Last week the guys spent most of the week hauling hay.
This beautiful field at the base of the mountains is one of the local sites where our hay is grown, just down the road from our ranch a mile or so.
Once again the new bale handler was very nice to have; we didn’t have to pick up all those bales by hand . . .
. . . and we didn’t have to load them all on the trailer by hand either.
While Alex and Rick were busy gathering the hay bales and loading them on the trailer, I went exploring around the field. I love old buildings and this old homestead has two. An old cabin that was the home of the packer who homesteaded many years ago, and a barn.
The old barn has fallen in and is overgrown with vines and blackberries.
The old barn was built at least partially with wood that was harvested by hand and came from cedar trees that had been through a fire.
The old homestead cabin was built with hand-hewn lumber and sided in cedar shakes. The vines had covered the cabin years ago.
At some point electricity was wired in to the cabin.
The old individual panes of glass in the windows.
At the edge of the property I heard water running and went down the path at the edge of the woods. A creek (which around here is pronounced crick) was running down off the mountain.
In the distance you can see Jordan Falls cascading down the cleft in the mountains.
As we were finishing up with the hay an interesting cloud formation appeared over the ridge.
There is a saying around here that summer starts on the 4th of July. It’s pretty much true – which is probably why it is a common saying. Anyway, summer on a cattle ranch means hay season and there is a small window of opportunity to get it cut, baled, hauled and stacked in the barn and it usually happens after the 4th of July.
Loading and stacking hay is hard work. Last year this was our method for unloading the trailer and stacking the hay in the barn. A lot of manual labor and very time-consuming.
This year we have a new piece of equipment and it is so nice to have! It picks up and moves eight bales of hay at a time.
It is called a bale handler and it runs off the hydraulics from the tractor. Rick says he really likes the bale handler except for the awful color. He is of the opinion that every implement should be John Deere green – just like his tractor.
The bale handler has saved the guys a lot of work this year. We need more hay than last year – about 1,600 bales total to feed our cattle through the winter.
Loading and stacking eight at a time has been a real time saver too – not to mention saving our backs.
The hay stack is nine bales high in the pole barn.
Our pole barn was not designed to store hay, so there are a few obstacles to maneuver around. It helps to have Alex spotting for Rick as he navigates the very tight spaces.
In the hay season – as with a lot of other things on a ranch – you work until the job gets done, however long that may take. Sometimes it is very late and quite dark by the time they are unloading the last load of the day.
Then they do the same routine, unloading, moving and stacking, but in the dark by the light of the tractor headlights.
Alex spots for Rick and row by row the haystack grows.
There is so much hay in the pole barn that we only have a narrow little opening left to get ourselves in the door.
We still have more hay to haul, but we are over half way finished. It is a very nice feeling to know we will have plenty of hay stored for cattle feed this winter.
Remember those cute little calves born a few months ago?
The wobbly little creatures who could barely stand up?
And weren’t much bigger than our heeler Molly?
They bawled for their mothers a lot?
Those little babies are now sleek, fat calves grazing in the lush pasture.
Remember A-1 – the calf who had a difficult birth and was so weak he could barely hold his head up? The one we had to tube feed him for five days?
He is now a big, good looking steer. Here he is grazing in front of one of our smaller cows. In case you missed that episode, you can read about A-1 here
Here he is on the left with the other calves – he’s the biggest of the lot.
All the calves – and cows too for that matter – are enjoying the summer pastures and doing really well.
The calves are still curious critters. When I go out to the pasture to take pictures it doesn’t take very long for them to come up and see what I’m doing.
And some of them are a little slow learning how to nurse safely. If they stand behind the cow instead of at the side of the cow, they are in the “danger zone” as you can see from Mildred’s calf on the left here.
He is the only one who can’t seem to figure out how to avoid this problem.
Though we usually refer to it as the 4th of July and think about barbeques and fireworks, we are actually celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Do you know what the Declaration of Independence actually says?
I looked it up just to make sure I did. Here are part of Thomas Jefferson’s famous words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I wonder what the brave men – and the women who supported them back home – would think of our country today?
Thank you to those who have served to keep our nation free. And if you want to read the whole Declaration it is printed below.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1 Georgia:
Column 2 North Carolina:
John Penn South Carolina:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Column 3 Massachusetts:
John Hancock Maryland:
Charles Carroll of Carrollton Virginia:
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Column 4 Pennsylvania:
George Ross Delaware:
Column 5 New York:
Lewis Morris New Jersey:
Column 6 New Hampshire:
William Whipple Massachusetts:
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island:
William Ellery Connecticut:
Oliver Wolcott New Hampshire:
There isn’t much we miss from warm (or more accurately scorching HOT) sunny California, but one thing that is impossible to get here is ripe, delicious tomatoes. If you want them before August anyway. You can get tomatoes here in the store that are red but they have no flavor; zero, zilch, nothing. They were picked green and gassed to turn red – and taste how I imagine cardboard would taste though I haven’t actually tried it – yuck.
So you can bet we were thrilled with our “care package” of red, ripe, juicy and DELICIOUS home-grown tomatoes. MMmm good! We’ve had bacon and tomato sandwiches for two days and I don’t think we are done yet.