at the edge of the woods. Alex got them out with our favorite neighbors tractor while we still had easy access to it before the fencing goes in.

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Roger and Melanie’s tractor has been parked almost all winter, but in the last week we have used it twice. That backhoe attachment comes in very handy.

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Alex picked up the logs from the woods  . .

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. . . . and piled them in a place easy to get to later on when they bring the trailer out to load the logs and take them to be cut and split for firewood. Nick are you seeing the wood pile that needs to be cut and split? I think the chainsaw will be put to good use.

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Meanwhile, Rick was pulling the drag harrow to loosen up the soil to be seeded.

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You can see the next area we plan to seed on the far left of the photo.

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??????????????????????There must be some technical term for this implement, but it looks like a roller to me.

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So the field is seeded and ready for some rain and then sunshine and we should have our first grass pasture back there. It will still take a lot of work (and manure, organic material and more lime) to make it rich soil, but it is a start. And now I am on my way down the trail back to the house.

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Walking past the cattle who are lounging in the field enjoying the dry day.

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Under Construction – Again

Or maybe that should be Under Construction – Still?  Either way, work has begun to turn the gazebo Larry and Karla (previous owners of AAR) built with the help of their friends into a ranch store. We will be sorry not to have the gazebo anymore; we’ve had some great barbeques there and fun times with our friends and family. We must have a building to sell our grass fed beef though. Our customers were very patient with our “experimental” store last year which was really just a glorified storage shed, but we need to have a much better facility this summer.

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So once again we are making good use of Roger and Melanie – our favorite neighbors – tractor which has a backhoe on it. Rick dug out the footings for the cement pad.

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Grizzly thinks his job is to sit on any dirt pile that is available.

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And then the lumber for the forms and framing was delivered and Molly joined him on the stack. It’s a tough job they’ve got.

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Once the forms are completely set the guys will pour cement, and our ranch store is coming along.

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A Twine Tale

You all are so smart! Of course you are correct it is baling twine, used to hold the hay bales together.

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We are feeding lots of hay this winter to our grass fed beef.  After we cut the twine on the bales – as seen here behind Molly – we wrap them up and toss them in our “twine tub.”

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It is surprising how many uses you find for those pieces of twine. In the old days they used baling wire and I think many pieces of farm machinery were held together with it.

And on a completely different topic, does anyone know why dog’s eyes in pictures take on this space alien look  like Molly has in the picture above? And more  importantly, how to correct it? I’ve tried using my “red-eye” correction in my photo program that works on human eyes, but it does nothing for the dogs (or cats or other critters).