It’s time to brand those calves which have been born this spring. We’ve been branding calves both in the mountains and the desert. We have our good crew of employees, friends and family on hand to help us with this endeavor.
If it’s March, it must be time to pregnancy test. We breed the best of our Rambouillet ewes to Rambouillet rams, thereby ensuring a new crop of replacement ewe lambs, as well as their brothers/cousins. Since purebred whiteface lambs are more vulnerable at birth, especially the twins, we pregnancy check the moms so that the ewes carrying twins can lamb in the sheds. The rest of the Rambouillet ewes are bred to our Hampshire rams. Their lambs have hybrid vigor and usually do fine with drop lambing on the range. Our friend Geri Parsons from Optimal Livestock Services comes up each March at mid-pregnancy to check the ewes and call out “single”, “twins”, “open” and even “triplets”. Meghan and her crew appropriately marked the ewes with a paint dab on their heads to signify their status for later sorting. Geri usually braves chill winds and long drives for several days to accomplish this task. Here’s some photos of this year’s pregnancy checking.
The past few days have seen several birthdays, so we had a communal birthday party. Here is the cake that Megan made for the occasion. Nikki decided to stay home with her new baby, but her husband John came and we celebrated a combined 142 years of living. We had some discussion of the arrangement of candles.
Today, Tiarnan and I took a walk through the snow. He’s another Aquarian with a Valentine birthday.
It was a good day.
New Year’s Eve morning dawned bright and clear. We had a huge pile of wood to burn from an old building we had taken down. We had livestock to tend, bucks to work, and resolutions to make.
It’s that time of year again. It seems like we were just trailing the cows and calves onto the Forest for summer grazing. Our “off-date” has rolled around already. We mustered 19 horses and riders, including the six grandkids, to gather the cattle and bring them down to a lower pasture on private land. The calves are looking nice and chubby, and the cows are looking forward to weaning.
Our Hampshire ewes and their lambs spend the summer on private land, the Johnson Place, in the middle of the Routt National Forest. In late September, we trail them back to the Home Ranch, so they can hang out with the guys for a few weeks. This year, Siobhan and Tiarnan trailed them 15 miles to the Bull Pasture on our good horses, Maria and Sarah.