Greetings from the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation!
It has been six weeks since the last event I blogged about, branding. In that time ALOT has happened and as they say, "It has been one he#* of a ride"!
Hours after we finished working calves on May 18th the rain started to fall and it fell for the next 4 weeks to an accumulation of ten inches for us. This was too much rain for many, but ranchers can't get too much rain. I have farming friends that were able to get only a portion of their crops in and construction friends that saw 1/4 of their North Dakota construction season slip away, but for ranchers in country that only gets an average of 14 inches of moisture (thats snow and rain moisture combined) annually, June has been magical.
It may possibly resemble Brazil in someways right now, however we will be worlds apart again come fall. So, the ol' girl, Mother Nature has been kind to us in June, providing us with abundant grass and a beautiful hay crop. In this country, we usually make 5 1/2 foot diameter bales. Foreign to most, but it is how ranchers in the area determine the 'yield' of their hay crop as it seldom gets weighed. A normal crop will be a bale to the acre on average. We cover around 1,200 acres typically and on a normal year, need 900 to 1,000 bales to make it through the winter. On really dry years, CRP is opened for haying to fill the gap needed to put up enough hay to sustain the cow herd.
So far this year on the first 300 acres we have been running nearly 3 bales to the acre. Granted this will taper off for many reasons, one knowing the the best yielding hay is already up, but still this is huge for a ranching operation to bank surplus for a dry (not rainy) year (not day).
Below are a couple videos and photos that capture June, 2013's highlights and a few credit roles to the people and businesses that make it possible for us to be out here doing what we do.
|Eva and I in the holding position while we were gathering cows for our annual June AI (artificial Insemination) and ET (embryo transfer) projects.|
|Pushing out the last of the 'Rough Creek (pasture)' cows after AI was finished.|
|Hoss, Kyle and me rode on the way out to push the Rough Creek cows out.|
|Kim and Jaden rode on the way home from pushing the Rough Creek cows out... we need another Hoss.|
|Brad the 'dude'... We get off the ranch once a week to play sand volleyball on Monday nights. The first game of the first week Brad sprained his ankle. We was assigned to the Honda for a couple weeks.|
|It's a wrap... we had just pushed the last of the cows out to summer grass to the Elkhorn pasture. It is all in the bull's hands now!|
|What do ranch kids do when its hot out and their parents won't take them in to the Wild West Water Park? They run through the sprinkler with goggles on and an umbrella over their head!|
|The hay crop this year is great! Brad raking...|
|Kyle and I baling behind the rake.|
|Kyle with the new baler from Anderson Vermeer in Alexander. Ben and Janelle are great and the area is so very fortunate to have that dealership and service department close and handy!|
|In my personal opinion, the mountains have nothing on the Badlands.|
|A lost trucker and a beautifully green landscape.|
When I speak in this clip about the companies operating here, what I mean is that I hope they understand and are sensitive to the fact that western North Dakota is home to many people that cherish things that oil impact is taking away from them. I have met some of the most interesting people that would have never experienced wester North Dakota if it wasn't for the oil find. I immediately connect with the ones that see it for more than a paycheck and I really thank them for 1) seeing how much our home means to 'us' and 2) for taking care of this land as if it were their own home. We hope that someday it is their home... I also hope that people understand that after the 2013 ND legislative session, what came out of that had a negative impact on relationships between people living in impacted communities (who call them home) and the oil and gas companies doing business here. A need for a grass roots movement by western North Dakota to change / fix this outcome is needed. I hope we have the voice to stand up for our home!
Again, here's to June, 2013 and hoping July, 2013 too wants to have a positive ATTITUDE!