Sunday, August 31, 2014

frog catching and staffers.

We have all been busy putting up hay.  There have been a few showers of rain that we have gotten some rain out of.  The first round of haying was finally done and now we are trying to put up a few second crop alfalfa bales.  I baled around two hundred little square bales of alfalfa that we put in the lambing barn.

The one evening when the kids were over someone came up with the idea of going frog catching.  I think the county fair was to have frog jumping contest.  So I had a strainer that I duct taped to a pole and we went out back of the barn to a small dam to catch frogs.

They found some buckets to put the frogs in and our pole and we headed for water.  It wasn't long before a frog was spotted jumping in the grass.  Then the screams of exitement followed.  

We tried to hold back the frog spotters from getting ahead of the frog catcher and that worked for a while.  Except grandpa couldn't go fast enough.  There were more frogs jumping than we could spot and catch.

Brooke was ready to pounce upon a frog at the same time I was bringing the frog catching net down and I splashed her and she missed the frog and I missed the frog and she was not happy with grandpa for spoiling her chance.

We finally captured a frog in the net.  They are trying to see who can get him out from under the strainer first.

We actually did catch a frog or maybe two.  I don't think the frogs made it to the County fair.  Some how they all got away.

Then we were honored to have two staffers from Sen. Johnson's DC office take time out of their schedules to visit our ranch.  We had a couple of neighbors over and took four wheelers out did a pasture tour with the staffers and discussed some of our problems.  The predator problem and the funding mechanisms.  

Here we were discussing our deep well and the miles of pipeline and the problems of watering several thousand head of livestock in the dry years.

We also stopped by several cattle burial pits from the Atlas storm.  And discussed the situation after the storm and how the events happened.  I think they get a feel of the remoteness of our area.  Not a tree, road or high line wire in site.  The only protection from a storm is a low spot in the creek or behind a hill that fills with snow.

In the weeks to come we should start giving fall shots to the calves and lambs and do some sorting and pulling bulls out of the pastures.  Hopefully we will have some more pictures.  And moving haystacks into the stack yards.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Haying in the summer of 2014

I haven't put out a blog for a month now.  We have been very busy putting up hay.  It quit raining the last days of June. In a normal year we would start cutting hay around the 10th of June.  This year because it kept raining the hay was growing and so we weren't too concerned about a late start, but we have a lot of acres to go over so we need to get going.  I started cutting around the 20th of June, but that hay got an inch of rain on it.  What I cut for hay early on was a slope on a hill where I feed cows and sheep in winter.  The water drains off of the slope so it drys out quicker.  The bales weren't too thick but we did get some baled.

Then when it quit raining it quit.  This is usual for area.  Once it quits raining it quits for several months.  I don't think we got any rain in the month of July.  Now we are into August and the grain harvest wants to start and we get a rainy spell.  Last night by Rapid City they got over 2 inches in a short time causing flooding.  Here we just got the step wet.

Here on the gumbo there is not a lot of good hay ground and normally we bale 300 to 400 bales.  This year with the sweet clover that grew in the pastures we cut more acres and got over a 1000 bales here.  Then moved over to Ryan's where the good hay ground is and we are about done, but have baled over 1700 bales over there.  Ryan does the baling and has had many days where he baled over 100 bales a day.  Several days of over 150 and one day he got like 180 bales baled.  In 2012 we had 475 bales total for everything

This a 16 ft hydroswing that cuts hay and runs the hay through two rubber rollers that crush the stems and helps the hay dry quicker.  Then it puts the newly mowed hay in a windrow.  The windrow is wide and high. This hay is producing in the range of a ton and a half to two tons per acre.  Which for us is really good.  Last year was really dry and we got 12 bales on a 10 acre patch, where this year we baled 32 bales.  The one field that the biggest difference from year to year was on the gumbo.  Last year I got 4 bales on a 22 acre field and didn't cut it all.  This year we got 66 bales on the same field.  This makes it very hard to plan how many head of livestock you can run from year to year.  One year you have too many head of livestock and the next year you don't have enough.  So the extra hay bales from this year will carry over into next years feed piles and maybe the into the second or third years.

Tammy is eyeing all the second crop of alfalfa that is growing up.  It looks good. Normally we have to scrape to get 150 to 200 little square bales for the lambing barn.  This year we could bale a 1000 or more.  Maybe we will round bale some second crop.  That happens like once ever 20 years.