Sunday, September 25, 2011

she's got spunk

This morning Flower spent a good 10 minutes trying to wear our young bull down with her insistent head butting. It was hilarious. He would look at her incredulously and then play along until he decides to just push her under the barn. But then Flower would run out and go at him again. He would try to ignore her, but she would look him in the eye and line her head up on his. I thought she wanted his grain, but she never did eat it, so I think she just finally found a
worthy opponent.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sheriff Likes Lamb

Everything on this plate is home grown. Couldn't have been better except if we could have shared it with our friend, the sheriff. He, like me, loves eating lamb. This leg of lamb was slow roasted at 275 degrees for about 3 hours and embedded with home grown garlic. So this photo is for you Mike. It is the best we could do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Storing Up

We purchased some lovely large grass bales and have them all stored away. We also purchased some grass alfalfa hay and stored it too. Prices were high this year for alfalfa/grass. We didn't get very much of it. I feel a bit insecure not having our barns full this year. Not having an overabundance, not having more than enough. We have enough, unless...., unless.... unless.

Isn't that how our lives go? We often have enough and yet we still want more. And more. And more. When Mark and I started out we had a house and a half a beef a year for free and we made 700. a month and it was enough. But we wanted more. And later we had more. Then later again, more. Now, we have even more. But still I have this tendency to want. Why? To feel secure I think. Greed perhaps.

We read the Bible every morning. We pray. We try to live by love and faith. But my want contradicts my faith I think.

I read this the other morning, sitting in the hot tub under a clear blue sky, (Seriously, could it get any better?) and I got goose bumps because it was not my voice I heard, but Jesus.

Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

And He told them a parable saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'

Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'

But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

I always remember this verse too:
For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

What do you treasure? I have been pondering this all week. Perhaps it is time for me to do a little realignment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What's This?

HORNET'S HOME. Luckily for me they seemed to all be out shopping. I don't need any more stings after last week's encounter with the ground bees.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Mark named the new yearling bull Johnson after the rancher we got him from. He is a Ray-Mar bull and Mr. Johnson brought a trailer load of bulls home from their recent sale and offered to sell/trade one to us. I picked from 3 bulls that he was willing to sell. One I didn't like at all. Too feminine. I almost picked a different beefier looking bull, but we didn't like his rounded butt, so Johnson was the lucky winner. I hope he will grow into a good bull, right now he seems a tad small. His EPD numbers look good though (Expected Progeny Difference). He is supposed to throw babies with good marbeling, small size at birth but with good growth. He scored in the top 25% for Angus in many categories, but he doesn't quite look that good yet to me. We will know more when he becomes a papa. For now he is hanging out in my steer pen eating hay and grain (we fatten a few on corn each year for buyers who want grain finished). Johanna has been seen hand feeding him and was talking of halter training. I am not quite sure if it was for him or Eric.

Fall Calving

has begun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Horse Hoarder Needs Intervention

We have a problem on the ranch. Horse Hoarding. My horse hoarding. I keep talking about wanting to get rid of horses, but instead I get more. Like this lovely lady. Eric and Jo picked up Belle to resell and who do you think they ended up selling her to. Yours truly. So now instead of having less horses, I have more. Six to be exact and Eric and Jo have four. This is too many horses, they are tearing up the ground.

I woke up this morning and decided I have got to try and find new homes. Only thing is I love them all and they all have pros and cons, which make deciding on who goes difficult. The one I cannot imagine losing is my mustang and Mark loves riding Sweet William and Charlie is 30. He is not going anywhere until he dies. So, that leaves the mares. I sort of tried to place them last year, but kept talking people out of it. LOL. I just couldn't let them go, but I am going to try again. Really I am. First thing I need to do is get some good photos, I just browsed my photos from this spring and summer and this is all I really found. Belle, papered paint age 10. Pros: Well trained, kind, gets along well with others. I love to ride her No vices. Cons: flat feet, paddles and can be a bit herd bound at times.
Molly, age 11. Pros: a fantastic brood mare and has had many paints. Fantastic feet, runs across the rocks barefoot with no problems. Sweet. Very handy on hills and a good mover. Gets along well with others. Cons: difficult to load, sometimes difficult to ride away from herd. Lacks confidence on her own and acts pissy when you saddle her.
Stormy, papered paint breeding stock, age 17. Pros: Completely bomb proof, a grab and go kind of ride, my go to horse with the cattle. Cons: beginning to get arthritis in front knees, hard to catch and is aggressive to others at feeding.

Ok, you horse people out there, give me suggestions for poses and how to word an add. Do I list cons or wait until a prospective buyer shows up? Where should I put the listing, do I make flyers for feed stores? I know horse prices are low, what might be reasonable, or should I just adopt them out? Should I do youtube videos of me riding them? Thanks for your intervention help.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bringing Home the Strays

Last Thursday we got a call that some black cows sporting yellow piercings were spotted trespassing. "They aren't causing any problems", the neighbor said, "Just cruisin the waist high deep prairies eating the grass."

Saturday was the first day that we didn't have something already scheduled, so we headed out early ( well, eight o'clock is early for us gentleman ranchers) on the quads. We had previously called and gotten permission to cut across neighbors property, but it is still a good hour ride to get where our cows were last spotted. It was hot. Steamy hot. Unusually hot. Hard to breathe hot. We should have left at 'real' rancher hours.

We passed a pond with a great blue heron,

and it flew away.

At this point we are looking for our cows across the canyon. I hollered my, "Come On, Ladies", hoping that the cows would answer and hurry across the creek. Unfortunately silence.

We headed cross country and passed by a place we would just as soon forget.

That pointy rock is the one that cracked Mark's head last year when he made a hasty dismount. Mark rode across the rocky dry creek confidently on the quad, but I started thinking that I might fall. I'm not too good on a quad.

But I made it and away we went.

Another creek crossing. Again, I hesitated, due to my poor quad riding and I got stalled in the middle and Mark had to come rescue me. Laughable when I look at this photo and how easy this crossing became by Monday.

Up and up we rode, past some houses and chickens and dogs. Said hi to neighbors who directed us in the direction of last seen suspects. That is our ranch in the far distance.

Zoomed in a bit in this shot. Our cows sure go a long way. It's the grass that calls them.

We were told that they were last seen by the runway. Yes folks, this is a airplane runway. But I wouldn't want to use it.
Here is the another view from which to stand and holler and call in the cows. But all we heard was nothing. Not even a gentle 'whish' from the wind. Remember it was hot. We rode on and on. Every little road, every little hollow. Nothing. Saw some old signs that the cows had been there, but nothing really fresh. Visiting with some more nice people and got really hot in the sun. Perhaps our cows had gone home? Wishful thinking. We were hungry and hot, so we rode home. The creek crossing was easier.

Saturday evening we got a call. The cows are back. Ugh. I was off at a roller derby bout, so Mark decided to not go over because the cows don't love him as much. Ha.

Sunday we got up and were in for a surprise. It was cold. Really cold. I should have worn a coat cold. This is so Humboldt. If you don't like the weather wait a moment because it will change.

We rode past where the buffalo roam. Took a little shortcut.

Another view from the far side of the canyon.

Note the clouds and fog. Still cold. I hollered. I hiked the prairies. Back and forth, back and forth down the hillside I went until I got to the creek. I called, I begged, I bribed. No answer. Apparently someone was hiding. Eventually we gave up and went home. Creek crossing was even faster. I began to understand barn sour horses.

Monday morning was just right. Not too hot and not too cold and we had just received a phone call from the neighbors that the cows were spotted and he would trail them on foot until we got there.

I was irritated at all the days these strays were wasting. I didn't take any scenic shots. We rode fast. Didn't even notice the creek crossing. No stopping to say hi to the neighbors. We were on a mission. When we got to the cows I called and they didn't answer, but they took one look at us and headed home. Immediately. They knew they were busted. So we followed on foot. And walked,
and walked,
and walked. This was when I missed a horse. But it takes so long to ride across the creek and riding in unknown terrain hasn't always worked for us.
So we walked.
Finally we are on our property. We can see our barn from here. One of us heads up the hill directly and the other follows the cows. They apparently have a scenic route. Crossing a dry gully they take off at a run bucking and kicking. Ground bees attack and the cows get away, but not without getting stung I am sure. I know a human got stung and had to streak up the hill at a run waving their clothes like a banner trying to get the bees out. Good times...not. Funny though.

Eventually though the cows came home all sweet and gentle and begged for a little hay in the manger. We gave it to them and then loaded them up and traded them for a young, papered Angus bull.

Because, everyone knows that bulls stay home...

I do miss my cows though. Bye Dora, Emma and Peaches. Enjoy your new ranch. May you live long and fruitful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wayward Cattle Teaser

After 3 tries we finally got some wayward cattle home. One of us though ended up bare-chested and running up the hill to get away from some ground dwelling bees that were intent on stinging. More to follow after we recuperate from miles of quad riding, hiking and maybe a little cursing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bluegrass Music and Farmer's Market

Mark has been extremely busy with the firewood business, so for the second time this year, I battled my hidden shyness and went alone to sell our grassfed beef at the farmers market. Albeit a bit nervously and with some trepidation. I always worry about things. Any thing. But, I had a great time at the market today. Good conversations and a lot of very positive feedback on our beef. But the best thing was the bluegrass group playing right beside me. I danced and toe tapped and smiled the whole, live, long day. I had one customer even tell me that I was glowing. "It's the music", I said. And it was. Music is good for the soul and I happen to love bluegrass. I wish I knew how to pick a fiddle or banjo or even sing in tune. Singing in tune would be good. Bluegrass is music that just begs for more participants. I guess I did my part by dancing a little and clapping. I was surprised when some of the customers didn't like the music. "It's all the same", some said, and "like fingernails on a chalkboard". WHAT! I was shocked. Yet, I shouldn't be. Different strokes for different folks, and all that.

All in all a good day. Apparently a happy, smiling face is good for sales too. I almost sold out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Around the Garden Today

A variety of color and shape and texture and taste. How wonderful a garden is on a warm, no make that HOT, late summer day.