26 October 2017 – Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the teens tonight!

Hey out there!  And HAY out there!  It has been awhile since I’ve written.  Things have been busy on the Holler and to be honest, we have been spending as much time outdoors as possible enjoying the autumn weather.  The last thing I have wanted to do is waste these beautiful days indoors on the computer, especially since winter is coming. It is coming tonight!

Pilot Dave and I have been busy doing some landscaping projects around the house, especially since he got the front of the tractor (Babe) re-rigged with hydraulic connections.  Now Babe can operate a snow plow, a grapple, and any other implement that can go on the front.

Dave has been leveling out some of the rock piles left over from construction.I have been lining the road to the future barn with rocks.  That’s what I do now, pick up rocks.  I bet you thought I was going to write “Pick up rock stars”  but that was the old me ….ha ha! Plus there are no rock stars in South Dakota. (Except for Pilot Dave, of course!)

There is always limbing and slash dragging to do.  It’s always nice when the cows come around to supervise.

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“Is any of this slash edible?”

We have been prepping for colder weather by adding some insulation to the chicken coop and wrapping tar paper around the beehive.

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Tar paper to keep the bees warmer, the top is the feeder which will come off in the next few weeks.

There is always fence to mend.  We fixed some wire on the northeastern H after what appeared to be elk broke it down. We assume it was elk because we saw two different herds for several evenings up on the hill on the opposite side of the H.  I tried to get a picture but the distance and the low-light were unfavorable for my I-Phone camera.  Here’s the best I could do.

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Elk in the evening

We also mended the northern neighbor’s fence because her cattle kept breaking out to hang out with Cowboy Dave’s cattle in our northern pasture.  It’s where all the cool calves hang out apparently.  We added some T-posts and stretched the wire so they weren’t able to escape and mingle with the calves on the wrong side of the fence.

This morning, we fixed the southern neighbor’s fence.  He had called a truck to pump out his septic system and they cut through some wire to find an easy place to approach his tank.  We were releasing the cows back out on our property and needed to ensure they didn’t wander up to his house, so in the 30 knot winds and 30 degree temperatures, Dave and I went up and stretched and spliced five wires back together. We’re getting the hang of this fencing stuff!

On the rainy/windy days this month, Dave put his carpenter skills to work and completed this awesome coatrack for the mud room.

I sewed up some carpet remnants from the build and made some throw rugs.

The last few days, we have started doing cattle chores for Cowboy Dave.  We are doing winter feeding and watering for him and Linda in exchange for some heifers.  Two days ago, we separated the calves from their moms so they could be weaned. The cow-calf separation operation was really easy by luring the moms using cow-cake.  We chased the whole herd up the pasture toward the corral. The moms came running through the corral and we closed them off in the opposite pasture.  The babies were following as quickly as they could but we shut the corral gates around them and now they are isolated from their moms.  This is important because the moms are all pregnant again and they don’t need to be nursing the calfies anymore.  They need to conserve their energy and calories for their future babies, and the calves need to get off the sauce, I mean milk.

At first the moms just went into the new pasture and started grazing, happy to be in a new place.  We filled a feeder with “creep” for the babies, which is just supplemental feed for calves, and they went right for it. One of the little heifers even jumped right into the creep feeder and we had to scare her out.  We also put a bale of oats harvested from our field into the troughs and they liked that too. (We will be putting HAY out there for the rest of the winter.)

But then, one of the moms realized there were no babies around and started BAWLING, “MOOOOOOO!  MOOOOOIIIEEEEEEEE!  MOOOOOOO! MOO! MOO!”  And then the babies started bawling.  And then all the cows and babies were bawling.  Then Cowboy Dave, Linda, Pilot Dave and I all started bawling!  Just kidding about the people, but listening to the cattle crying was very sad. But it is necessary.  We will reunite them all when the moms’ milk dries up in about 3 weeks and when the babies will lose interest.  Meanwhile, it has been quite noisy around here for the past few days!

The big news is that we have made our first cattle purchase.  We bought these three heifers and will be adding to the herd several more next year.

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#113 Black Cherry
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#114 Little Bugger
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#115 BooHHaaa

Overall, it has been a busy and successful October.  We hope everyone is doing good out there in civilization.  Dave and I are dressing up as Jolly Ranchers for Halloween this year, same costumes we wear every day!