Welcome to JKs Rough String Ranch

Welcome to the Rough String, and thanks for stoppin' by!! Grab a hot cup of coffee and sit a spell!
10/22/18 You will see a name change on the blog. Lots of things have changed in my life in the past few years, and I feel compelled to share my story.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Trailin' Pairs to Summer Pasture

Colt and I headed over to the Temple Ranch on Wednesday for a wonderful day of trailin' cows and calves. It was perfect weather...not too hot and a lil' breeze.

We moved about 90 pair.

Resting at a watering hole.

Calves and dogs enjoyed some cooling off!

Colt was kinda spooked by this dog in the trough...
Every time the dog moved, all that slime moved too.
I think it's time to clean out that trough!

This pup is doing a good job keeping the calf in line.

Colt's keeping his eye on the herd...can't
let any of those pesky lil' calves try to turn back!
BTW, he really is working well in the hackamore.

Father and son at the end of the day...waiting for
cows and calves to mother up.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sage Rats & Alfalfa~Not a Perfect Match

Well, my Wordless Wednesday photo from yesterday happens to be the prelude to this post. Lil' Miss Cindy Sue really can catch the varmints, but I honestly don't know if she caught that particular one or if it had been shot by My Man...yes, we shoot the dang things. I must say though, she was mighty proud of herself and didn't want to share it...

...As she proceeded to bury it while I was trying to
get a better pic of her!

Ok, the slang name "Sage Rat" is what everyone around here calls them. They're some sort of ground squirrel. But, they can do tremendous damage to alfalfa crops...

See all those mounds?

They look like this...

And this...

And, they are EVERYWHERE!!!!

I've been told that every lil' sage rat causes damage to 60 pounds worth of alfalfa in a season. I don't know if that figure is accurate, but I do know that they really do a lot of damage, as well as adding extra expenses for correcting the field damage they've done.

So, every farmer has to do this...

In one form or another...large operations use
a field drag...

To make it look like this...

And when My Man has the West Field done, it looks like this...

Which will last for a few days...until the dang varmints start digging up piles again. But after this point, it's too late to drag them down, it will damage too much of the crop. We do our best to keep our hay man happy, by kicking in the piles as we start irrigating. The swather can easily break blades as it hits mounds of dirt and rocks.

So, that's my "sad saga of the sage rat." It's a cruel, vicious world...but, we need to provide feed for animals that produce food for people...it's just that simple.

But as Cowboy and I ride back to the house on the 4-wheeler...he hasn't a care in the world~~

Ah!! PS...I'm leaving today for a Mike Bridges cow working clinic with Colt and won't be home until late on Sunday, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brandin' at the TI Ranch

I first want to apologize to everyone for not getting by your blogs...it's gone from cold 'n blowin' to 75 degrees in less than a week...so much to do and not enough hours in the day!! I promise to get my blog reading caught up soon. I may not get a lot of comments made, but I'll be there!!

Off to the first brandin' of the season~~

Every ranch in Eastern Oregon is branding...there's horse trailers going everywhere...now's the time to take advantage of perfect weather too!

We spent yesterday at our neighbor's spread; the TI Ranch. They have a nice lil' herd of mother cows, and we've been itchin' to get out and help them brand. They opt to run the calves though a branding table instead of roping them and dragging them to the fire. Rusty and Sam had the herd gathered and calves separated out by the time we got there.

Rusty and My Man move the calves to the alley way.
Such innocent faces...they just don't know
what's comin'...

This is Rusty's new pup Missy.
At just 4 months old, she's already
getting her job figured out!

Well, here we go...

My Man gets the hard job...wrestlin' calves
into the branding table.

He enjoyed every minute of it...
even though he got kicked a couple of times...
luckily not anywhere important ;~)

Got him in...and we squeeze it in.

Then the table pivots into the side position.
It makes it easy to access
whichever body part you need.
No, the calf doesn't look all that thrilled with the
process...but after it's all said and done,
it's probably on the table for less than 5 minutes.

Bull calves get their back legs tied for castration.

Sam gives them a shot.

I step in and give them a dose up each nostril.

Another neighbor, Martin, mans the electric branding iron.

I'm back in again to notch out the left ear.
It's just a small hog notcher that works like a hole punch.
Rusty is castrating this bull calf.

They bleed a lil' from the ear notch, but it
quits bleeding in just a few minutes.

And there's one happy but confused calf saying
"I'm outta here!!"

Missy is wondering when she's going to get
to do some more herding.
Oops...a tell tale beer can. It wouldn't
be a brandin' if you didn't have a couple of beverages!

And, the day is almost done...

We ran the mother cows through the chute to
spray them for external parasites.

Meanwhile, Cindy Sue and Missy are doing their
part by cleaning up pieces.
Yep, calf pieces...Cindy Sue spent 20 minutes
licking blood off the branding table!

And all is well at the end of the day~~


Friday, April 17, 2009

New Life & Death~~It's Just the Way It Is

I knew that our pair of Great Horned owls were nesting, as they do every year; I just hadn't been able to verify where their nest was. Father owl stays in one of the Elm trees all day and Mother owl is nowhere to be found. But, owls must be creatures of habit and comfort, because I spotted Mother owl today, and they've nested in the same spot as previous years.

In the very center of the photo is a round hole in the rock rim.
Look close...

Ah ha! There's Mother owl!

Last year, I don't know what happened, but there weren't any lil' ones. The year before they had 3. So, we'll be keeping a close watch on them and see what develops this year.

See...spring brings new life~~

But, then there's Cindy Sue...who is always on a mission...and as her Rat Terrier instincts take over...it's usually a mission of DEATH!!

Awwww Cindy Sue...I'm such a cute lil' mouse...

Being the supportive big brother that
he is, Cowboy coaches her on...
"Comon' Cindy Sue...get it...get it!! Get'er dun!!"

Cindy Sues replies "I got the whole situation under control Cowboy.
This lil' thing won't get in mom's hay stack again!"

And so comes DEATH...
It's just the way it is~~


Monday, April 13, 2009

The First Cutting & Some Spring Cleaning

Oh how I wish I could say that the first cutting with our local High Desert Cutters was a complete success for me...but it just wasn't going to be. The day started out with sunny skies and just a slight breeze. It had been raining the prior 3 days, but we can't complain about that when we only get 9 inches average a year! So, the weather was decent, but warm up area was a lil' on the slippery side.

The way we do our cuttings is to find ranches that are willing to host the event at their place. It cuts down on costs to haul cattle in and rental fees for our fairgrounds. We pay the ranch for use of their cattle, but many of the ranches donate the cost back to the club! The cattle at this ranch were all black Angus...hardly any had white markings, so it was really hard to keep track of the cattle in the herd. But, all in all, the cattle we pretty good.

Where are the pics you ask...well, I did a dumb thing. I found 4 batteries in my camera bag and made the mistake of thinking they were new batteries...they were old, dead batteries. So, not one pic...dang it!

Colt tried his hardest and I can only blame myself for scoring a 63 and coming in last in the class. I had 3 "loss of working advantage" and a back fence. The part that I'm most bothered by is the back fence...not that I got it but that I was riding too aggressively and the cow hit the fence and fell...the cow was ok, but I felt about as big as an ant.

So, Colt and I have a lot of work to do in the coming months. I'm looking forward to a 3 day cow working clinic with Mike Bridges on the weekend of April 25.

Spring Cleaning!

On Sunday...first things first...the changing of the guard...

Out with the snowman...

In with the Easter bunny...
Now, why didn't I do this 2 weeks ago?!? Duh!

Ok...see this lovely green? Kinda pretty huh?

The close up revels these pretty lil' yellow flowers...

I call them devil flowers...they turn into tiny, nasty, hard, thorny pods. This is the first year that I've finally been able to time the spraying right. They must die!!! The dogs will really appreciate it...for them it's like walking on a bed of nails...so I went into attack mode with my trusty weapon...

The killing machine!!!
Loaded with 25 gallons of RoundUp and 2-4-D.
Knock 'um dead!

While I'm on my killing frenzy, My Man is loading up the tractor bucket with all the stuff he needs to change oil in all 4 wheel line movers. This job needed to be done last year and it didn't happen...we're trying to be on top of things this spring.

Look at that grin...he loves his tractor!

Then...I'm onto the next project...raking up all the branches that fell out of the elm trees this past winter. I had at least a dozen piles...raking is one of my least favorite chores.

Abby is supervising...and wondering why I'm
raking up her bones with the brush.
That big bone with the teeth on top is from the neighbor's
butchered hog from last fall that she drug home!

I didn't realize my rhubarb was coming up...

As well as my chives...

I had My Man get out his chain saw and take off a couple of limbs of the apple tree...I nearly had a major wreck on the riding lawn mower last fall from hitting the top of the bagger on a low limb...I actually hit the corner of the house...mower still mowing...scared the crap out of me...so off comes that dang limb...

The end of a good day...a beer on the deck with the kids...

The joys of home ownership...