Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pocket gophers and tree stump work

It's that time of year!  The pocket gophers are getting active.  Last week when dragging the harrow around the south pasture I noticed some fresh dirt mounds, which the harrow then flattened.  When I went back a few days later I found more fresh mounds.  I set five traps and have trapped four pocket gophers over two days.  I have a few more traps out on a few more dirt mounds, including two traps on my neighbor's land just across my fence.  Once these pocket gophers have been trapped I will be done for now.

I also finished filling in a tree stump hole from the last tree stump Tammy and I burned last year.

Filled in area.

I also started digging around another tree stump.  Of course it would be another "iceberg": just a small area of the tree stump above ground with a massive root underground.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Garden prep

I plan to have a small garden this year.   A few days ago I put down some plastic and boards to kill the grass to make rotor-tilling the ground easier and have less roots for grass to re-grow.

Daisy inspecting my work.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baby watch

This morning Momma looked closer to having a calf.   Judging from the swollen size of her udder's teats I thought she may have had a calf already who had been sucking on them.  Nope.  In addition to her udder's large size, her tail is sitting way up higher and her vaginal area is even more swollen.  She looks to be really close to giving birth.   ...but I thought that before so we'll see.

So I herded Momma into the corral as I don't want to have to search the hayfield for a newborn calf. The other year it took Baby a few days to be able to move around much when Momma gave birth last time.  Also, Momma would give "Grandpa Whiskers" company in the corral.  Still, when the herd is way out in the hayfield both Momma and Grandpa Whiskers look longing at them.

Lots and lots of licking her sides today.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Harrow and bull calf

Today I finally finished dragging the harrow around the pastures.  I only have the hayfield left to harrow and I won't do that until I re-lock the cattle in the corral.  Yesterday I spent six hours dragging the harrow over an uneven pasture and around and around many trees.  This morning I woke up a little sore from all the bouncing around I did in the pickup cab as I drove.

I don't think I mentioned it but a few weeks ago I discovered one of my little steer calves (Grandpa Whiskers) was not a steer but a little bull calf. He has a big pair of balls hanging down.  He usually has his tail down and being so short I never noticed his balls before. The guy I bought the calf from thinks he may have missed banding this calf.

So on the to-do list is banding Grandpa Whiskers and turning him into a steer.  Easier said than done.

Yesterday morning I noticed Grandpa Whiskers was keeping company with a little heifer.


Both are way too young to be having sex.

I separated Grandpa Whiskers from the herd.  It went easier than expected to get him alone into part of the corral.  He has hay, water and salt and is set until I can get him banded.  He is an independent little guy but he does get a little lonely when the herd spends time at the far end of the hayfield.


A few weeks ago the biggest heifer went into heat for the first time.  She called for a boy for a few hours.  Thankfully only a couple hours - not ten hours like Baby called last year.  When the heifer first started calling she was near Momma and I initially thought Momma gave birth and it was a new calf calling.

Here is a 57 second video of the heifer calling once she laid down.  Her mother Beulah is in front of her.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Annual ditch burning

Today I finished my annual ditching burning.  On Sunday I burnt the ditch along the NE pasture .

The smoke in the background is my neighbor burning the hay their cattle did not eat over Winter.

As for the ditch along my hayfield, the wind was from the east / southeast and I was afraid the fire would get away and into the hayfield.  Earlier I had drug the harrow along the fence line a number of times but I saw that there was more dead grass than dirt or green grass.

The wind was like this for several days.   Then a few nights ago I was able to burn some of the ditch as the wind died.  But the wind died too fast.  With green grass growing among the dead grass, and a little higher humidity, I needed a small breeze to move the fire along.  I was able to burn a thin strip along the fence line.  Now if the wind would be from the east / southeast I could still burn.

Yesterday the wind was from the right direction: south / southwest.  But then it rained.

Today the wind was from the south / southwest and no rain.  So I was able to finish my ditch burning.  Even with the wind the cool temperature and higher humidity meant I had to nurse the fire along.

The cattle came to the fence as I was burning.  Several calves were curious and tried to either sniff or lick the flames.  They quickly learned that this was a bad idea.

The unburned section of the ditch is where the truck went off the road a few weeks ago spreading dirt and gravel.