Thursday, June 30, 2016

Farewell fair June...

 Pronghorn (antelope) buck
Lots of new babies on the prairie.

How can it possibly be the last day of June already?  It's been a dozen days since I posted here last, and I can hardly believe how the time has flown by.  We've been busy with cows and calves and bulls.  The men finished AI-ing 200 head of cows and we've worked every single bovine animal on the place these past couple weeks.  All the calvies and yearling heifers got shots of pink-eye vaccine and all the critters got poured with insecticide.  The bulls were turned out with the cows and now every bovine is out on summer range.  It's a good feeling to have all our livestock processed, checked, doctored, vaccinated, and turned out.  Today I spent the morning checking our cow bunches to see that the bulls were still in their proper pastures with them and to take note of any problems.  Thankfully, there were no issues today.

The main issue on the ranch and for many surrounding ranches is water.  We all have some.  Some of us have more than others.  But the water we do have is far from fresh and so it can take on a life of its own and make livestock sick.  Some of our neighbors have been losing cows and calves to polio which comes from water that is high in nitrates, sulfates and TDS (total dissolved solids)  among other stuff.  So far, our stock is faring well, but we did take some water samples of our main reservoirs to the feed store to get them tested.  Our vet recommended we test our water before we have a problem.  Good advice.  We are very lucky (blessed) that we have lots of water tanks that have water piped to them.  Again, the water is pumped from a very large, deep reservoir which we rely on heavily, but I think the fact that it's moving water may help.  That and the fact that it is cold and deep.  I could be very wrong about that, but it's a hunch.

If you look closely at the legs of some of the bulls and cows in the photos, you'll see that they have mud-crusted legs.  They've been wading out into the water for a drink.  It's not the greatest situation since they can get bogged down and not be able to get out of that mucky mud. These cows and bulls DO have water tanks to drink from besides the stock dams, but sometimes they enjoy wading out into the water on these hot, hot days.

I've been dragging the hoses around the yard a lot lately, trying to keep the veggie and flower gardens watered down.  Since water is scarce, we are limiting our watering on the yards so our lawns are really bad.  Each family has a "little patch of green" as my mother-in-law used to say, but the majority of our lawns are brown and dried up.  It's kinda sad, but it's life on the prairie.  Our average annual rainfall here is just 11 inches, so we expect to dry out by mid summer most years.  Fires have been popping up all around our area.  Our two sons here wear pagers for our local fire department.  Whenever clouds come over and lightning starts popping, we all watch the skies for smoke.  But it's not just lightning that's starting fires.  Just yesterday a semi truck was going through our area with a flat tire, driving on just the rim, and he evidently was kicking up sparks as he drove.  The back of his truck caught fire and someone got him stopped.  NumberOneSon went to the fire.  They got the the semi truck unhooked from the trailer just before the fire hit the propane cooling unit and a big-cloud-explosion happened.  Thankfully, just the trailer was lost and the fire didn't spread.  With the combination of heat, dry grass, and the winds, it's rather scary when a spark hits the ground in any form.

July is a month of celebrating in our family.  Several birthdays as well as Independence Day which is a Big Deal in the little cowtown we call our hometown.  The grandkids are looking forward to the Parade and the Carnival and all the rodeo hoopla.  We'll be having a family gathering on the 4th of July at OnlyDaughter's home with everybody bringing something yummy to share.  I'm bringing a new-to-me recipe that we tasted at a wedding last weekend.  It's Frito Corn Salad.  Get the recipe here!  It's not a waist-slimming salad, but it is delicious! 

I hope you've enjoyed June.  I have.  Now on to July!  It's summertime now!  How's your tan?


  1. Can you believe it's July already? Where, oh where, does the time go??? It sounds like you're having a text-book summer -- one to be treasured. Have a Happy Happy 4th of July -- with lots of fun watching those grandbabies celebrate!

  2. Great photos of the cows and pronghorn. I saw pronghorn for the first time on the way to Yellowstone just before Gardiner. They are so cool. I read that they are the antelope of America and that we really don't have antelope. So maybe they should change the lyrics of Home on the Range to "where the deer and the pronghorns play"
    Hope your water situation improves. Have fun celebrating the 4th and the birthdays this month!

  3. I have a pretty good farmer's tan this year :-) My face and arms/hands are brown.

    I really enjoy your descriptions of ranch life. 11 inches was the average rainfall where I grew up, too. To keep the fruit trees going we depended on irrigation water from the reservoir that held the mountain snowmelt. I'm happy to say that the lakes that supply California's Central Valley are full again this year.

    But I won't see our cabin and lake until August, just before the summer essentially ends for so many people whose lives are tied to school. I am happy that my summer can go on through September, because yes ! it does seem too soon for July to be here.

    I'm relieved that your cattle still have good water to drink.

  4. Thankful for your sons who quickly respond to help those in need. They must have had a really good example growing up...

  5. I love the faces of your cattle. They're very soulful!

    I don't tan, though I do get a little summer color in my cheeks. I remember boring myself to death as a teenager "laying out" as we called it. Amazing to think about how much time we spent trying to get a good tan!

    Hope your water supplies stay full and healthy!


    1. I don't "lay out" and suntan like we used to as teenagers, but I do love to be in the sun with shorts and a tank doing my work.

  6. I think I would so enjoy climbing on a horse and helping you check the stock. Or do you use a 4-wheeler? It's been eons since I rode a horse, but I lived on one when I was a kid. I can imagine the satisfaction after finishing all of that work with the animals.
    Enjoy your 4th of July celebrations! I tend to stay home during all of this, but my kids enjoy it all with the grands. :)

  7. Wonderful to read up on your news Jody, life as usual sounds very busy on the ranch. Glad you have good family times ahead for July. June has been the wettest on record here in England, wish I could have sent some your way ;)

  8. I don't know what is up with blogger, but his just showed up in my feed. What a lovely June you have had. You know I always thought you would get more rain than 11 inches. You are as dry as we are. I liked what your MIL said about a little patch of green. Right now, that is so important to the eye isn't it. I hope you had a lovely 4th. Interesting about polio. I never have heard of that before. Not in cows. I love reading about your life Jody. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I think I've had that frito salad before, and it is wonderful. I'd forgotten about it. Hopefully I'll take it to a covered dish supper soon.
    So sorry about the dry weather there and the danger of fires and of illness for your cattle. I know all that is so worrying. People ought not drive on metal rims in that kind of weather! All I could think of was the water used to put out his fire could have been used to water cattle instead :( I hope you get good, refreshing rain soon.


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