Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Dark Side of Ranching

June was a long month too. Like May, only not as fun.   I think it's just over.  Wait.  It's July.  Half way through July. Where did the days go?

Lots of ranch work with the animals, that's where.  I'm usually upbeat on this blog, but for transparency, I ain't going to lie- June  is my least favorite month.  Well part of July too, obviously.  We gather all the cattle and sort out the 7 to 9 month olds.  Some of these we sell at the local auction.  Others we save for our grass fed beef program.  This year we saved some heifers as replacements for some of our elderly cows.     These animals we wean and there is lots of mooing for a few days.  It's pathetic and breaks my heart a bit. I keep them fed and watered.   We also pen up the animals to be slaughtered this year.  That's hard too.  We feed them hay for a few weeks to let them loaf around and make their meat more tender.  

Here they are waiting for hay. 

Here they are eating hay.  This might have been their last meal. 

I'm not really cut out for ranching.  I'm too sensitive.  That's why June/July is hard.  I like taking care of the animals just not the other part.  The hay bales seem to keep getting heavier too.  I pulled a muscle in my derrière rolling those bales. 

 But it's done now.  No need to worry about June /July anymore either because next year we won't be gathering until later as our cows are mostly bred short.  Which means most won't calve until February. 

While getting them preg checked I got stung by wasps and my lip swelled up humongously.  Mark said get a photo, get a photo, but I ignored him because we were short handed and slow and our hired specialist, also named Mark, was running short on time.  This day was unhappy for me too as I resorted to prodding a cow with a hot shot.  I'm ashamed about that.  I did it. We rarely use it.  Basically never, as we just kind of wait on the cows to move into the chute.  We have shakers that rattle.  Only this day it was too slow and Mark, not my Mark, had to leave so I dug out the hot shot and moved things along.  Yea, I don't like June/July. 

It's over now though.  We even hauled in a load of hogs yesterday to be slaughtered.  I should say harvested, that sounds nicer doesn't it.  Our hogs always get praised at the "harvest" house.  They look great and move well.  Apparently most hogs don't move well and they have a hard time getting them to move into the building.  Ours though are fit as a fiddle as they free range.  Most hogs here, I'm told, are in pens.  At least the ones who go to the "harvest" house. 

I feel bad admitting it, but I'm glad the hogs are gone.  They were 250 pounds of obnoxiousness.  Very pushy and noisy and every night they come back to our barn and I feed them.  They eat like pigs.  You should hear the cacophony of noise they can make.  It makes a person think they could eat you.  But it's just what hogs do.  

This is a flower.  Flowers aren't pushy.