Friday, May 11, 2012

Likin' their new digs!

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

So we finally got all the cows moved to their spring pasture, one mostly of tame grass and legume varieties.  The last of the 'sandbaggers' (the ones that didn't want to make the move) forced me into a little mountain climbing, but we finally got 'er done.  This photo captured a resting point on my journey back up a steep creeping cedar covered clay face after descending down into a coulee on foot where the 4 wheeler couldn't go.... the scouting mission before the ride.  I pushed the mountain goats down to the bottom where we could get to them with horses.  Traveling down hill is so much easier than traveling up hill!

After bring the last three pairs through the gate with Chance, I went back to get the Ford and my co-pilot from grandma's house to check on the cows and calves in the recently moved to pasture.  Co-pilot crashed shortly after take off.  And yes, that is spaghetti from lunch.... it matched his coat!
 The difference between 'tame' and 'native' grass - When the flora and fona of the badlands were being established after the glacial melt (yep, the badlands are an accumulation of all the debris that the glaciers left behind when they melted), many vegetative species established on their own, natively (if that is a word Webster would acknowledge).  Tame grasses and legumes were planted over time and are considered 'tame' due to humans planting them here and them not naturally (natively) existing here before man.  In addition to the classifications in range management of tame and native, there is also the classification of 'cool' and 'warm' season grasses.  The species that start growing early in the spring are cool weather lovers and thus termed 'cool season'.  The warm season grasses need more heat to get started and do better in warm weather, where cool seasons go into dormancy when it gets too warm for them.

SSSoooooo... the spring pasture that we moved on to the beginning of May, a cool season, tame grass pasture.  The only one on the place.  It was taken out of crop production specifically for spring grazing.  It helps us keep the native and warm season grass pastures 'saved' for later in the season.  Most years we move the cows onto this pasture earlier, but with all the old grass from last year left behind, we needed to get some of that cleaned out before the move to the 'COOL TAME' pasture.
 Who wouldn't love this salad bar?  Especially when you have four compartments in your stomach, making this highly digestible to you!
 The relationship between cows (as responsible grazers) and the range land is synergistic.  There are lots of really cool things going on here, of which I must save for another time..... DON'T want this discussion to get too drawn out.... but trust me, it is really cool (that synergistic relationship).

So, from our little piece of heaven at the end of the road, here's to keeping the cows happy (and they REALLY are right now in their new digs), the calves healthy (and they are because their mamma's are milking so well on their spring pasture), and the horses and humans (especially after my mountain climbing) fit.

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