Friday, September 23, 2016

Summer of 2016

I haven't blogged since lambing, so I better try it again.  After all the rain in April it quit.  May and June were extremely dry.  By the end of June water quality and quantity were both becoming critical.  We tested water in the creek and dams and found TDS (total dissolved solids)  to be from 150 to 8500 with most of it falling in the 4200 to 4800 range.

Here Marshall is getting a water sample that tested 150!  It was a small water hole with red algae.  Our drinking water tests 1500.  We got tank out and turned on water to different pastures where livestock were.  The hard ones to water are the sheep.  600 ewes and 800 lambs are hard to water and keep them out of the tank.  Then clean the tank every other day, plus check it sometimes twice a day.

All this happening as we are trying to get the hay put up.  I square baled the hay to start with.  Bales were pretty far apart.  I said it would keep my bale count up.

The haying did get better.  Plus we have a good carry-over of hay from past years.

We got some lambs in and got the grand-kids started showing lambs.  They showed their lambs at the Meade County fair and did pretty good.  Then a few weeks later we went to the Central States Fair in Rapid City.  Competition was tougher, but they still did good.

The grand-daughter is in the middle,  there were like a dozen kids in the under 10 showmanship contest.

Tammy and I did something that we hadn't done for sixteen years.  We went on vacation.  We were gone for three days and went four wheeling in the Big Horns above Sheridan.

I tried a selfie.  It was really steep hill we came down, but is doesn't show very good in the picture.
We saw deer and elk and almost got run over by a bull moose.  By the time I got a picture he was just a speck.
Tammy though we need some registered sheep for the kids to show, so we acquired some registered Targhee ewes.  Then she bought a buck at the Newell Ram sale.

I went to Mitchell to get a four wheeler the other day so had to stop at Chamberlin to see the new statue called Dignity.

I think it is about fifty feet tall.  The day was cloudy and rainy, but still impressive.  I think it is supposed to sparkle in the sun.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lambing in the soggy spring of 2016

Well we have been lambing for about two weeks and are about half done.  The first days after shearing was windy and dry.  The dust blew and turned the sheep a dreary black color.  The one day the wind blew over  60 MPH.  We were in dire need of some moisture.

Then the weather warmed up and got into the 70's and 80's.  Lambing was looking easy.  Warm days and warm nights.  Marshall was night lambing and had a pretty nice time.  Then it started raining.  We got 0.65" one night and the wind came up, so Marshall had to stay up all night.  Then it got cold and snowed.

This is the scene by the troughs that we grain in.  Sloppy mud with snow on the hill where the sheep are eating hay.  You have to watch the ewes real close and bring lambs to the barn before they get chilled.  By the time it was done snowing and raining for several days we had all totaled 1.75" moisture.  The sun finally came out and dried things out and it got over 80 degrees the one day.  Now today it is raining and snowing again today,  Supposed to be cold and rainy and snowy all week.

The one nice day after I fed the ewes their grain the lambs started playing and running up and around the manure pile.  People ask about the black lambs.  These lambs are Ramboullet and somehow we get a black one every once in a while.

All the family that has an interest in the sheep went together and bought a bum lamb feeder.  It costs a lot of money but we don't have to feed bums.  You hook it up to a water source and fill the hopper with 25 lbs. of powdered milk and plug it in.  It heats the water, adds the milk powder and mixes the two together.  The end product goes through tubes to nipples and the lambs suck milk anytime they want.

Brooke is helping a bum lamb get started sucking.  It could feed three pens at once.  We have one pen of 15 lambs and a second pen with about 6 lambs in.

The grand kids came over last Sunday and helped clean jockey pens and number lambs.

Here I am numbering and Ryan is holding the lamb and two kids are running after numbers and one is watching.  Notice the bright light behind me.  It is a high pressure sodium yard light that burns all the time.  I mounted it in the jockey pen part of the barn.  It really lights things up.

Then in our spare time we drive out in the pasture with the side by side and check for baby calves.  Here is our first born from the cows over here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shearing in 2016

Last week was cold rainy and windy.  We worked in the barn and got things ready so we could shear the sheep.  By Friday the weather cleared off , but was still cool.   We put in two cutting chutes so that we could divide the sheep in three bunches with one trip down the chute.  So the ones that were sheared in January went one way.  The coming yearlings,  being shorn the first time they have a fine wool for a fleece.   Then the old ewes.

Here Marshall is sorting out to the corral and I am sorting into the barn and the rest go by into the next corral.

The rest of the help, all family and two dogs push the sheep up so they go down the chute.

While all of this was going on a heifer had decided to calf.  She must have been having trouble because she jumped the fence and headed down the creek.  We caught up with her about a half a mile away and brought her back to the corral.  Assisted her with her calf them left her in a make shift pen with the sheep.

The heifer was not too impressed, but there wasn't much she could do about it.

The next day was shearing day.  Five shearers and two helpers showed up to shear and run the sacker and keep the wool moving.  The rest of up kept the sheep moving into the shearing trailer.

The kids, Brooke and Logan found a place to help.  They helped the young lady who run the hydraulic wool sacker.  They tromped the wool into the sacker so that later it would press the wool into the sack

As the work slowed and we were about done, I acquired a helper to help survey the situation.

Some of the finished product that we hauled to Belle Fouche on Monday.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lambs growing and heifers calving

The weather has been warm and the lambs are growing.  We gave them an overeating shot a week ago.  The heavier lambs weighted almost 50 pounds.

The lambs have been eating the ground oats and corn that the ewes have been getting.  We add enough soy bean meal to raise the protein level to 14 to 15 per cent.

Once the lambing of those early ewes was done we started calving heifers.  They calved along good with no problems.  

Then one day it really warmed up and the calves really enjoyed the warm sun.

Here is a calf that I disturbed taking this picture.  He had to stretch as he got out of his warm bed.  Now as the calving of the heifers winds down we start getting ready to shear the big bunch of ewes so we can start lambing.  Shearing should be done by the end of the week.    Then the next week we could start getting lambs.  

If the weather holds we should get some fence built and the corrals cleaned.  Ryan has been calving the cows at his place.   With the good weather he is having good luck calving this bunch.  We haven't gone over the help him much.

I took this picture a week ago.  I was feeding the sheep hay yet, but they were leaving a lot.  The weather was just too warm.  They thought they should be grazing.  Normally in mid-March we would have some snow on the ground, but we have not had much snow all winter and we are quite dry.  We are hoping that March goes out like a lion so we get some moisture.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tammy and Marshall decided that they wanted to lamb some sheep in January and early February.  We got them sheared and the weather was pretty nice for getting your wool taken off.  It stayed nice for a week as the ewes got accustomed to their new life style.

It is hard to see in this picture, but there are about three fresh shorn ewes out eating hay.  This was shearing day and more were to follow.

The weather got cold for a couple of days then warmed up for a week.  We got the barn bedded and ready for ewes with new lambs.

These ewes are getting heavy with lamb and we will get our first lamb a few days after this picture.

Here we have a ewe with her lambs penned.  They will spend several days in the jockey pen before getting put in a bigger pen with more ewes with their lambs.

The heifers are close and we are taking better care of them as they will calve in about four weeks.

The weather man is predicting warm temperatures for most of next week so life should be good.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

First cold snap of 2015

This morning was the first cold weather of this winter.  It was 15 below 0 this morning.  So we were a little slower getting started doing chores this morning as we let it warm up some before we went out.  Fortunately the wind was not blowing hardly at all.   The sheep had migrated to the south pasture in the last few days and they had come home to be close.

Christmas day we got several inches of snow.  It made travel a little slow for travelers, but we didn't leave home so all was well.

The cows were waiting to be fed hay.  We just started feeding hay last week.  The weather has been so mild and a lack of snow cover that cows were just grazing and they had protein lick barrels for extra feed.

They all stand lined up so they get the maximum exposure to the sun.  It was probably about 0 degrees by this time.   I led them further down into the pasture to feed the hay.  Some cows had just started coming in as they had been out grazing yesterday and were just now coming in closer.

They all like the hay they get.  The cows are getting about 20 pounds of hay,the rest of their need comes from grazing.  Here they string out eating the windrow of hay from the bale processor.

Last week Marshall "eyed" the ewe lambs.  This is where you shear the wool around the eyes and the top of the head.  So when they are out in the weather they can see after snow storm.  Otherwise the snow and ice can build up in the wool and blind the sheep.

Marshall went to shearing school in Hettinger, North Dakota so he got a chance to improve his skills.  He did a nice job and the lambs hopped and skipped they were so happy to be able to see every direction again.

Have to include my full moon picture from the other night.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Busy fall selling and weaning.

It has been a busy fall.  We got the lambs weaned.  Fed them for a month and sold most of them.  The guard dog "XENA" gets uneasy every time we work lambs and sell off some more lambs.  Her herd gets smaller and she gets anxious.

We got the calves vaccinated and have sold most of the steer calves.  The rest has gotten weaned.  Some of the bull calves looked nice coming in.  This one weighed almost 750 pounds coming off the cow.

We got the bred heifers brought in and sorted last week.  We will sell about 40 head and keep 35 to calve ourselves.  They have been running out in the north pasture and got a little muddy wading through the mud to get a drink.  Haven't fed them anything extra as the grass is still pretty green for mid November.

We took them part way one day as they are starting to look very pregnant.  Then brought them the rest of the way the next day..

The cows have settled down after the calves were weaned and are now down in their winter pasture.  We drove down to see how they were doing the other evening.  The old pets came on the run with their lips smacking for cubes.  Tammy had some cubes for them.  We haven't started feeding cubes yet and may not if the weather holds out nice.  But they remember from last year.

Ginger is quite insistent for her cubes.