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Category Archives: Cattle

Spring Scenes

Heifer with six calves at Powder Wash

 

Spring is finally springing. It’s been coldish with intermittent snows. Just when we think it’s going to warm up and grow some grass, another snow storm comes through. Luckily for us, we did not get the calf killing Holy Week blizzards that buried North Dakota and eastern Montana. We got an inch of rain  at the Home Ranch the other night, which took off our covering of snow. Finally, it’s warming up into the 60’s, which is good because we are expecting the shearers in the next few days.

Heifers at Powder Wash reservoir

Heifer babysitting baldie calves

Hamp lambs at Powder Flat

last days on the Red Desert

ewes ready to trail to the shearing pens

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2022 in Animals, Cattle, Sheep

 

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March lambs, and homecoming cows

Hampshire ewe and lamb

 

It’s March, so it must be lambing season at Powder Flat. We raise our own rams, and have a farm flock of Hampshire and Rambouillets–known as the “early lambers.”

Here’s a look at this busy time. We are glad that our intrepid Peruvian crew is on the job. Several of them just came back from a few months at home.

It’s also time for the cows who have spent the winter in balmy Laramie to come home.

 

Ladies in waiting

Hampshire and Rambouillet ewes

twins!

Tiarnan practicing child labor

whiteface ewe with crossbred lambs

bring in the cows

cows at Powder Flat

lambs, lambs, lambs!

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2022 in Animals, Cattle, Family, Folks, Sheep

 

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Horse Power

Chief and Commander

 

Today would be my Dad’s 101st birthday, He’s surely smiling down as Eamon and the boys harnessedup this team to feed the heifers. We have a lot of snow, but it’s been warm, making the snow “boggy.” We got tired of stuck tractors, so Eamon found this beautiful team of Percherons, Chief and Commander. We still have harnesses from the days when we used to feed with Fran and Chub. Eamon, Bubba, Chandler, Tiarnan and Rhen harnessed them, hooked them up to the sled, and fed the heifers, just like in the old days. They didn’t get stuck! Happy birthday, Dad!

Chandler and Bubba harnessing, Rhen supervising.

Commander

getting ready to go to work

Chief

Eamon driving across the Battle Creek bridge

heifers following the sled

outriders Chandler, Rhen and Bubba

Rhen

 

 

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More Heifers to the High Country

Cowboy crew (Chandler, McCoy, Tiarnan and Rhen) waiting to unload

 

 

More heifers came in and we were there to unload. Since it was a Saturday, McCoy, Tiarnan and Rhen were mounted and ready to help.

off the truck and heading for groceries

Tiarnan, Meghan and Chandler counting the heifers off the truck

one heifer headed the wrong way, of course

Rhen and Jake on the job

 
 

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Heifers to the high country

Chandler on Cora, waiting for the trucks to unload

 

We plan to run heifers this coming summer (I have faith that summer is coming). We have hay on hand so decided to bring the heifers in now. They are from South Dakota, and are used to cold and snow. I was happy to see their fuzzy coats.

backing the truck up to the chute

Mc Coy ready with his rope

Welcome home!

heading for the hay pile

 

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Ladies in Waiting

pregnant ewes with the new shed

guard dog doing her job

guard dog puppy playing with Border collie puppy

ram lambs hanging out

rams, llamas, bulls at Powder Flat

Solano, pet lead sheep, hanging out with Border collie

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2022 in Animals, Cattle, Dogs, Llamas, Sheep

 

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Winter in Laradise

Laramie cows

 

There’s a reason recent blog posts have been mostly of sheep. In the winter, the sheep stay relatively near (100 miles) to the Home Ranch. Most of the cows go to spend the winter eating hay at the Spiegelberg Ranch near Laramie. A couple of days ago, granddaughter Siobhan, a student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, went to visit the cows, including our summer nurse cow, Loralie. Here’s Siobhan’s photos of the winter cows.

coming through the gate

on the Laramie Plains

Loralie

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2022 in Animals, Cattle, Family, Folks

 

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COP26, an All-Globe Effort

sheep grazing on the Routt National Forest–reducing wildfire, building soil

As international negotiators huddled in the last hours to hammer out an acceptable agreement, agriculture garnered little attention, except as a source of methane emissions. The need to produce 50 percent more food worldwide in the coming decades was hardly mentioned at all. Virtually no notice was given to wildlife and wildlife habitat enhanced by agricultural production. These are glaring omissions.

Fossil fuels, especially coal, were the crux of the negotiations.

Oil, gas and coal provides about 80 percent of all the energy used by human civilization. In China, it’s 88 percent (US Energy Information Administration). In the U.S., about 80 percent. The other big influencer is India, third in emissions and receiving 70 percent of its energy from coal alone.

India and China’s negotiators intervened in the last hours to water down language about reduction of fossil fuel use and subsidies to “phase down” from “phase out.”

Here’s a link to see the makeup of the delegations.

 COP26 delegations

An emphasis was placed on deforestation, but other than an exhortation to plant trees, attention was not given to the role sound forest management has in sequestering carbon and managing water.

To the credit of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) they stated, “At COP26, governments recognized that soil and nutrient management practices and the optimal use of nutrients lie at the core of climate-resilient, sustainable food production systems and can contribute to global food security. It was also recognized that while livestock management systems are vulnerable to climate change, improving sustainable production and animal health can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing sinks on pasture and grazing lands. improving sustainable production and animal health can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing sinks on pasture and grazing lands.”

In the end, we believe our Solutions from the Land team of seven was highly effective. We communicated with folks high (John Kerry) and low (the lone delegate from Tajikistan) about the importance of agriculture and forestry, and its role as a solution to climate change.

If the goal of no more warming than 1.5 degrees centigrade has a hope of being met (we’re currently at 1.1), it will take all sectors. The solutions are not simplistic,

Cattle trailing off the Forest, after a summer of grazing management

 

 

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COP26–Solutions not Agendas

Sunset from the International Space Station (NASA)

It is challenging to summarize the experience and outcomes of attending COP26 as delegates representing Solutions from the Land (SfL). SfL focuses on land-based solutions to global challenges.

Our team carried the message that agriculture, livestock production, and forest health offer solutions to mitigate methane emissions. Farmers Ray Gaesser, Lois Wright Morton, Fred Yoder and AG Kawamura, ranchers Pat and Sharon O’Toole, and SfL President Ernie Shea attended the COP26 over two weeks’ time.

We were told that past COPs agendas had hardly let agriculture, let alone animal agriculture, get their foot in the door. Deforestation was the only lens through which forestry was viewed. Pat said his fellow Board members who attended past COP meetings told him, “You better get somebody from livestock to go because you’re really being demonized.”

It didn’t take very long to realize that demonization of agriculture and forestry is a potential issue that we all need to be paying attention to.

Pat observed that the COP process has been really naive in its view of production agriculture and its ability to create solutions. “Chilling” is the word that Pat used to describe this view. “The conversations at COP26 did not indicate an understanding of the need for success in balancing production and conservation in the context of overall strategy,” O’Toole observed.

It was obvious that that meat production, rice production, and farmers in general were characterized in a negative way. The people who have gone to these COP meetings over the last years from all over the world say it’s only now that agricultural producers are recognized. Only now are agriculturalists having an ability to participate. Our team strongly conveyed the message that we from ag need to have a seat at the table.

Our path was made easier when United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack showed strong support for ag when he, along with Fred Yoder presented at the U.S. Pavilion.  Vilsack was very proactive in his support of agricultural production. This helped set the stage for the positive message carried by our team to focus on solutions, not agendas.

Here certainly was a feeling that there’s a lot of agendas about food production. Consumers have a very high level of concern without a very high understanding of production. Pat O’Toole said, “Luckily our family comes from a community of people who have been working on resilience in natural resources for over 30 years. We have example after example. On our landscape, a wetland that was created went from less than 40 species of birds to around 130.

“A trout passage program that made the entire watershed passable for trout from the main river to the heads of every tributary demonstrates agricultural resilience in terms of more efficient irrigation. This shows the vision of how we work together and use both our own initiative and programs from the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture to come up with solutions.”

Solutions include working with organizations which share SfL’s values. Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) promotes “Healthy Habitat, Wildlife, and Communities.”

“The IWJV’s conservation delivery program brings people together to address complex challenges with broad-scale benefits for fish and wildlife, ranching and economic livelihood, and maintenance of the western way of life.” (IWJV.org)

Pat is the long-time President of the Family Farm Alliance, which advocates for irrigators. Their mission is to “Protect Water for Western Agriculture.”

“The Alliance is a powerful advocate before the government for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in 17 Western states to ensure the availability of reliable, affordable irrigation water needed to produce the world’s food, fiber, and fuel.” (familyfarmalliance.org).

Partnerships in agriculture and forestry management hold a key to enhancing our landscape and atmosphere.

Earth’s atmosphere from space (NASA)

migratory ducks on wet meadow at Ladder Ranch

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2021 in Cattle, Events, Folks, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Bubba and Chandler, first snow

 
 

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