Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 9

 It is beginning to rain again after a few day of an on and off spigot.  The grass is growing, the clover unfolds.  Things are looking good.

 I've spent more of the week in front of my computer than I like.  Still, you can't miss seeing the changes.   We are tentatively exploring the idea of trying  to sell more of our beef locally.  Another store has asked to carry our beef, and our neighbor with a co-operative buyers group is offering our meat as well.  Sooo,  we've been attempting to get a bit more professional by creating a  label to be placed on the meat packages.  It is more complicated than one would think because our government is involved.    A big thanks goes out  to Liz Klopper at Bear River Valley Beef, who basically sent me an email with most of the info we needed.     You're great and so is your beef.  Also,  a big thank you to our cousins at American Alps Ranch in the Seattle area.  They let me plagiarize from their website for our pages listed above and answered my endless stream of questions.    

early morning

 Mark spent time in our shop, changing oil and making minor repairs.  He also went to town and picked up the needed supplies to vaccinate and tag the cattle.  Big bill that one was. But BIG kudos to our local provider of cattle supplies, R and S in Ferndale.   Expertise and "you're part of the family service."

We are part of the national premise ID program, so each calf gets an eartag that  states where they were born and when.

premise ID's
 Then we also pierce their other ear with  tag that lets us know which calf came from which cow.

boy and girl tags (LOL)
 Then each calf gets two vaccinations and the males get a tetanus shot.  Each cow gets two different vaccinations.
vaccines stored in refrigerator
 They all get copper and selenium boluses, two minerals that are needed here.  All the bull calves get banded, so bands have to get purchased yearly.  You don't want to use old bands.

small and large bands
 All in all it is a pretty big pile of stuff to buy. 

All but the vaccines get stored in small tool boxes
  Now, we will just wait for the next sunny spell and call the cows in.  We tell them it is their spa day.  I'm not sure they believe us, but they do like the hand outs of  alfalfa hay they get when they show up.  Modern day marketing used on the cows. 

 Saturday morning was gorgeous, so we dashed outside and finished up the pruning in our yard.  Grapes, roses and fruit trees are finally done and their clippings piled. 

 We also got in some hiking on the ranch this week. This morning's hike, before church,  had us doing a rescue.  About a hundred 'souls' were saved.  A hundred worms, that is.  Our driveway was covered with worms going downhill, many slithering into the rivulet of water running alongside. It looked like a mass suicide.  We scooped them up and put them in our new raised garden bed.  Score.

We are trying to hike daily to prepare for our first desert backpacking trip.  We've never hiked in the desert before and enter this new wilderness with wariness and excitement.  The excitement will probably wear off very quickly under what can be a very harsh environment.  We might not last long.  NO,   not die, but bail out on the hike and go back to our car.  :-)

Mark's dad called this week and said he was proud of us for daring to go and do while we can.  He is feeling the weight of pneumonia and age and encouraged us to keep living our dreams.  I often feel a bit guilty and sad being away from the ranch, but I also know that our health and circumstances could turn on a dime and we would be unable to go backpacking or explore a tropical isle.   We are so thankful that our youngest son, Eric, and his wife Johanna live on the property with us and make it possible for us to do other things.  My dad's life too is a lesson for me. He always said that when he retired he was really looking forward to spending more time hunting and fishing as they were his passions.  Unfortunately, he acquired a rare form of MS and was unable to participate in these outdoor pursuits.

I pondered preparation a bit this week; seeing as we were getting prepared to vaccinate and I was preparing our blog and preparing labels and we began preparing for another hike and  we prepared  the fruit trees for fall's harvest and we've been preparing to raise some heritage hogs.  Whew, that's a lot of preparation.  

We believe preparation is important.  Never a guarantee for success,  but it sure does help.  

Jack Youngblood said: "Good luck is a residue of preparation"

George MacDonald said: "The best preparation for the future is the present well seen to and the last duty done."

Confucius said: "Success depends upon previous preparation and without such preparation there is sure to be failure."

To be honest though, I think my favorite quote this week was by William Feather, a successful publisher and author who lived from 1889 to 1981:  "Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren't  enjoying today's sunshine." 

Enjoy your sunshine. 


  1. Great, great post. I love the sunrise picture because I saw that kind of sunrise when we were sleeping in the bunk house. Dan

  2. Thanks for this intimate peek into your ranch life. I grew up in South Dakota and this sounds quite familiar!

  3. Thanks for this intimate peek into your ranch life. I grew up in South Dakota and this sounds quite familiar!

  4. I like your last quote the best, too. Nice pictures. Aunt Wanda


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