Diary 2002

January

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. New Years’ was quiet and uneventful here. We spent the Holidays on the west side (of Wa. state) at my sisters’. We had a great time, but it’s always nice to get home and relax after such a busy time of year!

January at the ranch is usually pretty slow. The weather has been extremely mild this year, so the feeding chores are a lot easier. We’ve hardly got any snow, and the temp. rarely gets below freezing, a huge difference from last years’ record snow (a min. of 6 in. on the ground from Election night in Nov. to late March!)

February

As usual, Feb. gets a little busy. Our hay supply is running low so we’re out purchasing straw, Alfalfa and Oat hay every couple weeks. We’re buying more big bales (1000-2000lbs. ea!) since we purchased a Loader last fall. We bought it mainly for digging us out of the snow and keeping our½ mile driveway clear, but without the heavy snowfall, about all we use it for is unloading and stacking the big bales. Which beats unloading and stacking 100lbs. bales by hand!

My sisters’ kids came over and stayed for a week right after Valentines Day. They had a blast helping with the chores and playing with the new calves. This year most of our calves aren’t due till mid-March because the weather in Jan. & Feb. is usually so nasty. However, this year has been so mild, I’m afraid of what March is gonna be like!

While the kids were here they got to see one of our first-calf heifers have her baby. (Our heifers calve 2 - 3 wks. before our cows). While they were watching, stuff was coming out of the new mother before the calf started out, and my nephew Ryan (8) looked over to his sister Natasha (11) and whispered, don’t look at it! The way he said it was hilarious! And I have to agree with him, it’s not a pretty site!

When it was over, they helped us give the new heifer her first-day meds. and her ear tag. And later, Ryan said we should just let the others calve in privacy from now on, and I agreed!

March

Well, March came in like a Lamb, but it’s goin’ out like a Lion! Just as we feared, winter never really came until mid-March. We’ve had some cold spells, but they where short and where always followed by a couple wks. of warmer weather. We’d get a little snow over night, but it would melt the next day. Now that we’re in the middle of our calving season, we’re getting the day-in, day-out cold wind, and snowfall that doesn’t go away!

But the calving is going real smooth this year. With A-I, we know within a day or two of when the expecting cows are gonna calve, and by watching our clean-up bulls closely, and shortening the breeding season, we can tell pretty easy who’s gonna calve when, and we have them close to the barn at that time.

If a cow goes into labor, or looks close during our evening feeding, we put her in a calving pen in our barn, and let nature take over. We’ve only had 3 (out of 10) calve outside so far, and 2 of those happened during the day while we were at lunch or on a hay run. After putting them in the barn together, the calves get there shots and tags, and are left inside over night to get acquainted. And by the next morning, the calf is up and ready to go. They then go into our pairs pen close to the barn, and the calves have access to a large stall inside the barn where they can get out of the bad weather. It doesn’t take them long to find this hideout, and much to the disdain of their mothers, they don’t come out till they’re good and ready!

May

Spring is never gonna come! We are still feeding the majority of our herd and its almost breeding season! We do have a few cows grazing on our leased land to the north. However, they are still receiving some supplemental hay.

We are starting a fall calving program this year, so those calving in Aug. and Sept. are getting the first shot at grazing. They seem to be doing great, they are in good shape and we are excited to see newborn calves running around in late summer!

October

We’ve got all of our fall calves on the ground, and they look great! We had a 75% success rate from our A-I program which is unbelievable! The way we mass breed all at once about the best you can expect is 50%. I can see at least one herd bull prospect and we also have some Wagyu/Angus for our locker beef program. To say the least we are very pleased!

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