Friday, September 2, 2011

Early Summer Travels

I am waayyyyy behind here, but I thought I'd include some pictures of our trip in mid- June to the dam at Fort Peck and then on to Malta for my nephew Titus's 1st birthday.

First the spillway and pictures of the lake:

Then on to the party! Titus is the son of my younger brother Frank and wife Alex. We joined the family in Malta at the park for his party, complete with bounce house, pinata all the way from his great-grandma in San Antonio, and a tractor birthday cake with lots of presents to follow!

Titus with Grandma W.

The pinata was as big as Titus!

This cracked me up! These guys are either sons of farmers or sons of farmers daughters. Do they know cool machinery when they see it or what?

Titus and Dad checking out the new slide!

Ben and Alli having fun in the bounce house with their cousins!

Dozer Does the Fair

Adam has been in 4-H for the last two years, and for the most part it's been a really positive experience. Both Scott and I did 4-H, but my projects usually included sewing something, baking lots of things, and riding my horse for hours and hours. Scott was more of a lamb guy, so this year, the steer project was a learning experience for all of us. While we were out gathering cattle last fall before pre-conditioning and shipping, we kept our eyes open for a steer that appealed to the eye, and may have potential for being a good project. We found two, one named Dodge, and one named Dozer.

Here are a couple of photos of the day in October when we brought Dozer and his mom in to the corral. Adam, Scott and I were out on 4-wheelers in the rain.

We basically started the halter-breaking process in November. We figured the sooner we worked on that, the better. Then we turned them out for a couple of months with the replacement heifers, where they received corn, hay and cubes made from alfalfa, peas and other various ingredients.

These pictures I took on Easter Sunday. Adam and Haley were out for the weekend so we all went to the corrall and watched while they led the two steers around. They were both really gentle and well-mannered.

Sometimes it was tough this summer to spend a lot of time with Dozer, especially during harvest, but Adam did a great job of squeezing it in when he could. Here's a picture of Dozer right before the fair, the night the Green guys (Mike and Kendall) came over to help us trim him up. They were really helpful to us rookies... they even let us use their portable grooming stall and blow dryer... and yes, they make them specifically for show-cattle. Maybe I ought to try it... might be able to calm my crazy curls down... ya think?

Then it was fair time, before we even knew it! Here are Adam and Scott working to get Dozer all prettied up and ready for the ring.

Waiting in line, making sure Dozer doesn't sit in a pile of manure. Again.

Being the "organized" 4-H mom that I am, I had taken my camera battery out of my camera so I could be sure to get it completely charged before the big day. Unfortunately, the charged battery never made it's way from the charger to the camera, so my friend Jody snapped a couple of pictures with her camera during the show.

Adam was more than a little nervous during the showmanship round, and then settled down really well during the market beef round. We didn't win either class, but Adam got blue ribbons in both.

Then came Saturday and time for the sale. It was a little tough to know we were going to have to say good-bye to the big lug. He was such a good-natured animal! Here's Adam, waiting for his turn in the sale ring.

I guess it pays to have 4 kids who have all their teeth, because our dentist bought the steer, and Adam got a really good price for him. The dentist was all smiles (no pun intended) and was excited about the prospect of having a fully stocked freezer for the winter.

Scott and Adam went in to the carcass judging last night and learned lots about what the inside of the animal looks like, under all that hide. Adam's steer was given a steer of merit award, and as of last night was in the top ten of the class on how well the carcass graded. Really, that's what means something to a beef producer.

While we were out checking wells, we spotted Dozer's mom and his half brother, so I thought I'd include some photos of them as well. She appears to be a darned good mama!

As we were out moving the cows to fresh pasture, I caught myself sizing up all the steer calves as they came my way. Adam is gung-ho to do another steer project, so it will be fun to go through the process of choosing another couple of steers. The judge told me we just need to find one that's long, and wide, and deep, and balanced, and pretty. Ought to be easy to find.... Right?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Girl's Day Out

When most people hear the term "Girl's Day Out" it usually includes thinking about shopping, lunch at a fancy bistro or cafe, a mani and pedi, or a complete spa day. Well, it's a little different out here in our neighborhood.

Yesterday, Scott asked me to head over to his parents' ranch to check on our cows that are spending the summer there. I was willing, but a little hesitant, because I'd only been back to the pastures once a few years ago, when we went to check on Karen and Gus's cattle when they were out of town. So in order to do an effective job of finding the actual cattle, instead of getting lost or wandering off a cut-bank, Karen graciously acted as tour guide.

We loaded a couple of bags of mineral on her four-wheeler, fueled up, aired up a tire (after we had to take the compressor reset button apart and wiggle things until it sparked--literally--to life) and headed out. While I knew that Karen and Gus's country was much different and rougher than here at the Rock Springs place, it was quite a lot rougher than I thought. It really reminded me of where I grew up, down near the Missouri River Breaks, with its juniper plants, occasional cedar trees, deep draws, and gumbo side-hills. We spent about 3 hours out and about looking for cows who were hidden in deep draws all throughout the pasture in bunches of 3-5 pairs. We did see a couple of bunches with 10-15 pair, but the rest were all spread out. They are really doing well! There is grass-a-plenty, with some western wheat grass we saw that was 6 inches taller than the front of my four wheeler. Apparently blue-joint tastes better than your pasture-variety-grass, because in the few places we found that in the bottom of the creeks, the girls had eaten it down to the ground. We hit a couple of neat springs that Gus and Karen developed and saw a pretty nice sized white-tail buck, which I didn't quite get a picture of  because my camera battery was having issues.

I really enjoyed my morning "out". Thanks Karen!

See those cattle to the left in that draw?

Some Really BIG country!

They look pretty happy don't they?

This is where we saw the deer, just below me at the top of the draw,  right near a cedar tree.

All the different rocks and other geographical features make me wish I would have paid more attention during physical science class when I was a freshman!

Karen, heading down a big hill, on our way back toward the house.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

It's that time again....

The Crew

The Junior Crew

Checking out the load


My little pea-picker

A picture that shows the 'bigness' of the country out here.

This year's corn...hopefully the weather holds so we can cut in late October.

Peas planted at the end of June... remarkably good for being so late!


First night we tried to cut... and we've been at it a week now. 2/3 done with the Winter Wheat tonight.