Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
What is our country coming to?
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Multiple fires have kept everyone where I'm from extremely busy and tired this week. The one in the above photo has burned on at least four rancher's land that I'm aware of. Thursday night my brother and I left at 9:00 p.m., and got home at 6:00 a.m. from fighting fire. This morning we put one out before eating breakfast. Prayers for everyone's safety would be greatly appreciated!
Monday, August 22, 2011
Miss Anna, over at Life Be Delicious (I told you I would be linking like crazy) does Miscellany Monday - I always enjoy her posts, and thought it would be a great way to catch you up on what's been happening around here lately.
(one) My mom and dad returned home after my dad had surgery to remove part of his intestine (he had diverticulitis) last Tuesday. He's doing great, and we're praying his recovery continues to go well!
(two) My brother and I gathered the last of our bulls out of our cows today, and can check that task off our summer to-do list!
(three) I really have the best boyfriend in the world! Case in point - he spent several days at our place last week to help out while my dad was in the hospital. By help out, I mean he helped set railroad tie braces in a new fence, gather and sort cattle, take my sister and I to the state fair for a day of fun, and on top of all that put up with me while I was stressing to the max over my dad and all the summer projects we had going on. Beyond a great guy!
(four) I have a lot of office/writing work to dive into tomorrow, and if it's as hot outside as it has been, I won't mind typing away in the air conditioned house at all!
(five) Despite several summer storms rolling by, we haven't fought anymore fire since this one, and feel blessed to say that.
(six) The piglet picture has nothing to do with anything, so it fits the "miscellaneous" theme perfectly! I took it at Adam's house a couple weeks ago. He has new puppies and piglets at his place right now, and they're all very cute and photogenic.
Hope your week is starting off great for you!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Made a white chocolate/caramel latte (priorities are important when you're busy)
Watered, "The Forest," (the windbreak) and my mother's lawn while drinking the latte
Made about 20 phone calls
Planned the rest of the week
Sold our steers, by myself, for the first time ever. (A rancher basically gets one paycheck a year from his cattle, and the money you make on that one day is it for the next 12 months. The price you receive determines how big the check is...ie, this was a huge deal) I did have a lot of coaching from my dad, who is in the hospital recovering from surgery.
Talked to my dad. His surgery was to take out part of his intestine. He had diverticulosis (sp?) He's doing very well.
Typed two articles
Edited an article for the largest publication my work will be published in yet.
Watched a livestock video auction, while typing.
Made a to-go lunch for my brother and sister, who are hauling hay today
Confirmed a photo order
Baked cookies, and ate a lot of the batter (Comfort food!)
Did lots of laundry
Accidentally put too much detergent in one load (still waiting to see how that turns out)
Plunked down in a chair with a cup of iced tea, and typed this.
Hope everyone else is having a wonderful, productive Wednesday!
The first thing I think of when I think of fighting fire is community. When there's a grass fire in our area, everyone combines their efforts, and works tirelessly until it's done in an effort to minimize losses. One of my huge pet peeves is to see the government fire fighters only fight fire from 9-5, or 8-5 (soap box moment).
This fire was during the day, which is less common than fires occurring at night. The vast majority of grass fires are started by lightning. So, whenever you see a summer storm moving over Eastern Wyoming, you can guess we're sitting on the tallest hill, watching for smoke during the day or an eerie glow at night.
That is how we spotted this fire. Almost every rancher has a homemade fire fighting rig they've put on a ranch pickup, and are ready 24-7 to help their friends and neighbors in the event of a fire. Everyone also has CB radios, which are used to relay information on lightning strikes, fires that have been spotted, how to get to a fire (you can't drive a pickup across much of this area, and it gets really hard at night), if the county fire fighting trucks are on the way, etc...
We gathered enough information, and deemed it safe to leave our area (you don't want to drive 20-40 miles to a fire, then have one start on your place behind you), and raced to help our neighbors.
You also never know what may go wrong. On this particular day the reason I'm not spraying much water is because the filter on our rig plugged with an algea type plant that sometimes grows in our tank. It will make you very excited if your fire fighting rig stops spraying water at a critical moment!
A smoke filled sky always makes for a beautiful sunset, made even prettier by the fact that we had contained, and put out, the entire fire before dark in this instance!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
But, not every instance of treating an animal humanely is a feel-good, everything's going to be great for the animal and us, situation. There are times when doing what is best for the animal is difficult, and lots of people shy away from these situations, or don't keep the animal's best interest in mind so they don't have to deal with the attached human emotions.
Ranchers are faced with these same scenarios, when what's best for the animal isn't going to be the easiest emotional choice for them as a person.
I, and later my entire family, was faced with such a situation last night. I was riding a colt, checking water and pairs, when I came upon a down (can't stand up) bull. He most likely got in a fight with another bull, and was shoved off a steep incline.
He was terribly, terribly dehydrated because of the summer heat in Wyoming. I gave him a critical once-over, and couldn't determine what was wrong. There was no swelling, visible broken bones, or other obvious visible signs of what was wrong. I jogged my colt home, grabbed a couple water buckets, and Holly and I immediately returned, and found the bull on his other side.
Can you see his back leg? Something is broken in there, and that's why he can't stand. I knew at that point he would never survive his injuries.
Now, some may rant that we should have a vet look at him, perhaps perform surgery, etc...
We didn't have a vet look at him because the diagnosis was obvious. I honestly do not know if a vet can even perform a surgery to repair a broken leg in a bull. Even if he could, he would never fully recover, and be able to survive in any sort of natural environment. Surgery would also be extremely cost-prohibited and the odds of success are very low. It's just a viable option in this scenario.
Holly and I hauled buckets of water to him by hand, until he had drank his full. Upon returning home I found out that my dad and brother would be home that night, so the responsibility of euthanizing the bull wouldn't fall on my shoulders. No rancher ever wants to put one of their animals down. We realize that we are raising livestock to be harvested for food, but we also care deeply for our animals, and do everything in our power to keep them healthy and thriving during the time we have them. It's also very sobering and sad to see any animal in pain, as this guy was.
I should also clarify that this bull was bought as a breeding animal, which means his primary purpose was not to be harvested for meat. We spent thousands of dollars to purchase him for his physical appearance, genetic potential, and several other criteria we carefully and thoroughly select for in each of our breeding animals. His injury was very expensive to our operation.
But, all emotional and economical investments aside, as the owners of this bull we had to do what was in his best interest. As I previously mentioned, he was not going to survive his injuries, and prolonging the inevitable was only to result in more pain and discomfort for him, and was unfair to him. Putting him down, as quickly and painlessly as possible, was clearly the most humane thing to do, if not the easiest.
So that's what we did. I pondered long and hard whether to share this story, because it isn't an easy one to absorb or understand. But this is the real world of ranching, and I believe people have a right to know the happy and sad aspects of my lifestyle, and the choices we make in order to always do what's in the best interest of the animals we raise, even when they're extremely hard on us.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The above photo is a mugshot for a publication that will be publishing one of my articles in the upcoming months. The key reason for posting it is that necklace, which was part of Adam's birthday present he gave me. I love it, and should have taken a wonderful close-up photo to show you all the details (maybe I'll have a chance to in the next couple days). Those are real stones, and it has a silver chain, and I love it!
He went above and beyond for my birthday, and made it very special. We made a quick trip to Yellowstone National Park one day, which was a surprise to me, and he had a vest and hat embroidered with my photography information. I am very blessed.
I also gave my grandma a ride to her brother and sister-in-laws on the way up there, and we had a great trip and got all caught up. One of my goals upon becoming self-employed again was to be able to spend more time with her, and it's been wonderful fulfilling that goal! She is 89 years old, and acts like she's about 65, and is a blast to spend time with.
Adam was super busy auctioneering county fair market sales, hog wrestling calcuttas and announcing rodeos the entire weekend, which I enjoyed tagging along for. I met a lot of people, saw some great steers, hogs and lambs and enjoyed taking rodeo pictures from the crow's nest.
I also took this week off from writing....kind of...to catch up on other projects, and am diving into those today. Hopefully I'll have time to post more pictures and updates on here too!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Each piece is cleaned, then glued together. If you don't clean each piece well, the glue may not adhere to the surface, and it will leak. When you're talking about a pipeline that's five feet underground, you don't want to dig it up and redo it any more than is absolutely necessary. Pictured above is the jar of pipe cleaner he used.