Thursday, August 5, 2010

We'll leave the light on for you (hopefully)

I am really disappointed in myself. I had no idea until tonight that July was my worst month for posting here. My lack of posting has been a case of several issues. First and foremost, I have been busy. July should not be this busy but this year that is the case. I have also been dealing with some computer issues. I think this 5 year old machine is getting so full of crap that it is soon going to need to be replaced


August is now here and that means hot weather and the coming of fair season. Dakota has 4 steers for 3 fairs and they have been working fairly well. I am glad that they are mostly well behaved but somewhat disappointed in how they have all turned out. I feel she has 4 really good steers but not a single great (winning) steer. We shall see how things turn out as we enter the show season.

The spring calves are really growing well and their mothers are still in excellent condition for this time of year. The cattle market is not sky high but it is certainly acceptable given the economic conditions and jobless level of the country. Whatever it was that made a few calves not feel so good awhile back has seemed to run its course and we got through that with no death loss which is excellent. It has been fairly hot (mid 90’s) lately but that is pretty normal for July here in the Eastern Washington desert. The older I get the better I feel that I am able to handle the cold but I handle the heat much more poorly than I could as a kid. This may be just mental or the fact that 30 extra pounds keeps you insulated better in the winter better than it keeps you cool in the summer.

I do really look forward to each day right now. Each day entails Dakota and I changing water in the morning and working with her fair steers at some point in the day. For years I have been on her case to take initiative and stressed that she is not in 3rd grade anymore and can do things herself and should know what needs to be done and what is the appropriate time to do each thing. This year she really has embraced that idea and almost daily she takes some initiative on something that in years past had to be stressed over and over. Good job Gus I appreciate the effort and initiative.

The last week has been spent changing irrigation water, working on cleaning up some of the old equipment for scrap and two items that seem to make their presence at some point EVERYDAY. One of these issues is the corn circle. It is on a hill that is somewhat steep and this time of year the corn is drinking water like a hung over camel in heat in the Sahara. The problem is that because of the hills the circle tends to get “stuck” in certain places. When this happens you have a few choices. You can shovel dirt into the wheel track, add straw bales to the wheel track or reverse the circle and hope it runs a few days in the opposite direction before becoming mired down again. Walking into a 10 plus feet tall stand of corn on a hot day will remind you of a nice day in Houston Texas (humid as a steam sauna in Hell)

The other problem I have been dealing with is one particular cow and one particular calf. I will first focus on the cow. She is a two and a half year old Holstein (dairy breed with black and white spots) that was one of my Dads last purchases. This girl showed up in a group of Holstein steers Dad had bought as stockers (calves purchased to gain weight on grass to hopefully sell at a higher weight and for more money). When you get a heifer in a group of Holstein steers it is usually because she is a known freemartin (lacking a viable reproductive tract). This girl somehow defied the odds and was pregnant as a yearling (teen pregnancy basically). She had her first calf without assistance and it turned out to be a pretty decent calf. I kept her and she is now raising her second child which is a steer calf and is above average as well.

She is pretty easy going and an easy keeper (able to stay in good condition with little resources) but she is a fence breaching bitch from hell. The fence does not need to be particularly bad, nor does the grass have to be short for her to decide that she needs to escape the confines of her 350 acre home. She usually just heads to the hay barn after she escapes but still I am always concerned about her getting on the road. Once she is put back into the pasture she stays in for the night but each evening she just has to test my patience. There is also one calf that has found a weak spot in the fence but he won’t be doing that for very much longer as I am planning on giving him a “shocking” experience with an electrified wire now that I know his escape route.

When dealing with a center pivot (circle) you can always look even from a distance if the “light” is on. If the light is on that means all systems are normal and the circle is moving properly. Today’s picture is of the corn circle and at this point in time the light on meaning it was running properly. What I found amusing is if you look at the picture in large size by clicking on it, you can look just behind the cab of the pickup on the bed rail to see just how you deal with a stuck circle at 8 p.m.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is corn aka Zea mays that has many different varieties.