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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Lambing time

Bum lambs--sometimes we have more lambs than mamas with available milk

Bum lambs–sometimes we have more lambs than mamas with available milk

goat mama fostering lambs

goat mama fostering lambs

For many years, our lambs have been born on the open range, under the care of herders. Lambs usually come into the world under one of three management systems. Shed lambing calls for a lot of management, and a lot of labor, as the new moms and baby lambs are brought into the protection of sheds, and placed in “jugs” (little pens). In the past, we have lambed in sheds in March. We raise our own rams and for a number of years, we have shed lambed our farm flocks of Rambouillet  and Hampshire ewes, who are the moms of the replacement bucks.

Most of our ewes “drop lamb.” Pregnant ewes are tended by herders. Each morning and evening, they ride through the sheep and “cut the drop.” This means that the ewes with brand-new lambs are “dropped” back, while the still pregnant ewes are moved ahead to fresh ground. This requires a large landscape, with the ewes scattered among sage and grass. In a few days, the ewes and their baby lambs have had a chance to “mother up” and are gathered into a bunch. When these flocks of ewes and lambs are put together, and the lambs are docked, they will trail on up to the Forest for the summer months.

The third way of lambing is open range lambing. Some producers with large tracts of private land build tight fences, concentrate on predator control, and let the ewes lamb without assistance.

Shed lambing saves the most lambs, due to one-on-one (or two, or three, or even four) attention. Drop lambing still involves a lot of labor, and has the advantage of keeping the sheep on clean ground. The herders ride through the sheep constantly and help any that require assistance. The disadvantage of drop lambing is vulnerability to bad weather, and increased exposure to predators, from coyotes to ravens. The weather has been more volatile the past few years, with spring storms killing hundreds and hundreds of lambs.

In an attempt to reduce our losses to weather, we have constructed a couple of large sheds in the last two years.  The investment in infrastructure has been considerable, but our goal is to save lambs, and give ourselves, and the sheep, more protection against the vagaries of weather. This involves a lot of work for us and our employees.

On the range and in the sheds, our employees and family members are working to keep the ewes and lambs healthy. It has rained every day since we started lambing, and we are lambing in the wool, due to the shearing contractor not showing up. Even the ranch cook has helped out, after bringing hot lunches to the shed every day. Way to go, crew!

Brittany, all-around ranch hand, bringing ewes and lambs in from the corral.

Brittany, all-around ranch hand, bringing ewes and lambs in from the corral.

 

ewe and lambs get a ride in the bucket--a speedy ride to the shed

ewe and lambs get a ride in the bucket–a speedy ride to the shed

Lambing shed full of jugs and lambs

Lambing shed full of jugs and lambs

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Two-year-old ewe with triplets

 

Pepe, real men fill pink water buckets

new shed, waiting for tenants

new shed, waiting for tenants

Pepe putting a skin graft on a lamb to be adopted by a new mom

Pepe putting a skin graft on a lamb to be adopted by a new mom

Antonio, drop lambing on Muddy Mountain

Drop lambing on Muddy Mountain

Antonio helps a ewe on the Loco lambing ground

Antonio helps a ewe on the Loco lambing ground

Rain, sleet, snow--intrepid lamber!

Rain, sleet, snow–intrepid lamber!

Adolfo, Avencio, Brittany, Pepe, Julia, Benoit, Filo, Eduardo, Leo

Adolfo, Avencio, Brittany, Pepe, Julia, Benoit, Filo, Eduardo, Leo–our French house guests helped out too!

 

Julia and Benoit--Au Revoir

Julia and Benoit–Au Revoir

 

 

 

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Memorial Day

Reader Cemetary

Reader Cemetery

The Reader Cemetery is where most of my forebears are laid to rest. It has mostly fallen to Meghan and me (Sharon) to lay flowers on 21 graves. These include Pat’s father, my parents, both sets of grandparents, four great-grandparents, my brother, my sister, aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, cousins, and several beloved former employees of the ranch. It even includes a friend of my long-deceased grandfather who was killed in a notorious gunfight in Baggs in 1912 (Chick Bowen). We always try to lay flowers ahead of the Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery.  This year, we were inundated in rain and fully occupied in the lambing shed, so did not get the flowers laid until Memorial Day itself–a day after the remembrance ceremony. We figured that the ancestors would understand about the lambing.

Maeve with her great-great-grandparents Terrill's stone

Maeve with her great-great-grandparents Terrills’ stone

Maeve Eleanor with her namesake, Laura Eleanor, and George Salisbury

Maeve Eleanor with her namesake, Laura Eleanor, and George Salisbury

Tombstone Time—A Sonnet

Of all the jobs that fell to me
Just one drew tears, and grief and dread
I postponed, but all would see
No stone upon my mother’s bed.

Gravestone nightmares filled my sleep,
This rock would last far past my days,
“I pray the Lord, my soul to keep”
And choose a stone ‘fore end of May

When friends and kin would honor her,
Winter dead, and ashes laid,
With tales of love, with summer flower,
Not let beloved mem’ry fade.

Life’s essence captured in one line
Carved in rock in tombstone time.

 

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Events, Family, Folks, Poetry

 

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Memorial Day: Major George R. Salisbury Jr. with Laura Kinne Salisbury

This was probably in 1942 or so, before Dad left for the European theatre, where he was a tank commander under Patton, and the youngest Major in the Army. He trapped the beavers for Mom's coat.

This was probably in 1942 or so, before Dad left for the European theater, where he was a tank commander under Patton, and the youngest Major in the Army. He trapped the beavers for Mom’s coat.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Events

 

Lambing without LaMaze

The contractions are regular

The contractions are regular–breathe!

Push!

Push!

Is it a boy or a girl?

Is it a boy or a girl?

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Events, Sheep

 

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Spring lambs

March lambs at Powder Flat

March lambs at Powder Flat

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Animals, Sheep

 

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Branding days

Three amigos ready for branding

Three amigos ready for branding

It’s the time of year to brand the calves. We have a mixed crew–all ages, but generally experienced. Here are photos from three brandings–hence the varied backdrops.  When we branded the desert calves at the McCullem Place, our long-time (not “old”!) friend Mike Buchanan helped us. Mike worked for my Dad back in the day, and spent a number of years managing the wild horse training program at the Wyoming Honor Farm. He’s back to cowboying now, in his spare time. When I introduced him to our young ranchhand, Cody said, “Mike Buchanan!  Everyone’s heard of him!”.

Most of the calves are branded, but we have lots of spring work ahead of us. We have had great rains, after an open winter. We were worried about the drought, but for now, we have blessed green grass growing.

Cody and Mike, ready to rope calves

Cody and Mike, ready to rope calves

Cody, Eamon and Mike

Cody, Eamon and Mike

Pat, tending the irons

Pat, tending the irons

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Randel and Brittant rassling

Randel and Brittany rassling

Meghan and Tiarnan

Meghan and Tiarnan

Seamus and Tiarnan, ready to help

Seamus and Tiarnan, ready to help (with McCoy a’horseback)

Siobhan briging in a calf

Siobhan bringing in a calf

Cody and Jayce at the McCullem Place

Cody and Jayce at the McCullem Place

bringing in the cows and calves

bringing in the cows and calves

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Animals, Cattle, Events, Horses

 

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Eamon and Megan

with tools of the trade

with tools of the trade

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Family, Folks, Folks who help us out

 

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