Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The End Is Near

 
The end of the year, and the end of grazing season.

The lambs have been on feed for about a week. A load of lambs has been sold and another is leaving at the start of the new year. In the next few weeks a friend and fellow http://www.nimanranch.com/Index.aspx producer is buying some ewe lambs from us.




Lambs on hay

The ewes were moved today from a farmers alfalfa field about 1 mile away. We moved them across country, the farmers fields, and ours. They are now on about a week's worth of alfalfa stubble, and then the season will be over.

Here was the crew for today.



James In the lead

Martin. Katy and Chili


My good dog Mint is breed with pups due in Jan. She has had cabin fever something bad so she went along as well.




Mint and the ewes


 


The last gate and onto the 10-7 Ranch

It is always a little bitter sweet to see the grazing go. We are tired of the moving of electric fence and the worry of livestock on other farmers land in the fall, but i like that the sheep will all be back on the ranch. Hay prices in our area are about what they were last year. I know many of our fellow shepherds/ranchers across the country are not so lucky, with the many states in a severe drought this past year.

Lamb prices are not what they were last year either. This is our second year selling lambs to Niman and we are fortunate to have a buyer who is willing to pay for quality lambs.

Lambing will be moved up a month to April for 2013. We are still trying to find the exact fit for spring and summer graze as well as the best use of the alfalfa stubble in the fall.

We hope that all of our fellow farmers, ranchers and shepherds have a prosperous new year!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Hill On Turkey Day

The kids and i took a little run and hike today, up turkey hill for turkey day. Turkey hill was named back when they raised turkeys around here. I have never seen a turkey up there, but i have seen many a coyote.

We started of with a short run up the fields, collies along of course.


Then we started the hike up Turkey hill looking for coyote dens. First we crossed the irrigation ditch. When the water is in the ditch we use a lil wood bridge. Some dogs and kids used the bridge and some did not.

 


Then we started the hike. 







We made it to the top and were rewarded with an amazing view. To the west Mt. Shasta

 
 


And to the east, our valley.





Our lambs grazing alfalfa stubble, view from the top.



Back down we go, and big brother helps his baby sis just a little :)

 
 


We find several dens on the way back down.



Walked back down the ditch.




Found some great treasures in the fresh water shells in the sand.


 
 


Back home for some prime rib with all the fixings. A very blessed day here at the 10-7 and wishes to all of you a grand Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Silly Lambs

Today we moved the lambs to a fresh section of alfalfa stubble. In years past we kept the ewes and lambs together( after weaning) to graze the stubble. This year we are moving lambing up a month, so the bucks go in soon and ewes and lambs had to be separated.

This is a picture of before and after.

before and after

They actually left more stubble than we like, but the lambs had not seen their mothers graze this and that may have had an impact. We would have left them on for a few more days, but they wanted to bed under the irrigation mover and they were making an impact on the field. We are very careful to move water and keep and high traffic area to a minimum, so we do not harm the field i any way. Happy hay farmers are a key to next years graze!

As you can see the lambs were just moved onto a fresh piece of the pasture,but boy howdy they did not want to GO! I brought my young bitch Bracken with us. The lambs looked at that dividing line you see in the picture and they were just sure it was a trap.

Their mothers would have run us over to get to fresh graze, but lambs are......silly as hell.

The balked and spun and ran and made my wee Bracken work her heart out. A good test of a dog is to see how they work a large group of lambs, lambs that you are asking to go where they do not want to go.

A very long tongued dog later and they were across. Bracken is learning how to move a mob of lambs and each time out she is more and more efficient.

Bracken after a job well don

This field is next to a strawberry field. They grow the plants and then send them to Baja CA where they are grown to produce the fruit. Our young livestock guard dog Max seemed fascinated with the goings on in the field next door. The temp fence was not up yet and i was worried he might go over. I had this vision of large white dog running through the field of machines and workers.

Max stayed put. He will be 2 this winter and this is his first time guarding the lambs on stubble. He is a fine young dog.

Strawberry field next to lambs


Max!


At one point i looked up and the lambs have left the food above and were in the neighbors equipment yard!




I got the lambs out of here before i got camera out but this is where they were!

 


On the atv ride home this lovely hawk was resting in this even more lovely tree. Wish a had a good camera as it was very pretty.

Back at the ranch his buddy was on the wheel line.



Lots of hawks every year, but closer to the ranch this year.


A lovely day with fat lambs and good dogs....and SILLY lambs.
 
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teachers do NOT get paid enough

 Grade school.Never liked it when i was a kid. Lots of rules, most of it inside, could never figure out why little girls liked the things they did. Torture. I look back at the teachers who had to teach this sullen, disruptive kid, and i have no idea how they did it.

Thankfully, so far, both of our kids enjoy school and do well. We live in a rural area with agriculture being the mainstay of the counties economy. In a class of 25 kids 20 will be ESL. English as a second language. As if teaching kids is not tough enough, add that lil fact into the equation.

Teachers do not get paid enough.

A few years ago we volunteered in our sons kindergarten class. Just a few hours, a few days a week. I had not been in a grade school since i was in grade school. Torture. It was difficult for me to sit still that long, and the noise and general chaos made me nuts. Martin seemed to handle it all better than i did. I enjoyed getting to know the kids and the fact that we were helping them learn was very rewarding, but it took me about 15 minutes day one to come to a whole new respect for teachers.

I came home and told my friends i would rather be called to a knife fight in a biker bar than have to be trapped with 25 kids for 8 hours :)

I could not fathom being with those 5 and 6 years olds ALL DAY for 5 days a week. The women was a saint. Many of these kids could not hold a pencil and did not know their Abc's. Not only was she trapped with these wild things, but she was tasked to teach them to read!

Teachers do not get paid enough.


This year we are volunteering a few days a week in our daughters 1/2 grade class. I was so grateful when we asked to help and the teacher said the 1015am to 1100 am spot would be perfect. I can do 45 minutes!

Today was my first day. The kids in grade 1/2 seemed to have a better mastering of self control than the younger kids, but if the energy level of 25 six and seven year olds could be captured, it could easily take down a herd of rabid elephants. On a dead run.

Teachers do not get paid enough.

I do not consider myself to be a germaphobe. As a street cop for almost 20 years and now a sheep rancher, i would guess my tolerance for nasty stuff is several degrees higher than the average person. I kept telling myself that as i watched half a dozen kids cough into their hands and then handle the cards that we were sharing at the table. I kept thinking..i wonder how the teacher sits in this cold and flu infested room all day!

Teachers do not get paid enough.

When i first arrived the kids were coming in from recess and the teachers was bombarded with " she did this and he did that" The teacher swiftly dealt with the social crises and sat them down to learn. I noted that the relative carefree atmosphere of kindergarten had been replaced with the social hierarchy and drama of older kids. One little girl was crying about another lil girl being mean to her. Lets face it, most of us have enough trouble dealing with the child drama in our own house, picture dealing with 25 of somebody else's kids drama. I know for fact this drama is multiplied exponentially each year they are in school.  Shudder.

Teacher do not get paid enough.

Thanks teachers. Past, present and future. I am grateful for you all.





 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Middle Of Nowhere


"Just a bunch of square hay fields and sheep farms, man it all looks the same Miles and miles of back roads and highways connecting little towns with funny names Who'd wanna live down there, in the middle of nowhere?" Jason Aldean "Fly Over States"













The Malin valley








10-7 Ranch Sunrise




The Peninsula as Seen from Lil Horse mountain



















Pitchfork/R.A. Byrne  Ranch













Mint fall move


The View from Lil Horse mt











First day Of Spring 10-7 Ranch 2012




 6 month Old 10-7 Ranch Lamb On Alfalfa Stubble


Pitchfork Ranch/R.A. Ranch bringing in dry cows from the range..Nellie





10-7 Ranch lambing 2011...MAY

MT Shasta

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rules

Never been a fan of them.

I have always lived by the creed that it is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.

If you tell our son that he is not allowed to cross a certain line he will immediately run across the line. Then he will pretend he was not sure what line you were speaking of. Only when approached with bodily harm will he cross back over the line and say "ohhhh this line?" " I didn't know!"

I am quite certain he is the pay back my parents were speaking of through my childhood and into my late teens.

Then there is our daughter. She loves rules. Never meet a rule she did not embrace and want the whole world to embrace too.

If you forget the rules, Katy will remind you, and i don't mean gently.

A few weeks ago we were driving through the pasture checking the sheep for new lambs. We were on the atv. I was showing Katy how to look for ewes that were about to lamb, and what to look for in a sick ewe or lamb. Katy loves to learn and she always want to go do anything on the ranch that involves the animals.

Katy looked down at this sticker and said in a very loud voice "Mommy you see that picture we don't have on a helmet!"






I agreed we did not have a helmet and i could feel my good mommy sticker peeling off my card.

Not be distracted Katy said "and mommy we are ridding TWO people on here!"

I agreed we were and pointed out we also had a dog on the atv... so that was probably some double rule violation.

Katy had to think a little about the next picture but finally she said " and we crossed our road to get to the pasture"

At this point i was thinking she was going to ask for my phone so she could call child protective services and asked them to come get her.

That is when i looked at the sticker and saw the last "rule."

But Katy look we are NOT shooting heroin! I think if you have to pick a rule to follow that is a VERY good one indeed!

Katy was silent. She pursed her lips and finally said " AND we are not drinking booze either!"

Excellent! Right you are Kate, we are not shooting heroin OR drinking booze!

No need to call child protective today.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Can i touch um?

This year we have over 100 yearling to lamb. I have many of them in the closet pasture to the house.

We have had a LOT of triplets this year and 4 sets of quads with less than 1/4 of the ewes lambed out.  Even the quads are even and good sized.

We leave ewes and lambs in the pasture to lamb,  but with so many multiplies this year we have jugged the trips for a day and then put them in a mixing pen for a few days before they are turned back out to pasture.

This am i turned about 6 sets of trips into the pasture with the yearlings. They will go back out with the ewes in a few days and more trips will come.

The best work to describe a yearling is "twit."  They are curious and silly and all over the place. Think teenage girl.

When i let the trips about 40 yearling RAN up to see what was going on. They surrounding the ewes kicking their feet and swinging their heads from side to side. 

The conversation appeared to go something like this.

Yearling 1 " OMG is that THREE lambs gf?" I mean you looked BIG..no offense.. but three lambs!!"  " Can i touch um?"

Yearling 2 " That figure is soooooo not coming back i hope i just have one lamb!" Can i touch um?"

Yearling 3 " ohhhhhh girlfriend your teats are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BIG...i mean those are not going to spring back if you know what i mean" " Can i touch um?"

yearling 4 "those rams were hot but a girl should know when to say enough" " can i touch um?"

yearling 5 " did it hurt? cuz i did not sign up for a lot of pain" " can i touch um?"

yearling 6 " is that blood on your bag? ohhh i feel sick" " can i touch um?"

yearling 7 " what was that lamby bus they put you in? i mean that was so gross and it was a short bus." can i touch um?'


ewe and her quads

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ready...Set.................

Lambing is officially a week away.  This means that any day now we can start with an early bird or two.

The yearling have been ear tagged with their permanent ear tags. We wait to do this until they are ready to lamb for the first time. We like to lamb first timers in their own pasture, but this year we had too many, so some will lamb with the ewes.

A few yearlings with their new earrings

The rough coated dogs have been shaved. This allows us to see any stickers or burrs before they get in their skin. I am sure my smooth coated dogs get a good chuckle at their hair challenged friends new looks.



Nellie shows her new cut last year


The irrigation water has been available for several weeks but the ground has been wet enough we have not needed it. This week we started to irrigate so we can get a good dose of water on all the pasture before we start to lamb.

The ewes were brought out of the dry land where they have been feed hay for the winter.




Ewes in dry land


The ewes are then taken to the irrigated farm ground where they will stay for the summer. This year we plan to leave the dry land open for some cover. We will add some large straw bales for cover, and some hay bales for those ewes that lamb in the dry land and wish to stay a few days with their new lambs. Many of the yearlings are in a pasture closer to the house.














A new pup is here at the ranch..young Lad will spend this lambing dreaming of the day he can walk the fields with his master and help in the yearly lambing.



Lad aka Laddie boy and Ladlad



Like all ranchers we ranchers we have spent the year planning for the lambing. Researching and buying new and better rams from http://www.tamaracksheep.com/.


Tamarack rams owned by 10-7 Ranch. Two more bucks were added last fall and two more have been reserved for this fall.

Buying fall breed ewe lambs from Richard Hamilton. This allows us to breed new ewes at 18 months of age and not breed spring ewe lambs. We did keep some of our Hamilton X Tamarack ewe lambs and i look fwd to breeding them last this fall.


Fall ewe lambs breed by Richard Hamilton in Rio Vista CA, purchased by 10-7 Ranch in June of 2011

 We have over seeded and fertilizing some of the pastures to have better forage for the ewes and lambs this summer. The pastures have been divided( with temp electric fence) so the ewes have a large area to lamb( set stocking) and another pasture is saved to grow and move the ewes after they have lambed.


  Studying the carcass info that our lamb buyer has provided, and looking at ways to make our lamb produce and even better product. http://www.nimanranch.com/Index.aspx


Loin eye pic of one of our lambs sold to Niman ranch






We are thankful for that the wet spring that made up for the very dry winter this year, and that we have irrigation water in the basin...and we wait and send up a prayer or two for a good lamb crop in 2012.
Sun rise at the 10-7 Ranch

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring?

For much of winter i have been MIA blog wise. We are not that busy in winter, i just seem to have lost my creativity for a time. The blog is mostly for me, it is an outlet for my creativity. I don't sell things or advertise on my blog. I am not an artist or a musician, i can't sew or make things. My creative pulse is limited to writing, and I enjoy writing about our ranch life the most.

Spring has brought some inspiration, and the busy time of year is starting.

At the end of Feb. it looked as if we would have a drought year, this would mean no irrigation water for our area. A drought would be devastating to this area and we badly need rain and snow pack. March was a savior. As of today the snow pack is 100% of normal and it looks as if we will have irrigation water for most, if not all of the season. Happy dance!

 Upper Klamath lake that holds much of the irrigation water

Feeding in March


The weather has not warmed up much and as of a day ago snow was still falling in our area. It was only a few inches and it went away by noon, but grass is very slow to come on.

Green but slow coming


Last week we vaccinated the ewes with a 8 way to help protect them and the lambs they will start having in a month. We also had the fields fertilized with urea. Now for some warm weather and the fields should come on strong for lambing.


Ewes loaded for shots



That's my baby two fisting shots

95% of our flock are fine wool, but we still have a handful or North Country and Border Cheviot ewes left. I thought the contrast of this Targhee ewe and the Cheviot was funny.



who you calling short!

My kids love these big spray boom trucks. Note the snow in the hills.

Fertilizer going on


 This week we sheared the ewes.



Shearing is always a watch the weather then run like hell affair. We get our shearing crew from the valley and they are busy shearing the many thousands of sheep in the Willamette valley.  We live at 4,200 feet so snow and cold this time of year is common. The sheep have to be dry to be sheared and you would like for it to be dry for many days after you shear, especially with the cold weather we are having.  We will feed up for at least a week to give the ewes the extra energy they will need to stay warm.

Snow squalls all around the ranch


Shearing was set for Friday, and Thursday am as we set up the barn for shearing, we watched the snow squalls roll all around us. Thankfully the snow missed us and we sheared on Friday.

It was 25 deg that am when we started and you could see the steam roll off the boys as they worked. Each year i marvel at the toughness of the folks who shear sheep. What a back breaking, and dirty tough job it is.
Kenny an Dusty a long, long day


Our regular crew could not come but they recommended Dusty and Kenny and they were fabulous. Great natured young guys, who were skilled at their work. It was a pleasure to have them for a few nights.  The other great thing about this crew is the brought their own wool press! That meant not having to stomp wool. A thankless job we all hate and have hired out to a neighbor kid for the last few years.


wool press


The wool press makes square bale that weighs about 450lbs. Most wool buyers prefer the wool to be packaged this way, thou our buyer does not dock us for bagged wool. 

It was a long day, we started at 7 am and we were bagging wool by a full moon at 830pm. The kids came and helped when they got home from school. James helped his dad keep the system loaded with sheep, and Katy grabbed the belly wool and put it in a separate pile. Katy also kept the shearing board clean by sweeping it.  The shearers had music up loud and the press was loud too, both kids wore ear protection most of the time. I was very proud of the kids who worked 5 hours and were a big help.

James is a like my dog Mint. Hard work yes! More work yes! All day work yes! He loves ranch work and his ability to work for long hours is amazing for an 8 year old.

James keeping the chute full



Katy usually wont work as long as her brother will, but she worked until after dark just like James did. Katy is my inquisitive one, always wanting to know how things work and why. The shearers took the gate off of the holding crate( it has a gate at the back end) and put a wool sack over the opening. This made it easier for them to get the sheep out without opening the gate. Katy knew exactly why they did this "mommy is that sack there so the sheep think it is gate and wont come out until the guys are ready?" Smart kid.

Kepping the floor clean


It is a great feeling to have shearing done. An even better feeling when i drive the wool to Portland to be sold to http://www.pendleton-usa.com/  They use our wool to make dress shirts. Our wool is considered med fine at 22.5 mic with a staple length of 2-4 inches.  Wool prices cont to be at record highs.

 Dusty said shearing the fine wool is much different than shearing the coarse wool sheep they are used to in the valley. They have to bend the sheep differently and it more difficult.  The cold weather also makes the wool tougher to get off. A good tip was sure in line for these guys :)

a look at the staple

Fleece




We still have some over seeding to do this week, and some fence work to get done before lambing. Life gets very busy this time of year.
fruits of our labor

Sheared sheep at the end of the day