3 August 2020 – Sunny and 78 – Perfect
The Holler has been a hub of activity for the last few weeks. We decided to wash and water seal the deck.
We cut our neighbor’s yard since she had a lot of natural grass hay in one of her pastures. Normally she gets about 300 bales out of this pasture, but she was happy to get 86 bales this year. It made load up pretty easy for us and we were done before 9AM!
We have been starting a lean-to project to provide the cows some extra shelter from the wind and snow we can surely count on in a few short months.
This will be a better place for the cows if the weather is nasty because we won’t have to stuff them into the barn, and more importantly, Dave and I won’t have to shovel poop out of the barn. We expect to be able to drive the tractor right in and scoop out the poop from the lean-to. Anyone need compost?
We are first-generation ranchers, which means all of the infrastructure and systems that many ranchers inherit from their folks do not/did not exist here. Moving onto raw land means all projects belong to us. This is good and bad. It would be nice to have some things already completed like this lean-to, or some irrigation lines to move collected water into the cistern. On the other hand, we are responsible for all the projects here. If something works, that’s because of us but if it doesn’t, that is also on us. We are learning, year after year, and constantly trying to improve things. It is a life-long process but it is also a life-good process and we enjoy brainstorming to come up with a list of projects that will make our ranch run smoother.
One thing we didn’t plan on was the return of the Black Plague.
That is the same dang bull that comes back year after year. He was here in May and we moved our girls to a different pasture. He has been in the National Forest and we thought there would be plenty of cows out there to keep him busy. Nonetheless, he found one of our girls irresistible and Dave and I watched helplessly as he leaped over a four-wire fence like a deer. Then he proceeded to mount one of our heifers and she went immediately to the ground.
Fortunately, she did not get hurt and we are hoping she did not get bred by him. She is older now than when he broke in in May so we are trying to breed her to the leased heifer-bull, Moscow. The Plague, however, was not having any of that and fortunately Moscow is a lover, not a fighter. He just stood out of the Plague’s way and I don’t blame him.
We were fed up with this jumping bull, and after about a week of trying we were finally able to make some contact with the owner. We said we would buy the bull (intending to take him to town). He said if we take him to market to just send him the check so Dave and I were completely excited at the prospect of getting rid of this nuisance. We contacted some friends that have horses and are experienced cattle ranchers. We determined the date based on the bull sale at the local cattle market, and then we moved our cattle panels and trailer up to the pasture where he was hanging out with our herd.
We were all set with equipment, help, and a plan to catch that bugger. The morning we were supposed to execute the plan we drove up to the pasture to check on things. That stinkin’ bull was GONE! He jumped out of our pasture and we could see him way off in the distance walking behind a herd of range cattle headed up into the forest. There is pretty much no way we could round him up out there so we called off the help.
While we are hoping he stays away, if he comes back Dave and I will do our best to catch and load him, but not at the risk of injury or death! Or at least trying to minimize that risk. We know the local ranchers with range permits round up their herds on the 1st of September so we anticipate he will be part of that group. Hopefully he will be taken to market then. We’ll see what happens, but we are hoping that all of our cows are bred now and he will have no reason to come back. GIT OUTTA HERE YA DIRTY STINKIN PLAGUE!!
We decided we were long overdue for putting up a flagpole in our barnyard, so we dug a hole (this is a trend for us, constantly digging) and put up our big, beautiful flag. God Bless America!
We have also been getting a little bit of rain here and there. We think we may be able to save a little of the sudan-grass hay we put in one of the pastures.
We have lined up some hay to purchase from another guy about an hour away, so we should be able to keep all the cows this year and sell the calves at market.
The garden seems to have rebounded a bit after the hail storm and while I doubt we’ll have the haul we did last year, we may get some tomatoes and cucumbers. The corn looks pretty good too! I’m wondering if the lack of production can be blamed on the hail storm or the lack of honey bees, since my hive died.
The good news is we will stay busy for the rest of the summer with one large task looming on our list. Firewood. Ugh, I like getting firewood but I hate thinking about building a fire already. It seems like summer just got here! At least one big furry dog will be happy when the snow starts flying.
We hope everyone is doing well out there in the real world. Keep it free out there!