Saturday, November 25, 2023

Ranch Improvements

With our new corrals being thrust into action sooner than we expected, we had to improvise a bit. Food and water are the basic necessities. We were able to put a tank heater in our water trough, but the feeding situation needed some attention.

Ranch hard. Be happy. 

The beauty of feeding round bales is that one bale will last us a month or two. That is, if you have the right feeder. Coming from farmer roots, I wasn't interested in buying a new one. So we called Uncle Chris who had an old bent up one on his north 40.

Definitely needs some work. But nothing a mig welder can't handle. 

It was easier to just cut that bend out of there rather than try straightening it. 

We just welded it solid, rather than pinning the three different sections. No sense in horsing around. 

The tin all around the base need some attention as well. Tack by tack, we had it all back in shape. 

Many of these old style feeders have one flaw. At different points the top angle comes to bottle neck. Once in a blue moon a cow will raise her head, get it stuck in this neck catch, and run off with your feeder. 

So, to avoid the near occasion of sin, we welded a piece of rebar to keep her from getting into the trap. 

Better than it once was. 

I'm all about working smarter not harder. One thing we didn't plan for on our catch pen was an access door. Climbing over this bad boy every once in a while isn't bad. But for regular checking on a pair, something needed to be done. 

So we set another post. and welded it to the top rail. 

Then built some hinges and cut the middle of the fence out. Works good. Just gotta duck. 

Everybody's happy.

These kids are going to call this home for a while; might as well make it accommodating. More than that, though, I wanted to keep my ranch hand, Dad, happy. I can't afford to loose him. With old man winter moving in, I think we're ready for whatever comes our way. Giddy up!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving Surprise

For the past seven months we've been fattening this little Charolais heifer just to discover that, she's not fat. She's pregnant! 

Little Andy was born on the feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother in the Temple. A heifer calf, we named her after my cousin Andy whose birthday is November 21st. 

We got mom last April from the sale barn in Worland. She came off the HooDoo Ranch in the Cody area. She was just a squirt when we got her and watched her grow all summer. She must have been bred when we bought her. 

The plan was to butcher her in December when she was good and heavy and her coat was full. All was going as planned until my buddy Minh and I showed up a couple Sunday's ago and discovered that she was bagging up. Oh boy, what a surprise! From the looks of her I thought she might calve that night. So the neighbors kept an eye on her and 10 days later I got a call from Casey that she had calved. 

Perfect timing as I hoped to haul them back home over Thanksgiving. The pair are pretty content, but Mom needs reminding that she is a mother. 

We got in late last night and Dad had our new catch pen all ready to go.

But the next day, in typical first-calf-heifer fashion, baby was curled up in the corner. 

And mom was fixing to head home. 

So Dad and I fixed up a little calving jug to help the two stay mothered up. 

A rancher's delight. 
There's no better sight in calving world then a baby nursing its mother. 
So fun. God is full of surprises. When one door closes, another opens. We were planning to put Mom in the cooler, but we'll take a calf instead. This does open new ranching horizons. What they are, not sure yet. The first step was to get a healthy calf on the ground. Now that we've got that, we'll have to see what comes next. St. Paul says to, "Give thanks in all circumstance" (1 Thes. 5:18). Gratitude opens our hearts to receive the will of God. Even when our plans change, God always has our best interest in mind. Let's ranch!

Stop and Give Thanks

Intentional gratitude is an encounter with the presence of God. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Winter Ready

Usually I wait until its cold and snowy to make final winter preparations. Not this year. With an afternoon of nice weather, I went ahead and got the horses settled in their winter home. 

The kids look good. They always do. But their bay hides really stand out as they start to put on their winter coats. 

Colleen Chaulk has generously let us campout at her place for the past three years. It works great with a lean-to, catch pen, heated waterer, and a bit of room to run. 

I kicked the water on and the float seemed to be stuck. 

So I tore it down to take a looksee. 

Then just cleaned out the float seat. 

And it did the trick. 

Next was getting the feeder ready. These nets have really saved the day. 

I like to keep hay on the critters all day long so their minds don't grow weary. The net makes them work for their feed and keeps them from wasting hay. 

Before going into winter is a good time to trim their hooves. No one wants to do that in the middle of January. 

So I got all eight cleaned up. 

My old friend. 

Happy campers. 

The feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple is a fine day settle the horses in their winter pasture. Our Blessed Mother will take good care of them. For the next five months or so, this is what they'll be looking at. Good stuff.


Mary was closer to Jesus as His disciple than she was His mother.

Monday, November 20, 2023


Hands down, my favorite food is a hamburger. I'm pretty sure I could eat one every day and never get tired of it. Of course, it's got to be cooked right. Growing up, Dad made the best hamburgers. The secret he inherited from Grandma was steamed buns. We called them Greasies. 

1 lb package of burger makes nice 1/3 lb patties. 

Only Lungren Brothers grass fattened beef will do. 

Once the patties are pressed and the pan is warm, throw them on. I salt and pepper the down side before they go in and then hit the tops once they're cooking. I like to keep the heat about medium. 

Some people don't like to press them down, thinking they loose all the juices. With these big patties, though, I find it helps them cook even and stay together better. Smash burger, if you will. 

The right buns make a difference too. Hawaiian buns are hard to beat cause they're sweet. But a good ole sesame seed bun will do too. 

Here's the kicker: cook them good on the first side. Then when you flip it, place the buns, bottom down, on top of the patties. 

Then cover the pan. And while the bottom side of the patty cooks it steams the buns. It's often good to turn the temp down to low at this point. 

Pull them off, turn them over, add the cheese...

And enjoy! 

Nothing says God bless America like a freshly cooked, home grown hamburger. I love it. If you ever want to break into my bank account, the answer to  my favorite food security question is always a hamburger! 

Time of Trial

Don't cave to the culture. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Ranch Sorting

My buddy Mike is always calling me with new adventures. Some I take advantage of when time allows, and others I just let pass for one reason or another. Well, this little ranch gig at the Camplex sounded fun. Not sure what we were getting into, but I was game. 

So I grabbed the kids bright and early. Chief was to be my horse of choice. 

Here's the layout. Turns out it not something new. 

Once arrived, all the contestants take time to warm up their horses. 

And of course, stop for the National Anthem. Today being Veterans Day, I was just super reminded of the gift or our freedom and opportunities in America. This did not come by happenstance. People fought to defend it, and they still do today. Thanks be to God for our veterans and their sacrifice. 

Our fellow buddy Luke was able to show up, so I gave him Chief and let the brute Mollie out of her cage. 

You basically start with 10 numbered cattle in a pen. 

As you and your partner enter that side of the corral, they call out a number. Then, starting with that number, you sort the first cow into the next pen, followed by the rest of the cattle numerically. You have 60 seconds to get all 10. If your time runs out, you get scored on how many you got through in 60 seconds. Or if you get a cow out of order you get disqualified. 

We all got three different turns, two with each other and one with a draw. Mollie was a bit like a bull in a china closet. But we had fun. Mike and I had one good run where we got 4 cows sorted in 60 seconds. 

Giddy up. 

Fun time. I'll take advantage of any opportunity I can to get the horses out. This ranch sorting gig was cool. Good to hang with the boys and good to learn some new tricks. Not sure we'll take it up as a pass time, but great opportunity to meet new folks. On to the next one. 

Brace Post

If you want to build a good fence, you have to start with a good brace post. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the effort you put in y...