Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week 26

It's half way through the year and I don't want to finish this post.  So I think I'll take a half time break.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 25

It has been a busy cattle week.   It went pretty well.   Nobody died.  We sorted the weanlings from the cows with just the two of us as the 'kids' have been living in town. (Eric got hired on a commercial fishing boat and Jo just got hired as a bank teller.) Good for them, more work for us.  

We have two corrals we sort from.  One new, one older.   The new one works well with just the two of us.  It's very safe.   The old one is wood and it needs work and the gates don't close easily, and there's wasps living in them and the animals always seem more nervous being handled there.  This photo shows them walking into the corrals.  

It was early morning.  It was one of the few photos I took because, like I said, I had my hands full with animals, wasps, breaking boards and difficult gates.  I kept thinking,  I'm not a man.  I might have said it out loud once or a few thousand times.   Gloria Steinem would not like that.   Unfortunately, Mark and I also got upset with each other a bit.   A few choice  words were said.  I got stressed, then the cows get stressed as they look to me a lot.  I had to keep reminding myself to lower my shoulders, drop my head, loosen my jaw.  It helped. It got done, nobody died.  Heck, nobody even got hurt.   The weanlings sold for a very good, very good price and they all looked good too.  That is a lot of good and probably out weighed the cussing.  I'm a bit ashamed of that part.   

For our preg check we hauled all the caught cows (those brush cattle are still loose on top) to our newer cattle handling area and Jo drove out to help.  Thank goodness for Jo.  She doesn't ever say she's not a man.  Needless to say, It went really well.  We also love working with our pregnancy check guy.   He's very calm and helps us.  He actually does artificial insemination (AI) for dairy cows for his day job,  but does a few beef preg checks and AI as well.  He's been very accurate and we trust his call.  We had 3 cows open.   Two were older, they will go to the auction. The other is only 3 years old so we will eat her.  I had sold all the other appropriate steers in our freezer beef sales and had kind of forgotten all about us.  Silly girl.  We got to eat too.

Anyways, busy week keeping penned up animals fed and watered as well as: sorting, cussing, wasp slaying, selling, preg check, and today- relax.  Spent some time with neighbors and at the river and eating at the world famous  Chimney Tree.  

The south fork of the Eel River

The Chimney Tree

Tomorrow Mark isn't working off the ranch, so we have to load up and haul the open cows and 2 bulls for this week's auction.   One of our bulls, Lou, is getting just too old. His heart is willing, his libido is good, but his body is letting him down. He needs a cane, he's getting very stiff.  The other bull is my pet, my Labrabull, Mr. Johnson.  So sad to see him go, but he isn't very interested in cows and he rarely leaves his buddy's side.  I will miss him though.  I hope the new bulls we end up purchasing will be nice like him, but have a little more, um, sex drive. 

Mr. Johnson is the cuddly one.  Lee is his buddy.   BTW- Lee does like cows. We can tell.

Until next week....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week 24

The Gathering

We had friends over last night for supper and I forgot to take any photos of them or the wonderful, golden light of our sunset jeep tour to the falls.  Oh well.  I did take some photos of the lovely flowers they brought. 
*Thanks Bill and Lauri

*Thanks Dave and Char

We are always very happy to have friends go over the mountain and through the woods to come and see us. 

Apparently, our cattle are willing to go over the mountain and through the woods for us as well.  I always worry too much when it is time to gather.  Will I find them?  Will they follow?   This year I had a bit of a hard time finding them in the beginning of the week and when I did they were in little small groups here and there in the woods.  I slowly drew groups together with the bribery of hay and yesterday morning we led most of the west ridge herd into our middle barn corral area.

Today, we caught our front herds.  They are quite gentle and don't take much coaxing to follow us in.  They actually seem quite happy to follow. 


There is still the small contingent of cattle up on top of the ranch in the brush.  We call it the vortex because cattle and people seem to get lost here.  These cows and their calves will come out of the brush for a snack of hay, but they won't follow me the many miles down to the corrals.  In previous years, we've hauled panels up and made a temporary catch pen.  This year we are going to skip catching them altogether. It is a lot of wear and tear on our truck, trailer and panels to go up to the top of the mountain on our rutted, overgrown, ranch road for 4 animals that will be just the right size to sell as  freezer beef next year.  Hopefully, they find themselves back on the lower regions of the ranch by then.   And their mamas will just have to skip their annual pelvic exam.   So we are officially done gathering.

Tuesday we will sort out the weanlings that we decide to sell and then haul them in for Wednesday's auction. Thursday we will get our cows checked for pregnancy.  Wish us luck.   

*I have no idea why these photos have dates, let alone dates that are wrong.  I must have pushed some button.....

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 23? Really....

I'm pooped.  Spent yesterday afternoon and evening and today doing 'man's work' building our main house corrals back.  I am not a good ranch hand.  I feel bad for the mister having to use me, but hey, our son is going to sea, so he just gets me. 

Friday night, after Mark got home from his day job, we realized that our weanling calves are slated to be sold at the auction on Wednesday the 18th and we don't have a corral to hold our main house herd.  Funny, how time has a way of slipping up on you.  We hadn't fully made a decision on the corrals: welded pipe would be awesome, wood would look great and panels would be easiest and would last well too.  Seeing as we had limited time we shopped on the phone Saturday morning and found panels and some railroad ties.   Saturday afternoon Mark made it back to the ranch with the needed supplies and we got to work.  Actually, Mark got to work, I just mostly stood there and tried to look like I was working and I oohed and ahhed over the skills of my man.   The part I actually helped on was carrying the railroad ties and the panels.  YIKES.  Those things are heavy.  So were the panels.   And even moving around the tools was hard work for this weak girl who usually sits around eating bonbons.  What I was really appreciated for though, was my ability to make lots of wonderful suggestions.  Haha.  You know, second guess Mark.  Actually it went really well and we were in perfect agreement about the whole corral arrangement, which in itself, is a mini miracle.   We didn't get it all finished, but it is at a point that it can be used to catch the main house cows, which was the whole point anyway. 

It may look like I'm working, but I'm not.  The real work horse it the auger our friend loaned us.
 These were our hecklers.  Enjoying the pond and watching us work.  (Yes, they are still here, but that is another story.)

Look at this gate.  No twine!!!  These gates (we have 10 )  were built by Mark's dad in the farm shop and painted by a very young Zachary (our eldest).  Perhaps even his first job.   Also note the trough getting moved in by the always handy skidsteer. 
Voila! one trough, two pens!
Mark hanging a gate while I watched.
 And took photos.  The grass went gold on us this week.
Somehow, this post falls a little short, like some of our posts did.  Others were too tall.  Where was quality control? Like wouldn't you think putting a post every 16 feet for 16 foot panels would work.  We eventually measured and 16 foot panels are really 15 feet and nine inches.  Also, the auger was great, but you still had to clean out the hole with the post hole diggers and that tamper bar thingy majig is very heavy.  Very heavy.  Very heavy.  Like I said, I'm pooped and this post is done. 
Then I realized that there wasn't any photos of the corrals, so I went outside and took some, even though I'd already bathed and was in my nightgown.  LOL.  I'm just that kinda gal.  Did any one think... OCD.?
This shot is from above.  Note the corrals done on the right.  We still have some stuff to  build on  the left, plus put back up our field fencing so I can bring our horses in.
This is up close.  It looks pretty good and it is sturdy and should last a long time.  We hope anyway. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 22

Everywhere I looked this week there seemed to be miracles.  Perspective. It's a funny thing.   Checking out the headlines or my Facebook feed can sometimes get me down.  Evil seems like it is prevailing and even sometimes applauded.  Here on the ranch though, if I choose to, I can see so much good.   Little miracles abound. 
racial harmony between chicks

free art exhibits

togetherness illuminated

DIY project that worked

Valentine's orchid still in bloom

New life unfurled
 There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
-Albert Einstein