Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another Move

I helped Jesse and Mark move the heifers again. The constant pursuit of feed and water for the herd  is what ranching is all about, not ropin’ and ridin’ as some would think. Those abilities come in handy, but pale compared to the skills required of a cowman who can find and/or create affordable feed.

We’re trying to stretch our grazing season further into the winter months and get away from the expensive habit of harvesting, and then feeding out alfalfa. So this year we left the second cutting of our grass and alfalfa fields  “on the stump.” This should not only save costs, but allow the roots to store energy and the plants to have a jump start next spring. We are aided by the thaw that followed the big snowstorm we had in November.

We took the heifers to “Frank’s,”  a chunk of sandhills along the Blackfoot River previously owned by grandpa’s cousin. We think the reason Frank’s daughter agreed to sell it to us was precisely because we would keep it the way her Dad would want it - in its natural state. Most of the ground around us has been leveled and put under center pivot irrigation for potatoes. While we don’t get the big money spuds can sometimes return, we seem to keep ahold of the land through the generations.

We think Frank would approve.

sand cherries and buffalo berries in the windbreak

First the feed, then the water

picture perfect

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