Monthly Archives: November 2023

Checking the bucks again

bucks waiting in the corral, Edgar, Jose

Our intrepid friend, Geri Parsons of Optimal Livestock Services, is once again making her rounds to make sure the bucks are ready for their annual duty of impregnating the ewes. They have one job and  most winters they are with the ewes from mid-December to mid-February to make sure the ewes are exposed through two heat cycles. Usually, we take them out after a couple of months. The winter of 2022-2023 was so severe that we didn’t take the bucks out until shearing in early May–not because that is a new normal for management. It was just so cold and snowy for so long we didn’t want to further stress the sheep by working them, and we didn’t really have a better place to care for the bucks separately, since every critter was on full feed anyway. Our weather prognosticator friend assures us, using very complicated explanations, that he expects the winter weather in our neck of the woods to be fairly normal whatever that is. El Nino will strike elsewhere, according to him. No matter what, we want the rams to be in tip-top shape. Any buck with less than optimal testicles or sperm has gone to the “train station (see Yellowstone TV show). Sorry guys, but that’s the way it is in the ovine world.

Meghan, Chandler and Geri checking the rams in the chute.

Chandler working the chute

Meghan marking the rams

rams at Powder Flat, with our new yard ornaments, the Pacificorps Power lines



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Pregnant, late or open

cows coming in

It’s that time of year again. The cows have spent the summer on the forest, raising their calves. The calves have been weaned and now it time to decide which cows will stay and which will go. A key factor in this decision is pregnancy. The cows have also been keeping company with bulls all summer. If all went well, they are pregnant. If not, they will find a new home. Our friend and long-time veterinarian Warner McFarland came with his ultrasound machine to check each cow and call out, “pregnant,” “late,” or the dreaded “open.” Luckily, not many cows were open (i.e. not pregnant). Since all of our summer crew has departed for warmer climes, we depend on family and Chandler to get things done.

Meghan, waiting for the cows to cross the bridge and head up th the corrals

heading into the corral

Megan looking at the eartag

Eamon operating the chute

Megan checking a cow

Warner preg checking

Megan entering data

through the rails


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Posted by on November 8, 2023 in Events


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Autumn work

horses in Big Meadow


It’s that time of year when we are crazy busy. The cows and calves, and the ewes and lambs, have trailed down from the grazing allotments on the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests (which are geographically one forest). Once they have trailed back to pastures around the Home Ranch, we look at each and every animal. We sort off the calves and the lambs. Both are sold to buyers. The calves go on to be fed and eventually become tasty steaks and burgers. Some of the heifer calves go on to become cows. The wether lambs and the smut-faced lambs go on to become tasty lamb chops and holiday legs of lamb. The white-faced ewe lambs stay home to become ewes. We look at every cow and every ewe. The cows are pregnancy tested by our trusty vet, who calls out “pregnant” or “late” or “open”. The opens (not pregnant) are sold and the pregnants stay home to produce next spring’s calves. The ewes are checked, one by one. Most of them stay with the ranch. They will go to winter pastures, hang out with the rams, and have lambs in the spring. Some ewes are older, or lack teeth, but can go to gentler climes in the Midwest and remain productive. Some are not sound, and go on to become food in Mexico. It is a time of decision-making as we select the animals that can continue to sustain us. After the terrible losses of the 2022-2023 harsh winter, we cast a special eye. “Is she strong enough?” “can she survive a hard winter?” “will it even be a hard winter?” We are all still shell-shocked from last winter, and this adds extra perspective to these decisions which we make every fall.

In the meantime, we have to appreciate the blessings of fine weather and the joy of working with livestock.

horses in the corral, contemplating the day’s work

old ewes on the Mesa

Alejandro’s bellwether Solano, and friend

ewes by the chute

cows after sorting

cows, fall work




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Posted by on November 4, 2023 in Animals, Cattle, Horses


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