Friday, February 27, 2015

KHAN the new guard dog.

Two weeks ago we got a new guard dog.  He is three quarters Akbash and one quarter Komador.  He is just a pup about eight months old.  He is getting familiar with his new surroundings and getting to know his new sheep.  We have him penned with about thirty lambs.

He is making friends with us.  We feed him milkbones for a treat.  So he comes on the run to get his biscuit.  We can almost pet him but not quite, but it will come as he learns to trust us.

Tammy is making good progress with their friendship.  Maybe she is not as threatening.

Then one day we bedded the barn with straw and set up the calving pens and the small pens for new pairs.

Then Ryan and Shilo had to go to their Beef SD class for two days so we got to babysit for a few days.  So the boys got to help us do chores.  It was nice enough that we got to use  the Kubota to feed cake to the cows.

Neither one, the cow or Kole are sure about this cake eating thing.  But the good thing was getting to drive the Kubota.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mid winter on the ranch.

Since Christmas we have had some cold windy weather and some really nice weather.  More like the roller coaster weather you would get in March and April.  We got the barn cleaned out during some of the nice days in January.  So it was warm enough to thaw the barn out.

Then end of January Tammy and I flew to Reno, NV to the American Sheep Industry convention.  Close to 600 sheep producers from all over the United States attended.  We toured a new facility that was making wool into house insulation.  They are a small operation that is just working into a niche market.

When we got back the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo was going on.  Tammy helped at the Farmers Union Booth a couple of days then prepared for the sheep shearing contest.  There was a sheep shearing contest with contestants from surrounding states and far away.  One shearer from Pennsylvania.  Two young ladies competed in the wool handlers contest, one was from West Virginia and one from Mississippi.  There was two local wool handlers.

This picture is from two years ago when the contest was in the Civic Center, now it is out at the Fairgrounds.  I didn't hear how many shearers competed, but must have been over twenty maybe close to thirty.  There are three classes, beginner, intermediate and professional.

Then the weather got warm.  Up to 70 degrees here one day.  We tore out some fence that the flood from last June had wrecked.  We never got around to fixing it.  Part of the reason was my hip hurt too much, but now it is pretty much healed so I can do about anything.  Marshall is here to supply some extra muscle.  

This is low wind break fence for a little sheep shed.  The tin is old cyanide containers from the gold mines in the hills.  You see a lot of fence on this place that is made of tin from the containers pounded flat.  They are probably seventy or eighty years old.

We got a new guard dog pup last week.  I say pup because he is eight months old.  He probably weighs 70 pounds.  We are working on a name for him.  He is protective of the lambs we have put with him.  We are all getting acquainted.  Hope to have some pictures for the next blog.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

Well here it is Christmas Day.  Ryan and his family headed to Nebraska for Christmas and will back after Christmas.  So I guess Tammy and I are ones who stay home and take care of the livestock.  Marshall has been helping us while I am recuperating from hip replacement surgery.  He was going to his Grandmothers for dinner in Sturgis, but the snow storm that came in last night canceled those plans.

Early this morning we had light snow and maybe an inch accumulated.  No wind made it pretty pleasant outside.  The temperature was 29 degrees which is pleasant for this time of year.  But after sun-up the wind picked up and it snowed harder.

We have been feeding cake to the sheep every other day and hay every day to them.  They are just ending their breeding season so need the extra nutrition.  The cows are still out grazing and eating lick tubs.

As you can see with the snow from the storm from last week and what we got this morning we still don't have much snow.  The roads have some icy patches so it is winter time driving conditions.  The Black Hills ski slopes and snowmobile trails have good snow so they are happy.  They got a good foot last week and looking to get a foot today.

Marshall has been building sheep grain feeding troughs and sheep panels up in the barn. I have been working in the shop welding tabs on some new stackmover chain.  The chains need replacing so now is a good time to weld the tabs on.

So from all of us here we wish all a Merry Christmas and healthy New Year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feeding tubs to the cows

The weather has been super nice for December.  No wind and lots of sunshine.  The temperatures have been in the high 50's out here on the prairie.  We have been feeding the cows a protein supplement in the form of a grain cube we call "cake".  The supplementing of protein helps the cattle digest the coarse dried grass  that has grown through the summer.  The grass has now dried and cured and is ready to be grazed throughout the winter.  Until the snow comes and covers it too deep for the cattle to readily graze.   The weatherman says we are in El Nino, which for us means mild temperatures and dry moisture conditions.

We run out of cake and can't get more till early January.  So we go to plan B.  Which is feed lick tubs.

As you can see we have plenty of grass.  The lic tubs are scattered throughout the pasture so that the cows scatter all over the pasture to eat grass and have a convenient place to lic some protein.

I does make life easy to have a flowing creek that runs about a mile through the winter pasture.  It keeps flowing and it will have to be really cold before it would freeze over so the cattle could not drink.  The alternative for water is a steel tank by a hydrant for water.

The cow were pretty scattered out this morning.  But when the saw me they thought of their cake and came on the run.  Marshall and Tammy have been spoiling some of them by feeding them by hand so the cows eat out of your hand.  Some are very insistent.

This cow is trying to eat my glove off of the seat of the Kubota.  She thinks she has to have something.  They are very spoiled.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Early winter 2014

Winter has not been too severe on us and the livestock yet.  We had some below 0 weather a couple of weeks ago.  Then some snow.  It then warmed up enough to take most of the snow and ice off.  Now today as I write this it is back to 0 with a stiff breeze, that brings out the wind chill.

The other day we sorted off the heifers that were suitable for replacements and hauled them to a feedlot by Vale.

Here they are waiting for the truck to arrive.  We gave them virus shots when they were on their mothers last September. Then weaned them in October and gave them booster shots then.  So far they have been very healthy.

The truck is backed up to the chute and about ready to load heifers.

The last of the heifers loaded and they are off to Vale about 45 miles away.  They will winter there and they will come back in the spring when the grass is green and weather is warm.  Right now that seems like a long time.
After the heifers were loaded Tammy and Marshall brought the grand kids along back to finish feeding the sheep and the cows.  They had fun giving cake to the animals.

After they fed the sheep the cake buckets were re-filled and taken out to the cows so they could have some cake.

Then it was back to the house and some projects.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I have been moving haystacks for the last month.  Ryan has been rebuilding corral.  Then a week ago we sold some steer calves.  The prices are really good, so that is good.

Tammy and I went up to get the cows here moved closer to home so they would be easier to get in when we weaned.  It was a cold morning when we decided to do this.  The cows were waiting at the gate to come home.

Then we drove around the pasture to make sure all the cow were included in the herd.  It took a while to drive all the pasture to make sure nobody was left behind.  Then we got all the bunches rounded up and headed to the gate.

As you can see it was cold.  Here Tammy had rode her four wheeler for close to an hour and she was ready for the trip home which was with the wind and so much warmer.  She didn't even smile for the camera as she sped by.  That was a grimace not a smile.

The next day we got the cows in and sorted off the calves and weaned all the calves.  Then hauled the calves over to Ryan's to wean  them.  The cow seam ready to be rid of their calves.  But they were hanging around the corrals this morning.

There were a few out in the pasture and they came filing home as they heard the tractor start and thought hay.  Here they single filed across the dam dyke in the morning sun.

Then I went over to Ryan's to check on the newly weaned calves.  Other than lots of bawling all seemed well.  Most were eating or had eaten and just missing mom.  In a few days they will start their new life as a weaned calf and will have forgotten their mother and their mother will forget them.

I finished moving hay stacks today and we sorted off some lambs to sell tomorrow.  So the fall work is winding down.  If the weather holds we will start some fencing projects that never got done last year because of  "Atlas".

Monday, September 29, 2014

Since the last blog we went to the South Dakota state fair in Huron, SD.  When we returned there had been and inch of rain and our sheep were getting out and running all over the place.  After several days of fixing fence and putting them back in they finally settled down.  It never looked like all the ewes and lambs.  Tammy ordered some sheep wormer from the animal health store and we got the sheep in and sorted the ewes and lambs and wormed everything.  We counted all the sheep out the chute gate and were short  87 ewes and 176 lambs.
Tammy rode with a local pilot and the they flew the next day for an hour and a half and saw nothing.  Then we called the sheriff and reported stolen sheep.

We went ahead and weaned the lambs.  These are some of the lambs that we have left.  Notice the red "B" on the shoulder of the lambs.  Some brands are faded and some are more visable.

Here are some of the ewes that are left.  Didn't get a very good picture, it should have showed the right side.

This is a picture of how high the sweet clover is above the hood of the four wheeler.  It is as thick as it can be and very hard to drive through.  If the sheep were driven to the south of our place they would have to go through this stuff. I don't think they could have been made to get through it, but we looked anyway.

I have been moving hay stacks off of the fields lately.  There is lots of hay stacks to move so have been busy.