Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spreading fertility

We don't own a manure spreader here as we can't justify the cost. So the pile gets bigger and bigger as each year goes by.It was a beautiful compost ideal for selling to gardeners and would of made some nice "beer money", but the golden rule around here is never , ever, sell the farms fertility. So I hired a good neighbour to drive his spreader and spread it while I ran my loader tractor and did the loading.
We spread it on the poorest piece of pasture which is right next to the road. Normally this would quit literally raise a stink, but as I had turned the pile several times to make quality compost it was in fact odorless. This was no doubt a relief to the many commuters to and from town who like the country lifestyle but not its realities!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Colours

Just a few shots of our ranch and surrounding hills, fall is in full swing but sadly not many sunny days as it is a wet one this year. I made the most of it yesterday and went for a wander with my camera.
I was helping the neighbour load his calves the other day and was charged by a wild heifer. I was one side of a steel gate, she and one of my fingers were on the other!! The last joint of the third finger on my left hand was crushed between the steel gate and her head. So it was a quick trip to the hospital for a sewing job and in a few days a splint to help the bone grow strait. It was neat to watch the Doc sew it back up, that local freeze is great couldn't feel a thing. He had to cut off the finger nail so he could sew the finger on properly. What was really cool was he sewed the nail back on to protect the finger as it was a custom fit. Of course when the stitches are removed it will fall off, the nail not the finger!! The whole op took about 45 minutes and we had a good chat while he was working and he explained to me what he was doing while I watched. I've stitched up cattle, horses and sheep in my time, one horse we gave three quarters a bottle of whiskey to as we had no anaesthetic, so when it got groggy we all jumped on it and held it down while I stitched up some bad barbed wire cuts on its leg. No prises for where the other quarter bottle went to!! The Doc liked the idea and said we should try it but I think I prefer the freeze as it lasted for 14 hours. When it wore off at 1am I realised why torturers pull the fingernails of their victims, Damn it hurt. Its tough doing things now as it feels like I have a turnip on the end of my finger, the bandage is three times the size of my finger, it keeps bumping into ever thing and for some reason is darned tender.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sheep ?

We already have a small flock of sheep, as they clean up around the corrals and any spot that won't make hay. I love lamb and so welcome a local supply, also those that have known me a while will recall we had sheep and goats back in the 90s, so nothing is new under the sun! Of course I talk funny so I must have sheep !!
We have 7 Dorset cross tegs (ewe lambs) and a yearling Dorset ram and will breed them starting on Guy Faulks night, the 5th November so we should have April Fool lambs, 1st April.
Its Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and we will be enjoying fresh Canadian leg of lamb for our dinner. Remember to give thanks, God bless all here. Till next time, the hungry Shepherd.

Recent events

We shipped the majority of our herd in early August, selling all the heavier cattle 750 lbs and up. The prices were still good compared to now, about 10 to 15 cents/lb higher than present. We used the remainder of the cattle to clean areas up which would be tricky to make hay or silage of, and then shipped them in the second week of September, for similar prices as the earlier bunch. We then decided to make hay or silage on all available ground with enough worth cutting. It has been a wet fall here so we held off cutting till the end of third week in September. It was still dull and damp so we decided to make "haylage", this is large round bales of grass/alfalfa that is too wet for hay but has been left several days to wilt. Once wrapped and tied the bale moves to the back of the baler where it is wrapped twice in plastic, much like saran wrap, so is air tight, and thus pickles like silage.
Although this was our 4th or 5th cut as some fields had been grazed 3 or 4 times, our yield was great and we now have 131 bales safely stacked in the barn, or about 100,000 lbs of feed. The same gentleman that did the baling also hauled and stacked the bales as they require a special attachment to the loader that does not puncture the plastic. I can feed them with my own tractor as at that point breaking the seal will be done anyway.
As to what we will do with all this feed. research and several Wotbs(for you Ranching for profit guys and gals) will be done. It may be used for next spring to feed incoming cattle before the grass is ready, or to feed a flock of sheep or goats as planning dictates. In Canada we only produce half the lamb and goat that is consumed so there is room for expansion with out the treat of politics and dollar fluctuations that has messed up the cattle industry these past few years. Time will tell, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Shaemus, our new ram proves it really is greener on the other side of the fence

Big pile of BTUs

This is one and a half log truck loads of birch fire wood, about 30 some cords, so I just have to cut and split it and I will be warm!! Getting it to the fire and warm while it burns!!