The Fair

  Today when I got to the ranch I started out my activities the same way that I usually do. I fed the sale cattle, the bred heifers, and the fall calves. After I got done feeding I went back to the shop and changed clothes. You may be wondering why I changed my clothes if I was going to be spending the rest of the day on the ranch… Well I didn’t spend the rest of the day on the ranch.

  After Marty and Chad got back from moving Gators around we all loaded up and went to Springfield for the Ozark Empire Fair. That was a really good time. When we got there we had some time before we had to go to the cattle show, so we went around the fair and looked at some stuff and enjoyed the  exhibit hall for a while.

  When it came time for the Hereford show we walked outside and the heat hit us like a brick wall. It was well over 100 without the heat index. We walked down to the show barn and saw the guys putting the finishing touches on the two heifers and two bulls then followed them into the arena. Chad, Eric, and I took our seats while everyone got ready to show. Eventually the show started and MSU did pretty well… we had two reserve grand champions (a bull and a heifer). After the show Chad, Eric, and I ate then we met up with Marty (who was still visiting) and then we started the long trip back to the ranch.

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  Today was just another typical day on the ranch. I started out by feeding the three groups of cattle. Then I went back to the shop and tried a hole in a tire. After lunch I cleaned the shop and checked how much feed was in the creep feeders. That was it for today. Hopefully tomorrow I will have something exciting to talk about.

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Short Post, Not Much to Talk About

  Today, when I got to the ranch I started my day by doing chores. I went and fed the sale cattle, then I fed the fall calves and the heifers. There wasn’t really anything too exciting to talk about. All are doing fine, and except for finding a wasp’s nest in a gate it went really well. After I got that done I went back to the shop and helped Chad and Eric do some stuff. By that time it was time for lunch, so we went and ate.

  After lunch Chad, Eric, Marty, and I had to go trim some limbs so we can replace a fence. Chad ran the saw, Marty pushed limbs with the backhoe, Eric nailed boards to trees (to keep the fence from growing into the tree) and I drove the truck with the boards on it. That was pretty time consuming, but it wasnt bad. After a while the chainsaw overheated so we had to stop and head back to the shop. By the time we got back it was time to leave, so we called it a day.

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Clearing Brush

  When I got to the ranch today I started out by getting the truck and filling up the feedbox. After I did that I went and started feeding, I started with the sale cattle. After I got done putting the feed out I drove around the cattle as usual and I noticed that one of the bull calves had a rectal prolapse. I also noticed that when the bull had a bowel movement the prolapse retracted back inside him. I wasn’t really sure what to do, so I went back down to the shop and asked Chad and Marty what to do. Marty asked me if he was next to a cow that was in heat and he was. He said the prolapse was most likely caused by him riding the cow too much. He also said that it would most likely go back inside the bull with little or no intervention, but that I needed to keep a close eye on it. Marty also said that we probably need to move the cow so that the bull calves will take a break. I don’t know if she is in heat or what the deal is. The bull calves are following her around like a teenage boy would follow a super model around, but the mature bull doesn’t want anything to do with her. After we got done figuring that out I went and fed the fall calves in the “Pie Pasture”. They were all doing pretty good except for one that had it’s head hanging low and droopy ears. That calf did not look good at all, so I wrote down that she needed to be doctored and moved on. When I fed the bred heifers in the “Grey Barn” pasture they all came running… well except for a heifer and the bull. This was kind of odd since the bull is ALWAYS the last one there. As she got closer I could see a very slight limp; I guess she is starting to get footrot. When I checked the fescue tub it was almost empty, so I guess that is why. I hadn’t had any trouble with sickness or anything with the bred heifers.

  After I got done feeding I went back to the shop and cleaned up a little. When Marty and Chad got back to the shop they told me to “go fill up your water bottle, cuz you’re going to the hottest place on Earth.” They meant the 160. I did what they told me and hopped in the Tracker with Chad. We drove up to Leo’s shop and got the Cat 416B backhoe. Apparently there were some trees that blew over in the field that needed moved so Russell could brushhog. I climbed up on the Cat and we got started heading up there. On the way Chad got a bucket load of gravel so he could fix the roads. We fixed the road on the way up there and then started pushing dead trees off into the woods. The hoe made short work of the small dead trees and limbs in the field so we moved onto clearing some of them off the trails around the 160. We went down by the pond and cleared a bunch of windblown trees off the dam and the trail around it. We also pushed over a few snags that might fall in the field. This is the point where I should probably say that we were doing this for several reasons. The first and most obvious is that it makes the fields easier to get around in trucks and utility vehicles. The snags we pushed over posed a risk of falling on people, livestock, and equipment. Doing this also creates cover for quail, rabbits, groundhogs, skunks, foxes, and other small animals. While we were pushing dead trees I was amazed by the power of the backhoe. I have been around heavy equipment before, but I have never been on the machine while doing this. I also learned quite a bit about how to operate the machine. I learned how to get trees off the bucket when they get hung, I learned how to get dirt out of roots to fill the holes, I learned how to walk the backhoe using the boom and I learned how to used the pads to clear a push stuff out of the way to back up. After we got done clearing brush Chad needed to make a new trail, so he could get back in the woods and find the cattle. They tend to congregate in a cedar thicket that is way back in the woods where you cannot take a truck, so we took the backhoe and made a trail. We only got it about halfway done before lunch. On the way out of the woods we found a better place to put the trail head so we moved some logs. There was one log that we moved that I didn’t think the backhoe would budge. I mean they used a dozer to knock it down and it was huge. The tree moved, the backhoe was rolling coals but it moved it.

  After lunch we went and doctered the sick calf in the fall calves. Marty drove the Gator, Chad was in the Rhino and I had “the Thing” (70 or 80 something Chevy flatbed) with a gooseneck trailer. The calves are around a mile from the nearest squeeze chute so the plan was to get her in the trailer and treat her there. Once we got to the pasture I backed the trailer up to the gate to create an alley and I got in the Rhino with Chad. We drove out in the field and found the calves. They were in the woods by the mineral feeder. We got them up and started herding them down to the trailer. On the way there the calves decided to take a detour down into the thickest part of the woods, so Marty went after them in the Gator. Apparently somewhere in there they split into two groups and Chad and I were following the one with the sick heifer while Marty followed the other. At one point the calves stopped so I walked down to get them going and next thing I knew there were more calves coming up behind me with Marty in tow. This was funny because we had hollered to Marty that he could let the other group go since we had her. I guess he didn’t hear (haha). We eventually got them down there and got her in the trailer. Chad and I got her pinned up against the side of the trailer and Marty gave her a couple shots. We turned her loose and went on to the next task.

  The last thing we did for the day was go look at the fall calving cattle. That was kind of nice to get a break from the heat and ride around in an air conditioned pickup truck. After that we called it a day and went home. By the way I will upload pictures as soon as my phone sends them.

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  Today was a pretty good day at the ranch. The only complaint I have was the heat. I have a pretty bad sunburn on my legs from a float trip I went on Sunday, so the heat combined with blue jeans did not help. When I got to the ranch I ran into Chad and he told me that I had a cow in heat in the sale cattle. He also told me that the bull was walking the fence again. I drove on down to the shop and got the Chevy flatbed. As I was climbing on the bed to open the feedbox I knelt down and that is when I realized that I needed to invest in aloe for the sunburn. After I got the box open I hopped down and drove the truck over to fill the feedbox. After I got the feedbox filled I drove up and fed the sale cattle. Chad was right one is either in heat or about to be. I also noticed a calf that is starting to get a limp, so we are going to doctor her tomorrow so she doesn’t get bad.  After I got done feeding them I went and fed the other two groups that I take care of.

  When I got done feeding I went back to the shop, but it was locked up so I went and checked how much feed was in the creep feeders and cleaned out any wet feed. There wasn’t much so it was not too bad. When I got back to the shop Chad was there and we got ready to go fix an electric fence. By the time everything was loaded in the Rhino it was lunch time, so we went and ate.

  After lunch we came back and got started on the fence. It wasn’t broke, but it was only reading 1 or 2. We figured it was rubbing on something so Chad ran the weedeater and I had some clippers. Chad cut the grass and I cleared the blackberry bushes and trees. That helped a little but the main problem was a piece of wire dangling next to the fence. The electricity was arcing over to it which caused it to read low.

  After we got that done we went back to the shop and took a short break. When we got done with our break we went over to move Russell’s Gator.  When we got there Russell also told us that he would need fuel for the tractor later on. We moved the Gator to the next field to be brushhogged and then went back to the shop.

  When we got back I hooked a truck up to the fuel trailer and filled it up. I then drove out and filled up Russell’s tractor and then Jim’s tractor. By this time it was after 5 so I called it a day and went home.

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Hot Day on the Ranch

  When I got to the ranch around 8 a.m. today it was already pretty hot, so I figured I should probably feed before it got any hotter. I filled up the feedbox and drove up to the sale cattle. They all seem to be doing pretty good, but my bull wouldn’t come out of the woods. I don’t know what his deal is here lately. Maybe it was just to hot for him. Anyway after that I went and fed the fall calves then the bred heifers.

  After I got done feeding I went back to the shop and I went with Marty, Eric, and Chad to load scrap metal. We loaded up a couple air conditioners and some radiators then went back to the shop. By this time it was time for lunch. I needed to pick something up from town so I went with Marty since he had to go anyway.

  When we got to town we stopped by MFA to drop off some fence chargers to get repaired. While we were there he visited with a representative from a supplement company. You can really learn a lot just standing there listening. Most of it was stuff I learned in my Feeds and Feeding class, but this was more of a practical application. It was really cool listening to them talk and hearing about all the things they know. After that we went and dropped off the scrap metal then got lunch and went back.

  When we got back Marty had me hook up a truck to the fuel trailer and fill it up. After that I had to go find Jim and Russell and fill their tractors up. I found Russell pretty easily because he was close to the road. I decided to fill his tractor up first and he told me where to find Jim. After Russell’s tractor was full I went and found Jim and filled his tractor up. That was probably the hottest part of the day. The engines were warm from running, so it was like standing next to an oven. After that I went back to the shop and unhooked from the trailer then went home.

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Another Day on the Ranch

  When I got to the ranch today I started out by feeding the cattle. The sale cattle all seem to be doing good. I couldn’t find the bull today, but he has a habit of getting down in the woods where I can’t take a truck. If I cannot find him tomorrow I will take one of the Gators and go look for him. The bred heifers are all doing really good, and the one I thought had pinkeye must not have had it. She looked just fine today.

  The next thing we did was look at the ranch’s new clippers and the blades for them. There was an auction Saturday and Marty got them for next to nothing. Chad sharpened them and I watched and learned. I also learned if you store the blades in oil they won’t rust.

  Our next task was going to town to pick up different things that we needed. We went to the tractor dealership and picked up a spring to replace one that broke on the rake. After that we went to the Ford dealership and picked up some parts for one of the trucks. We then went and got some steel for the creep feeders and then got lunch.

  After we got back to the ranch we went and fixed the creep feeders. The cows were getting in them, so we had to put a bar on it to keep them out. It was a pretty easy fix. Just slide the bar in the holes and put a bolt on each end. Nothing too complicated. After we got that done it was time to head home.

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