Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Twins

We have had our 4th set of twins this year. The cow calved Friday but J didn't see the 2nd calf until this morning. It had gotten into a completely different field from the cows calving.
We put her in a sack and drove her to the cow which wasn't one bit interested in taking her.
So we then carried her to the barn.
Looks like we have another bottle calf to feed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Show Season 2010

The girls went to their first horse show of the season today. There hasn't been a lot of riding to prepare for the show (at least not as much as I would have like to see), but the horses for the most part did ok.
Pep was very consistent in her classes, she picked up her leads and was very quiet.
E really likes her new professional looking show shirt. Now she says the only thing that she needs is a saddle with more silver. I'm drawing the line at that. The judging of the western classes was chaotic at best. Most of the good horses started scratching after about 3 classes. In E's Western go as you please class a saddlebred won, and in the western pleasure walk/jog, the horse that most resembled a saddlebred won. There was an adult western pleasure class where a Tennessee Walking horse beat a professional looking QH. E ended up with a 3rd, 4th and 5th (in my unbiased opinion it should have been 2nd, 2nd, and 1st.)
I think V has only ridden Jessica maybe 3 times this year. So predictably she was unpredictable.
She placed 3rd out of 14 in her first class then proceeded to buck and take off in the next 2 classes. The judge told V that her horse had a pinched nerve in her back and needed to see a chiropractor. I think the pinched nerve was in the judges brain.
I was very proud of V for braiding Jessica's mane by herself. I think she had been fooling me the last two years telling me she didn't know how.
It does look like a rats nest when the braids are undone.

Friday, May 28, 2010


When we were on the college livestock judging team there was a class called keep/cull. We were presented with 8 heifers and had to pick 4 to keep for replacement heifers and then cull the other 4. Points were awarded based on how close to the official judge you were.
It is a little more difficult in real life. Instead of points you have income. Sometimes wrong choices can lead to calving problems, poor milk production, or poor growth. All that adds up to lost income.
The profit margin in farming is slim so a lot of thought is put into the process. J's problem was that he liked most of the heifers that we had kept from sending to feedlot last fall.
We picked 20 to keep.
And had 17 to cull.
After one more sweep through the cull lot, J decided to keep one more. We then gave the pre breeding shots and dewormed them all. The bull will get turned into the heifers we are keeping in about 2 weeks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


J's Dad's horse Lady has foundered several times. I'm sure she had foundered before he got her 2 years ago then again 1 1/2 years ago before he brought her to our house.
She is always overweight with a large crest. She has been getting sore again over the last month despite having a grazing muzzle and being confined to a 1/2 acre lot.
In order to come up with a treatment and prognosis, I borrowed a portable x-ray unit to radiograph her feet.
She has about 20 degrees of rotation on her front feet and about 5 degrees on 1 hind foot. The other hind foot is fine. I'm considering trying the barefoot technique of lowering the heal and backing up the toe then filing the feet twice a week. There is a lot of conflicting ideas surrounding the treatment for founder but this one seems to make the most sense.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 5

We spent day 5 sight seeing in Western Nebraska and South Dakota.
After dropping M off at the airport in Chadron, and worrying about his safety leaving out on such a small plane, we stopped at Fort Robinson. It was raining and the buildings were closed except for the Museum which we enjoyed. The Fort has served as the Red Cloud Indian Agency, a cavalry remount station, K-9 dog-training center, POW camp and a beef research station.
Where are we now? Unfortunately, this was the view we had at Mt. Rushmore. I'm told there are some giant heads carved into the mountain, but you couldn't prove it by me.
We did get to see the Bad Lands. Absolutely fascinating!

Words and pictures can't do it justice.
Our last 2 days were spent racing back east. 3500 miles in 7 days.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 4

We started looking at ranches on day 4. We had 2 lined up to look at.
Ranch 1 was 5515 acres with a small house and older barns. The ranch was cross fenced into about 16 fields with sizes varying from 20 acres to 1020 acres.
There was a small pond/lake on the property along with a large sub-irrigated hay meadow.
Windmills abound on all the ranches.
Ranch 2 was 3778 acres with another section of 7541 acres that could be purchased or rented. There were 2 houses, a hired help house and a large brick house, also several barns (2 new) and outbuildings.
This ranch had a huge sub-irrigated hay meadow.
It also had a lake that was being drained through a canal system and pump.
You can see this would all be a drastic change from where we are.
Of course if you are in Merriman stop at the Sand Cafe. The salad bar is excellent.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

York, Henderson, Broken Bow, Thedford and Valentine

Day 2 we continued driving west after leaving the arch. We spent the night in York, NE since the only motel in Henderson had closed. We started day 3 bright and early to visit the cattle in the feedlot at Henderson.
J was like a kid in a candy store. The cattle actually sold the week before but weren't being shipped for 2 more days. After all of that driving we were glad they were still there.
The feed truck came through while we were visiting.
J came prepared with overshoes so he could get a closer inspection. The feedlot manager said that the harsh winter weather really separated out the cattle, but our group was one of the most uniform that he fed.
Next, we made a stop in Thedford, finally in the Sandhills of Nebraska.
An internet discussion group contact was gracious enough to give us a tour of his ranch. It was good to get some first hand information from a knowledgeable rancher that has similar practices to ours even though the land is so vastly different.
We ended up in Valentine for the night but had time to drive through the local park and get a close up look at some wildlife.
We stopped for lunch at the very quaint town of Broken Bow. I highly recommend the City Cafe.

Friday, May 21, 2010

We're Back

First stop St. Louis. We drove 650 miles (800 for M) the first day and got to St. Louis.
We went to the arch the next morning.
The park leading to the arch was beautiful.
It is really a grand structure. We were afraid without reservations we wouldn't be able to go up in it but we got there early and there was no line so we got to go right in. It is a fascinating tour and I highly recommend stopping if you have the chance.
M saw this restaurant on Diners and Dives so we found it and had supper there, delicious.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Off to Nebraska

J and I with brother M are headed for Nebraska tomorrow morning. V and E will be staying here with Grandma. They are having the Standards of Learning tests next week which they can't miss or else they would be joining us. J is wanting the see the cattle we sent to feed last December before they are harvested. We are also going to look at some ranches for sale. Then if there is time Mt Rushmore and the Bad Lands.
I'm afraid that I might miss the peonies blooming while we are gone. A few have already started to bloom. At least Grandma will be able to enjoy them.
I think the close up pictures of the irises are fascinating. I keep zooming in and cropping to get different perspectives.
The daisies are in full bloom.
They do have a way of multiplying. The friend that gave them to me originally now is spraying hers with Round-up.
We had a starling trapped in the pipe of the wood stove in the garage today. Once I got it out it flew into the window and became addled. I picked him up and placed him on my window trellis until he straightened up enough to fly off.
Next post will be in 9 days.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vet Work

Part of getting ready for horse show season is making sure the Coggins Forms are up to date. This is a test for Equine Infectious Anemia that all shows require.
It involves drawing a blood sample, filling out the paperwork, and getting it to the state lab. At least I only have to go through this once a year and don't have to make an appointment.
I noticed this wound on Jessica a few days ago. It is still pretty swollen but healing. When it first happened it looked like a bite wound. That same day I saw a baby fox running down the driveway when I came in from work. I realized that their rabies vaccines are a little behind so I've had the Tech at work order some for me. (we use a different kind for the dogs and cats). It's hard to keep up with everything...the cobbler's children have no shoes, the vet's pets have no shots.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Final Few Shots

The steers were such a big project I thought I would devote one more post to the show.
This was the Champion Steer of the show. Two professional fitters worked on him for 2 days at the show. I'm not sure the 4-Her even touched it until it went into the ring.

No professional fitters in this group.
We can be proud of what our girls learned and accomplished.
Guess we will see them once more at the carcass show Friday.
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