Sunday, September 21, 2014

King lost some subjects

Thursday had a feeder cattle auction down in Missoula.  It was past time for some of the cattle to be sold.  I ended up selling four of the six calves from last year.  I want to expand the number of cows I own.  Dan has two pairs and a 2 year old heifer but he is uncertain if he will sell them.  So I decided to keep two of my heifer calves to become cows. That would expand my little herd to nine cows and if Dan sells me his three cows I would have an even dozen cows.

My calves are old enough to become mothers next year.  I've been told that first time cows could have a better chance of problems giving birth.  But I decided to give it a go next year.

One heifer (Number 07)  is definitely large enough and would be a good candidate to become a mother.  The other heifer (number 55) is Beulah's daughter.   She is just big enough.  She was the largest heifer in the Spring but over the Summer 07 passed her in size.  Why?  I don't know.

Beulah (right) and Beulah's daughter (left).

Number 7

Usually Dan and I hire Evan to haul our cattle to the auction.  But because we had less cattle to sell this Fall we decided to each haul our own cattle the day before the auction.

Dan was worried about getting the herd into the corral so we could sort out the cattle going to the auction.  But I have done this before and had a way that works.  I have them in the hayfield with the water trough near the corral.  I feed them a few apples each day.  I locked the cattle and horses out of half of the corral and let the grass grow inside it.  The morning I want them in the corral I lock the horses out of the entire corral and open the corral gate.  I then stand with my bucket of apples.

Works every time.

Once I got the cattle in the corral by 7:30 am I called Dan.  He come over with his truck and stock trailer.  I didn't have him come over earlier as he and his trailer would distract the cattle.

Once Dan came we sorted the cattle between the ones going to Missoula and the ones staying.  The sorting took a little time as we didn't really push them too much to go in one or the other side of the corral.  Buddy the bull warranted special treatment.  I have three gates between the two sides of the corral.  Buddy didn't want to go through the middle gate.  He walked over to the east gate which I then opened for him and he ambled on through.

Once we got the cattle going to the auction on one side of the corral we moved them to the loading corral.  Then we sorted my cattle into the smaller part of the loading corral and then loaded them into my trailer.

Then we loaded Dan's six cattle into his stock trailer.

Herding Dan's cattle
We left at 9:18 am.  It had been almost an hour and a half of sorting and loading even though it didn't seem that long.

My pickup is more for gas mileage over power.  Therefore we drove around the east side of Flathead Lake to avoid the hills on the west side.  The distance from my place is about the same.

I led and Dan followed.  He got delayed getting onto one highway but I wasn't concerned as his more powerful pickup could catch up.  I passed Bigfork.  No Dan. I had gotten every light as green and did not have traffic slowing me down.  Two thirds the way down the Lake I pulled over onto a long gravel area along the highway and waited for Dan.  He showed up a couple minutes later.

The rest of the drive to Missoula was pretty uneventful.  We did have two long steep hills to go down.  The cattle had been behaving but after getting down the first long hill they began milling around in the trailer and I could feel them move.  Then looking back at the trailer I could see its end starting to move more and more side to side.  Before it could begin to fishtail I slowed way down then sped up a little bit.  The cattle settled down and the trailer stopped its side to side movement.

It took two and a half hours to reach Missoula.  Even though the speed limit a good amount of time was 70 mph, I usually drove 60 mph and 65 only at times.

A half hour to unload our two trailers and then the drive back to Kalispell.  I told Dan to go ahead and not wait for me as I would be alright.  We were close until the first big hill.  He could power up and I struggled to drive 40 mph up the hill.  He was gone by the time I got to the top.  Otherwise the trip back was uneventful.

Wildlife crossing

Flathead Lake

Prior to Tammy joining me the few times I hauled cattle something or another would happen each trip: sticking trailer brake, flat tie on the trailer, broken catch.  Once Tammy joined me on trips nothing bad happened.  I wondered if something would go wrong on this trip since my good luck charm Tammy wasn't along, but nothing happened.  Maybe Dan coming along part of the time kept the bad luck away.

Once I got home I spent quite a bit of time washing out the trailer as the inside was covered deep in manure.

Rubber floor mats from the stock trailer

Daisy inspecting the clean trailer

I had left the hayfield gate to the south part of the corral open and the cattle ate most of the tall grass down.  They we laying in and just outside of the corral.  Buddy the bull was standing and calling for the missing cattle.  Some of his subjects were gone.  He spent quite a long time calling.

Buddy checking out one of the cows


One of my cows

One of Dan's cows I would like to buy

Monday, September 15, 2014

Killing frost

A few days ago we set a record low temperature of 23 F for that date.  Yup, it was cold.

My English Walnut tree is very susceptible to cold temperatures.  Just like squash, pumpkin and similar types of garden plants, this tree can't take temps below freezing, much less low 20s.

This tree is the last tree to leaf out in the Spring.  Usually not until June.  Every year I hold my breath wondering if the tree made it another year.  Then all of a sudden it leafs out and has the biggest and thickest leaves all Summer long.

Late in the Spring.  Early in the Fall.  Toss in one year when the cattle ate a number of leaves and another year when the horses did the same and no wonder this is only as big as the tree has gotten in 10 years from a sapling 18 inches high.  No walnuts yet.

Curled and dying leaves on an English Walnut tree.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Delays and sunset

I went for a hike today.  I was delayed twice.  First, I found a dead mouse in the house.  In the mousetrap by the dryer.  The mousetrap killed the mouse before Daisy did.  My sense of smell is bad as the mouse had been dead for a while and I didn't smell it.

Then as I was driving to the hiking meetup I noticed one black calf outside the fence at the neighbor's place.  The cattle can still get to the one neighbor's place and this calf got through the neighbor's bad fence to another neighbor's property.

I crossed the field to reach the calf.  Some of the cattle were at this end of the field.  My running across the field got them excited and they came my way.  Before the cattle reached me I got through the fence to the field with the calf who then got excited.  He or she (in my hurry I didn't look) then ran along the fence searching for how he or she got through it.   I tried not to hurry the calf but it couldn't find the spot it had squeezed through the fence.  It ran back to the corner then pushed its way through the fence pulling one wire off the fence.  But it was able to get back to the herd who now were on the other side of the fence and agitated and milling.

I patched the fence and down the way, away from the cattle, crawled back through the fence and headed back to my car.  The cattle were looking at me. I began to hurry and they got more excited and I broke into a run and they came running.  I ran faster and got over the gate before they reached me.


I then went off for a full day of hiking in the mountains.

Later, after I got home, I saw this sunset.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Canning pears

Earlier this week I picked Bob and Jan's pears from their tree before we had the hard freeze.  Today I helped Jan and Victoria can the pears.  It took all afternoon.

Jan had an errand to run and left Victoria and I to blanch and prepare the pears.  I had no knowledge of canning fruit and Victoria only did it once before with Jan (nectarines).  The pear skin didn't come off easily after blanching so I switched to using a peeler to cut the skin off without blanching.  That was quicker.

Jan had a pressure cooker where we could seal six or seven jars at a time. We canned 20 quart jars of pears.  Some of the jars sealed fairly quickly.  Just now I heard one seal - many hours after being removed from the pressure cooker.

Tonight Daisy was all wound up.  After running around the house like a crazy cat I let her outside.  When I went outside after dark she was running around on the house roof.  I ignored her attention seeking as I knew she could get down by herself.   She did.   After coming inside the house she took over my computer chair while I closed the house door.  And she didn't want to give the chair up.  I tried sharing it but she wanted it all herself.  She ended up getting moved off the chair and is now sulking elsewhere in the house.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September moon with clouds

Winter is coming!  Early Wednesday afternoon when the clouds lifted briefly snow covered the tops of the mountains.  Our high temperature was 48 degrees which is 24 degrees below normal.  I think the 48 degrees came after midnight as it seems like the temp was in the low 40s all day.  Toss in the strong wind and it was a cold day.  Even Daisy didn't spend much time outside.  She is currently curled up on my lap.