Saturday, September 16, 2017

Summer 2017

I haven't wrote anything since last spring.  We has less rain in western South Dakota than last year.  Last year we were designated D3 drought by July 4 this year it took till July 27 to get the D3 designation.  We are then eligible for feed assistance for our livestock.  As soon as were eligible we ordered lamb feed so we could wean the lambs from the ewes and feed them better in the lot.  The lambs would access to better water, which helps them more than anything.  The cows have grazed every pasture we have, even our winter grazing.  We will sell calves a month earlier than usual so the calves will be lighter in weight.  The calf market has picked up a little from earlier in the year.

We sold two hundred lambs in July.  Much earlier than usual.  The lambs were only three months old on dry pasture on weighed 68 pounds.  It downpoured rain in Newell that day and flooded the auction ring.

Here are lambs walking through the water to get into the ring.  The water just run like a river through the auction ring.

We have vaccinated the calves with fall shots so they are pre-conditioned for sale day.

The cattle chute has a scale under it so we can weigh each calf.  The early calves weighed good, some over 600 pounds the later calves lighter.

We ordered a load of cattle cake.  cake is a compressed grain mixture that can be fed on the ground.
The other day when we fed cake it was soo smokey from the fires burning to the west.

You can hardly see to the second ridge over.  Maybe a mile and a half.  The smoke adds to the gloom of the day.  The air temperature was in the mid ninetys  for the last week and smokey.

We sold lambs last week in Newell.   The lamb market dropped over $10 per hundred weight since last weeks sale.  It looks as if it will continue to drop.

It did rain here yesterday.  .27"   so stayed cloudy and cool  which is better than hot and dry.

It snowed in Montana so should help the fire situation out there.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Surviving the winter of 2017

The evening of Christmas Day the wind hit and it started snowing hard.  We lost electricity about 6 PM.  The temperature hovered around 7* degrees above zero.  But wind blew at times about 70 miles an hour, so wind chills were horrendous.  By morning the wind calmed a bit , but still in that 30 MPH.
Got the tractor started with lots of ether.  Normally the engine heater kicks on at 4 AM, but no electricity.

We got everything fed that morning and got the generator going.  It is a small one and we only charge one refrigerator or deep freeze at a time.   So we keep alternating appliances.  Marshall and CJ amd Lily moved in with us because we didn't have a generator for their trailer house.  With all the cisterns at the deep well we get gravity flow water, so that helps a bad situation.

After the third day with no water we come up with a plan to water the cows.  Marshall took the chain saw and cut a hole in the ice.  We had the generator and a sump pump and a water tank.  The sump pump filled the tank in a hurry as it pumps like 20 gallons a minute.   We chased the cows to the water.  The water was of such bad quality that nothing drank.  They would rather lick snow.

Finally got electricity back on late Thursday.  So we were out of electricity for part of five days.  The veterinary came to ultrasound the ewes so we could sort off the early lambers.

The weather stayed so cold most of the month of January that we fed a lot of hay.  Normal winters when there is grazing I feed 3 to 4 bales.  Most days I was feeding 10 bales of hay.  There was snow everywhere so the grazing was all under snow.  I had to feed everything they ate.

Our diveway to the county road is 3 miles.  I would open the road maybe twice a week.  Sometimes it would stay open for three or four days before it blew shut again.  Several times when we would go to town for groceries and supplies, by the time we make it home the wind would come up and we would barely make it home.

We hauled bales from the other place to here because we were feeding so much we would run out before spring.  That was an iffy project because of road conditions.

By mid February the weather finally broke enough that the snow melted away,   There was very little run-off.  Either the ground was dry enough to soak up the water or the snow was so dry there was no moisture in it.

Yesterday Mar 5 it was 70 degrees by noon.  Today it is 29 degrees with a 50 MPH wind.  Gusts are predicted to be 70 MPH.