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Shipping lambs

lambs in the corral

In the fall, we send lambs to the feedlot. These are the lambs that we have nurtured in the womb throughout the cold winter months. These are the lambs that we saw into the world in a cold wet spring. These are the lambs for whom we fended off coyotes and ravens and bears. These are the lambs who followed their mothers and grew on sweet summer grass.

Some of their numbers fell to predators. A few fell to the hundreds other hazards that await the creatures that we care for. Now we sort out the ewe lambs who will stay with us and become mama ewes. The others go to feedlots where others look after them. In a few months, they will go to slaughter and provide sustenance, by-products such as insulin, and pelts for all of us. The income they bring helps us continue the cycle  of husbanding livestock and caring for landscape.

sunrise

lambs loading at Cottonwood

Raul with a lamb

onto the truck

Meghan supervixing

 

 
 

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“Almost Winter” is sure looking like winter!

Cows and sheep heading in

 

 

 

I’m thinking of Wyoming’s four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction. It seems like Winter is in a hurry. Almost Winter, we hardly knew ye!

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2019 in Animals, Cattle, Nature and Wildlife, Sheep

 

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Fall cow work (Almost Winter)

 

from the Forest to the corrals–getting ready for winter

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2019 in Animals, Cattle, Horses

 

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Winter’s Comin’ On

bringing cows and sheep in for extra feed

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2019 in Animals, Cattle, Nature and Wildlife, Sheep

 

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The Fall Sort

ewes trailing into the Sheep Mountain pasture

 

October 1st is the off-date for our summer grazing permits on the national forests. We spend a lot of time staging the trailing off of both cows and sheep. We consolidate sheep bunches, move them onto private pastures, and bring every ewe and lamb through our corrals and sheep chutes at the Home Ranch. We sort the lambs off the ewes. Some lambs will go to a feedlot to gain more pounds, and some will stay home and become replacement ewe lambs.

The ewes are sorted several way. Ewes with good health and good udders stay with our bunches. The “good old ewes” who are short on teeth but otherwise sound will go to buyers, usually in the Midwest, who can care for them for several more years, in conditions more forgiving than Wyoming’s Red Desert. The “killer ewes” or culls will go to slaughter.

All this involves a lot of moving parts, but when we’re done, we’re ready to move onto other late fall pastures before the long trail to the wintering grounds.

Meghan, Cora and Raul bringing up the sheep

ewes and lambs heading down the chute

 

Edgar and Cora at the sorting gate

Meghan and Leo

Meghan sorting lambs

 

ewes lambs in the corral

Pat, contemplating

Cora is a working mother. Puppies for sale!

 

 
 

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Hunting Season

 

     The forest is full
     of folks seeking solitude. . .
     the thrill of the hunt.

 

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2019 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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The all boy crew

Tiarnan and Rhen trailing toward the corrals

Sorry for the long hiatus. . .I’ve continued to have computer issues, but I hope they are resolved and I can now return to offering glimpse into the life and times of the Ladder Ranch and its crew. I will do some backtracking because of course, I’ve been taking pictures!

When we trailed out of the Red Desert last April, a couple of ewes snuck off and have been hanging out near the Continental Divide Rim energy production facilities. We’ve seen them, and received some phone calls from folks working in the area. In the meantime, they each had a fine lamb, and avoided shearing. We knew that capturing them would be  difficult, since they were clearly independent. A few days ago, Pat took Tiarnan, 8, and Rhen, 6, and a couple of horses with the mission of capturing the errant ewes and lambs and bringing them home. It was an adventure, but they returned home with two ewes, two lambs, two horses, two boys and Pat.

Rhen with escaping sheep

Tiarnan trying to keep up

bringing them in

the corrals at last!

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2019 in Animals, Family, Folks, Sheep

 

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