Tulips and Heifers

It feels like the past week was a wild one. There were few dull moments and we got a lot of work done.

We started the work week with a big calf branding at Cousin T’s.

Over the last few years we have been planting the farm ground back to a mix of grass and alfalfa. We don’t have the best quality land for farming and we need the acres for hay. Last week a neighbor come in and sprayed weeds. Another neighbor seeded for us. We can check this project of the list as our spring seeding is done. Now we need a nice rain.

Uncle Doug stuck around for most of the week. J and Doug set several corners at home and built a new gate. We’ve been needing a second gate to go from the calving pasture into the “Milk Cow” pasture. This is one of the gates we use a lot when we take out pairs. The new gate is a great improvement over the old rusty fence stretchers we were using to open and close the makeshift gate.

J and Uncle also got around the summer pasture fence. Another good job done and one step closer to taking pairs to grass.

While the guys were fencing I did the spring clean on the chicken coop. One bad thing about a long cold snowy winter is not being able to let the hens out. Two loader buckets and an hour and a half later, the girls had a clean coop. We even took time to debeak the hens. One of the girls is determined as I’ve had two broken eggs after we debeaked them.

The other task I got done while the guys were fencing was mowing. It was a long dirty job as J had me do extra mowing around the out buildings. One thing I like about mowing is the instant gratification of the yard looking nice. The pretty yard is usually short-lived as the new crop of dandelions don’t waste any time popping back up. I think they came back double thick this go around.

J took a load of cull cows to town on Friday. I stayed home to catch up on housework and laundry. I love opening the windows to air out the house and hanging laundry on the clothes line. A couple of my favorite things.

We have been using the replacement heifers to graze the tree strips along the driveway. I couldn’t help but notice the elegance of morning light and take pictures of the girls in the trees. When J got home on Friday, we moved the heifers to the west pasture. They are officially out on grass for the summer!

Saturday we helped Cousin T trial pairs to summer grass. We had a beautiful morning for a 4-wheeler ride and the cattle moved good.

This week we have another round of musical pastures and will be trailing our pairs to summer grass towards the end of the week.

I will report that we are dry on the prairie, very dry. The Palm Sunday rain and rain we got the Wednesday after Easter were a blessing. Even with those two rains our area is moving into a critically dry state. The weathermen are watching a rain system that could bring us some much-needed moisture this week. We’re keeping our hands folded, our ears on the news and eyes on the sky.

What is the moisture situation like in your area?

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5 Responses to Tulips and Heifers

  1. Kim's County Line says:

    We could probably share a little of the rain we’ve been getting, and more is forecast for this week.

    I’m glad you had a productive week! Hope this one is as well!

  2. Pamela Galindo says:

    I just love reading about life on the ranch….it is so different than my own life and I enjoy it so much! Here in the central valley of California, we are, also, in need of rain; a little system moved through to the Sierra Nevada’s but skipped right by us….at least the mountains got some snow. We are enjoying temps in the low 70’s but by this Sunday, we’ll be close to 100 degrees.

    • Robyn says:

      Pam,
      You made my daysaying you love reading about my ranch life. Thank You!

      The temps last week were a little above normal for us in May. Between that and wind it doesn’t take long for the moisture to disappear. We’ve been getting small showers the last few nights. Small as anywhere between 5-10 hundredths. Today is overcast and in the upper 50’s. We have chances for moisture all week.

      I hope you get some rain also.

  3. Brig says:

    We have had a lot of North wind, which is not good for man nor beast, in these parts. Especially drying for my daughter’s place in the valley. The hills around here have gone from green green to brown, over night. We had a light shower a couple days ago, but more wind and 80’s weather since. It has been a fantastic feed year, and everyone’s cattle are doing well. But hot is just around the corner, and they will be shipping to the mountains for the summer soon. With all the rain there is a higher than normal feed/fuel load this year, making for a high fire danger. Always pros and cons.

    That busy busy time of year for my daughter and her farming family… they are flying on the rice seed, irrigating the almonds, vine seed, alfalfa, and wheat, putting in a couple of walnut orchards. Their bees are working full out. They decided a few years ago to raise and manage their own bees. They had been using an Idaho apiary but the cost and timing was presenting problems. So they went into it on their own, and then trained one of the hired men to take over that part of the operation.

    • Robyn says:

      Hi Brig!

      Moisture must be feast or famine most places. The old timers around here like to say “we don’t need a lot of rain, just rain at the right time.” There is truth to that also.

      If we don’t get moisture soon we will be facing a whole new set of issues. At the moment we are wondering if we will have hay to put up. Many producers around us didn’t put hay up last year because of the dry conditions. Water also becomes a problem as stock dams go bad. Not only is there a lack of water, but many times the water is of poor quality or poisonous to livestock. We are very lucky to have solar wells and a pipeline, so our cattle always have access to fresh clean water.

      I always enjoy hearing about different types of agriculture. There are no rice fields or nut orchards in South Dakota. I would love to see that.

      There is a bee guy just into North Dakota that brings bees to our land in the summer. I know that he takes his bees to California during the winter months. Bees are so important to a healthy ecosystem.

      I also understand the concern about wild fires. J is on our local volunteer fire department and smoke is something we watch the sky for on a regular basis.

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