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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Candy and her new red puppies

We raise Border collie and Livestock Guardian Dog puppies.  I favor the red Border collies, although it is a recessive gene like black sheep.  Candy, a daughter of my old dog Suzie, just had pups. She is on the trail with Eutemio and the coming yearling ewes.  She had two female pups and one male pup (all red) a couple of days ago.  I told Eutemio I could bring them home, but I think he needs her as a working mother.  He has tied the pups into a feed bag onto his saddle.  I plan to keep one of the females as my personal dog.

Eutemio, Candy and the puppies at Peach Orchard Flat

Eutemio, Candy and the puppies at Peach Orchard Flat

Candy takes a break to feed her pups.

Candy takes a break to feed her pups.

Those are puppies in the white bag on the right.

Those are puppies in the white bag on the right.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Animals

 

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Breathing fire

Thinking about cows

Thinking about cows

 

It’s that time of year when we fertility test the bulls.  All who pass get to go hang out with the cows in the summer.  It’s sort of like getting your teeth drilled in order to have a happier future.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Animals, Cattle, Events

 

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Top Notch Shearing

"Careful--I'm pregnant!"

“Careful–I’m pregnant!”

Constant Readers know that each spring, we shed lamb about 350 ewes.  We raise our own bucks, Hampshire and Rambouillet, and their mothers lamb early, before the main lambing in May and June.This year, the lambs will start to come around April 1st.  Lambing goes a lot better if the ewes are shorn ahead of time.  A few days ago Rindy Harkness, proprietor, crew boss and shearer of Top Notch Shearing, showed up with her crew and turned out 380 sheep in six hours.

blackfaced ewes waiting to be shorn

blackfaced ewes waiting to be shorn

up the chute and into the portable shearing shed

up the chute and into the portable shearing shed

Meghan, Antonio and Yohush keeping them moving

Meghan, Antonio and Yonush keeping them moving

Filo with the paddle

Filo with the paddle

into the shed:  Nene, Meghan and Antonio

into the shed: Nene, Meghan and Antonio

the shorn and the unshorn

the shorn and the unshorn

guard dog mother and son

guard dog mother and son

Rindy Harkness, proprietor, Top Notch Shearing

Rindy Harkness, proprietor
Top Notch Shearing

 
 

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Grandkids, 4-H steers and the pregnant cows

We never forget what a privilege it is to be raising children alongside our cows, sheep, horses, dogs, llamas, etc.  Today, the three “big kids” (8, 6, and 4) went out to work with Siobhan’s 4-H steers, check the cows who are about to calve, and just play in the slush and snow.

Siobhan with Salt and Pepper (Sal y Pimiento), her 4-H steers

Siobhan with Salt and Pepper (Sal y Pimiento), her 4-H steers

Salt, at rest in high value hay

Salt, at rest in high value hay

Seamus, Siobhan and Maeve--checking the pregnant cows

Seamus, Siobhan and Maeve–checking the pregnant cows

Pregnant cows in the Big Meadow

Pregnant cows in the Big Meadow

moving the remuda

moving the remuda

Seamus, Siobhan and Maeve in the playhouse

Seamus, Siobhan and Maeve in the playhouse

birds of a feather

birds of a feather

"Granda, listen!"  Birder friends--what are these?

“Grandma, listen!” Birder friends–what are these?

Bridget--ready to check to pregnant cows

Bridget–ready to check to pregnant cows

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Animals, Cattle, Family

 

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Fools and newcomers

Powder Flat headquarters in winter

Powder Flat headquarters in winter

At this time two years ago, we were buried in snow and wondering how we would make it to green grass without buying a lot more expensive feed.  As it turned out, green grass was even further out than we imagined.  We quit feeding in early June, but would have kept it up if we hadn’t run out of hay. It flooded most of the summer–rivers and meadows alike, as we scrambled to grow hay and save structures.

Last year, the winter was mild all the way through, but in March, we were thinking we could count on the spring rains.  Again we were reminded of the the old saw, “only fools and newcomers predict the weather”–and we didn’t think we fit in either category.  The last rain came on May 2nd (I remembered because we had just started to shear) and didn’t see dark clouds again until early July.

That turned out to be part of a wide-spread drought–one that affected other parts of the country much more severely than it did us.  The resulting spike in corn prices is haunting us still.

So far, the winter has been an “easy winter”–the kind we used to pray for.  We haven’t had to buy much extra feed, which is lucky because, largely due to the drought, hay and grain are at record prices.  Last year’s dry spring has made us cautious though.  The federal and state land management agencies have been sending out letters warning of possible cut-backs in grazing for sheep and cattle.

Tonight the time springs forward.  One of the neighbors asked me, “Are you hoping for spring?”

My reply–“Actually, I’m hoping for a little more winter.”

winter crew with young horse

winter crew with young horse

Huey, the young stud

Huey, the young stud

tres caballow

tres caballos

dos black baldies

dos black baldies

heifers at Powder Flat

heifers at Powder Flat

winter heifers

winter heifers

early lamber

early lamber

twins!

twins!

pregnant ewes at Powder Flat

pregnant ewes at Powder Flat

antelope in sage

antelope in sage

 

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