Tag Archives: cows

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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Out Like the Abominable Snowman

March came in like a Polar bear, and is going out like the Abominable Snoman. Here’s the cows in the Ames Field, waiting for spring.


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In Like Lambs

Lambs in the sunshine

Rams in October mean lambs in March. Even though we still have record amounts of snow on the ground, the lambs are arriving right on schedule. We raise our own rams–Rambouillet and Hampshire–and the moms lamb in March at Powder Flat. Our Peruvian crew is doing a great job at getting live lambs on the ground. It is a reminder that spring will actually arrive, someday. We did see birds migrating north. We saw geese in the sky and Sand Hill Cranes on the alfalfa feed line with our ewes.

Alejandro pulling a lamb

Alejandro bringing twin lamb #2 into the world

Pat and Edgar

bum lambs

guard dog on straw, cows on feed

cows on the feedline

Geese heading north

Alejandro supplementing a lamb with milk



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Preg Testing

Casey bringing in the heifers


November brings pregnancy testing. We bring in the heifers and the cows, call for the vet, and learn who is pregnant, and who is not. Our long-time vet, and friend, Warner McFarland, the jefe at Carbon County Veterinary Clinic, came to check the cows. As the cows come through the chute, he palpates, looks at the ultrasound, and calls out “pregnant,”  “open,” or “late”.

Each animal goes in with her cohorts to await the next step. Occasionally, we find a cow with a problem that needs attention, such as an errant horn aiming towards her eye. Luckily, Warner carries a saw for just such an occasion, thereby saving the cow’s eye and a whole lot of misery. Thanks, Warner, for all you do!

Our neighbor, Matt lending a hand

Chandler at the chute with Warner

Warner with the tools of his trade

preg checking

sawing off the threatening horn



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Branding Time

McCoy bringing in a calf



It’s that time of year again. We have lots of baby calves who need vaccines, brands and earmarks before they head up to the Forest with their mothers. We have a great crew this year. Everyone knows how to work together to minimize stress on both cattle and people.


calves gathered in the Elephant Corral

Bubba, Tiarnan and McCoy bringing in the calves

Siobhan at the ready

Rhen on the water tank

Bubba and McCoy

branding crew

McCoy and Eamon



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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


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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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



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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Bubba and Chandler, first snow


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