Monday, July 30, 2012

Here Lately....

I realize I have been very absent on here. It has been a hectic, hot, busy, hot summer, and for some reason those seem to suck the extra time and energy out of a person faster than cooler summers.

Among my recent activities:
- Helping with hauling water to our house because our house well pump quit working
-Watching a litter of pigs be born
-Photographing my second wedding of the summer
-Getting bulls out of heifers
-Moving heifers from the creek of kosha weed and Russian thistle to the pasture of year-old grass and sunshine.
- Having the most expensive bull we've (err...I bought him) ever purchased be hurt, badly.
-Spending approximately half my working hours for the last two weeks on the phone with Dell, trying to get my laptop to work, and stay working. Grrr... This particular point is one key reason why the blog has been seeing less action lately.
- Finishing the editing of the first wedding of the summer, in spite of this faulty machine I own.
- Working on writing assignments
-Fighting fire was over 100 degrees here for a week straight
- Re-tinning the side of our trailer house that the wind blew the old tin off of. Heaven forbid we actually get rain and not have tin on the "new" trailer house.
- Providing moral support when we had to haul more water because a toilet in our garage and one in the trailer house ran all the previously hauled water down the sewer.
- Running errands all over the state
- Spending a weekend at the Sheridan-Wyo Rodeo
- Family Reunion
- Starting the move into the trailer house, which is currently sporting half new and half old tin.
- Checking water
- Checking (looking hopelessly for) grass
- Being very relieved when the house well pump suddenly, with no explanation, started working again. Laughing as my dad called the company he bought it from and chewed on them again, telling them he either wanted it broke or working, why was it not doing one or the other (he is under a lot of stress)
- Preparing to wean and ship and pull more bulls, and getting ready to do the daily fall ranchwork mostly alone as my dad and brother are gearing up to start hauling a massive amount of hay.

I have lots of pictures, and several posts involving those photos, planned for on here. Hopefully I will have a chance to catch up on at least some of my summer activities in the near future! Hope everyone else is having a nice, wet summer : )

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Summer Grass Report

This year's grass report is short....literally. In case your new, or have missed these in the past, I try to do a post on our grass from time to time to compare the current year to the past few. The idea is to show you what I'm talking about when I say a good year, or bad year, or the grass is great, or doing poorly.
Perhaps you've heard that we are having an odd year out west. It's hot, dry and about as unconducive to growing grass at it gets. We're typically semi-arid where I'm from, and this year calling us arid would be complimentary.
Here's what I mean -

Taken in one of our pastures on 7-18-12. This is as tall as it got this year (about an inch on average), and it was only greener than this for a couple weeks.

 Another photo, taken on 7-2-12. This is also in the middle of a pasture, in the bottom of a draw, which are typically greener than the tops like what was shown in the previous picture.

 Our creek bottom, as of 7-18-12. Anything you see that is green is either Kosha weed or thistle.

 A close up of the forage on our creek, taken 7-18-12.

Now, let's see how this compares to the last couple years


 Taken in a pasture on 6-26-11, very similar location to the top two photos from 2012.

 Our creek bottom on 6-18-11. I realize this is a month sooner than this year's photos. But, it never even thought about getting this tall this year.

 Creek bottom on 6-16-11. Same tree in the background as the 7-18-12 photo, I'm just turned slightly more toward the east in this photo.

Now for 2010:

 Pasture photo on 6-28-10. This was a great year.

And the creek bottom on 6-27-10. No, they aren't standing in a hole or anything, and that yellow spot on the side of that heifer is the head of a shoot of grass. Yes, we can grow grass like that here....on an exceptional year.

So, just in case you don't want to scroll back and forth. That was 2010, and here the same location in 2012 again, which is anything but an exceptional year.

If you want to see how the years prior to 2010 were around here, you can head over to my 2010 June Grass Report post.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Wyoming!

Happy 122 birthday to my wonderful homestate of Wyoming today!
We were the first state to allow women to vote and elected the first woman governor, the homeplace of JCPenney, where the first national park was created (Yellowstone), and where the nation's oldest national moment resides (Devil's Tower).
Today we have the world's largest coal mine in the U.S.  (Black Thunder Mine near Wright), are a leading producer of sheep and wool in the country, and host the "Daddy of 'em All" Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo each July in Cheyenne. Agriculture, energy and tourism top our revenue list each year, and we are a conservative, republican based state.
Our just over 560,000 residents are significantly outnumbered by cattle (we like it that way), and there are still a lot of wide open spaces across this great state. I've been fortunate enough to travel much of it via main highways, backgrounds, and trails - in cars, on horses and even occasional in a plane. Grab your atlas and take a look around my beautiful state with me!

 (Black Hills, northeast Wyoming)

 (northern Niobrara County, eastern Wyoming)

 (Bighorn Mountains, near Buffalo)

 (Goshen County, southeast Wyoming)

 (Powder River, near Kaycee)

 (Outside Lander)

 (Southwest Wyoming)

 (Johnson County, near Sussex)

 (On top of the Bighorn Mountains)

 (Pathfinder Reservoir running over in 2010, near Alcova, central Wyoming)

 (Between Gillette and Buffalo)

 (near Dubois)

 (northern Fremont County)

 (near TenSleep)

 (Rocky Point, northern Wyoming)

 (Yellowstone Park)

(Yellowstone Park)

(near Wheatland)

 (Laramie, 10 months out of the year)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Harvesting Crops

In case you're a new follower (welcome!), or haven't read much about where I'm from, it's a semi-arid region of the west, which means arid most years. Consequently, we are stictly a ranching operation, and I have never farmed anything in my life.
Last week I got the chance to see a little wheat and barley harvsesting firsthand, and made sure to snap a few photos. There would be more, but the wind came up and they stopped because the plants were so short the wind was blowing more of the grain onto the ground than the combines were picking up.
What I do know about farming is that it and ranching are very dependant on one another, and it's looking like a rough year for much of the country that does farm, which will impact feed prices on the cattle side. The crops in western South Dakota are short and dry, with bushels per acre expected to be low compared to average. To a rancher this means grain prices will likely be high a a results of a supply shortage this fall, and it will cost us more to feed our livestock.
Here's what I saw:

I was also informed that green is king when it comes to equipment.  I'm trusting this is true as the person who educated me has black cattle - a true indication they know their stuff, lol.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Professional Photography: Family photos

 Among my recent photography work was photographing a local couple and their two boys. They surprised mom with a giftcard for Mother's Day, which I thought was a great idea!
We had a fun time despite the hot day, and I was thrilled that they were game for some of the more fun posing ideas I had in mind. It melted my heart when the youngest boy jumped out of the pickup first thing asking if he got to, "say cheese?!" Wonderful family! Mom also likes western/aged/brown tinged photos, which meant I got to have fun editing.
Here are a few images from the shoot. To check out the entire album, you can go to the Double H Facebook page.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fire in the West

Please keep the west in your prayers as we deal with numerous fires that are causing loss of land, homes and lives. These photos were taken today in Weston County, Wyoming, and is burning the land of people I know personally. It is also headed in the general direction of my uncle's ranch. Countless people are in this same situation, and the weather isn't looking to give us any favors in the near future.