Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The dog days of summer... and a little cowboy laundry!

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation!

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  It is much worse than that.  I am in the post-haying funk.  I experience two periods of 'funk' each year.  One is that period of time 30 days each side of winter solstice when it seems to be dark all the time.  The other, post haying.  I can't tell you why and although I understand that admittance is the first step to recovery, I'm just not ready to recover yet.

So, the last bale was wrapped up on August 2nd and since that time we have been dealing with a mixed bag agenda.  Unlike last year when we made just over 2,200 bales and busted tail from June 25th to September 7th, this year was nothing like that.  There was a total of just under 700 bales on 160 more possible acres than last year and we had above normal rainfall.  Unfortunately, we also had late frosts and a completely open, bare winter that the alfalfa didn't want to deal with coupled with boring weevils (a bug that destroys alfalfa plants).  A perfect storm of sorts.

So on a report card, haying was a C- at best.  The nice thing, we weren't broke down nearly as much as last year. 

The other really exciting thing that we had to deal with after haying was harvest.  We had custom harvesters lined up who were going to hit us before the spring wheat was ready to go 'up north'.  When Pete tracked them down the first week of August they confessed that we had been squeezed out due to the early maturing of the spring wheat in the high plains this year.  That blow lead to a couple sleepless nights around here..... and those of you that know me know that I sleep regardless of the circumstances.  After hitting the phones, Pete found a really great crew who were first timers to North Dakota this year.

L&L Ag Works custom harvesting our canola.  We were so lucky to find them through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture's Harvest Hotline.  Marshall, Mimi, Ed and the girls were great and we were so thankful to have the opportunity to work with them!
Kyle and I in front of the canola before it came down.  It wasn't a great stand, but above average.  We were happy with it considering it was our first year growing it.
In between haying and harvest, we found a little time to take care of some domestic equine chores.  Once a year, we take all of our saddle blankets and cinches off our saddles.  We power wash them with water ONLY (no soap), let everything dry and then oil the leather that gets sweated up throughout the year.

Cinches and saddle blankets drying after being power washed to remove sweat and matted horse hair from them.  This helps keep 'cinch sores' from our horses' girthes and keeps their blankets soft and absorbant.
Brad oiling back cinches after they dried.  Like a good patient, he wore his knee stabilizer and stayed off his leg as much as possible after his We-fest mishap.  We are hoping that his procedure in Fargo goes well tomorrow.
With all that we still had a little time to take in the Home on the Range Champions Ride in Sentinel Butte on August 4th, attend the Watford City Ribfest and Street Fair and get totally wrapped up in the Olympics.

The making of spider man at the Watford City ribfest.
Kyle's best bud, Steph Jore came up to him at ribfest and told him, "My three favorite things all wrapped into one:  spider man, NDSU bison and Kyle Best!".  She got a HUGE grin for that excellent one liner ;).
The Champions Ride was wet this year, but at least it wasn't hot!
The Champions Ride in Sentinel Butte, ND.  A wonderful family afternoon.
Did I mention we took in some homeless folks that showed up at our door step?
We thought they could possibly be the Beverly Hill Billies considering the load they were pulling along with them.  Yes, it is the largest dog house I have ever seen, a lawn mower, bulk gas tank and a livestock watering tank.  It should bring me comfort to know that the new neighbors have a lawnmower, right?..... And yes, that is Sue and Lyle's new house in the back ground.
And alas, we said good-bye to Brad yesterday.  He was told to 'drive safe, listen to his doctor and his mother, do well at school, but not too well, and see you in a couple months'.... Brad and Kyle have the same birthday so there is a party planned for the late October, early November birthdays.... Brad, Kyle, Lee and Pete all have birthdays within eight days of each other.
Until next time, here is to embracing the post-haying funk and rolling with it!

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