Sunday, July 29, 2012

The grand kids came over and played with the guard dog puppies for the last time.  We need them to bond with the sheep.  So we need to limit human contact with them.  They are a month old and the mother has started to wean them and we are feeding them puppy food.  They have been living under our house steps.  It is very hard to refrain from petting and playing with puppies when we go outside.

Tonight we took the puppies out to the sheep pasture.  We have three water tanks for the sheep.  All fed off of one water hydrant.  There are four sheep panels around the hydrant to protect the water hoses and floats that automatically shut off the water.  This is a good place to put puppies.  Hopefully it will be a while before they start chewing on the water hoses and make them leak.  In the morning they will be nose to nose with a sheep for the first time in their lives.  We made a shade for them to stay out of the heat of the sun.

Tomorrow Ryan will come over with his four wheeler  and we will get the yearling heifers and steers in the corral.  We will sort off the steers so Ryan can haul them to Philip to the sale.  Between the two of us there should be a trailer load.

Last week Ryan was chasing cows and his four wheeler quit.  The starter just spun the motor over like there was no compression.  We thought that a hole was blown in the piston because of the hot weather and lean fuel mixture.  I finally hauled the four wheeler to the shop last Saturday. After pulling the cowling off and the fuel tank I found that the spark plug had blown out.  When we tried to screw another in it wouldn't tighten.  The threads were bad.  So we went out back and found an old four wheeler.  This one was 13 years old and had quit several years ago.  The cylinder head looked like a match so we pulled it off and put it on the newer four wheeler.  So we got it running.  I told Ryan we were $80 an hour mechanics.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Well we finally received some rain, then some more.  Monday evening we had lots of lightning and a hard shower of 1.15" rain.  Then Tuesday night it rained hard again. About washed the puppies away.  Just over an inch in the rain gauge.  The rain has broken the extreme heat we have been receiving. Must have been over a week with 100 degree plus.

Wednesday morning we went up to our north pasture to repair some water line that needed to be fixed before we can put cows in there.  We found  that we had had a prairie fire Monday night.

The burn was about a quarter mile long and not very wide.  The rain must have put it out.  We thought a new way to get cows to eat cactus.

Getting the water tank ready for cows and fixed a little fence.

This would be the dam to water the cows if we didn't have piped water.  I think most of this water run in with the rain we just had.

The lambs and calves look good in spite of the hot weather of the last couple of weeks.  Now if lamb prices would perk up.  Lamb prices have dropped 60% from last year.  We may have to try and hold lambs for a while if we can justify the extra feed.  By holding them the price may come up later in the year.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It is just too hot for too long a time.  This year is almost a repeat of 2002.  The temperatures were in the 110 degree range in 2002 for weeks.  The Grizzly Gulch fire almost burnt Lead and Deadwood.  We have about a thousand acres of hay and crop ground. in 2002 we bales 176 bales.  This year on the same ground we baled about 400 bales.

This a pop can in my forty acre oats field.  The oats was planted April 9 in dry dirt.  The oats didn't get enough moisture to sprout until May 1.  Not enough there to combine.  If it were cut for hay the baler would not get it picked up.  So I guess I will continue to feed the antelope.

This a pop can in my good alfalfa field.   It was planted about three years ago so the plants are very thick spaced and there is not enough moisture for any of them to grow.  We left this field to the antelope, also.  The hay fields that did produce some hay were the old stands of alfalfa where the plants were spaced far apart and had rooted down deep into the soil.   Last year was a very high moisture year and we baled 145 bales on this field of 45 acres.  This year it will barely feed the antelope.

Last week we moved livestock around on the one cool day.  So the yearlings and the sheep and the cows and calves at least had pasture that was new to them.  We are rotating through the pastures the second time, but with no rain it doesn't make much difference.

On a little different note our sheep guard dog had puppies two weeks ago.  They were born under our porch step, so this is the first pictures of them out.

They come out in the cool of the morning and go back under the step for shade in the heat of the day.  They barely have their eyes open.  And they are learning to bark.

We need to figure out a way to put them in the pasture so that they can bond with the sheep and not us.  It would be too tempting to walk out of the house every morning and pick up seven puppies to pet.  So when they get a little older we will move them to the pasture.

Back to laying low with this heat and wind so that we don't start any fires.  I have the disc hooked to the tractor to plow a fire guard if need be and the four wheeler has its water tank ready.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Once again I have not blogged in a while.  We have been busy with keeping livestock watered and hay cut and baled before the heat and dry conditions shrivel it to nothing.  The afternoon temperatures have been in the high nineties to the low 100's.  One day it was 109 degrees with a thiry MPH wind with humidity at 10%.  Doesn't take long for the country to look like a desert.

We sit on pins and needles hoping that nothing starts a fire.  There were at least 4 major fires in the Black Hills last week.  Also one burning by Broadus, MT that has charred 400 square miles.  Plus the Colorado fires.  We have not seen the Black Hills for over a week due to smoke.  We live only 40 miles away and can normally see Bear Butte and Terry peak every day.

Tammy took this picture from the house and is the sun at sundown.  Note all the smoke.

On an equally depressing note our haying has been going  and we are about done cutting and baling.  Many fields are yielding one bale for every two acres.  This would be about 500# of hay for one acre.  Last year many fields yielded two ton per acre and more.  Several fields that 20 acre field  have only 10 or 11 bales on the whole field.  One good thing, Tammy has been bringing noon lunch to the field and the grand kids come along.  They love to bring their Dad and grandpa "picnic".

They learn about cactus.  Not to step on any.  And that grass stubble is not good to walk bare foot on.
It was about 103 the day this picture was taken, so every one was looking for shade.

The calves and the lambs and their mothers are not faring well with this extended hot spell.  Lambs are starting to look droughty and the calves could look fresher.  Their grass is drying up and is just crumbling under their hooves when they walk.  We have to ride the pipelines every day to make sure the floats that shut water off when the tanks are full are working. Our deep well has been is pumping 24,000 to 26,000 gallons a day every day.  On July 3 I think some one moved cows and put more cows on the pipeline because it jumped to over 30,000 gallons that day.  Then the fourth was cooler and today was cooler so not as much was pumped.

Just saw some lightning so better eat supper and get ready to fight fire.  I have a fifteen gallon sprayer on the four-wheeler.  So I can get where I need to be fast, just can't go too far.