Thursday 31 March 2016

Spring is in the air

The snow is melting,
the sun is shining
and, the warmth of spring is in the air.

Along with spring, things around the ranch get a little more hectic.
Calving has started.
lambing has started,
chicks are hatching,
pups are leaving,
 geese are returning,
the eagles are back,
the roads are muddy,
the horses are shedding
and, the days are now extending  into the evening.

The cows are also calving, we did not need to do too much preparations for them, as they are calving out in the bush and pasture.
They are under the watchful eyes of the guardian dogs.

It is always nice to see the cows finding a good spot to calve, and nothing is nicer than having a baby up and drinking before you even get to it.

The last few days most of the pups have moved on to their new owners, homes and jobs.
It is always a little sad to see them leave.
It is wonderful to see updates of the pups in their new homes and to see them grow.
Some pups got to fly, others had long road trips. Those who were flying got treated to a bath, so that they smell of sheep barn would not be too overpowering.

We have two pups staying a little longer, both these pups are heading to the USA. I get to enjoy them a little while longer.


Pup 8

Eric has been hatching out some baby chicks, adding to the spring feeling.

Lambing has just started.
but, before all those fun and games could get going, we had to do some preparations.
The barn needed some adapting to house the bigger group, the January lambs have been weaned, the ewes are shorn, the ewe lambs sorted off, vaccinating and other routine sheep chores needed to be done.
The last feeder lambs left to market.

So, all in all things are chugging along here.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Puppy love

So, I did a little rushed photo shoot today with the pups.
They did not want to co-operate (one actually ditched me, so he ( Blue) missed the entire photo shoot). and I was too rushed for time to really sit down and note which pups were in front of the lens.
So, I will need to redo this little session and ensure I have them all, and note down who is who.
It is easy in real life but looking back at the pictures a few hours later makes it a little tougher to recognize some of them.

They are doing just great.
They are pretty much free range everywhere, which exposes them to all various critters on the ranch.
The first are leaving soon, and some will be staying a little longer.
These have been such easy pups to have around and very enjoyable to have around when doing chores.

So, here are some of the pups today.

I will make sure I get Blue, Purple and Big Gray in front of my camera next round!

Thursday 10 March 2016


Eric and I attended a Purebred Angus Bull sale today, in the hopes of finding a new herd bull.
Our Mr 50T is getting really old ( about 9) and will most likely not be able to cover all the cows we have.

We have followed the cattle from this breeding program for a number of years,
so decided it would be worth the drive to go and check out their bulls this year.
At home we had marked on the catalog which bulls we liked,  we then went through the pens to see if they matched up with our expectations from the catalog.
We made a short list of preferred bulls and added some others as "possibilities".
You never really know at an auction if you will truly get the bull you are wanting, having more possibilities allows for some more flexibility.

The bulls were not run through a ring, the selling was done off a video screen with online auction bidding as well as live bidding.

Some of our hot favorites sold well over what our budget could afford, but when all was said and done, we came home with some great young bulls.

We bought 2 bulls.
A red and a black Angus bull from 2 different lines.
These bulls are very different and we are hoping they will each add specific traits to our herd.
We like to look at how they index, as we sell most of our calves after weaning, we like to see a rapid growth from a low birth weight up to wean weight.
The first bull we bought was this Black bull, his name is
Aspen Hill Right Answer 77B.
A powerful and balanced bull, this picture does not do him justice.

The second bull we bought, is this lovely red Angus,
Red Aspen Hill Designer 124B

We loaded these new guys up, and brought them home.
We released the beasts in the bull, ram and draft horse pen, to become accustomed to the other bulls.
This is always a high stress moment, as these bulls are enormously powerful and once they start pushing and shoving, nothing is really safe.
We checked that the hot wire was hot, and made sure both these new bulls are well insured.
We let them out and held our breath.

Sure, enough the pushing and shoving started between the old red bull we have, and the new black bull.
The locked heads and pushed, the power struggle began.

these power struggles took place with the other younger bulls we have.

The sarplaninacs, kept a good eye on all the pushing.

and then, things get a little more serious..

The old bull chases off the younger bull.

and, young Meco ensures,
he is out of the way before bad things happen..

Sometimes, life is not very fair..

Once again, the old bull locks heads with the new blackie,
another round of pushing, shoving and running the loser off..

It is like the two sars are watching over  a MMA fight.

Strutting his stuff.

After about 30 mins, the action cooled down.
Hopefully the bulls have now established who the herd boss is and that all the disputes have been settled.
We are of course, very excited about this year's breeding program.

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