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Archive for November, 2010

The heifers had come home for water this morning and before I got around to putting out new mineral they had gone back to the pasture. I decided to send Hawk after them to bring them back home. I started her out at the lot and told her, “HUNT ‘EM UP AND BRING ‘EM”. She headed to the pasture. The heifers were about 1/2 mile away and spread out grazing. I let Hawk get up over the hill and then I drove up the road to snap a few shots of her bringing the heifers home. Hawk is a real dependable cowdog. She can be ‘in your face’ tough and she can be ‘patient’ and not run the heck out of stuff. She learned a lot from Bert, and in particular, the value of being respectful to the cattle. It is ‘less is more’. Like Bert, Hawk has learned that getting the job done can be accomplished with ease. Hawk enjoys her work and aims to please. Even ‘looking back’ for the straggler…which she did on her own without me telling her to “LOOK BACK”. She saw one was coming from the opposite direction and did not ignore it, but she went back to bring it on.

Once Hawk got the heifers to the lot, I told her, “Hawk, that’ll do”, and she simply trotted out and to the gate. We put out the mineral and went on our way.

The wind had slowed down today so I took part of the cowdogs out for a group walk this morning. I took a couple pictures of “DOGS, DOWN”. As you can see, I have a few to work with. The ones not staying ‘down’ are young pups that are not a year old yet and their down has a tendency to be like a ‘jack in the box’! It will all work out.

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Seemed like a day off today. Spent a few hours cleaning up the grow lot aprons and getting a few dirt moving things done. We are to get rain Monday through Wednesday and get cooler. So I took advantage of the warm, sunny day to get the lots and a few water tanks in order so that the rain will run off and not puddle and hang around to make a mess of things. Next thing ya know it will freeze and then be frozen until April. So, Ducchess rode around in the tractor with me…resting her big paw (sore, stitched up leg).
I did spend about 2 hours with 11 cowdogs in the corral. We worked on AWAY TO ME, COME BY, THERE, DOWN, THAT’LL DO, HEEL, AND LET’S GO.  It was all group work…6 males and then 5 females. It went pretty good. A few goof-offs and not paying attention spurts, but the next session will be better.

Tonight, I guess I’ll run the rest of my breakeven projections for my feeder calves in the feedlots and get a grip on hedging/risk management.

Stopped in the yard and took a dozen pictures of the sun setting and some jets heading west.  I posted the pictures as an album on my facebook pages.

If you have not heard about the new proposed GIPSA rules on cattle marketing, you might take a few minutes to research the potential impact to the cattle industry.  Then formulate an opinion as to how you’d like to “spread the wealth around”.  Many of us have worked pretty darn hard for the past 15 years to develop added value grids and marketing practices so that we are able to gain additional $/hd for our cattle investment.  The global economy hiccups, BSE/mad cow, and political ping-pong balls have leveraged our export markets downward several times over the past several years.  Now, it seems the ag bill of 2008 and a variety of USDA proposed rules will wash away the efforts of those of us who know the value of genetics, know the harvested value of our cattle and have hung in there on source, age and process verified (documented, legitimate paperwork) cattle.  I guess I’d like to not dilute my daily work and investments down to a sub-par level again.

Just my own opinion.

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The horses are done for the day; the cowdogs are cleaned, exercised, and fed; the cattle have headed to the bed-down spots for the night; and I am saying, “Good-bye” to my sun and thinking of my friends and acquaintences in the west and southwest USA. The week has brought a fun assortment of visitors to our place. The September puppies are done with their vaccination schedule and will soon be heading to their new homes. The little cowdog pups were born Sept. 16th and are already wanting to take on the bulls and horses. “Puppies, NO!”

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I cannot tell you how grateful I am for having cowdogs that can learn to be patient, be level headed in the heat of a wreck, and have sharp minds and quick thinking. I had several cowdogs with me today doing our normal morning chores around the ranch. It’s suppose to rain next Monday through Thursday and get dang cold. So I decided to go ahead and load up mineral and blocks and get the rounds made while it was nice. All was in good order everywhere we went. We came home and I put all the cowdogs away with the exception of Hawk. I had about 50 weanling heifers in the grow lot cleaning up the extra hay that was left in the rack from shipping the feeders last week. The hay was cleaned up and it was time to move the heifers back to pasture. I had put 6 weanling bulls in the heifer pasture and I had rounded them up earlier this morning. I sent Hawk to gather the heifers and bring them to the corral for sorting. I had 7 tail-end calves that did not ship and I wanted to keep them home in the grow lot. Hawk took care of the gather, moved the calves to the corral, positioned herself to hold the cattle to me while I ran the gates for sorting. Everything clicked right along. We moved the 7 odds ‘n ends in with the bulls and moved them back to the grow lot. I sent Hawk to get the heifers out of the back pen and move them on out. Everything is just cruising along, steady, no rush, just like it ought to be. I look ahead and see that the heifers are moving right along….WAIT….geez Tammy, you left the gate open to the pond pasture! I call Hawk to come and go with me, telling her as we run down across the drylot, sorry Hawk, GET AHEAD, GET AHEAD, GET TO THE GATE, GATE, GET TO THE GATE. Zoom, Hawk is off to the gate. Just as all the heifers get to the gate, Hawk gets in front of them. One bark and Hawk is holding her ground, the heifers stop and turn to the south! I call out…HAWK GOOD GIRL, WATCH THE GATE. I get to the gate and Hawk immediately heads out to get ahead again. She knows that the heifers are in the wrong pasture. She gets to the front of the heifers and stops them again. She waits…patiently…while they get gathered and stopped. She then begins to patiently work them out of the corner and head them back to me. I am headed back to the gate at the other end of the lot. Like a trooper, here comes Hawk and the heifers ahead of her. All I could think of was, wow, thank you Lord for Hawk…she took care of my mistake. Hawk moved the heifers back on out into the direction of the pasture, got to the pasture gate and knew her duties were done and she patiently waited at the gate for a “That’ll do”. I gave her a big hug, thanked her and she trotted off to get a drink. I saw ole Bert in my Hawk today. Thanks Bert, you did a good job with Hawk while you were here.

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Getting a lot of inquiries about my new stash of “Wild Rags by Lois” so I thought I’d just post some pictures of them. Then, you can look for ‘www.wildragsbylois.com’ to see here fabric displays on her website. I tried to just lay these out so that you can get an idea of the colors and patterns.
The old lady leg bit and steel stirrups are rusty and they can give you an idea of the color contrast as well.
Each wild rag has a “Wild Rags by Lois” tag sewn into the hem and the ones I got are silk.

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The fall pairs are doing very good. The fall grass and open grazing has just about come to a halt. But, the calves came through their vaccinations without any problems. And, the cows are cycling like hot cakes!

It was a peaceful morning in the pairs. We had a shower of rain yesterday and it was really damp and chilly this morning. I snapped a few shots while out among the pairs. I always enjoy checking the cows and calves.

The sun, clouds and the contrasting colors were kinda neat down in the draw.

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The past few days we have gathered the bulls, hauled them home, weighed them, poured them with Ivomec and gotten them ready for fall breeding. And a few customers have come to get their bulls picked up. Monday, Ducchess had a mishap. My cowdogs have a natural instinct to want to break up fighting cattle. I had turned to open a gate and a couple 2 year old bulls got in a shoving match and apparently Ducchess stepped in to break them up. The cowdogs brought them on back to the corral and here was Ducchess with her front leg gapping open from her knee to her paw and around to the back of her leg. I sewed her up and wrapped it in a betadine sauve. Today, I unwrapped it and was really glad it is healing very well. We have nicknamed her “Ducchess Big Paw” for the time being!
We also had some company today. I have some puppies that will be ready to go to their new homes in early Dec. and one of the customers stopped in to see his “new female cowdog pup”.
It’s chilly in the mornings now and a scarf or wild rag is a fine thing to have to keep the chill off. I got 5 new wild rags from Lois Parmenter last Friday. They are absolutely beautiful. If you are a wild rag fan, take time to look Lois up at http://www.wildragsbylois.com. I had her send me some fabric swatches to sort through and I found a dozen “love it” designs or colors. Even Luke the cowdog likes my new one I had on today!

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