Friday, January 14, 2011

Fighting with the Estrogen Mafia

Darn close to a day of perfection here in the Columbia Basin. Yesterday was supposed to be the start of a nice warming trend. The warming came from the southwest and although it broke freezing here yesterday it was not the mid 50’s they were experiencing just 25 miles to the south. Finally about 11 p.m. last night that nice warm southwest breeze showed up and we gained 10 degrees in the space of an hour. By the time the sun rose this morning there was hardly any snow left to be found. I think maybe tomorrow I will once again be able to drive fence posts without cussing about frozen ground. Today was an absolute balmy day in the mid 50’s, very nice for mid January and a welcome change from the weather we have been having. It is amazing sometimes in this business how Mother Nature can offer a weather change and that change has the power of a mind altering pharmaceutical.

Calving continues at a steady pace of about 2-4 calves a day and has gone mostly well after a bit of a struggle at the start. I am checking the heifers about every 6 hours now but so far the ones that have calves have all done fine on their own. I have one heifer in particular that is driving me insane, well more insane than normal as I wait for her to calve. I have been just sure she was going to calve in the next 12 hours for the last 3 days. Once again tonight she was lying with the group but if her vulva opens any more I will be able to not only see her calf but possibly find Jimmy Hoffa. The parts of the day that are not spent either checking or feeding cattle seem to amount to very little time in a given day. The time there happens to be open for extras often is spent fixing something to make sure I can continue to check, feed and build fence for cows. The Washington state legislature is now in session so just making sure they don’t try to pass some idiotic legislation takes a part of each evening. Don’t even get me started on a Federal level. I really need to spend a day at my desk away from the computer and wrap up paper work from 2010. I also need to spend a few days at my desk getting things in order for 2011.

Cattle prices are good and at record levels for some classes. I just hope the expense side of the ledger does not get out of hand. It sure looks like fuel and in turn fertilizer and in turn feed prices could skyrocket and just put us in a situation where you have the same tight profit margins with higher inputs and increased risk. I am optimistic though and although I wish I had purchased more fall pairs back in October it looks like buying the cattle I did was a sound move for the future. Keeping those heifers last spring is going to work out pretty excellent as well. On the down side as soon as things improve or look like we might sustain some profitability something always seems to implode. I try to not be cynical but I remember all too well December 2003 and how devastating the mad cow that “stole” Christmas was.

I really had nothing else in particular to post about so I will ramble here about a few things that have happened lately that I have not blogged about. My bride and I celebrated an anniversary earlier in the month. I asked her where she would like to go and she answered “somewhere that she had not been in awhile.” I suggested the kitchen and got myself in trouble,HA!, just kidding. Actually, we had a night away in beautiful downtown Walla Walla at the Marcus Whitman after attending Walla Walla county Cattlemen’s annual banquet. Thank you to Walla Walla County for the hospitality. Dakota got a new female blue heeler aka Australian Cattle Dog puppy for Christmas. Festus is a red heeler and we decided he needed a blue girlfriend. I thought I had the perfect female blue heeler name with a western flair in “Bluecille” but I was overruled by the Estrogen Mafia and her name is “Sadie” but I usually call her Sadie Sue or Sadiecille just to be obstinate. I will dedicate a whole blog post with pictures to her soon.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Burrowing Owl aka Athene cunicularia.

Today’s picture is cow 4158W with her bull calf 1158w. I usually do not get to tag this cow’s calf because of protection issues but I caught her in a weak moment on Wednesday. Can you just see her saying “oh one of these days I am going to get you” by the look on her face.