Thursday, April 14, 2011

Proud to be part of the Ag Industry

As I do some last minute internet shopping I was amazed by the amount of giving agriculture does. Wrangler has its patriotic line and its tough enough to wear pink line. Cydectin a wormer for cattle gives money to support troops. The deal in the midwest where they have fed out over 80,000 steaks to troops and their families. Then, you get to looking even more locally. When a lady was bucked off her horse and sustained major head injuries, the little community she belonged to pulled together and held a spaghetti feed to help with medical bills- over 200 people attended, not bad when the entire valley has less than 500 people. The area I live in, the economy is based in agriculture. It used to have a logging component but that went with the spotted owl. Now, the main factor is cow-calf production and hay. The same people get hit up for booster club, 4-H, FFA, Sober Grad, Fair, and a myriad of other organizations. I have yet to hear about a good project being turned down. Go Ag!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NCBA President

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association should be proud to call Montana Rancher Bill Donald their president. I have known Bill and members of his family for many years. The dedication and work ethic associated with running a ranch while still traveling to all parts of the United States should be commended. Of course it helps he has the next two generations there taking up the slack. Montana Stockgrowers put together a video on Bill and his grandson "helping". That is part of the WHY. There are days you want to get things done quickly but where else can you have thousands of acres of playground and classroom for a toddler. Ranching allows for people to take sometime and educate. If we will just do it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Mother Nature is teasing us. Not as bad as the federal government but still. We go from gorgeous 60 degrees and sunshine to six inches of snow. You have to love spring at higher elevations. We have several calves on the ground. The Canadian geese and cranes are pairing up for mating. I am amazed at where these creatures make their nests. The cranes are amongst the cows. The geese are on the periphery of last year's late grazed pastures, utilizing the aftermath and the green feed that is sprouting. The snow geese on the other hand, are causing destruction. The flock by the thousands onto hayfields, making it look like the snow hasn't even melted yet. They feed on the green feed too but the shear numbers are causing fields to need replanting. A late winter hunting season wouldn't hurt, even if it was for a few days just to get them moving around and not camping in one place too long. The co-existence of the livestock and wildlife is especially heartwarming though.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


It seems like farmers and ranchers are always talking about the weather, markets, and other things that are not within their control. What do you do? You can't really stress about it. You can't change it. You might as well make small talk. We recieved 5 inches of heavy snow last night. Good for the grass; bad for the calves. Looks like we are supposed to see a few more inches off and on all week. We did get a taste of spring the end of last week and the first part of this week. Just a teaser though. Not enough to really get anything but cheatgrass to going. My mother offered to help me plant my garden when she comes to visit in the next couple of weeks. I told her... We can plant it in April, then again in May but probably should wait til June if we really want things to grow. Might be in California but it is still 5000 feet elevation, with a chance of frost/snow any day of the year!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are you sure you should be doing that?

This is my day to complain~ But a little background first. I am within days of having my second child, like 3 days from the due date. I have been working/helping/involved in ranch work my entire life. I am over 21 and way, way, way over 100 lbs at the moment. So, I laugh when people ask me, are you sure you should be riding horses/branding calves/ giving shots/ feeding etc. It is dangerous. My husband would say not allowing me to do these things is more dangerous. :) The life I chose to live is one that is full of danger but isn't any more so than many of my more urban counterparts. It does involve large unpredictable animals but it doesn't involve a large unpredictable human population. There are drugs but with few exceptions, the needles are more dangerous than the actual medicine. Feeding is no more stress if done correctly than sitting at a desk all day long, it might be less if you balance the benefits of strength training in there. The air has some particulate matter but most of it is organic not smog based. So, the dangers are relative if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hot Iron Branding

I have been remiss about posting lately. I have been partcipating in an age old tradition of hot iron branding calves. It is just as necessary now as it was 100 years ago. A form of identification, that is permanent. Very much unlike, ear tags, tatoos, and freeze irons, a hot iron brand is difficult to alter. The hot iron brand has been a source of much debate, lately. Many believe it is unnecessary but those people do not make their livlihood off of the livestock that can easily be stolen off of thousands of acres with few people. It is especially pertinent with cattle prices being high and the economy being in the dumps. Just last month I recieved an e-mail about several hundred head of calves being stolen off of private range. The take the young calves before they can be branded and sell them. In addition to the actually branding portion, young animals are given their vaccination and castrated, among other things. It is also a social event, teaching the young the traditions and a gathering after a long winter.