Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teenage Bulls are stUpid

So, here on the ranch if you're a bovine between 10 & 36 months, we consider you a teenager.

Many, many reasons why.  And remember, my kids are 11, 8 & 3 so I have no personal experience with teenagers.

1- They never stay where they're supposed to stay.  If their pen is full of grass, the ditch grass looks better to eat.  If you're in a nice toasty barn & its snowing; you go lay in a big snowpile until you're shivering. 

2 - Hormones  - ugh!  We sort the heifers (girls) from the bulls (boys).  We even leave the steers with the boys.  But, for some unknown reason even the steers feel the extreme desire to knock over gates to get into the heifer pen.  Apparently, their hay or grass is much tastier.  We know why the bulls want to get to the heifers, but reAlly. 

3 - Hormones - Boys!  As a bull, you've been raised with your group of brothers for your whole life.  The overwhelming urge to fight is ridiculous!!  Especially if you choose to get into a MAJOR fight the night before harvest with 3 of your brothers.

4 - Bulls!  Turnout time here on the ranch is upon us.  We turned out (well really, they turned themselves out to the cows) the 2 young bulls this past week.  Ultimate is about 2.5 years old & it will be his first year out with a big group of cows. He thinks that he is really tough, even though he is a sweetie on a halter.  "T" is 4 this year and our bull we use on heifers.  They have been neighbors for several months & seemed to get along ok.  But, when we gathered the cows this week to pull off a grassfed beef.  The two bulls were total PAINS.  Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention.  Ultimate tossed T into the fence where I was standing.  I was able to move a bit & get into his flank area & not squished too bad.  Bruised my back & pretty sore.  But I was Lucky.

So, there's four reasons I really DISLIKE teenage bovines right now.

Hope you're all having much more fun with your teenagers than I am right now.

Btw, we put T in his own pen until we can sort cows & let him have his own group.  That way he doesn't have to deal with the little cocky bull that wants to fight.  T will be much happier with his group of heifers in a couple of weeks.

~GreenRanchMom - Mama to the Momma Cows @ the ECC

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cowgirl Marketer to MudCovered

Today was such a fun day!!  Started out the morning in pouring rain. Did I mention it was 40 degrees.  Cold to say the least with the wind blowing 40 miles an hour too. Literally.  I was hunkered down in my Columbia coat with the collars up to my nose & my neck tucked in like a turtle with the rain running off my hat when I would turn my head. 

I was freezing cold & wet.  But the calves were nice & dry in their deep bedded barn munching away.  They stared at me funny, because I was dripping.  One calf even tried to lick the water that was dripping from my hat.  Silly calf. 

Next I helped a neighbor haul cull sows to the buying station.  Again, more standing outside in the pouring rain & wind.  I tried to snap a picture of the drops forming on the brim of my hat as they dripped ever so slowly off the front.  Or a picture as they ran off the front of my hat in streams.  Too close for the camera to focus.  Oh well, It was pretty, even as the rain was beginning to soak thru my second coat of the day.  

The rain once again was cold for me, but I enjoyed the watering of all our pastureland.  I will really love how the grass will finally start to grow with the warmer weather.

Then I changed Hats.  Literally.  The Silverbelly work Hat,
was traded for the clean Black Dress Hat.

I drove my clean black hat into Downtown Des Moines.  Remember, my "car" is a dually pickup & that alone gets looked at quite strange in downtown.  Then I had to park a couple of blocks away from my meeting because of those dual rear wheel tires & tall truck that can't fit in a parking garage.  So, because it was still raining, I decided to take the wonderful Skywalk that DesMoines has.  It was about noon so all the business men and women were walking about having lunch.......   I think some of them didn't know what I was.  Double takes, stares, and several "Howdy" remarks later I arrived at my meeting.  I love people watching.  And watching people "PeopleWatch" me is even more fun!

My meeting was for the Downtown DesMoines Farmers Market Vendors.  Yep, that's right!!! So excited that we will be nearly regular vendors there this summer!!!  Had tons of fun meeting some of the other vendors, and Kelly & Lydia in person.  They are a great team & have improved this market 1000 fold.  I have several new things up my sleeve & tons of great beef that will be harvested.

After that meeting I was pumped up and super excited!  Picked up the munchin crew from "their Kim's house".  Ran a few errands and arrived home to a wonderful husband that had already started chores.  I switched Hats again (literally).  The old silverbelly & I were soaked & muddy within 10 minutes.

A GREAT DAY!!!  I love my life!  I love that I have the opportunity to switch hats & live this wonderful life on and off the ranch!!

GreenRanchMom - Mama to the Momma Cows at the ECC

Monday, April 11, 2011

Earth Day - Feeling Connected to the EARTH

Well, I'm guessing you know that April is Earth Month.  Many towns and cities are having Earth Day Celebrations this week and weekend.  During these festivities, there will be lots of recycling and showing how to care for the land and tread lightly.

As a Rancher, every day is Earth Day for us.  We really do c.a.r.e. for the land and the earth each and every day.  If we don't take care of the land, the land won't take care of our animals and our family.  But really, I do see this every day.

Two weeks ago it REALLY hit me, how much I depend on the Earth and use it each day.  You see, I was at the Natural Living Expo.  Yeah, Yeah, I know, at a "Natural" festival there will be lots of celebrating everything natural and sustainable and good for the earth.  But no, thats not how it hit me.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE all the other vendors at the Natural Living Expo and how much the sustainable community works together to help many others live more naturally on our planet.

My feet.  Thats how it hit me how much I truly rely on the earth.  After the expo I could barely walk for two days!  You see, its calving season, so Beau was at home with the calves and kids & I took care of the booth by myself.  What that means is I stood (mostly in one spot), on cement, for two days straight.  Highly unusual for me in several ways!  First, standing still.  I'm used to walking a lot.  On any given day, I usually log three to five miles, in my daily activities on the ranch. 

Second, I was not on the E.A.R.T.H.  I was on cement.  Many people think that farmers or ranchers walk funny (when they see them in town).  Why, because they're probably used to walking on dirt.  I know I am!!! Especially after the Natural Living Expo.  It really hit me Sunday morning as I was sitting down before the show.  I really do rely on our earth for many more reasons than one.  But I really do celebrate earth day in the most basic ways, starting at my feet.  The earth is soft and comforting when you're walking on it.  So why shouldn't we treat the earth with a soft and comforting hand.  My feet were deeply blistered from standing still on concrete for 20 plus hours in one weekend.  So the past two weeks I have been v.e.r.y. conscious of the soft and wonderful earth I am privledged to walk on each day.

Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy meeting lots of new families and current customers!  But I really do LOVE the work I get to do each day on the ranch!!

So in honor of Earth Month (and its that time of year) we spread lots and lots of our All natural Fertilizer on the pastures south of the house this weekend.  Yes, I know the wind was out of the south and I still  had all the windows open, but I don't think it stunk.  Because It is real, natural, organic $^@& Compost!  So this week I'll keep spreading the compost and cleaning the lots, because its going to rain on Thursday and then the grass will GROW!!!  Then the beef will get to be on grass full time again!!! 

I know our cows are enjoying picking through the little bits of green that are popping up right now!  And this rancher will really enjoy not having to get into a tractor for months!!!!!  Until then wish me positive tractor driving vibes!

So, we're fertilizing our pastures for Earth Month, What are you doing to celebrate and improve the earth this month?

Btw, I have tons (literally) of free compost that is ready for spreading on your beautiful gardens!

This is one of the reasons I LOVE spring!!!!

His Momma, a heifer (first time mom) dropped him in a mud puddle and left him.  So, A.Cowgirl and I fed him a bottle, dried him off and put him in the barn with his mom.  His mom decided she liked him & wanted to nurse him.

GreenRanchingMom - Mama to the Momma Cows at the ECC

Monday, April 4, 2011

Calving Season........zzzzzzz

Well, its calving season around here.  So, I'm tired.  alot.  I don't sleep well anyway, so I always take the night checks, because If Beau's doing the checking, I'm awake the entire time too, so I might as well let him sleep.  If I really need to I can usually sneak a nap with my little man one or two days a week.  We only do night checks for the heifers (females that have never had a calf).  The mature cows know whats going on & we just check them before bedtime & when we first get up in the morning.

But, sleep aside, its my favorite time of the year!!! 

Cute little calves out running and bucking in the pastures!  and  calving means G.R.A.S.S!!!! Yeah, fresh grass!!!!!!!

I love my cows and will endure choring with the tractor during the winter for them.  So, when the grass starts growing, I get so excited that I won't have to start the tractor for quite a while!!!

If you would like, check out our Facebook Page, because I'm much better about posting lots of pictures through the week from my phone.

Thanks for followin along!!!

GreenRanchingMom - Mama to the Momma Cows at the ECC

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thank You for liking us "WIERD" people

I just want to say "THANK YOU"!!!! Thank you to everyone who has reserved their beef!  We are sooo very close to making our farm payment and still keeping all of our calves to raise as natural beef in OUR pastures this summer.

I have been very lacking on my blogging this past month, but things have slowed down.  We finished the Iowa Maine Anjou Beef Expo Sale and had great success selling our heifers.  The sale went very well and I didn't have any major breakdowns.  While we were at Beef Expo, our bred heifers were set to start calving at home.  Sooo, I drove home each night to check heifers every two or three hours.  Needless to say by the end of that week, I was sick! 
My voice was shot! When you're calving, dogs aren't allowed in the pens to help.  (Mamas HATE dogs at this time of year) sooo, I do a ton of talking yelling, to direct the heifer (with a calf peeking out her backside) to the appropriate gate.  Now, if you've had a child or have heard a birth story, you know that a mother in labor is NOT thinking clearly.  So, you know that heifers that are in labor have NO clue what to do, where to go, or how to get there.  Plus, they try to turn around & go back to the place they chose (even if its really muddy & cold) to have their calf.

Then, I had a big meeting the Friday after Beef Expo with the Come to the Table:An afternoon of Local Foods.  And more calves!

Whew, then another long week of hauling pigs, calving heifers & short nights.  then I had the Green Living Health Expo  and a suprise of a wonderful date night with my Honey!  Such a wonderful night (even if I still felt like crap) to relax and people watch with my best friend again.

So there you have it. February ran away!

Now, here is March.  And our Farm Payment is looming.  But, we are SOOOO CLOSE!!!  So close to keeping ALL of our calves!!!  I would much rather keep our calves to sell to all of you as beef, than send them to the sale barn.  So, Thank You!!! Thank you to everyone who believes in us and Thank You to everyone who has reserved their beef in advance!!! 

It is SO wonderful how our Local Foods Movement is growing!! We really love our participation with the Iowa Food Cooperative and we are excited to have our beef at Wheatsfield Coop in Ames.  We love that many of you want to learn about how your food is raised!   We are going to plan a springtime open house, so that many of you can come, pet some calves, see your beef & enjoy the sunshine on the ranch!

If you are interested in getting a great rate on your beef, this is the last week to reserve your beef with a discounted rate.  Send me a note to ebersolecattleco (at) yahoo (dot) com, and we can talk details.

Thank you again, to everyone for your support and encouragement! 

Now, back outside to check heifers........

Its our season of checkin Nuts & Butts.... again

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ranching isn't for sissies, a discussion of the realities.

This is the time of year that's hard.  REAALY hard.  The weather is tough, the costs are high & the finances are low.  Is also the time of year that most of us farmers & ranchers make our farm payments... (can you hear the scary music?)  And all of that creates tons of stress for all of us farmers & ranchers.

First, the weather.  Right now, I'm sitting inside in my jammies watching it blow ICE & snow horizontally.  Yes really, horizontally.  Earlier, covered in 80million layers, I was outside feeding & watering all the animals.  And again in an hour, I'll be covered in 100million layers & feeding & rolling out fresh hay so everyone will be cozy & safe for the night.  But I love it!  I really couldn't imagine a day like this without going outside & choring (&playing) in this weather.

The costs.  This time of year, we have to feed almost all of our animals.  Feed is really expensive this year.  Its the second highest corn prices in history; and most other feeds follow the corn pricing.  We don't feed much grain, but we do go through more than usual in the winter to keep the energy in the calves.  We are feeding hay to most every bunch of animals on the ranch.  We do have a large group of calves that are still stockpile grazing, but the ice will probably stop that for a few days in the next week.

Finances.  If you've been following along for any length of time, you know I'm not scared of any topic.  Even finances.  When you're a rancher, you typically make your money one time each year when you sell your calves, & get to hold your breath & pennies the rest of the year.  Most people look forward to tax returns.  We get to pay Uncle Sam for the privlidge of living & ranching in the great US & State of Iowa.

Then we get to talk about farm payments. Dum, Dum, Dum! (thats the scary music) Since most farmers & ranchers make most of their money once a year, we get to make all of our payments once a year.  Let me just put this in perspective for you.  Take your mortgage payment, then double it, add 2x your insurance payments, your vehicle payments & all of your montly expenses and that is our Farm Payment. Huge huh? But that is our reality, and the choice that we have made.

That being said, we do choose to think differently about most things.  This year, we're trying to keep all of our calves & not sell any at the sale barn.  We'd like to sell all of them as Beef, Bulls, or heifers.  So, I'm offering all of our beef for sale now and harvested beginning in May.  This will allow us to make our farm payment (if we reserve enough calves) without selling any of my calves at the sale barn.  We're also saving plenty of heifers to offer as Bred Heifers next year, or a calf for the kids to show this summer.  We have a couple of bulls for sale too.

So, I ask you this, if your freezer is getting low on beef, give me or your local rancher a call now.  Reserve your beef in advance, & help a rancher make the cash flow & farm payment a little easier.

Thank you from all of us farmers & ranchers out there braving the snow.  If you'd like some beef.  Check us out on Facebook.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Making Breakfast

Dude - "Mom"
Momma - Yes?
Dude - You Makin Breakfast?
Momma - Yes
Dude - Fore MEEE!!!
Momma - No, for PJ
Dude (with confused sour face) - PJ tant tome in the house to eat...?  I eat it.
Momma - Little Man I'm making you some oatmeal, but this is for PJ
Dude - Otay
moments later
J.ustaCowgirl - It smells good, whatcha cookin for breakfast Mom?
Momma - PJ's food, want some?
J.ustaCowgirl - Ummmm, no.  But its wierd, it really does smell good, but looks nasty.

So, you guessed it, my house is filled with yummy smelling food.  Its just not people food.  PJ is somewhere over 26 years old.  He's the rope horse that tought tons of guys around here to rope.  He taught me the right way to rate a steer.  He was the babysitter for A.Cowgirl & J.ustaCowgirl while we bred literally thousands of cows.  He has severe arthritis & now his teeth are getting pretty thin.

So, I cook a hot breakfast for him. I don't cook a hot breakfast for my family every day, but I do for PJ.  He also gets a hot lunch & supper too.  We're taking Beet Pulp (very high energy) and Equine Senior and cooking it in the crock pot to heat it up & serving it warm to him. 3 to 5 times a day.  The water is also warm from the automatic waterer in the run that he shares with the show calves.  This has made a huge difference in his energy level & hopefully will make it easier for him to get through another winter.

While I'm on this subject I need to talk about animal "comfort".  We have a barn & stalls.  It also has runs that open to the east with hay bale feeders in them.  PJ is really old and its pretty hard for him to get around.  But, he HATES being in a stall.  But he really should be in a stall to feed him & give him some of his own space.  But then, he wouldn't be able to play (or bite at) with 7-up.  He wouldn't be able to have his own choice to go in or out, eat hay or not eat hay.  Its a daily mental battle to put him in a stall or let him be.  Granted, he has his own pen to eat in (the calves & 7-up are locked out). But he should really be in a stall for his best interest.  Right??

No. I don't think so.  He is happier out with 7-up and the calves.  He is happier standing outside.  Does his comfort count for something? I think so.  I will make sure that he's fed well (better than well) and happy.  So remember that when you drive by a pasture & there are cattle & horses out in the snow.  They might like to be there.  (But I do love the option of having my entire herd under a roof).

So, if you stop by the house & it smells really yummy, don't get excited, its just horse food.  But you're welcome to try it, I have.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hel...loooo! My name is GreenRanchingMom I'd like to re-introduce myself

Hello, My name is GreenRanchingMom.

Just felt the need to introduce myself again, because I've been gone so long. I'm not going to completely bore you with tons of details, but to say that the last couple of months have been long & hard would be an understatement. And, when I'm stressed or upset, I tend to pull back. Instead of reaching for help, I tend to just try to just take everything thats thrown at me one piece at a time by myself. I don't want to burden others with my problems & issues, so I don't. I just keep to myself & take care of the basics for the kids & animals.

So, I'll just start this blog with a short list of the problems projects I'm working on right now.

New Cattle Shed - should all be finished in the next two weeks

Ford Tractor not running again (my front end loader) - (sell it & buy a team)

IH1466 not starting - a $2 bolt on the battery cable fixed it after 3 months of messing with it

IH1066 Engine toasted - Have a guy to work on it (cheap) but he's taking forever to even get it in the shop, sounds like just a "minor" fix of $3000 (really, truly looking to buy a team of horses & get rid of the tractors!)

White Dodge Truck - Transmission toast. Been in the shop for 2+ months, he should get it in next week

Dually not running properly - Appointment for it next Tuesday

Calves all weaned & home - not selling any at the salebarn yet, just need to work on marketing ALL of our calves this year (blog post to come soon - I promise)

"Wrong" mare delivered to new home - papers were for a different mare & we'd been calling her the wrong name for 4 years. Problem figured out - mares soon to play ring-around-the-rosie.

New pond constructed - just need to fence it

Bad fenceline on east side torn out by buldozers - just need to put in a mile of fence

Grassfed beef grew slow this year - scheduled for harvest later this month, we've been supplementing with alfalfa cubes to increase gains

WOW!!! Hmm, that makes mee feel a little better. As you can see - it started out whining, and became a list of things to do. Somehow, when we're upset, our world seems huge, and overwhelming, but if you break it down into babysteps, you can do anything.

I AM really thankful that our little family is starting the year healthy & together. We're praying for another ranching family that is currently being split up today as Mom flys with Dad to Colorado for rehabilitation after a 40 day ICU stay after a nearly fatal truck accident. Luckily Dad is super tough & will prove everyone wrong and walk out of that hospital soon. I'm really thankful for the support of our community and the prayers for their family. Our prayers are with them as they fly to their new hospital & with their family that will take care of the children for several more months. We'll head that way to visit too - we think a train ride might be fun!

I hope all of you are enjoying the New Year, and your family. 
Over here we're going to work on PROGRESS this year, NOT Perfection.
These cute itty bitty puppies are now big & ready to find homes.  There will be no more of this cross because we finally neutered Chilli Dog, so if you need a great pet or an even better working dog, let me know.

ps, you'll have to remember that line and understand that I'm just "talking" and not a perfectionist writer; but at least I'm sharing & blogging again. 

Glad to be back!