Monday, May 27, 2013

The weather has changed for the better for us.  Last Friday the 17th in the evening we got a rain and hail storm.  When it was all over we had 0.32" in the rain gauge.  It stayed rainy all weekend and  we accumulated another 1.37", so had a total of about 1.70"  The welcome moisture has really greened the pastures up.  The hay crop is looking up, we may get some hay now so the spirits of every one has risen.

We kept trying to set a time and date to dock lambs, but it stays cool and moist.  So we turned out the older 200 ewes and lambs.

This is our first small pasture that has been grazed close during the winter.  Anything that grows shows green.  The little clumps in the foreground are cactus plants, so in reality the grass is quite short.

Then on May 23 we got to go to town.  The last time we were in town was April 25.  We have been busy in the lambing barn, so hadn't been anywhere to get groceries or anything. The refrigerator was getting pretty bare.  The cupboard was beginning to look like Old Mother Hubbard's.  So at the price of groceries we purchased over $200 worth of groceries.

Tammy and I went over to help Ryan sort cows the other day.  He needed to sort off some cows that he will artificial breed.  Then he sorted off his yearling heifers and brought them over here.  We sorted off three bulls and brought them over here to turn out with the heifers.

Then today we had some rain early this morning.  We got 0.14", but north 6 miles they got 2.50", with water going over the road.  Then this afternoon we got a hard shower that measured 0.70".  But further north they got more rain.  It run water around here.

Here just north of the house is an old dam running into a fairly new dugout.  The dugout was almost empty and the dam was dry through the winter, but had been getting a little water with every snow and rain event this spring.

This is a patch of cactus on what is a hardpan spot.  Now the cactus sets in water.  The splotches on the left are cow tracks through the mud.  These bare patches over a large area are what makes runoff of water to fill the dams and dugouts.  Where there is a cover of grass it slows the water and gives the water a chance to soak in the ground and cuts down on runoff.

I am glad I got my sorghum planted before this rain.  The field was full of hardpan spots and would have taken forever to dry out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Busy lambing

Our first lambs started coming Monday April 29.  The start date was May 1.  By then we had 6 ewes lambed.  They started out slow with 15 to 20 ewes lambing a day.  Then they increased to around 30 or more a day.  They kept up this pace for it seemed two weeks.  It has really kept us hopping.  The neighbor girl, Hope and daughter-in-law Shilo alternated days to help us during the week.  Grand-daughter Brooke started helping drag lambs to the barn.

The weather stayed warm.  One day it was 93 degrees.  We hadn't had any moisture, so things were looking bleak.  Our neighbor sold a fourth of his herd as pairs in Philip on May 14.  They had a big sale.  They started selling slaughter cows at 8:00AM and switched to pairs about noon.  I watched the sale on the computer during lunch time.  They were still selling pairs at 4:00 PM at break time. Then at 8:30 PM when we came in for supper they just finished grass cattle and started back on weigh-up cows.  The grass cattle should have gone to grass , but there is none so had to be sold.

Our heifers have been in a feedlot since last December.  As they get bigger now they are costing over $2.00 per day per head.  So we brought them home to eat what grass we have.  There is a little new grass and some old grass for them to eat.  The truck driver is from Vale and he thought we looked greener than they.
Still not much to look forward to if you are a heifer or anything else depending grass for a meal.

Here  the heifers are unloaded and getting accustomed to their new environment.

Then we squeezed our branding in there somewhere.  We branded ours in the morning and Ryan's in the afternoon.

Here are our calves that have been branded and are waiting to be turned back with the cows. Tammy went back over to the lambing barn to pen new mothers between branding the two bunches. It takes a while to eat dinner and get Ryan's cows in and calves sorted off, so she had time.

Then it was back to the lambing barn, where we spent the next two weeks.

Here is a new mother with her newborn lamb that is just minutes old.

Tammy had four classes from different schools in Rapid City that wanted to have a field trip to a farm.  She arranged to have one group go to the Cammack ranch at Union Center and one group go to the Snyder ranch near Sturgis and we took two groups on different days.  There was about 75 in a group.  One was a group of third graders and one was a group of fourth graders.

They arrived in two buses and are very excited. Tammy explains to a group about the jockey pens and what happens in that area.

Here I am with one of my groups intently waiting on a ewe to give birth to a lamb.  We waited and waited and she just wasn't ready to have her lamb so we had to move on.  Much to the disappointment of  our group.

As I close out this blog we have been getting rain for the last five days.  We have gotten about 1.80" of rain. So now for the first time this year we have a new problem - mud. But we are about done lambing and are ready to do something else.  There are about twenty ewes left to lamb.