Thursday, April 26, 2012

From horse flesh to horse power..... to a night cap

Greeting from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken Oil Formation. 

The saying goes something like this.... "If you don't like the weather in North Dakota, just wait five minutes".  So yesterday we enjoyed a morning of fencing, a sack lunch on the high plains and a 'cow' seeking expedition (with a couple of favorite 'horse flesh' friends) in the afternoon.  The need to fence caused the expedition.  Both were enjoyable in the beautiful weather, but upper managment may have felt that a better management strategy (like fencing the pasture before putting cows in it) would have been more efficient from a labor standpoint.  The sun was shining, it was still to slightly breezy and an absolutely picture perfect day.  Although everyone enjoyed the 'picnic on the prairie', some ate a little more than others..... Pete enjoyed a majority of the calories in the lunch sack while Hoss simply enjoyed snooping through the saddle packs and passed up the graze offered him all together.

Today was an entirely different story.  The day time high dropped 20 degrees from yesterday and the the winds sustained 40 miles an hour with gusts in the 50's.  Regardless, today was our day.  We farmed today (or to be accurate and give credit where credit is due, we watched our custom seeder, Lance Sorenson chew up our 200 acres of farmland in a single day).  Because we are ranchers and not farmers (with a very small amount of land suitable for crop production on our ranch) and couldn't otherwise afford equipment such as this, we are thrilled to be able to implement the latest farming technologies by hiring this work done. 

Below, Lance's 42 foot, single disk opener, John Deere 'no-till' drill doesn't disturb the soil and offers highly accurate seed placement to improve emergence of our canola and flax.  By eliminating 'tilling' to prepare the field for seeding, it reduces top soil and seed loss (from wind and rain) and traps (or rather keeps it from escaping) carbon in the soil, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and holds vital nutrients in the soil for plant growth.

Kyle loves his 'Little Johnny' (the only piece of horse power that we claim to own), but when he saw this massive outfit roll in to the yard to load seed, his eyes got huge, and in awe he muttered, "WOW mom..... Johnny looks scared".  Below, Kyle and Lance at the reins of that massive piece of equipment.

After all the excitement of the day we had a night cap - a chocolate waffle cone for Kyle and Pete and a cookie dough one for mom.  The perfect end to a couple good days in a row.

So from our little piece of heaven at the end of the road, here's to keeping the cows happy (and where they should be), the calves healthy (and where they should be), and the horses and humans fit.

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