Mirror KB Ranch
Tales of the Twin Wranglers
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November 28, 2008
Hope everyone took pleasure in a nice Thanksgiving. Ours was a quiet one - just the two of us. With Thanksgivin' now behind us it's apparent that another month has stampeded by us. It went by so fast that we barely managed to drop a loop on it. It's goin' to take some doin' but we'll try to round up the important moments.
So, let's see....'round mid month the bull decided that there just wasn't enough tasty morsels of grass left in the pasture so he obliterated a section of fence to break out of the pasture then broke into the hay barn where he an' a few of the cows feasted. With the help of the two dogs we chased 'em out of the barn an' hazed 'em back to pasture then repaired the fence. We decided it was time to start feedin' a bit of hay to the cows, but the bull was still dissatisfied an' smashed through the fence twice more to get into the hay barn. After repeatin' this three times we took the hint an' put the bull into the corral after we'd moved the weaned calves out to pasture.
Last week a number of our days was spent stackin' hay as we'd had 20 ton of alfalfa hay delivered. Unfortunately the fella that brought the hay didn't have any help so he used his tractor that could unload an' stack the hay 10 bales at a time. These were small squares of about 100 pounds each. While he worked at unloadin' the hay, we were busy workin' on a couple of orders for t-shirts while he unloaded the hay, so were surprized to find that he'd stacked the hay smack-dab in front of the log hay barn....which would have been fine had we planned to use the hay elevator to move the hay into the barn...but that wasn't our plan.
Since the bales weighed pert near as much as we do drippin' wet we knew that wranglin' the bales onto, an' then off, the elevator would be as hard as givin' a mountain lion a bath in a tin bucket. Instead, we planned to use the Kubota tractor given that we could work together to load several bales onto the plywood platform - which dad had built specifically for the front-end loader bucket. Then we could take advantage of the reach of the bucket to stack the hay into the barn....but with no room to maneuver our tractor we were forced to work off the front of the stack (closest to the barn doors), transport it an' restack the hay in one of the old foalin' stalls. Once we'd made enough room to operate the tractor easily between the stack an' the hay barn we moved the rest of the hay into the barn. It turned out that it was a good thing we'd stacked what we did in the foalin' stall as the barn is completely full now - with a mountain of round bales of grass stacked in the back portion an' small squares of alfalfa stored in the front.
While we worked, Sage played king of the hay stack. For a little dog that was such a klutz as a pup she's become quite an' athlete an' can climb up a stack of hay way better 'n we can. Each time we loaded the tractor with bales she'd jump aboard to get a ride to the next stack of hay where we worked to restack it. While we worked she's scramble 'round on the stack out of our way then jump back on the tractor platform for her ride back to the barnyard stack which she'd climb to the top of to take in the view...or maybe to make sure we didn't quit to rest.
Last Tuesday we drove over to Bonner's Ferry, Idaho - about an' hour an' a half jaunt from the ranch - to pick up the two yearlin' heifers we had butchered an' packaged. Before startin' out we'd thought to take a checkbook, but then stopped to collect the trash to take out an' ended up leavin' the checkbook on the kitchen counter. Of course when we got to South Hill Meat an' Locker we find out that they don't take credit cards - as they only accept cash or personal checks. The folks there were mighty nice an' eagerly loaded our truck with boxes upon boxes of meat even though we had no way of makin' payment. They were more 'n glad to make room in their freezers for wild game that hunters were beginin' to bring in....so we left, promisin' to put a check in the mail when we got home. On the way home we stopped in Libby to deliver the meat from heifer #17 to a buyer an' brought home the meat from heifer #57 to put in our own freezer.
The followin' day we had to make a trip back into Libby to ship off an order for a Laramie-opoly game we've made an' to take care of a bit of money management at the bank. We also found that we'd arrived home yesterday with two bags of offal so had to deliver the tongue of heifer #17 to the buyer. They didn't want the liver, heart or oxtail so we kept those an' in return gave 'em heifer #57's tongue as a trade.
The folks at South Hill Meat an' Locker kept tellin' us how cute our meat was....due to the size difference to standard beef. Our calves are all part Dexter - which is a miniature breed of cow, so they're a tad bit smaller than the common cow. We think that in this day an' age folks would be healthier if they sized their meals down to smaller portions. A Dexter naturally does it for 'em. Our beef is also all grass fed an' are never given hormone shots or fed animal proteins. Once people get past the size issue an' the thought that their meat should have loads of fat in it, we think they'll find our grass fed Dexter bred beef to be a healthy meal. Least ways, we think they're good eatin'.
November 14, 2008
Today is MKB Laramie Rimrock Sage's very first birthday. After takin' care of our mornin' feedin' chores we set off for town to ship off two photo submissions an' get a few things at the grocery store. We swung by the bank to drop off a check, then stopped at the Second Hand Store where we'd left a few things to sell a couple of weeks ago. Our stuff had sold so we collected our fourteen dollars then walked over to spend a good portion of it at McDonalds.
Usually we purchase the one dollar double hamburgers - one for each of us an' a third one for the two dogs to share, but this time we splurged. We bought ourselves each a southern style chicken sandwich an' got the dogs a McChicken sandwich. Then McDonalds gave both of us a small free sample of their cheese burger which, after wipin' off the tomato paste an' onions, we gave to the dogs too. Happy Birthday Sage!
This past week was damper 'n a wet duck. We had a misty rain pert near every day, 'till Wednesday when the sky uncorked an' it really rained. We was beginnin' to think that it was goin' to rain so much that we'd need to use a canoe to get from the bunkhouse to the barn, but last night the clouds leaked out of the country so that this mornin' we woke to iced over water tanks an' a heavy frost prettifin' everything else. Course by late afternoon a new set a clouds had rolled into the valley so our high never topped out over 39 degrees.
So anyway, what all besides wadin' in mud have we done this past week? Oh yeah, we had those two run-away steers here. Well on Friday the 7th we pushed our weaned calves into another corral so that we could haze the two steers into the bull corral that is fortified with pipe panels. Movin' calves an' steers went well.
On Saturday the steer hunters from the past week returned to reclaim their stock. We used the bucket on our Kubota tractor to heft the steers into the beds of two waitin' pick up trucks an' the hunters soon departed. One fella gave us a 600 pound round bale of grass hay in appreciation for our help with the steers an' the next day one of the other fellas stopped by with two jars of plum jelly that his wife had put up this fall.
Once the steers were gone we moved our calves back to the bull corral. We'll leave the bull out with the pregnant cows 'till they start droppin' their calves at which time we'll move the calves back out to pasture an' put the bull in the corral 'till the end of May when it'll be time again to breed the cows.
November 5, 2008
October's trail ended smoothly with no big event, well sort of. We've only got one last photo submission to finish of the four we'd been workin' on the last week or so of October. We just needed to set up a couple photo shoots to complete this last one - which we did yesterday - an' used up most of our home grown apples to make an open-faced apple-crasin pie topped with chopped pecans. We didn't have a recipe for such a creation. It just kind fell together on it's own, but served well for the photo shoot.
On the very last day of October we separated this years calves from the mamas. We put the calves in the corral an' left mama's out to pasture. It was noisier 'n a town meetin' the first night, but then the next mornin' it grew real quiet. Wow...those calves sure weaned mighty fast - we thought, then realized that the corral gate was open an' the rascals had made a break for the milkin' machines.
We figure that we must have forgotten to latch the gate properly, 'less un the calves managed to figure out how to open it all by themselves. It ain't likely. At any rate, we separated the cows an' calves once again an' this time made double sure all the gates were shut an' chained. So far the little ones are stayin' put this time.
The next day was cold an' rainy so we spent most of our time workin' on an order for greetin' cards. We'd noticed our little dirt road out here had an unusual amount of traffic, but thought it was just that the nasty weather brought the hunters out in droves. We were right, they were hunters but they weren't huntin' wild game, they were huntin' two yearlin' Black Angus steers which had escaped from a ranch a few miles away - over the top of our west ridge.
The two steers were actually two members of a trio of steers that were to be slaughtered. When the first steer went down, the other two decided not to hang 'round to collect their own slugs so crashed through a couple fences an' put a bit of country between themselves an' the hungry lookin' men with cloud of gun smoke hangin' over their heads. The hunters stopped at our place to let us know that they were lookin' for steers an' that they'd seem up down on the road, but that they'd charged back up our west ridge.
We gave 'em permission to hunt the steers up on the ridge, but while they were busy talkin' to us an' also to our neighbors the two steers stole back down the ridge, jumped over or climb through the north pasture barbwire fence an' joined our own herd of cows. It wasn't long 'till we had four pickups parked at our house with a group of guys havin' a good laugh over bein' snookered by a couple of yearlin' steers.
Since the steers were safe in our pasture it was decided that they'd leave 'em here with our cows to let 'em settle down. We plan to move our calves out of the corral on Friday then herd all the cows, includin' the two steers into the corral. Once we have 'em trapped in the sturdy bull corral we'll separate our cows an' haze 'em back to the pasture leavin' the steers in the corral. On Saturday we expect the "hunters" to return so's to reclaim their "big game".
Yesterday mornin' we woke to a skiff of snow on the ground a
flurry of snow still comin' down. After takin' care of our mornin' chores we
headed of to vote for our new President. The votin' precinct for this area
is at the Rancher's Volunteer Firehouse, 15 miles away. We got there a
little bit before 11:00 am. an' found we were the only ones there...but then
were told that they weren't openin' up the votin' booths 'till noon....seems
that every four years when we head off to vote we forget that little detail an'
end up gettin' there too early. We always say that next time we know not
to head over to vote until noon, but then by the next Presidential election
Seein' as how we were only an hour or so too early we couldn't make any sense our of drivin' back home through the snow storm only to have to return again to vote later. There were only two places besides the firehouse that we could go to wait...The Kickin' Horse Saloon an' eatery (which didn't look open) an' Happy' s Inn, the gas station/cafe just 'cross the highway...so that's where we went.
We shared a hamburger an' a plate of fries while we chatted with a rancher from over Wolfpoint way, talkin' 'bout country folks favorite subjects....horses, cows an' ranchin'. When the votin' hour rolled near we headed back 'cross the highway. There was a crowd waitin' in line to vote this time... four folks besides the two of us - one bein' the rancher we had chatted with at the cafe.
As soon as we'd cast our votes we headed for home, the snow was still comin' down but slackenin' some. Back at home we set to work makin' that open-faced apple pie we spoke about earlier. Afterwards we took the apple cores an' skins out to the pasture to offer it to the cows. Surprisingly the two run-away steers were the first to come forward to get the special treat.
Ride the October 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the Aug-Sept 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the July 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the June 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the May 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the April 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the March 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Ride the February 2008 Tales of the Twin Wranglers
Mirror KB Photography & Gifts
1132 Arabian Lane
Libby, MT 59923-7982
Phone: (406) 293-6586
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