Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Here at the ranch, the guys have been weaning calves.
Due to the drought, and reduced irrigation water the ranch began weaning calves a month earlier than normal.   Usually right now the crew is preconditioning, but that got done in July and now they're weaning.

They're weaning a bit differently this year to help reduce stress on the calves.  First the pairs are all brought to the white corrals where the cows are separated from the calves.  The cows hang out in a nearby pen while the calves are given their second booster of vaccines (they would have had an initial dose three weeks earlier at preconditioning), a dose of wormer and pour on, and their weaning weight is recorded.  In addition, the Genex progeny calves get an EID tag placed in their ear so their carcasses can be tracked through the slaughtering facility once they're harvested.   Steer calves also get a second dose of Ralgro, which is an implant the size of a pencil eraser that is placed in their ear to promote growth.

Then the calves are turned back in with the cows, and taken back down the road to a pasture.  A few weeks later, the calves are separated again and fence line weaned.  The ranch has about three places where we can do this, but more than three groups of pairs.  So that's why the calves are turned back out with the cows to wait their turn, essentially.  I think it also helps the calves stress level, because the day that they're actually weaned from the cow - they're not being worked.  I would imagine that this also helps with vaccine efficacy, but that's just my opinion.

Once the bawl has worn off, the now dry cows are moved to a fresh pasture and the weaned calves are sorted by sex.  The steers get taken to Double M's feedlot, while the heifers are taken (or remain) at the white corral for development.
It's a lot of steps....and a lot of trips up and down the road....but hopefully the reduced stress levels on the calf make the extra work by the crew worthwhile. 
The pictures in this post were all taken the day I helped give the weaning protocol to the first calf heifer pairs before we turned them back out to pasture for a week or so before separation and the actual weaning.
Clint tells me that all of the calves have had their weaning shots and weights recorded, but that there are four more groups to separate and wean; they hope to be done by the end of next week.
So there'll be a few more trips down the road.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Unlikely visitors.

We have some unlikely visitors in the feedlot right now.

A few pens of Holstein steers from California are hanging out right now.
These cattle are bigger than the small Holstein calves we normally get - which means they're healthier in general - so that's a bonus right there.
But I'm not too sure what these girls think about their neighbors?

Monday, August 17, 2015

A visit from Dave & Jace.

Happy Monday friends!
I know my posting has been sparse, but we've been living life well here!
Last week Clint's dad and nephew flew in from Nebraska for a week to visit.  It was great to see them!
They helped Clint with cattle work during the day (pregging spring cows and weaning calves) and then we tried to do a few fun things in the evenings.  It just so happened that our county fair was the same week they were here, so we made the most of it!
We went to the rodeo on Thursday, rode the rides with Jace on Friday, and then helped with the youth livestock auction on Saturday before they headed home.


Jace even got to meet and have his picture taken with the Queen of the Pendleton Round Up!

Thanks Kylee for stopping and saying "hi"!  :)
And Jace and I ate plenty of "Mustache Mike's" italian ice's while we were at the fair - so good!
We had such a great time with these two, even if a week felt too short for their visit.
They flew home early Sunday morning - but we can't wait to see them and the rest of the family soon!

Friday, July 31, 2015


I'm playing catch up a little on the blog today.....


July was a blur -
Wheat harvest began early and caught us hustling at work.
We celebrated Lindsay's bachelorette party as tourists in Seattle, and I got to see the Clancy cousins during a work trip to Minneapolis.
Clint hustled at the ranch, but I felt like I was hardly around to help.
Bev turned 80 and I got my first chance to ride the Sternwheeler.
A lot of firsts and a great month that I hope we get to experience again next year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A different angle.

Every Tuesday evening of this month, Kelby (the Genex intern who's been living with us this summer) and I have taken a photo class in Pendleton.
When Kelby first came to stay with us in June, she said she wanted to learn how to use her Canon Rebel more proficiently.  I knew that the Art Center in Pendleton had a monthly class, so we signed up.  It was a beginner class - and people I knew that had already taken the class said I wouldn't learn anything - but I wanted to support Kelby and I also figured it'd be good for me to.   I've never taken a formal class before, and everything I've learned about photography I've either 1) read on the internet, 2) asked Lindsay Murdock about, or 3) winged it and tried to make it work.
So I figured going would probably be good for me. 

 And it was. 
I'm not sure I gained a lot of new skills with how to use my camera - although I did learn a few details - but what I really got out of the class was perspective.

Bill Peal, the instructor for the class would tell great stories of how he'd go to certain places - Crater Lake, Multnomah Falls, etc - only so that he could take a specific picture. 
We on the other hand go places to do something - breed cows, build fence, whatever - and then along the way I try to shoot a few frames. 
Rarely do I set out thinking "I'm going to capture "XXXX" shot".

So as a result of the class, I really realized that I classify myself as someone who documents life as it's happening through pictures.   I think the thing it did for me the most was allow me to realize how lucky I am to live a life where I am surrounded by opportunities to take photos that capture our lifestyle.
What really stretched me the most were the assignments we were presented during each class.  During the class period we'd walk around the Art Center and our instructor would tell us certain things we were supposed to shoot.  He pushed us to be creative and try new things...things I don't normally have the "time" for when I'm trying to capture life in between thawing straws, or catching a cow in a head catch.  :)
As a result, I got to take pictures of things that I normally wouldn't have - like the pictures of Pendleton's newest bronze statue "Requa".

The last class is tonight, but I'm in Minneapolis for work this week so I'll be missing out.
But what I haven't missed is the lesson that sometimes it's good to change our angle, and try a new shot. 
Thanks Bill for that one!