Ranching

Wonderful Wet Weather

Well the worst part about blogging  when you’re a novice like myself is you can hit the wrong key and totally lose all your work,which just happened :-(. So i’ll give this one more shot.As i said in my last post attempt,like everyone else in the state we’re coming off of 56 days with no moisture whatsoever,so the other night as i was lying in my bed and the rain drops started i felt a sense of euphoria not felt in a long time. As a fairly new producer(been involved in Agriculture in some way,shape or form for 17 years,but a producer for only 5 or 6 years on my own ),never has the weather played such a major role in my life,primarily in decisions that i make regarding this ranch,from farming to where to place fences,outbuildings,and the list goes on. I now base the success or failure of a whole year on it. Before the start of this rain and flurries we had and still do have winds which i like to sometimes exaggerate as the “100 mile an hour winds”, the kind of winds that tear tin off a roof,and peel tarps off expensive hay piles with no signs of  grommets the next day,or deposit deck furniture into heaps against the nearest tree, bush or god forbid car! :-O. I once had my bar-b q blow across the yard and didn’t stop till it came to rest on the squeeze chute way across the barn yard,took me three days to find the lid out in the pasture! True story! But the beauty of it all is it also brought a storm with it,and this evening after feeding the stock i sauntered around the pastures and newly planted fields happily looking at the wet ground and imagining abundant pasture grasses and exceptional yields of  hay this spring and summer. At least it felt good to know there’s still some hope in that area,because in true farmer/rancher fashion I’m already looking to next winter and hoping for enough feed as with all years to get through,it’s a continual circle of production.Well that’s enough rant for the evening,hope everyone’s getting some moisture in one form or another! Cheers! Solomon and family."My Winter Ranch Gear,Coveralls or bibs,Carhart jacket,Bogg boots"Pray for a good snow pack!

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Categories: Farming, Planning, Rain, Ranching, snow, stock, weather | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Wordless Wednesday

Todays Blog post in Pictures

 

Categories: Farming, Ranching, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Hard lessons learned,and a late farming season.

Some times when you’re new to a piece of ground,like our selves ,(we’ve been here for going on two years this summer)on top of being somewhat new farmers and ranchers,you spend as much time learning what not to do in your daily routine and ventures.I had been interested in trying a test plot (a couple 3 to 5 acres of spring wheat) so i bought some spring wheat with the thought of getting out early in the season and working the field up and planting the seed before the spring rains started and turned the soil into gumbo,unfit for tractor work.Well so far the spring rains have never really stopped,and the winter snow fall while substantially less has continued to grace us with its presence,so as i sit here and type this,the wind is ripping through the valley blowing in the next wave of weather which is forecasted to bring periodic rain and flurries through this next coming week.The few nice weather days have seem to come on the days i work in town,and leave in the wee hours of the morning,only to get back as the day rapidly turns to night.So my thoughts have now been turned to trying a winter hard or soft wheat to plant this fall,which will allow me to let it germinate and over winter,then cut in spring.Makes much better sence in my situation.Live and learn.This late wet spring season has also been a cold one,with temps in the low 30’s and even a couple of mid 20’s mornings,which has consequentially also altered everyone’s gardening season in the area,season extenders or not.I think us folks in the mountains ,especially being in an alpine valley,can get a little frustrated when it’s june and we’re ready to spend as much time as we can burning day light on outside projects,patience is definitely a virtue amongst us high altitude (5000 feet,high desert) gardeners.My many tomato starts may start to wither with protest if not planted soon and i personally can’t see transplanting 50 tomato plants into 5 or 10 gallon buckets and moving them like some of the ones currently in the house now.I guess that’s why so many of us in this valley are in the livestock business,it’s just not the banana belt around here.But we persevere and wait for our windows of opportunity to run out between storms and keeping our outfits on track as best we can under the circumstances in which we must operate,and love it all the while.On a much more positive note the grass is up pretty good and thus the animals are all  on pasture ,which saves us a ton of money,and give us a chance to get facilities ready for the up and coming winter(sigh),it’s also firewood time.I like to think a month from now will find us well on our way to a prosperous farming and ranching season with a bountiful harvest shortly after,seems as though we end our spring just to start preparations for the next winter.Here’s to warmer days! Well better get outside,think i see a break in the weather. 😉 Solomon.Cheers!

Categories: Farming, Gardening, Planning, Ranching | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The ups and downs of lambing time

This last week our small flock of ewes have been lambing ,seemingly (because of the impending bad weather).It occurs to me sheep always seem to wait for the evening, as soon as i arrive from my day job to lamb after I’ve worked 10 hours in town and commuted 2 hours. Much to their credit and to my bottom line,it probably makes more sense for me to be there to help out in any problem situations that may, and always seem to present themselves,even though my wife is more than capable of handling most situations independently .They say lambs are born,just so they can die on you,and there’s a lot of truth to that(we’ve personally lost two),and it takes quite a bit of time and money to get one on the ground.This week has been no exception,the first ewe to lamb delivered a set of twins,and when that happens there always happens to be one of the two that has the potential to become a candidate for  bummer lamb.Feeding a lamb for 30 days on a bottle is not a position i want or cherish all that dang much quite frankly,even though I’ve had several opportunities to buy such lambs at a significant bargain.My thoughts lately have been tied around whether i should keep a ewe back for another breeding cycle if she lambed out and the lamb was lost ,due to twins she could not take care of  or weak lambs that didn’t make it,which unfortunately has happen twice this week.I love my girls immensely(nothing cuter than lambs running around) but i am trying to come to grips with the reality of running a profitable and sustainably viable agricultural enterprise,in other words if you cost me money and don’t produce something i can sell,then does it make good business sense to give you a pass,with the potential for another loss?One of the many challenges of being a small producer with small numbers of  livestock.When you’re just building a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep,you don’t want to cut any of the animals in the crucial building stage,but you also don’t have the luxury of keeping back unproductive animals that aren’t generating a income.So that’s this weeks dilemma .On a more positive note, the lambs that have made it are doing great and the last ewe looks like a candidate for twins,so we’ll see what she does.Most likely that scenario will go down this evening,when it starts raining.Better get they bottles ready to roll.

Categories: Critters, Farming, Lambs, Ranching | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Bovine Road Show

yesterday i woke up with a less than enthusiastic look on the days task at hand.Although i only had to worry about 6 head of cows that were personally mine,and 20 head of a friends,the reports we had received of our unruly bovines pushing the fences and escapading around our friends neighborhood some 120 miles from here didn’t seem like a very promising opportunity for a very good day.I guess it all started when a lonely Holstein heifer across the road from our girls saw the chance for some socialization next door and upon leaving her field and entering our pasture unwittingly knocked some fence down on her way in.Well low and behold those cows got together and came up with exit strategy (maybe they could teach our politicians a few things).  Any who,those said cows (which happen to belong to yours truly) started to make their way through the countryside till a good willed neighbor got them turned around and called our friends whom sent them back where i wanted them to be.Apperently that momentary taste of freedom was just to sweet and a new plan was devised and executed with success,luckily for me they only made it next door to the neighbors whom has cows and understands their wanderlust.Well we showed up there yesterday, and long story short,were able to get quite a bit of exercise we had been missing this winter in the form of chasing cattle afoot,before they could get into what we were told was 140 acres of unfenced property,most of it being hilly and thickly wooded.So what was dreaded to be a day long gathering operation turned out to take an hour at most.Sometimes you have some good karma built up and it pays off.Now the girls are home where i can keep a close eye on them.The bovine road trip has come to an end. 

Categories: Cows, Ranching, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Social-media on the farm

Sierra and Mariah
Chicken duty

Well I’m not sure how i came to have a blog,especially since I’m not sure anyone wants to particularly read my ramblings,but it’s a good way to keep family and friends up to date on the doings of two ex city kids from the bay area turn farmer/ranchers.The whole story behind that particular subject is much to long for a blog page,but if you where to meet me in daily life I’m sure i could tell more than anyone would want to know over coffee.Ha-ha!This week has been social media madness,it all started with a Facebook page for our little ranch,then a Twitter page (still not real savvy on that one),and lastly this blog page here on WordPress.I’ have a new-found respect for those business folks whom are good at juggling all these different media components all at the same time, while also running the day-to-day workings of a successful business venture,in my case a ranch.I’m not sure i’m in that number yet,but I’ll give it my darndest effort.I also work for the county Ag dept,as a tech in the summer,so my life starts to get hectic this time of year. On a purely farming note this is the time of year here in our valley where lambs and calves are being born,birds are coming back to nest or passing through on their way to some far off place,and local farmers and ranchers are antsy and itching to get outside and start to work the ground in anticipation of the fall works.As ranchers we’re allways thinking and preparing for the next winter on the ranch,that starts in the spring with planting pasture for summer grazing and hay crops,gardens for fresh veggies,canning,and freezing for later use in winter and some direct sales through farmers markets and on farm sales,Growing out the lambs and calves for meat for the house and direct market sales.Infastructure chores included,but are not limited to fence repair and new fence construction (animals and cattle, especially bulls are hard on fences) but good fences make good neighbors.Wish someone would tell my neighbor that,Lol! Irrigation planning,garden prep,greenhouse installation,house maintenance,firewood gathering,equipment maintenance and repair,well you get the gist,there’s no end,and now social media upkeep.Sheesh! When will i find the time?!Right now we’re waiting for a few ewes to lamb,had a couple already,lost one bummer lamb sadly,so hoping the rest go smoothly and mother up without needing my assistance,or at least minamally.Cows are down below on grass,and plan on a trip down friday to check them with my buddy whom was gracious enough to let me throw my cows with his on pasture he’s had for a few years,so hoping maybe there’ll be a few new calves down there.Fingers crossed.Also looking forward to getting the garden going full-bore,i fill as if i haven’t had a decent vegetable in a long time,supermarkets just aren’t the same,i just like fresh from the garden.Well all that being said,i guess it’s time to get on the payroll and get ranching,that’s all the blogging i have in me for now,I’ll try to keep this blog as up to date as time permits,till next time.Happy trails!Solomon Sweeting.

Categories: Cows, Farming, Lambs, Planning, Ranching, Social media | 2 Comments

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