Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter On The Ranch

I have been taking my camera with me lately as i work around the ranch. Just a little camera i can fit in my chore coat. I need a new one but, it has to fit in my pocket, or i wont take it with me. I do always think it is a shame that i don't capture the beauty of the Klamath basin as well as I should, because my camera just cant.

The sun rise this am was spectacular, one you stop your work and just look at and enjoy.

The ewes pasture looking east and south








From the horse pen

The pigs from September are growing fat.  Our son won "Frank P Fert" ( the pink one) at the the greased pig contest at the fair. He needed a buddy( it helps them grow faster) so our daughter got "Oscar D Meyer". I would have to say a winter pig is the way to go. You feed more to keep them warm, but the pig "mess" is so much less. Few things nastier than pig sh%^>


Frank and Oscar 




Oscar in Sept

Frank in Sept and the proud pig catcher



My mare "Pistol" got a little fat this fall. I got lazy in not bringing her in each day from graze.  As a mustang/wild horse( she was adopted at 2 after being wild and we bought her at 4) she can live practically on air. She is also as smart as they come. Not all horses or dogs are smart. Our daughter's gelding is a lovely horse and perfect for her, but he is not that smart :)

Pistol opens gates.  Feeding this week i stood and watched her makes sure i put the Pistol proof pin in the gate. Regardless, she tested the gate to make double sure.

Pistol proof pin

Just checking to make sure i put the pin in


We have had a nasty cold snap the past week. Temps around 0 for lows, and not raising above freezing all day. We get that most winters, but is not the average winter weather here. Usually it comes for a week and leaves.

I know we all are ready for it to go. Livestock and guardian dogs also consume much more food when their bodies also have to try and stay warm in extreme weather.

That kind of cold makes every ranch job tougher. My least favorite cold temp chore would have to be water tanks. Because most winters we do not have extreme cold for long, we have not had livestock tank heaters. This year we have stock in several different pasture and breaking ice is a pain.

Big ice on side of tanks


Clearing tanks is a job for a sledge hammer and a good shovel. I will say it is a good upper body work out and i tried to remind myself of that as i hacked at ice all week.

We are looking into tank heaters. It looks maybe a propane heater would work best for us. For the most part we don't have extreme winters here, not like in many parts of the country, but the elevation here is around 4,000 feet, so anything can happen.


 The ewe pasture is against Turkey hill. We had several wanted and unwanted visitors this winter. A pair of hawks is calling the ewe pasture home, and both often watch us as we feed ewes in the am. This pic in no way does the beauty justice.


 
 Hawk in ewe pasture.

 Another visitor has been the coyotes. The come every year of course and thanks to our livestock guard dog we have not lost an animal to them. The other morning i open the back door to let dogs out and i heard what sounded like a car alarm. I knew it was not a car alarm as nobody around here locks their car :) My sleepy brain cleared and i realized it was coyotes. It was still very dark so a grabbed a light and went to look. They stopped as soon as i used the light, but it was quite the party.

When it got light my husband went to look and found our young LGD Max at the very far end of the pasture, and he was till in a snit. Love these dogs.

Tough to see but the white lump mid pic back is a very tired Max