Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The joys of no schedule

I really love this time of year, late fall to be exact. Not because there is any lack of things to do, it is more because your schedule can be so flexible. In the summer you have some flexibility in your days but every morning and most evenings there is irrigation water to change. In the winter there is usually some cow feeding that is best done on a regular schedule plus the weather can suck. The springtime has some flexibility of schedule early but the calving and knowing the days of really hard work and long hours are coming can be a drag.

The irrigation water is turned off. I am really not doing any regular feeding at this time and the weather is very reasonable. I should not be seeing any new calves until the 20th of January so that is a burden that is lessened this time of year. There are always things to do like bookwork, fence fixing, equipment maintenance, and the dreaded home improvement but this time of year you can kind of schedule them at will. What is really weird is that I think I get more of them done when there is no schedule than when I put them on the schedule in the spring or summer.

I did a thorough check of the fall pairs this morning. The calf I had been concerned about was fine and I am crossing my fingers and somewhat smiling at my good fortune. All the fall pairs including the ones I purchased are looking really great. I am also excited because I feel that from a market standpoint I am adding real value to both our near and long term future stability from a genetic, financial and security standpoint. I will say however I have felt this way right before I have “hit a home run” in this business and have felt this way right before “I got my balls handed to me” so we will see just what the future holds.

I took a few cows to the auction in Toppenish today and picked up a few cow calf pairs I had purchased for me last week. I was a bit concerned about the pairs because I knew what the price had been for them but had not physically seen them. All my worries melted when I saw them today. Young black hided 3 year old cows with their 2nd calves standing by their side. These cows were just the size I like, the body type I like, the color I prefer and had good calves with them. I had culled on my fall calvers quite extensively this spring for a few reasons. One was prices for cull cows was good and the other was I had some cows really getting up there in age in my fall herd. To be able to replace those cows with younger cows of the same or better quality at close to an even dollar exchange tickles me more than a French maid with a feather duster at a rodeo.

I will explain in tomorrows post about cull cows, new purchases and how we make it work here on this place. Some of the cows I sent to sell today were decent cows but just did not make the cut on this place. That is probably the cruel irony of this business. The better you improve your cow herd and genetics the tougher you have to be in the culling department. I remember my grandfather relating culling cows to baseball. Three strikes and you are OUT! This made very good sense at one time but now it is basically one strike and you are out. Every ranch has specific things that they are better at and certain challenges they face. This is why sometimes the things you hear from one producer related to how they run their business is so much different from another.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the long tailed weasel aka Mustela frenata.

Today’s picture is 0902g with his momma on February 15th 2010 and on his own November 16th 2010.