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Hoten Holler!

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May 2018

Ranch Happenings

23 May 2018 – Rainy with a forecast of sun and 78 degrees!

It is impossible to describe how quickly things have greened up around here. One thing you can say about the South Dakota weather is that is definitely dynamic!

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View of the Holler in the morning
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Double rainbow after evening rainstorm

Dave and I are so happy to be sleeping with the windows open, and waking up to look out at green grass instead of snow.  We have had a lot of work to do this spring, and the list of things to do never ends, but the weather has been just perfect for working outside so we are taking advantage.

Some things we have been working on include planting the garden.

Last year we had some success and are hoping that the compost we put down this winter will make this year’s garden even better.  The dream list includes lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions.

I opened the beehive to see if there were any glaring problems.  The girls were pretty docile and I was able to see they definitely still have a queen. There were eggs, healthy looking larvae, and already some capped frames of honey.  I am so grateful they survived the long, cold winter!

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Busy Bees!

 

Dave helped out our neighbor, Ned, with cattle round up.  This is the time of year when the ranchers separate all the new-born calfies from the mommas and give them the required shots, castrate them if required, and brand them.  OUCH!

 

Ned had two calf tables going and Pilot Dave was ear-tagging all afternoon; he became quite the expert as he tagged over 150 calves. For all you non-ranching Hoten Holler Follerers, a calf table is pictured below.  The calf is herded up an alley and caught around the neck in the table.  The table then can be flipped on the side so the rancher can brand, give shots, ear tag, and have easy access to the back end to accomplish castration.

 

My parents came to visit, as I asked them to come for Mother’s Day but the weather was nasty that weekend, so they came the next. We had one day of really nice weather and one where it was in the 40’s and rainy. Still, we went out to check the herd and my Dad made friends with some of the cows.

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Dad meets Puzzle

Yesterday, we went to our neighbor, Sheri’s, and worked on the corral, alleyway and head gate.  We will be holding our own round-up on the 30th, and since we do not have the infrastructure here on the Holler, we will be running our herd through her corral.  We will be doing the standard ranch stuff as well; shots, branding, castration (for Dude since we didn’t catch him and get him banded at birth), and pouring the cows for fly and worm protection.

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Rancher Dave fixing the head gate
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Cowboy Dave shoring up the alleyway

We also received our branding iron yesterday, and Dave couldn’t wait to try it out. Joey and I are glad he tried it on a piece of wood and not one of us!

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Hoten Ranch Brand

Speaking of Sheriff Joe, he has really settled into ranch life.  He loves riding in the mule and checking cows and fence.  He has made fast friends with neighbor dogs, Herc and Arrow, and Sheri’s dogs Kiki and Ellie.  I’m hoping not to jinx myself by saying he is housebroken, as he hasn’t had any problems inside for about 10 days.  He is growing and eats and sleeps a lot.  He likes to chew but hates getting in trouble, so if he is chewing on something he is not supposed to, a quick “NO!”  will send him onto something else.  He is a really good puppy.  I keep waiting for the evil puppy side to show up, but so far he is quite sweet.  Dave and I refer to him as “Discount Puppy”  or “Jeb Bush”  because he is LOW ENERGY.

 

Today’s plans include drilling some holes for a fence we are fixing for a neighbor.  We may make a trip to Hot Springs to the Black Hills Meat Market to pick up a brisket for Memorial Day.  If the garden is not too wet, I will try to get a few more things planted there.  The yard needs weed-whacking and mowing.  The list of things to do never really ends, but we can see the slow progress of everything we do and we are really loving the ranch life.  Happy Wednesday, everybody!

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Toothless the bull and baby-daddy for all the calves born this spring

 

 

A New Ranch-hand

7 May 2018 – Sunny and 79 degrees!

We have a new hire at the Holler.  Meet the newest ranch-hand Sheriff Joe. (We call him Joey!)

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Joey!

It has been a few years since we had a dog and over 10 years since we had a puppy and we had forgotten how much fun they are.  So far, Joey has been pretty good with the potty training and he already knows sit.  “Stay” is not quite clear to him yet.  He also thinks it is pretty cool to be wide awake at 4 AM after sleeping all afternoon.  He can get away with anything now because he is so dang cute.

In other news, we completed the fence in the northern pasture.IMG_5837

We also had a big MOOOving day as we wrangled the herd from a leased neighbors pasture to another pasture to the south. Fortunately, our docile girls (and now some boys) didn’t cause any trouble and went right where they were supposed to go.

 

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Cows in the Southern Pasture after MOOOOving
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Linda, Cowboy, and Pilot Dave enjoying a Keystone after the big move.

 

The weather is just about perfect now, and the herd seems to love their new digs.  This morning, they were all hanging out all fat and happy.

This afternoon, we helped our neighbor, Ned, do some cattle round up so the vet could preg-check about 50 or so of his cows.  It was really fun, and Joey did great as well.  Dave did most of the rounding up and squeeze chute operation.  I got to use the hot-shot cattle prod to force the girls into the head gate.

 

The vet was great.  He would say, “This one’s open”  meaning not pregnant, or “This one will calve about the first week of June.”  He would say, “This one is between 120-150 days pregnant.”  And he even asked Ned if one of the cows had been a twin.  Ned didn’t know as she was not born at his ranch but was purchased elsewhere.  I was wondering how the heck the vet could tell if a cow had been a twin.  I learned that if a cow has twins and one calf  is a bull and one calf is a heifer, the heifer can end up infertile.  The term is a free-martin.  Cattle ranching really has a language all its own!

That about wraps it up for Monday.  We hope everyone out there is enjoying May so far.  We are loving it after the crazy long winter.

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Perfect South Dakota Saturday Night

 

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