Mary’s week of cowboying and cleaning up

This week at Perry Cattle Co., I got to spend a lot of time in the saddle, and I got to clean the barn and some of the equipment.

We needed to clean the barn so that we could brand and vaccinate the seven “slicks” (or unbranded calves) that had just been born or missed since the last branding. It was important to get all the  straw out of the way just in case the branding iron were to hit some of it and caused a fire.  It felt good to clean up the barn because it was instant gratification. After even five minutes, the barn looked good.  By the time it was all said and done, it was good enough to house the Kentucky Derby horses…. if I do say so myself!

I rode Sam, the horse, a few times this week. On Monday we moved the cattle from the lower pasture to the higher pastures. The grasses were lush and tall in the higher pasture, and so the cattle will have plenty of great things to munch on, and without the cattle on it, the lower pasture will be able to recover. Sam and I are starting to get along a lot better now. He did not give me any troubles on Monday. He also behaved on Friday when we were rounding up those seven slicks. Although, I almost got jostled off when we were running after some of the cows. During the branding, I got to run the nord fork. I struggled, but towards the end, I was sort of, kind of,  getting the hang of it!

I have been getting the hang of the sideroll sprinklers and I am so proud of all that I have learned. I have been having a great time working here, and I am so excited to see what new adventures this week will entail!

Aidan’s week of fencing

This week I learned how to take down fence. Monday I took down quite a bit of fence, and I have to say, this is not the kind of work you want to be tall for. By the end of the day I felt like an old man walking around with a hunch back! The following day I went up with the hired man Terry Savage and helped do the opposite, and fix fence all day. On Wednesday, Terry and I were back at tearing down old fence again, and I have to say, kudos to whoever built that fence because it was in some nasty spots. Then on Thursday, we continued to tear down the fence, and it seemed like we were moving at the speed of a turtle. Then on Friday I learned how to spray weeds, and we got a fire truck. Saturday was an interesting day, David bought a fence roller that hooks to the back of a tractor, and we started to roll up the fence that I tore down on Monday. The thing worked pretty good, but it didn’t have the power to tear through some sage brush and trees, so we just cut the wire and spliced it. All in all it was a good week, I learned a lot about fence, and I am pretty sure my spine compressed down a little. Oh and also, the sunsets here are to die for!

Jedidiah’s weekly work summary

We had another real Western week at the Ladder Ranch! We started off by branding another bunch of calves out on the desert. It was a swell time! We had a really good team of ropers and wrestlers, which helped get the work done quickly. After we had the branding out of the way, the cattle were paired and taken to greener pastures up river. Unfortunately, some of the cows and calves haven’t found each other and have been searching for each other. Hauling cattle a few at a time has kept us busy this week. While all the cattle catastrophes were taking place, another intern and I worked on fixing some of the pasture fences for two days. One of the fences was on a lease pasture and had fallen into very poor condition over the past several years.  Furthermore, a lot of it was on steep, rocky slopes. With a little elbow grease and determination, we got it done! The Ladder Ranch has a newly installed pivot field that they had plowed and disc-ed this spring. We have been working on getting it leveled so we can plant it with Triticale. The biggest roadblock we had was repairing the old blade so that it would work properly. We had another big branding in the mountain pasture this week. We did about 270 calves in about 4 hours. By the time we got done, everyone was ready to go home! This week I also got to go out to help pick out 4-H lambs from one of the bands of sheep. We also moved a sheep camp, so I got to see how that was done as well. To finish off the week we hauled some sheep panels in preparation for docking lambs and a solar panel for a remote stockwater well. Besides all this, we started working with some 3-year-old horses and trying to gentle them down. It is definitely a learning curve for me but I am excited about it!

Mary continues to learn with the Perry’s

This week at Perry Cattle Company, I am finally starting to get into the swing of things…. sort of! I still make plenty of mistakes, but I am getting a better handle on some of the basic tasks that happen on a ranch. It was a very exciting week and provided lots of chances to learn.

I started doing more with the side rolls. I am now able to move them and their hoses without as much instruction. I am getting better at straightening the pipe so they will not get twisted when we move them. I can hook the side rolls to the pump by myself. I learned how to start the pump that brings the water from the ditch to the side rolls. I still sometimes forget one or two things- mostly to open the pump so water can actually flow through the pipes and irrigate the pasture- but in time, I will be an expert….hopefully! I am determined to get the hang of it.

We had an exciting day on Wednesday! We did a small scale branding for about 28 calves, and we put fly spray on about 15 cows. I was in charge of giving the cattle their shots. We were vaccinating for black leg and Bovine Viral Diarrhea. The one other time I helped with a branding, we ran all the cattle through the shoot. Here though, we had somebody heel the calf, and then we (the ground crew) would use a Nord Fork. The Nord Fork is a device that catches and holds a calf’s head to the ground. This prevents the calf from thrashing and possibly hurting somebody. I thought it was going to take extra time, but when you are able to castrate, brand, vaccinate and ear tag a calf all in one fail swoop, you find that you saved a lot of time and the calf was able to go back out and be reunited with it’s mother quicker.

This week I have spent a lot of time in the saddle. Sam, the horse I have been using, was trying to get away with some bad manners. He would not do what I asked, so Jeff and Amy helped me by showing me how to get  horse to listen to me. After making Sam go in circles, where he had to listen to my commands, and chasing a cow out of a pasture, I have not been having the problems that I had prior.

Finally, week three wrapped up with more irrigation, some fence building, and my first ranch meeting. I want to see the business side of what makes a farm operate, it is exciting to be on the ground floor of how a cattle ranch operates.

 

Aidan – Week 3

This week was very interesting, and I learned a lot. We started off the week by moving bulls and putting them in with cows. Then on Wednesday Nate, Molly and I drive down to the Wyoming Stock Growers convention. I stayed at the convention until Friday. Throughout the convention I went to many different committee hearings and speakers. I have to say my favorite speaker was on finding the perfect steak. I thought the speaker was good, and the topic was interesting. Furthermore, I went to committee meetings on Brands, as well as livestock health. I have to say I did not fully understand the brand talk. But I found the livestock health very interesting.  Also, I got to listen to senator Barrasso speak, as well as Governor Matt Meade. Listening to all of the potential governors was very cool and thought provoking. I think there are a few great candidates and I am interested to see who Wyoming chooses.  I then learned how to fix fence yesterday. All in all I would say it was a very educational week, one of which I really enjoyed.

Jedidiah – Week 2 with the Ladder Ranch

This was another busy week at the Ladder Ranch! We started off the week by discovering that the cows had broken a gate and let themselves into the National Forest! We spent a couple of days fencing the pastures and rebuilding the gate so that the cows would stay off the forest until mid-June. While we were gathering the cows back, my horse decided to lay down in a pond after she had gotten a drink. It ended with me in the water soaking wet! Luckily, it was midday and the sun was hot. Another big project that we accomplished this week was fixing a water tank in one of the mountain pastures. It is fed by a spring and the cows had made a big mud hole around it because the tank was leaking. There had been so much dirt removed from around the tank that the cows couldn’t drink out of it anymore. It took a lot of grit and ingenuity, but the other intern and I got it done. We branded a bunch of about 90 calves out on the desert last week also. The Ladder Ranch brands in portable panel corrals that must be set up and taken down. The real challenge is sorting out the cows from the calves with no alley to work in. I think we all learned a little about working together to get the job done smoothly. Other than that, we have been keeping ourselves busy with yardwork, putting out mineral, and feeding the stock in the corrals. One big privilege was getting a little horse riding lesson from one of the hired men. I am very grateful to be in such a great environment for learning about horses. Next week promises more riding and branding; hopefully it goes well!!!

Mary Marsh begins work with Perry Cattle Company

Feeders, fences, and dams.

This week at Perry Cattle Company, I got to spend a lot of time in the saddle, moved feeders and helped get equipment ready for cutting hay.

I started keeping a To-Do list with me. This has helped keep me on track for what needed to be done, especially since I am new and am still trying to learn where everything is.

We began the week with moving feeders. I would use a chain to hook up these long troughs to the 4-wheeler and would pull them to the next field. Then I would pour mineral into the troughs and made sure there was a salt block in each.  The mineral that we use has bovatec, which helps the cattle with nutrient absorption. Later that day, I pulled out the boards and tarps that we used for dams in the irrigation ditches. It was a muddy and humid extravaganza, but that just made it extra rewarding when I finished.

The next day, I got the chance to test my saddling skills because we were going to move cattle. I almost got the saddle on all by myself, but then right at the end, I needed help. Next time, saddle…next time. We had to do some last minute irrigation work before heading off to go move said cattle. I was not very comfortable moving cattle next to the highway. Thankfully, the horse, Sam, was under control. I really enjoy getting to ride and move cattle. I did not grow up with horses and would jump at any chance to ride. Now, to have it be a part of my job is incredible. I still have a long ways to go before I am a confident rider, but everyday, I get a little better. In the afternoon, I went back to go try and get the electric fence to work. We were getting as charge of 1.9, the desired charge is 3.0 and up. After going down the fence, I thought I saw the problem. One of the splices was touching a t-post. I carefully fixed it, but that still did not solve the problem.

Wednesday, I moved the mineral feeders to the next pasture. I got really frustrated because I could not find one the feeders I had set out. Can I still use the “I am a new” excuse? I was then reassigned to help Jeff patch the gated pipe again and make sure the balers and rake were ready for action. I ran the grease gun, which made me fondly remember back home getting equipment ready for almond harvest. By the time I was done, I am not sure how much grease I got on the equipment because I was covered head to toe!

Thursday was redemption day for saddling the horses. The cattle we had just moved the other day had gotten loose which meant we needed to ride the horses and get the cows back where they belonged and fix the fence. Using my four-wheeler, I moved the horses out of the pasture, I caught Sam, then I saddled him without any help. Sam was being a pill. He was not listening to me and would not do what I asked. I got really frustrated so then I got to use a four-wheeler. We changed the electric fence charger and that worked a lot better. We got a charge of 4.0!  We went back to the ranch and moved the heifers that will be getting spayed the next day in a pen off to themselves.  In the afternoon, I pulled more dams, and helped Jeff with the other electric fence.

Friday was a really great day, I got to run the rake! I really enjoyed getting to drive tractor because I have driven tractors for many years and it was familiar.

I am excited to start my third week here and I am happy with learning so much!

Aidan’s unforgettable week with the Kane’s

This week, was extremely exciting. I went to my first ever branding, and I have to say, it was hard work, yet maybe one of the most entertaining things I have ever done. Learning how to trip the calf was very interesting and especially since these calves were on the larger size, timing was absolutely everything. I also learned another way to brand besides the traditional way. Putting the calves on a table certainly went fast with only 6 people. We also trailed bulls, and even though they are easier than pairs, I have to say they are way more intimidating. They seem to just want to fight for no reason and if you don’t have your wits about you then they could kill you or your horse if you are in the wrong spot.  Earlier this week we received about 2.8 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, due to the actual rain and the conditions of the road, we were forced to stay in and do maintenance on equipment. I learned how to change out the blades on a swather. This week was very eye opening and new, and will truly be one that I will never forget.

Aidan Downey gets first taste of ranching lifestyle with the Kane’s

This was my first week ever spending any extended period of time on a ranch in my life, and I have to say, although it is a lot of hard work, it was also extremely interesting and enjoyable. The first day we jumped right into it and went on my very first cattle drive. Having not ridden a horse in a year, I was definitely nervous. However, everything went well and the Kane’s were very helpful and explicit about what I need to do and everything went off without a hitch. Having the first all day cattle drive under my belt, I was not as worried about the second one the following morning, especially since these were not two-year-old heifers and somewhat cooperated. Throughout the week I learned the ins and outs of the ranch and have an idea on some of the names they use for places. I have also learned a lot about farming and planting seed and working the soil with a land planer. This first week has been an overload of information, however that being said, every bit of information that I have gained has been extremely useful and valuable. Furthermore, the E-U ranch is in one of the most beautiful places I have been to. It does not have steep snowy mountains and high alpine lakes, but it has rolling green hills where the antelope roam and the deer play. It seems as if I could be in Ireland with the green grass and stark beauty, as well  a the stunning sunsets.

Jedidiah Hewlett joins Ladder Livestock for the summer

Hello! My name is Jedidiah Hewlett and I will be the intern at Ladder Livestock this summer! I started the week off busy as ever. On Monday, Pat took me around and showed me the meadows and also the conservation efforts of the ranch. They have installed permanent structures in the river to improve the fish habitat for their recreational guests. The riparian areas look really good! When we got back to the home ranch I started dragging the meadows to break up the cow pies and help them release the nutrients better. On Tuesday, I continued dragging meadows. On Wednesday, we went and branded about 60 calves on the desert. The steers and heifers get a different brand for easy identification. After we were done, Meghan took me around and showed me the sheep camps and lambing barns. They are quite impressive!!! On Thursday, we moved some furniture into the trailer where I am staying and then spent the afternoon dragging some more meadows. Even though it was a push to get it done, we finished up the meadows below Battle Mountain so that we can start irrigating them. On Friday, I learned how to wrangle the horses and then spent the day out on the desert gathering cattle. It was some really neat country, and some of the sagebrush was over my head! On Saturday, we rode out to the desert again to gather cattle. Unfortunately, I got separated from the other riders and didn’t get regrouped until about 10 o’clock. I learned a few things from this experience, namely that I should have paid better attention to the landmarks to guide me back to where I needed to be. It was a lesson that I would rather not have learned in that way, but now I know what to do if another similar situation were to arise. The summer sounds like it will be full of many more adventures, including the training of the three new mustangs that we adopted. I am excited!!!

  

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