Yesterday while skiving leather on a saddle skirt I am building, I slipped and got my hand in the way of a very sharp tool… cut into my index finger.. Cindy and Chance thought it needed stitches, so against my will I went in.. sure enough, 6 stitches.. I do have to say that it isn’t nearly as sore as other cuts I have had, but it happens to be on a finger I don’t have a lot of feeling in because of a pinched nerve in my neck, so they tell me.. haven’t had an MRI. I can’t afford those kinds of things.. Anyway, today I took all the gauze and stuff they had put on it, fixed it up with some bandaids and was back at work in the leather shop.. got two saddles I am trying to get done as fast as I can. We got a couple inches of good wet snow this morning and off and on thru’ out the day. Moisture! We love it! Been a pretty good winter here so far..and spring is supposedly here. As one person said on Facebook today, this is the best March blizzard we’ve ever had! We are practicing social distancing.. so.. same as always! Schwan man was here today but couldn’t come into the house.. company policy right now… really, people are idiots…if people would learn to stay away from other people when ever they have any communicable sickness, then we wouldn’t have this panic….wonder what it is going to do to change the world? Remember 9 11? And all the changes that came about from that? So, life on the ranch goes on.. just like always. Hope your doing good.
Awful nice for March. Got up to 70 seems like and hardly a breath of wind.. a whole bunch of runt cowhands saddled up and wen’t with their father and uncle and grampa and we got all the cows in and sorted off the coming 2 year old, first calf heifers. There were a few steer calves got in at one time or another and we got them sorted off and back to their proper bunch. Some cows with the steer calves that got sorted back into the cow bunch, several bulls calves we caught and turned into steers… no animals or people were hurt in the endeavor tho’ several maybe had a little pain come into their life.. bulls to steers, colts and kids to learning… not much loudness, lots of good loops thrown and some poor ones also, of course. Sweat run off from horses and people and a few of the bovines were panting before it all got done.. quite a change in temps for all of us. Now we March on ahead with our spring work.
I got one saddle finished and the owner picked it up and 2 more started that I am trying to hurry on so they can have them for their calving and brandings. Time changes tonight (why?) so our Mass schedule changes also. 7 tonight and I think stays there until time changes next fall.
There is green grass showing in places, tho’ thin and short and geese all over, honking. Must be spring, but I bet we still get some colder temps and more snow. For sure some rain.. it makes the grass grow, you know.
So..we march onward…
When I went out to feed today, there were horses in with the steers, heifer calves and some cows in the pasture next to them, headed towards us.. so I hurried up and fed the grain to the steers (luckily the horses had no idea what I was doing) and then hauled some hay to the cows and heifer calves up the creek and lured most back to the pasture where they belonged… got another bale and tried to lure the few who hadn’t come, with no luck. So fed it, then went back with the tractor, both Bit and Peg, the cow dogs, stepped out of the tractor and got the calves headed to where they belonged… with the help of the dogs, got them back where they belonged, fixed the torn up gates, then came back, got in the Nitro (my ranch vehicle) and drove the horses into the corral and sorted back the three calves who had decided to join them in there. Locked the horses in, went back and got the tractor, fed the rest of the grain to the steers and fixed another couple gates… tomorrow, I will feed the big bunch up west first, and hopefully get them farther north and out of the pasture that is close to the steers. And lock them up there…
Found a good use for these big bags we get grain in. They will hold a ton or more of feed and have loops at the top.. fit right over the spears on the bales spear front of the loader. I brought it up to the house and we loaded up trash that needed hauled away from Tate and Cindys work on the basement. Got it dumped, came back and got another load and left the bag and trash in it at the dump.. now for some no wind weather and some green, so we can burn the trash in the pit.
Was going to finish up a saddle today but other things (like stupid cattle) got in the way. Hopefully tomorrow it will get done and I can get on to other things. Got a belt promised to a guy, two more saddles right away and a couple more after that if I get time before we get too busy with spring work. Also need to build a set or two of wooly chaps. I may have to give up my afternoon naps or start getting going earlier in the morning! Maybe Cindy will get me some caffeine pills tommorw!
Got up to over 50 today!
I needed to sort heifer calves from steers and as both the boys are off doing other things and all the grandkids were in school or sick, Kyle Brink came over and helped me. Worked good. We got the heifers sorted and out with the cows. The steer calves are still close to the house and will continue to get feed a lot, so hopefully they will grow and be worth more , some day..Someday Soon.. cool song, be good if it happened to these calves!
For the one or two of you who follow this blog, you have likely noticed that it has a changed a bit. Being thrifty in nature, I decided to rearrange this to help Cindy and I in the new adventure of a guest ranch. So the main page got changed. Hopefully for the best.
So far, weather has been great, for this time of the year.. we get a little snow and wind but all in all, so far winter hasn’t been all that bad (I hope I didn’t just jinx us!)
Cindy and I got to go to the Stockshow one day in Rapid City and we watched two different bronc riding events, morning and evening. It was a belated Anniversary outing. We both enjoyed it. Also got a bit of business done. If you haven’t checked out this website lately, you will notice some new headings. I decided that those who don’t live this life or in this area might enjoy a bit of info about it, so started a new one called Interesting Tidbits. You might want to check it out and let me know how I am doing.
Cindy and I ran into the Hills yesterday and gave all our info to the accountant for income taxes. Hopefully we don’t have to pay a bunch in. Sure don’t seem like we made any money last year and my banker would agree, I bet! 🙂
I am off to a bull sale today. after doing chores. Tate has been working on the house finishing up some odds and ends, that we had put off, making the bedrooms nice for guests and friends who come and stay. Chance has been doing one thing and another and is now going to help a neighbor calve for the next month or so, but will be done and here to help when we start. I have several saddle projects in the works and can’t seem to find the time to get enough done, so pretty much, situation normal! I hope your winter is going well.
We feed cattle every day. Calves are weaned off and out in the lot east of the headquarters. Supposed to get some snow and wind today, so brought them in from the pasture, east of that lot and locked them in behind protection. They had tore out some fence between the lot and the shelter belt, so after feeding we went and fixed fence. I don’t think any critter is as destructive as calves or yearlings, on fences!
We have the majority of the cows running up west, where there is grass available, but we feed a little hay every other day and the the other day when they don’t get hay they get protein, to keep them in good shape. We need to get them in and pour lice control on them as some are starting to scratch. Also on the calves. Lice aren’t much of a problem until winter, late winter, to early spring… when I was young, if you found a lousy cow (you could tell as they were thin and not looking good) we’d get them in the corral, rope them and lay them down and sprinkle a powder all over them up under and between their legs and brisket/belly. When it gets hot in spring, the lice drop off.. I am not real sure of their life cycle, but if you don’t do something for the cattle, they get poor, the lice suck their blood like a tick, only they are much, much smaller. Just one of the chores we do to help the livestock. I don’t think horses get lice, but if they do, we’ve never seen it here. I do know of cases where people have had tons of ticks on horses.. seems like if they are in timber, like up in the Black Hills, it is more prevalent.
Weather has been mild, for this time of the year.. melting snow and making ice, which makes it hard for livestock and humans alike to get around. I have things strapped to the bottoms of my mud boots, that keep me from slipping. We have two of the saddle horses shod up with non slip on their shoes. When I used to feed all winter with a team, I almost always had to get them sharp shod. If I wanted to use my team now, I’d have to be very careful or get them shod like the two saddle horses. With that stuff on their shoes, they can grip the ice and run over it with no danger. All part of ranching in this area.
Chance went and worked at the sale barn on Tuesday, he left early and called us as he saw a mountain lion just south of us. They come around on occasion. I can always tell when they are around as my horses act real goofy. They do not like lions! I have heard a lion scream a couple times.. pretty hair raising, tho’ they tell me it is just a female looking for a male to mate with.
Today Tate Chance ands I sorted some cattle around, moved most of the bulls down to Tates, sorted a couple calves off the cows that got back in after we weaned and a couple thinner cows off and moved the cows back up the creek. It was windy and raining on us as we moved the cows. Then we had to ride and shut one gates.. sure was thankful for shop shod horse. loping across ice is fun! We got a little damp.
Calves sure are enjoying getting out of the cramped corral. Bulls we kept in are younger and need fattened up a bit. It all went well. Tate and Chance fixed fence on the hog pasture before we let the calves out and I cleaned on the big corral a bit. Sure was fun to watch the calves buck and play across the lot. Feels like spring, but it is just our January thaw. Up in the high 40’s yesterday and about 40 today. Supposed to stay fairly warm for the next few days. I will take it! Sure beats below zero weather and snow!
I had my annual birthday yesterday. Who would have thought I would live this long?
Colder today. 0 early and probably 10 or so now. Supposed to warm up in a few days. Warming up is relative.. when it gets above freezing we will think it is pretty nice. But our southern friend think it has to be 70 to be nice!
I have been fighting with some vertigo for the last few days, so Chance has done most of the feeding. He and Tate fed grain this morning and then had to make a trip too town, as Tate is doing some finish work on the house and needed more supplies. I and the dogs fed the cattle hay. When it is cold like this it takes a lot. They are not suffering. They spend most of their day eating the hay we put out for them. Then sleeping and digesting the feed, which warms them internally. Some people wonder how livestock can handle the cold. But we need to remember, a cow in good condition and a good hair coat, like these have, is comfortable at 20 degrees. So they are fine. I remember winters when it got down to 40 below and the wind was blowing. The cattle ate what ever you gave them. All of ours are acclimated and used to the temperature extremes. 40 below in winter to over 100 in summer. And they can get behind trees and man made wind breaks and that helps them a lot.. and also getting a big drink of water that is 55 degrees when it comes out of the ground at the well.
Well, here’s hoping for a ‘nuther great year on the high plains!
About 3 to 4 inches of fresh snow out there this morning..but not much wind. I guess the Good Lord knew I wanted to feed the calves on clean snow!