Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Can an ant have an aunt?

Today was one of those days that are more common in the Columbia Basin in March than June. Those days where if you cannot find your sunglasses they are probably in your rain slicker or parka. We received close to another third of an inch of rain last night. Now I know in some parts of the country, anything less than an inch of rain you call “partly cloudy” but here in the eastern Washington desert that is a good rain. Especially when you get that rain in the month of June.

The rain not only washed many acres of hay that was cut the last few days it also really flattened much of the Timothy hay crop in this area. I am sure that most hay growers have stopped drinking alcohol at this point and moved on to heroin. I have not ever tried heroin myself but in the movies it looks like it solves lots of problems. Well wait, I should not say I have never tried heroin. I did take a girl dressed in a Wonder Woman costume home from a college costume party once but that is a different kind of heroine.

I spent most of the day restarting irrigation pumps and irrigation systems. We had some electrical outages last night so all the pumps were off. You would think that a hand line could go a few hours without a cow knocking it over or breaking off a few sprinkler risers but that is rarely the case. I also gathered half the yearling heifers and brought them to the home pasture. The pasture they were on was a bit overstocked and the home place needs to be grazed more vigorously . They should be bred by this time so I am not too concerned with them being turned out with the mature bulls that have a bit lower calving ease traits. Even my “growth” bulls are pretty moderate in birth weight so if the odd one gets bred it should still be fine.

I also gathered up a few more fall cows to sell. Two of these cows are old and I planned to sell them after weaning their calves. Two of them are not that old but I was not sure if I was going to sell them back in April when I pregnancy checked them. Since I was not sure I gave them an injectable product that controls both internal and some external parasites. This particular product has a 49 day withdrawl period so I could not sell them a few weeks ago when I sold the other fall calving culls. I really hate to part with these two cows but my brain tells me it is time for them to go.

I bought these cows as cow calf pairs in December of 2006 at a pretty reasonable price. They had come out of a snow bank and although they had decent young calves they were in very thin condition. Dad and I had rented some unharvested standing seed corn that year which fattened them up nicely and saved their calves from turning out small. These two particular cows were cows that I had the most long term hope for. The problem is although they “look” like the prototype to a perfect cow they are not. They both raise below average calves compared to their contemporaries. Both of these cows are naturally very fat and seem to stay that way year-round. They will sell tomorrow for more money than I paid for them with a calf on them in 2006 so it is time to cash in. Besides June 15th and the quarterly tax bill is here. Ugh.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the small black ant aka Lasius niger as best I can find.

Today’s picture is a video of these ants I watched today. I picked up a pipe and was amazed at how they worked to take their eggs and larvae into the ground to save them. Hey, I thought it was pretty cool.