Archive for October, 2010

This week I received a card from a young lady who got a blue merle female pup from a litter that was born in mid-May 2010. The family lives and ranches in Wyoming around Gillette. Her note reads:

Hey Tammy,
Thanks for all of the advice and help you have given me. Kip is really wanting to go get the cattle. If she sees any she goes to barking and trying to run after them pulling on the leash. My (family’s) cows aren’t dog broke yet, but I have some weanling calves I mess around with. Kip was a graduation present from my parents. I was having a hard time finding a puppy, and I happened to look in one of my Western Horseman magazines and I found your ad. That’s also how I found out about the Hangin’ Tree Cow Dog. I had been looking for a Heeler/Border Collie mix, but was having a hard time. Thanks for all of your help and for spending time talking with me.  

Thanks, Patricia

I always enjoy getting notes back from my customers. I have really enjoyed the many visits I have had with Patricia. She is excited about her new partner and friend and I can tell she will do a great job with Kip. As Kip grows and matures, she and Patricia will be ready to take on some of the cattle work with her family. Patricia’s parents have sure given her a gift she is enjoying each day on the family’s ranch. Thanks Patricia for sharing your note. I look forward to seeing more pictures of Kip. She is absolutely beautiful and striking in her appearance!  Our young cowgirls, cowboys and farm kids are the future of the livestock industry…whatever it evolves into.  We need to be there for them!   

“Get ahead Patricia and Kip!”

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The Nov/Dec issue of Working Ranch Magazine is full of some really interesting articles. There is a Ranchers Journal article from the Vinton family on the old S- Ranch in the heart of the Sandhills of Nebraska. This is the home of my early years.  My dad was the ranch foreman and my mom was the ranch cook.  I spent 1000’s of hours riding bareback around the ranch.  It is where I learned to love horses, cattle and the value of solitude and being a good steward of the land.  Learned how to pull my first calf in the calving barn east of the house.  Had to milk the cows out in the horse barn so that we could have milk and butter.  There was a lot of longs hours spent in dusty storms, blizzards, welcomed springs and fall seasons used to get geared up for winter.  Our school was a small building on the edge of one of the ranch owner’s land (another Vinton) and you could nearly count all the kids in grades 1-8 on both of your hands.  The teacher for grades 1-4 was Ms. Pat Vinton.  Her skills and interest in kids was beyond compare.  Mrs. Ann Kramer was the teacher for grades 5-8.  She passed through the S- on her way to work.  On the SE corner of the home meadow was a plane hanger that kept a couple of planes sheltered from the elements.  Mr. Snyder’s planes were a handy means of transportation for ranch work and an occasional buzz around the ranch on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  Two-way radios were used for ranch work communications.  Times have really changed but some things remain the same.  The Sandhills are a great place to raise a family, cattle and enjoy a wonderful part of God’s world.  If you ever see some of the old highway signs they will read, “Nebraska, the Good Life”.  There is a lot of truth to that descriptive line….then and now.

Anyway, WR’s latest issue also has a feature article on fall calving. There are a couple of articles on cow/calf operations in Kansas and Nebraska. Plus, Tim and the WR crew have a load of interesting information articles for general “around the ranch” ideas, tips, and knowledge to help a person sort through all the things you can spend your hard-earned money on. If you cannot find a copy of the print magazine in your area you can also be a Working Ranch reader by googling them on the Web.  You might even want to subscribe to the magazine so that you don’t miss out on the next issue.

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Hawk and I decided to have a “just the two of us” morning.  I think she really enjoyed herself.  It was a crisp 37 degrees which is perfect for the last calves in the grow lot.  The bit of rain we had a couple days ago has really helped to clean up the runny noses and watery eyes.  So, as Hawk and I did our morning feeding, I took a few pictures to remember the day.  We fed the  calves we banded 14 days ago.  These calves are getting approximately 5.6 lbs/h/d of a grain mix.  The banding process is history and all the calves are healed up. Next, we called and gathered the sister mates that I have kept for potential replacement heifers.  The heifers are out on pasture and hay and are coming home for 1.45 lbs/h/d of shell corn and some grain mix.  And our last feeding stop was the yearling bulls that are running on pasture and getting 6.9 lbs/h every other day of shell corn and grain mix.  The rest of the morning we checked the new pairs, the heavies and weighed a few heifers.  The afternoon was spent with some folks that stopped by to look at cowdogs and pups.  It was just an enjoyable day.

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The cowdogs that got the call for duty today were Jewel, Hawk, Ducchess, Bandit, Levi and Luke.  Ducchess is a 4 year old daughter of Bert and Hawk.  Bandit is a 3 year old son of Bert and Hawk.  Levi (black) and Luke (red) are 2 year old sons of Bert and Hawk.  Jewel is Bert’s litter mate sister.  Jewel has a litter of pups back at the barn but she said she was “ready” to leave the little rascals behind.  So Jewel got to go along to do the morning feeding in the wean lot.  We checked the heavies, went through the pairs, roped and tied down a respiratory retreat calf that is 3 weeks old.  We also were fortunate enough to easily get in a cow that claimed J975’s orphaned heifer calf.  The cow had claimed J975’s calf during the night when J975 had an unfortunate prolapse on a terrace and she died with her back down hill.  She was an 11 year old cow in great shape and a big contributor to the cow operation during her life here.  J975 was from the Path Ranch in Montana and came here on a load of bawling heifer calves back in the fall of 1999.  She was a Meyer 734 daughter.  Her orphaned heifer calf is really a great looking calf.  I am very grateful that 59419 was willing to take the initiative to claim the orphan.  Cow 59419 had lost her calf day before when the calf’s head was turned back against a tree at birth and did not get its head turned forward to ever have a chance to breathe.  Since the pair was headed to the corrals, the cowdogs and I took the opportunity to let them on into the lot to make sure the orphan was nursing and completely paired up with its new mom. 

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What a wild fall night we had on October 25, 2010. The wind, the brief but violent rain. Luckily, not much damage was found on the morning of Oct. 26th. Just a lot of picking up to do. We got about 3/4″ of rain and it sure cleaned the dirt out of the air. The calves in the wean lot nearly got washed off. The past two weeks things had gotten very dry and dusty. The calves in the wean or grow lot were breaking with runny noses, coughs, and watery crusty eyes. Just a mere walk from the bunks to the waterer looked like a dusty cattle drive. The rainy part of the storm only lasted about 10 minutes, but I am grateful we got something. Just to get the dirt out of the air will help the weaned calves and the newborns. I snapped a few pictures of the front leaving as the sun was coming up. The storm system was headed to the north east.

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Congratulations to the Eldon Missouri FFA Chapter for winning the parliamentary procedure competition at the National FFA Convention. All the practice paid off.

Eldon is a small community located in Miller County Missouri. The town has been through some tough economic times over the past few years. The vast majority of the employers left town due to the downward spiral of the economy. The employers were related to the auto industry in some way. The Ford dealership was closed. The Dodge and GM dealerships were caught up in the industry downsizing. A couple of auto manufacturer suppliers closed or downsized. All this affected the other local businesses. A great BBQ place closed. So for the FFA chapter to bring this honor to their town is a big deal.

Good Job!

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Have you ever had your days on the ranch planned out? Have you ever had to revise your day’s plans once the sun comes up? I get those days once in a while and today was one of those days! This morning Hawk and I headed out about 6:00. It’s still pretty dark at 6. We went to the east dog facilities and checked on the puppies. All was well with them. We let Ducchess and Jewel out and loaded up. It was really humid this morning, but still no rain. By 7:00 a.m. we could see a strange change in the weather. Like a wall, we watched fog roll in and the visibility went to about 50 yards. Not being able to see a thing, I decided to eat a bite and do some calving paperwork. By 9:00 it was clearing off and it was time to get out and get the calves fed and go check the heavies and fall pairs. The girls and I got to the pickup and just happened to look down across the pens and into the pasture. A cow caught my eye. She was laying with her butt down hill and totally flat. I grabbed the binoculars. In my mind, I was thinking, “That doesn’t look good”. Sure enough, it was not good. The cow looked lifeless. So, I hopped on the 4-wheeler and buzzed down to check things out. The cow was dead and totally prolapsed. The calf was nowhere in site. I had Ducchess with me so I had her sniff around and gave her the “find the baby” command. I have been working with her to find a scent and follow it to try to locate hidden calves. She fiddled around a little and soon headed towards the branch. In a low spot out of the wind was the calf. And not far away was a cow that immediately came to where the calf was. The cow had claimed the new orphan and it just happened to be a cow that had lost her calf yesterday. Her scenario was that when she pushed her calf out, the calf’s head curled back up against a tree. It never got it’s head turned forward and it died. I had been sailing along with calving without any mistakes and the past two days I had two mishaps. The coyote and cat scraps were piling up! So, the planned list of things I was going to do today was “out the window”. All you can do is try to pick up the pieces. It was one of those days spent “reacting” instead of being able to be proactive and getting “want to do” things done. All one can do is hope that tomorrow is better.

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