Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bull Goes On

The day dawned unexpectedly clear with a crisp breeze. Today we were expecting a delivery and, although the ground was muddy, the sunshine made everything easier. Cattleman Jim and his Prince were happy to see the trailer from Wisconsin when it arrived promptly.
 Out stepped, not just one,
 or two
But three new Angus bulls to use in our herd this season. 
We are in the beef cattle business, but our product is live calves. Some of our heifer calves are kept or sold as breeding stock. Those girls will be in a herd where they will raise calves. The remaining calves will be sold for fattening in a feedlot. 
Our goal is to produce calves that can qualify as either angus or hereford. In live calves hide standards are used and the calves most likely to bring top dollar are the calves that can fit into either standard. If you want to know more, click here.   
 Be sure to follow the link into an old favorite Black Bull, White Face, Red Momma, where you can check out the actual hide requirements of each breed.
 The jacket indicates that he knows his stuff. The meat evaluation team sounded like a judging team to me, and so it is. However, their evaluation of each animal that is scored on the hoof is later compared to actual carcass scores. That will keep the eyes sharp as the team judges goats, sheep, beef, and hogs.
But not dogs, and Prince is happy about that. 
 Cattleman Jim and the guys from Wisconsin took a bit of time to lean on the fence and enjoy the day in GriggsDakota where Cows come and go but the Bull goes on forever.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Ducks

 This is a great day to be a duck.
Last week the sun was shining and we were preparing for field work as things melted and dried. Old Red was pressed into service.
On a beautiful afternoon Old Red helped Bill treat barley seed out in the yard. If you click on the link, you will see that some years, this is an indoor job.
Then the rain started and hasn't stopped. 
So it is a great time to be a duck in GriggsDakota.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sugar Beet as a Cover Crop Spring Update


 Farmer Fred likes to get out and check the fields now that the trails can be driven. 
He recently checked the field on which we planted Sugar Beets as a Cover Crop. If you follow the link, you will see what we learned about this cover crop. We hoped that beets would mature enough to help to loosen the soil.
Late in the season, cattle grazed the field. You can see that in this wet spot,  salts have accumulated. Those salts, combined with accumulated moisture, make it difficult for this area to be productive during the growing season.
Deer also frequented the spot. You can see a fresh track on the trail in the above photo. 
It surprised Farmer Fred to see that the grazers did not disturb many of the beets in the ground. 
The beets above and countless others spent the winter in the ground. As the ground warms up, the sugar beets will deteriorate. That will leave a spot for air and water to permeate the soil.  
We will continue to watch this spot as the crop is planted and emerges. For now, the sugar beets do seem to have eliminated some of the moisture and salts in this soggy place in the field of GriggsDakota.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Focus on Potential

 With the restlessness that only Spring can bring, I drove around to look up at one of my favorite spots in GriggsDakota.
In a burst of foolish hopefulness, I drove up to see if I could find signs of Spring up there.
Reality can often be disappointing on a Spring Day in GriggsDakota. 
 So we deal in the great potential.
The Summer sky, 
Green leaves, 
Birds, 
 and Blossoms.
We see the vast promise of a new season, 
Its potential to produce bountifully. 
On the cold Spring afternoon, I could imagine green, 
 The hum of bees,
 The startled jump of a grasshopper.
It is hard to be patient. 
But we know that great potential lies in the land. 
And so we will not lose heart, though the season in slow to change in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ice is Leaving

A morning drink from the lake is a refreshing way for Prince to cool down. 
 The lake freezes over at night, so there is a thin layer of ice. I will only imagine how cold the water, no drinks for me.
The ice is breaking up on the lake.  
 I noticed a salamander moving very slowly across the ice as it thaws out.
 It must have been disturbed by Butler, who thought he should go out and retrieve it. After I called his name several times, and then yelled "TREAT! TREAT!" he decided to return to the lakeshore.
The salamander continued slowly across the ice. 
I can't imagine where he will go. 
The dogs soon forgot about the salamander and the ice. 
A gull found that we still have very hard water. 
There was a small cackling party of geese, also on top of the water and apparently happy about that. 
 Winter will soon be a memory.
 The cold swim inspired Butler to take a dirt bath and is so pleased with himself.
The cows have moved out of the yard with their calves.
It was not long ago that the geese had nowhere to swim. Our first thaw had all frozen over.
 That has changed.
The sun, when it shines, is warm. 
Spring is making progress. 
It is on the way to GriggsDakota.