Friday, March 30, 2012

Branding postponed to April 7th

We've had quite the storm move in over the last day or so and the forecast for the weekend is rain, rain, rain so we've decided to bump branding to next weekend on Saturday, April 7th. We don't have too many calves to do and should be wrapped up by 2pm.

How Stuff Works: What can't you brand calves in the rain?
Other than the people being all wet and soggy, branding calves when it is raining or has been raining is not a good idea. Traditionally a hot iron brand is quickly placed on the side of the calf which cauterizes the skin and burns the hair off. If the calf's coat is all wet, the hot iron will instantly turn that surrounding moisture to super-heated steam which can create large areas of superficial burns on the poor little calf.

Hopefully we will have better weather next weekend but if it is still raining we will cover the branding table with a tarp, shave the area to be branded and towel-dry to minimize any potential for steam burns. It takes longer, but branding is already hard enough on the calves - no sense in inflicting any more trauma than is absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Branding date is set!

The grass is growing, we are nearly out of hay and most all of the calves are on the ground - time for branding!

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We will be branding this weekend (March 31st and April 1st) though whether we do it Saturday morning or Sunday is still under debate. We will know by later in the week.

Check out the photos from branding days from the last few years -

Branding day 2010
Branding day 2011

Or for a blast from the "Ranch History and Culture" past, check out these branding day photos from the last few decades:

Branding Chuck and Lloyd

Branding Anne Marie

Branding Mike

Branding Jill


If you would be interested in channeling your inner cowboy by joining in this annual event, let me know! We would love to have you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nothing says spring like winter


Three inches of wet snow and it is still coming down. And of course today my first batch of fuzzy chicks arrive. Well they can't exactly go outside now can they? On to alternate arrangements!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More field burning

This spring we are replanting portions of our CRP fields to better meet the needs of wildlife. With such an established stand of perennial grasses though we can't just inter seed and expect the new seedlings to take off. We must prepare a seed bed first. Burning off the grass removes most of the vegetation so we can plow the fields without clogging up the implements too bad.


 We touched off a few fields a couple weeks ago and when the wind came up, we ended up burning more than originally planned. In this desert ecosystem, fire is really beneficial for the range but not when you have other projects to work on and can't sit around tending fire lines all day. As much fun as it is to play with fire, we swatted out the lines and went on to different tasks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Frosty windows


The single-pane glass in the engine cellar sure puts on a pretty show under the right conditions.

Friday, March 2, 2012


They may be a little late this year but the first bulbs of the season finally showed up!

Calves everywhere

My goodness I can't even keep track of all these cute faces! It will be so much easier once everyone is ear-tagged but for now trying to remember that this calf with the blotchy spot belongs to this cow is almost futile.