Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pregging & Preconditioning.

The ranch is and has been pregging all of the spring cows this past week, and will wrap up next week.  Cows are preg checked so see if they are pregnant and how far along they are.  A cow earns her keep by having a calf each year, so if she isn't pregnant she gets sold.   So it's important to know which cows are pregnant and which ones aren't. 
A lot of ranches might preg as a cow is closer to calving, but Double M likes to preg early so that cows can be grouped by how far along they are.  Double M runs their cows in various groups, and usually pregs a group or two each day.  Most of the groups are grouped by age, but some are grouped by whether or not they have an AI calf, or were AI'ed themselves, or their color.  So as each group is pregged, the cows that are open (not pregnant) and short bred (bred 45 days or less) are sorted out of their main group and put in a separate group that only contains opens and short breds.  The ranch does this, so that when it comes time to make culling decisions, you don't have to go back and sort out individual cows out of multiple groups.  They're all in one spot and in one field.  It's a lot easier to sort a cow off in the working facilities, and find & sort her calf off in the pens then to sort and pair a group off out of an open field. 

Last Saturday we pregged the R3's (I have no clue what R3 means....but the crew at the ranch does, and that's all that matters, lol) at the white corrals.  Hermiston Vet Clinic is the vet Double M uses, but since there are so many cows Clint wasn't able to schedule them for all of the days he needed a vet there.  Dr. Don Peters helps fill in at the ranch, so he was there in Saturday to help us preg.  
Thanks for taking a Saturday morning to help us Don! 
Before the cows were pregged though, all of their calves got preconditioned.  The calves will be weaned in the middle of September, so now is a great time to be giving them their first round of vaccines (8-way and 5-way), oral wormer, pour on for fly control and a dose of Ralgro growth promotant for the steers and non-replacement heifers. Each calf's individual weight is also recorded.

I was in charge of writing down the weights of each calf as they came through the chute and dosing the steers with Ralgro.  Clint ran the chute, gave the vaccines and handled the wormer and pour on.  Jesse and Jack brought the calves up the alley and to the chute.


Teagan was the official entertainer and photographer. 
I think she's going to give me a run for my money in the photography department! :)
We just did about 60 pairs last Saturday, so we were done by lunch.  The crew has been and will continue to preg and precondition every day this week, and will continue through most of next week until all of the spring pairs are processed.  Then the cycle will start all over again in mid-September as the spring calves are weaned.
Ranching is a cycle - and while this cycle means a lot of work and early mornings for the guys, the time spent pregging cows and preconditioning calves should pay off in the end.
Success is reason enough!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Feedlot vs. Farm City

The first year we were at Double M, I posted about how surprised I was to see the bulls and bucking horses at the feedlot.  I think most people who go to the rodeo don't really think about where the rodeo stock stays when they're not in the performance.  For Farm City and also for the Pendleton Round Up, most of the rodeo stock stays in feedlot pens at Top Cut during the day where they're fed hay and grain, and watered. Then each night they're trucked into the rodeo grounds and after the performance, they're loaded back up on trucks and hauled back out to the feedlot for the night.

I was at the feedlot last weekend doing some paperwork, and stopped to take a few pictures of the stock.  It's funny how they can look like this out in the pens - all calm and collected....

And then look like this just a few hours later....

The stock are athletes as well - just like the cowboys.

That's why it's important that they are fed & cared for well while they're on the road, and the crew at Double M is happy that we can play a small role in that care.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to put the sneak on.

Yesterday morning we helped Terry & Anna haul their beef cows home from summer pasture.  The pairs needed to be gathered out of a big pasture, and we were trying to get them in a small pen of panels.  Since it was a field they rent, there weren't loading or working facilities, so we improvised and tried to make the best of things.  It's easiest if you can gather a group of cows and get them in the pen the first time - without anything going back on you.  Cows are smart, and if they get away once they become really tough to get in at all.  So the goal was to put the sneak on them, and see if we could just work as a team to get the pairs in and loaded on the first try.
So in this post, I bring you "How we put the sneak on."
.....Humor me, lol....

First, you need to locate said pairs.
These ladies were all bunched up in the field next to the small field we needed them to be in.
So Anna and I hollered "C'mmmmmoooonn girls!" a few times to see if they'd come towards the gate.
Gosh dang it, they didn't.
So we called in reinforcements.  ;)
While the reinforcements (Clint in a pickup, Terry & Hannah on horses) were out doing the real work, I killed time by taking pictures of random things around me.

Then once the pairs did start to come, Terry and Hannah pushed the pairs on horses, while Clint shut the gates behind them so they'd be in the small pasture.  Anna and I were on foot alongside the pairs trying to make them stay to the west part of the field and head towards the pen.

RJ was hiding in the barn with Reagan, ready to throw a few flakes of hay at the lead cows once they were close to the pen opening and wouldn't you know it?
They took the bait and all went in the pen the first time!
Sneaky success!

Then it was just a matter of sorting and loading the trailers.  Reagan and I kept ourselves busy in the pickup.....I may or may not have taught her how to properly chew & spit sunflower seeds.    Once the trailers were all loaded, the horses were loaded up and the panels were picked up, we all headed back to Terry & Anna's to turn the pairs out to grass. 
Success all around.
So the next time you need to "put the sneak on" a few pairs of cows, you'll know the crew to call.  ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The end of an era.

I was never really a {dog person}.

Until I met Austin.

Austin came to Clint in 2003.  The runt of her litter, she was free to his friend Ryan who'd purchased another pup from the litter.  Ryan gifted her to Clint, she was named Austin and the rest has been history. 

Austin was a fixture with Clint while he was at OSU.  She went to the ranch with him, went on judging trips with him and was watched by friends when had to be gone by plane.  It wouldn't be uncommon for Clint to run into Withycombe to run something to his office, and Austin would be hanging outside the door with a student who was lovingly petting her.

Austin loved to work cows. She loved to play fetch and we have Paul to thank for teaching her.  She spent a lot of time at the swine unit being watched by Kerri, or Lacey or Keely while Clint was gone on trips.  When the girls would go to feed the pigs, Austin would be right there checking out the sows, or mousing around the barn.  She loved to chase after water bottles, and hear the crunch of the plastic in her mouth.  She loved to ride in the front of the pickup, but not on the seat - she preferred the floorboard of the front passenger seat. If a car was around and the door was open, you'd usually end up finding Austin curled up on the floorboard waiting to see where you were going to take her next.  She traveled lots and lots of miles on the floor of a 12 passenger van with judging teams, and who knows how many hotel rooms she's stayed in. 


When she was younger, she could have all the energy needed to work cows and then be perfectly content to lay next to you in the office or in a vehicle.  While border collie's are typically high strung, Austin has always been mellow when asked, and intense on her job when needed.  She rarely barked, unless you needed to be warned of something and while it sounds funny, but she had the best manners.  She never begged, and if you gave her something to eat you would have to turn away from her before she would eat it.  

But like all dogs do, Austin began to grow old on us and slowly, she would spend more days at home curled up on her dogbed versus out helping Clint.  She lost most of her hearing this past winter, and her eyesight was beginning to fail.  But even still - she knew when Clint was home, and wanted to be right by his side.

Yesterday we lost our sweet dog.

When I found out at Bunco last night, I didn't really process it, but when I got home I was a big mess of tears.  This morning it hit hard too, and I sobbed as I posted a picture of her to Facebook to let our friends know before I left for work.  Your comments and texts since then have been so kind, and appreciated by us.  We've known that this day would be coming, but when it actually does come, the weight of the loss still hits like a freight train.  

She was just such a good dog, and so obedient and loving. 

She was special.
She was loved.
And she will be missed.

While I know that other great dogs will come into our lives, there will never be another one just like her.   

Rest easy, Powers.