Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I love sharing my lifestyle with other people whether they want it or not. I am not pusy or anything... Maybe a tad assertive but definitely not agressive. Hence, the reason I write a monthly column for a local liberal newspaper. They are not liberal in the sense of San Fransico liberal but for this area they are definitely more liberal than the other two publications.

I write on all types of subjects but they all seem to go back to agriculture. Maybe that is why I have such a problem making small talk. Weather- check. Kids- Check. Then what... Cows, horses, grass. Some people just don't understand.

Back to the subject. The point of this post is if I can do it. Anyone can. Write about what you live and it is much easier.

Monday, June 27, 2011


In our family we have six seasons... The normal four with branding and hunting added on. Branding season marks the "end" of winter and the beginning of summer. Hunting the end of summer and the beginning of winter. We had to schedule our wedding around these dates. Since moving to California hunting season has gone by the wayside but branding is still a family favorite.

It maybe arachiac in the realm of being old-fashioned but so is using the USPS and I still send letters. Branding is essential to permanently prove ownership on cattle. It prevents thefts and adds traceability to the product.

Branding is a way of life here in the west. One I hope my grandkids enjoy with as much fervor as my kids are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Horse Gather

The Surprise BLM Field Office finally has a solid plan for a horse gather. I am impressed they are using all the tools in the box and outside of the box too. The Enivornmental Assessment is out and can be viewed at

The plan is to gather 1100 plus horses from BLM and private properties in conjunction with gathering the neighboring field office to capture horses that are travelling between the two areas. Horses will be gathered to the low Herd Management Level. Mares that are gathered and released will be treated with fertility drugs. Additionally, they are using sex ratios to decrease herd growth.

This is finally a plan I can support. They are leaving some horses out there but not near the 500% increase over what they should be. Treating them so we are not in the same boat in a couple of years. In addition, the plan is to gather from outside the Herd Management Area on BLM property and private ground so they get ALL the horses!

Comments can be sent to:

I wish you could go to the page and just hit the like button because it is a decent plan.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More Kids

Getting ready for the Junior Livestock Show. What a tiring and rewarding ordeal. We have kids from all clubs and chapters showing, selling, and running this livestock show. Yep, the kids actually run the entire show.

Each club or chapter, since FFA is involved also, elects two members to represent them on the board. The board then runs the entire show with guidance from FFA and 4-H advisors. These kids do everything from getting sponsorships to judges. Set-up and take down equipment. Clerk for judges. Handout ribbons.

They also are responsible for making decisions about their peers especially those peers who break the rules. They must have a majority to go forth but it is a great learning experience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Puppy Mill

I think according to one definition we have officially become a puppy mill. All over ours are males though. Not sure how we are going to get puppies without some outside influence. We bred our male Lefty (in the picture guarding the baby) to a neighbors dog. So, we took two male pups out of the litter. Yes, we could have gone to the humane society and helped some poor unfortunate dog but I don't think they would have the breeding to do the job we want. These are companion dogs but that is secondary to their job as cow harassers. Yes, our dogs must work for their supper, and breakfast for that matter.

These dogs save miles and lives. I am not being melodramatic about saving lives either. My husband was walking through a herd of cattle a footback. When, a horned bull took offense to his presence. If, it hadn't been for our two dogs taking on the bull he would have suffered more than heart palpitations. So, a dog without the heart, skill or breeding to move cows is not worth it.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Some call it cruel; others, archaic but branding is a necessary function if you own cattle. Yes, we can put ear tags in but they are not permanent. Ear tags can be cut out, fall out, or be altered, etc. Only branding is a permanent nearly no-fail way to prove ownership. Even in 2007 when there was cases of BSE in the US, they traced the animals back to their home places through brand records within 48 hours.

If the animals had tags would it have been quicker than 48 hours-- Maybe? Producers put in ear tags, feed lots take out ear tags, slaughter houses remove them. So, would the information have been transfered? Brand inspections are currently required by law in most states, thus the paper work tracks brands. Leaving a physical paper trail; not an electronic one.

I have lost a lot more information when my computer went bust than I ever have hard copies of data needed. Just sayin.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yesterday I was thankful for my town job... Between the snow, hail, and rain, it would have been a miserable day a horseback but my husband was out there doing it. They had to sort off yearling heifers for breeding. About 600 of them.

Yearlings are the worst to sort, they haven't been "trained" to go to the opening. Then, when they do get out they run. They are easier to move somewhere because they go most places quite quickly.

Thirteen hours on a horse and even the most toughened cowboy is tired. So were the dogs, and I was tired too. I might have traded him places for a couple hours in the evening. I was at home with the two kids, the oldest hasn't turned two yet.