Thursday, March 25, 2010
In most old-fashioned photos of farms and ranches, you'll see a few chickens milling around in the background. Chickens are relatively easy and inexpensive to keep, they provide fresh, nutritious eggs, they control weeds and bugs, they manufacture great fertilizer, and they are a fun and friendly pet.
We stopped by a chicken farm while we were in Denver and picked up eleven new chicks. Hopefully, they'll all make it to the summer and be laying eggs by July.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
It ain't all romance and ribbons at Drowsy Water
I like to portray the ranch life as one full of adventure and romance. And, honestly, there is a lot of that happening around here. There are colorful sunrises during morning roundups--horses neighing and snorting as they charge back to the ranch for their morning feed. There are country songs by campfires on cool summer evenings. There are blooming flowers, falling snowflakes, and singing birds.
But it's not all romance and ribbons around here. Take, for example, the end result of our countless hours of work in the hayfields. After hours, days, weeks, and months slaving away to mow, rake, and bail our hay we save it for the cows and horses to eat in the winter. Then every single day each winter we take the tractor out and feed the hay. Can't miss a day. It's the definition of dedication.
Well, as my aunt always said about hay and the haying process, "You have to remember, it just becomes a turd."
This time of year, that saying has never been so apparent. The cows have been cooped up in the same pasture most of the winter. The hay has been eaten in the same few spots and, well, it has to go somewhere.
We had a friend up last weekend that commented "It's like they have a method to it. It looks like they never poop in the same spot twice." Maybe that's true.
As spring warms the ground and melts the snow, the cows will be moved and we'll drag the pasture. "Draging" is a method to smooth fields and break up chunks of dirt, manure, etc. We connect a screen of chains and metal to the back of the tractor then drive the tractor back and forth and to and fro until the ground is level and the chunks of gunk are pulverized. Then when the hay starts growing again, it has even ground and great fertilizer.
And the hay process begins again. . .