Sunday, December 29, 2013

The weather has been cold then warm then cold again.  Every little snowfall accumulates some more snow.  The wind blows and the snow drifts.  This is the third trail I have plowed with the tractor to get to where the cows are.

We have had warm weather lately and this trail has stayed open for almost a week.

The sheep shearer called and had kids home from school that needed something to do and asked if they could come and eye our ewes.  This is the process of shearing the wool away from the eyes of the sheep.  The wool grows long around the eyes and when is snows or ice accumulates in the wool the sheep can't see.
So we shear it off and they can see until it is shearing time to cut all the wool off.  This won't happen till mid-April.

So Tammy and I went up and set up a catch pen and alley to funnel the sheep into to catch chute.

Tammy is driving some steel posts and I am setting up a wool pack to hold the wool that is shorn off of the eyes.

Here the crew is working  shearing keeping the ewes going down the chute.  They sheared over five hundred head in four hours.  That is like a  sheep getting her eyes shorn and getting let out and the next one caught every 30 seconds.

After the job was done the finished product looked like this.

Tammy was trying out her new camera.  I told her don;t take a picture against the sun and she said her new camera could.  Here is a picture of the sunset on all the ice on the snow.  It is not water.

I just found this picture.  Before Christmas we went up into the Black Hills and cut a Christmas tree. The boys enjoyed the fun of cutting their own tree.

Brooke was in school that day and she told Grandma she liked her Black Hills tree.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Just a normal winter time.

We are starting to get a lot of snow out in the pastures.  A week ago we brought the sheep closer to the house so they were close if a blizzard came up quick.  The grazing was snowed under for them anyway, so we had started to feed them hay every day.  Every day we feed them thirteen buckets of cubes and two bales of hay.

The grazing for the cows is getting tough for them to get to.  The snow is getting a hard crust on the top part of the snow.  We feed them nine buckets of cubes on these cold mornings and I have been taking two bales of hay down to them every day.

The other day it had snow a couple more inches of snow.  The snow layed on the backs of the cows. The snow on the backs of cows shows that the cows have a covering of fat under the hide and it holds the body heat in the cow.  If she were thin and lacking fat cover the body heat would be lost out the hide and would melt the snow  off of their backs.

I led the cows with the load of hay down the hill to a more sheltered area to feed the hay.  The cattle strung out in a line all the way down the hill.

The weather stays cold and icy.  The temperatures hover below 0 every day and may get up to 10 degrees above  in the heat of the day.  The one morning it was 13 degrees when we got up and it had rained during the night. Unusual !  It left a coating of ice on everything.  Here is ice on the gate stick and loop.

Then one chilly afternoon Grandpa got roped into decorating cookies with the grand kids. Lots of fun was had by all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

winter thaw

It has been a long week of sub-zero temperatures.  The cold snap came so quick that we were unprepared and had not treated our diesel fuel with additives to stop the fuel from gelling.  Then it seemed to want to snow everyday and the wind blow.  So every morning the trail to the sheep and cows had to be a new trail, because yesterdays trail had blown in over night.  Each time it blows in the snow blows in harder than it was.

Now it has warmed up and the tractors are running again and the fuel is treated so all is well.  The cows are enjoying the warmer weather.  Here the cows are lined up with their bodies flat to sun to catch the maximum amount of warmth from the rays of the sun.

The snow is fairly deep in places and places it has mostly blown clear.  The cows are still grazing through the snow.  They are still getting their 2 pounds of grain cake every day to supplement the dry grass.

Here they dig through the snow to get at the grass to graze.

Then the other day we turned out 29 head of Rambouillet bucks out with the ewes .  We should have plenty of buck power so now we should get white faced lambs next spring.  We started feeding the ewes some hay along with their grain cubes.  We need to keep them in breeding shape.

Last night I had to help Santa Claus a little.  I needed to stand in for him at the Atall school program.  There was quite a crowd of parents and grand-parents and other to watch.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

As I write this article it is minus 28 degrees.  We now have six to eight inches of snow on the ground.  A week ago it was sunny and 55 degrees.  That is an 83 degree swing in temperatures.   Such an abrupt change in temperature is hard on everything.  Man, beast and machinery.  Tractors had their diesel fuel treated for cold weather, but not this cold.  So they are balky to run, until we get more fuel additive in them.

With the cold weather coming we had started to feed cake to the cows to give them a little extra protein.

We dump buckets of cake on the ground out of a moving pickup and the cows come running to eat cake off of the ground.

Then we needed to turn the rams or bucks out with the ewes so we get some lambs next spring.  We decided this year to use a black faced buck on the ewes and to give the bucks a chance to breed some ewes we turned our four black faced bucks out by themselves first. They will be with the ewes for the first week then we will turn out about fifteen horned rams.

Here I have opened the trailer door and the bucks are looking out at the ewes and the ewes are curiously looking at what the trailer has brought them.  The guard dog "Opal" looks on to check out the newcomers.  She does not miss any thing that goes on.  The bucks will soon meet her approval and be accepted into the herd.

Then we had to put another bale in with the ewe lambs to fill their hay feeder.  I use my ugly tractor to put a bale into the feeder.

The lambs await their new bale so they can eat on it.

Well the outside temperature has now warmed up.  It is now only minus 20 degrees, so I guess I can go out and feed every thing.  At least the sun is shining and the wind is not blowing.  I will go the Rapid City today and pick up Tammy at the airport.  She has been in Minneapolis to a meeting most of the week.  These pictures were taken with her new camera so hope you can see the difference.