April 7, 2009

I can't wait for Spring to stay!

Spring is here today, then gone again tomorrow!
Oh, I wish it would stay!
Here is what my light stands looked like two weeks ago:

They have tripled in 'load' since... I now have 1,101 + plants... waiting to go into the greenhouse!
And I still have these two seed flats to pot up!
But I think our night temps will be stable enough now that I can begin moving flats in today!!!!
More photos soon... of baby animals!!!!

Summary of March 2009:

"Trooper" and Mrs. John
We both like 'driving the pickup' when it is cold!!!

Work on the ranch from December to February is mostly 'Feeding'.
We actually feed hay to our cattle from December until at least May, but from December to February, the 'feeding' takes up most of the day. There are other things besides feeding: in January, we feed and sell the 9 month old calves; in February, we vaccinate the replacement heifer calves, and in March the cows begin calving.
But the main part of our ranch work during the winter months is Feeding. We spend all summer irrigating, cutting and baling hay... and spend all winter rolling it out! Our life revolves around FEED! :)

Moving Cows.... it is easy when it is snowing... they follow the hay rack!

Here is how we 'FEED':
(We have a 250-head ranch. As is usual, you don't count the 15 bulls, or any cattle under 1 year of age, such as the 40 replacement heifers, when describing 'head' a ranch runs. So 250-head means we have approx. 250 mature cows. Actual animals on the ranch will vary from approx 300 in March before the new calves are born to approx. 500 in January before we sell the calves.)
So, for a few months, we feed 500 head of cattle. That takes alot of FEED!
We feed them together as one 'bunch'. Some ranchers, like my brothers will have more than one 'bunch'... sorting them by age during calving time, or sorting into different fields in the summer so that specific bulls are with specific cows during breeding season.
Anyway, we feed with large round bales, simply because it is easier to do it with 'tractor power' rather than handling the smaller, traditional rectangular bales by 'man power'! :)

We load the bales on a hay rack and pull it to the 'feeding grounds'.
The net wrap or twine that holds the hay together in a 'bale' must be removed.
Then the tractor unrolls the bale into strips of hay.

Summary of Jan and Feb 2009:

Yes, I am behind on 'blogging' entries! I have such good intentions.... but as the old saying says: the road to h--- is paved with good intentions. Good Intentions aren't worth much!
Here is a brief summary of January and February 2009:
January and February were snowy and cold... we actually got a winter that is more like the 'typical' Montana winter. I watched my yard from indoors... read landscaping books and doddled many, many diagrams .... filling several notebooks!!!

Here is a view from my dining room window.... looking out over the snow-covered patio. The petunia bloomed like this, or more, since I potted it up as a young self-sown plant last November. It has been so satisfying to have a bright burst of color in the window... and you can see it very well from outside as well!!! :)

I had neglected my African violets and other houseplants last summer, so they are looking nicer and more 'loved'. Here is a pink streptocarpus.... I purchased it at a greenhouse last spring... I think they were selling it as an outdoor bedding plant!

We also had our annual Cake Day.... my sister in laws, my mother and I have a day every winter when we decorate cakes together! We live about an hour and a half drive apart... and so we pick a time in the winter when 'things' are slower to have a full day of FUN!
My cake is the tiered cake on the right... using a plate and cup and saucer set from my great grandmother's dishes