Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving From The Rancher's Wife

This really is one of my favorite times of year.  I'm not entirely sure why but there is something about the chill in the air, the anticipation of this holiday season and celebrating with friends and family.  It comes after the push of the fall work- weaning, sorting, hauling, selling, vaccinating, preg checking...  (did I miss anything?!).  There is also the farming to do and some fencing and then the winter prep.  But all of this is coming as a result of a good calf crop and a blessed harvest.

Isn't it wonderful how inspired the first Thanksgiving-ers (I made that up) were to set a day aside to give thanks for their blessings after the harvest season.  Actually that really is how the story goes; the pilgrims had been devastated with sickness and starvation as they reached America.  They may not have made it had a few Native Americans put aside any differences and taught them skills to survive the new land.  It was after their first corn harvest that their leader declared that they all share in a celebration of fasting and thanksgiving.

There have been other distinguishable times in our country's history that leaders proclaimed it a time of fasting and thanksgiving, primarily after or in the midst of great trials.  In fact it was during the Civil War that President Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. 

I love looking into the history of this holiday, to see what was intended for this holiday.  It was quite religious, so much so that they fasted rather than feasted.  I hope that I, personally, haven't strayed from its heritage.  No, I didn't fast but I hope that my thanksgiving was honorable.  Of course we are able to add our own traditions to help it be more meaningful for each of us, but are we still celebrating and cherishing our blessings as we should? 

So after another great year of blessings, a healthy family, a good harvest, and a home full of love and happiness, I want to give thanks to family, to the legacy we live, and mostly to a loving Father in Heaven.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Done With the Preg Checking

I wish I had a dollar for every time The Rancher says, "Well everything is done for a while until we have to do the ______."  Like he says that we are done moving cows except for the bunch that needs moving in a week.  Or the bailing is done, but there is the field that was just cut that will need bailed in a few days.  I appreciate that he is trying to make me feel good that things are slowing down but I have learned better.

Lately we have heard the preg checking is done.  Yes, for the forest cows.  But then there was the weekend of preg checking the BLM cows.  And then the strays that come in need checked. And the other bunch of strays.  And the other other bunch.  And now it was time the first calf heifers that had been out to pasture near Blackfoot for the fall. 

The Rancher called me in one fine afternoon, asking for some help to get the heifers pregged up that night because the weatherman was calling for snow.  For some reason they didn't want to work cows in the yucky cold and wind.  I always come running when The Rancher asks for help, mostly because I don't want him to think he can do anything with out me (ok really I just love to help and I don't want him to stop asking).  Usually I end up giving shots at the front but this time I got to run the back.  And I did a great job, if I do say so myself.  It didn't leave much time for pictures but I snapped a few before the night was over. 

I think that we are really done with the preg checking.  Unless some other ornery cows come from who knows where...  But until then, we are done!

 With the time change dusk came upon us and the moon lit the way.  I zoomed in to get a picture and this is what we got.  It wasn't really this dark, but it turned out kinda fun.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Feeding the Calves... from a while ago

So I got a little ahead of myself, which means that I didn't share the pictures from  feeding the calves one night.  So even though the calves are long gone, I am enjoying another look at them.

The calves go out on the old alfalfa when they are first weaned.  Between their ravenous eating and the freezing temperatures, alfalfa stops growing.  Once the feed is eaten down we load up the old two ton with some bails and pitch it out to them.

On this fine occasion it is Rancher Sr. and Cowboy Pete with the pitch forks.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Rancher, a DIY-er

I love DIY projects, LOVE them.  The Rancher does too, maybe not the ones I enlist him to do, but he des non the less.  He likes the manly ones that come with bigger or more dangerous tools.  I mean what is a welder if not a really hyped up glue gun, right? :)

But seriously, isn't that really a integral part of being a rancher.  These cowboy need to be able switch between whatever jobs the day calls for- truck driver, irrigator, welder, tractor operator, horse trainer, nurse maid... You get the idea, they gotta do it all.  They are DIY-ers. 

 This is the feed truck with arms to lift the bails.  Do you see how my creative husband has fanagled it to lift the troughs?  I find funny, but boy it is works darn good.


Here is real picture of The "DYI" Rancher.  Pretty cool.  Finding your own way to get the job done, or being a DIY-er, is part of being a rancher.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Predictable Idaho Weather

Are you laughing at the title?  Because what is the predictable Idaho weather?  Ok, the wind, I will give you that.  But everyday you can predict sun, clouds, wind, hot, cold, and most likely some sort of a storm and you would be right.  We get them all nearly everyday.

Even on pay day.  It started it a cold windy morning, then the sun came out, turning up the heat a bit.  But it didn't last long before the nasty sort of clouds came rolling in with some crazy snow flurries.  Of course it was as we were loading the last semi of calves and finished as the last were loaded on the truck.  Gotta love our Idaho weather.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It Takes 5 ...Semis

I told you that we sold our calves, but I didn't get to share everything from our day.  Like that it took 5 semis to haul out all of those calves.  Oh boy it took a while.  Good thing we had some good help-the other Curlew Valley Cowboys.  I think that they come to socialize and eat the cinnamon rolls, but we will take advantage of them being out on the ranch.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sold the Calves

Last Monday we had a big day at the ranch.  Its the day that we work all the other 364 days... yep it was sale day. 

And really it couldn't have gone much better.  Our calf crop this year was really good, weighing in heavier than last year.  After weaning, when it seems that we have the most sickness and loss, we had a lot of good growth.  Having a great summer and fall with these calves makes this pay day so much sweeter. 

Its almost an emotional day because it is a day that we have worked so hard for, for so long.  We have camped out on the desert in the midst of feet of snow to keep alive through the winter.  We have spent long days branding and marking calves.  We have spent even LONGER days in the hot dusty sun moving the herd.  Then there were more long days with the weaning.  We have said some very earnest prayers for these calves to be healthy and to grow well. 

Now we feel the relief, the success, the tiredness, and the drive to gear up for another year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sorting Out the Opens

There are a lot of reasons that we preg check the cows... I think I have already told you that.   We want to know who is pregnant and who is not.  And how far along pregnant they are.  And if they are not pregnant we need to get rid of them.  We bring them home and then to the auction (or to anyone that wants them...).

This is when the fun starts.  Initially the opens are just lumped together so they sort them so each ranch can take them home after all checking is done.  These cows are tired of being in the corral and the last thing they want is to be worked more.  That means they put up a good fight that is fun to watch.  I have to admit that I my picture don't do justice for the awesome moments we had but I am going to blame that on the cowboys because there are only so many places I can be.  So I do what I can with what I got!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1,2... 1437, 1438, 1439!

You should have seen all of these cowboys hard at work when they were preg checking these cows.  Most of these guys have been doing this together for years and years so they have it down pat.  They have figured out how to run these cows through fast.  This year they had 1439 cows. Are you impressed?  You should be...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tools of the Trade

Part of being a cowboy, especially a cowboy in the middle of nowhere, means having a wide array of tools.  Some of them are intended to be used on the ranch, some are not for the ranch but they actually are quite useful and some are homemade- ghetto-rigged from twine and a branch (because some times that is all they have).

Of course a favorite of any rancher is the hot shot.  Efficiency is important when running through hundreds of cows and a little zap in quite motivating.  Therefore, EVERYONE has one.

When we preg check cows a useful, but out of place tool is bleach.  Like go-to-a-salon type bleach.  They mix it up and paint a splotch according to their expected calving date.  Bleaching their hair is a good way to mark them because it will last until February/March when they start dropping babies. 

Tools are an important part of our work... but it's funny to see what is the favorite or what homemade tool come up with.