This week we continued to irrigate with the side rolls and pivots. We shut one pasture off completely so that it could dry for swathing. The grass has kept growing and has reached 4 foot high in some places. On Thursday evening, the new pivot shut down and we were unable to get it started again until the next morning. It was very puzzling, but we think that the pump was shut down because it got too hot (a combination of heat from operating and the ambient air temperature). We installed some 6” pipe to replace an old 4” line that fed a section of gated pipe in one of the pastures. I had never worked with gated pipe prior to this, so it was a learning experience. I learned how to install new gates and also how to repair the pipe itself.
The highlight of the week had to be the amount of time that I spent in the saddle. I got to help teach the neighbors about the practice of herding cattle on horseback. We only moved two bulls, but it was a good beginning session. I took a ride on one of the horses here on the ranch that needed some work. He had not been rode much and needed a good workout. I gave him the workout, and I got one too! Later that day, I worked with a cowboy friend of the Perry’s to identify and cut out heavy cows in a herd. In the process, he gave me a few pointers about moving cattle, especially when herding one animal at a time. I also got the opportunity to rope calves at the branding on Friday. We did about 39 head, using horses and nordforks. I had never been around nordforks, so it was good for me to see what they were like. I personally think that wrestling the calves is better because there is no equipment on the ground for the horses to get tangled up in and the riders can go try for another calf in the pen instead of waiting until the calf is branded. It was the first time that I had roped off a horse, and I didn’t do very well! But I did get a better idea about how to throw a heel loop and what to look for when taking a shot at a calf. I am very hopeful that I can improve my roping skills over the summer.
I have also kept busy doing some mechanic work and fencing around the ranch. The days are growing warmer and the hay is practically begging to be cut!