You Might Be A Rancher If…

I just saw this list and thought it was funny- George and I can easily relate to everyone on the list. Shared from the County Agriculture Alliance Web page Steamboat Springs, Colorado. https://communityagalliance.org

YouMightBeARancherIf
  • You convince your spouse that an overnight, out-of-state trip for equipment parts is a vacation.
  • You wear specific hats to farm sales, livestock auctions, customer appreciation suppers, and funerals.
  • You have never thrown away a five-gallon bucket.
  • You have used baling wire to attach a license plate.
  • You have used a chain saw to remodel your house.
  • You remember AUM’s and yields from 10 years ago but cannot remember your spouse’s birthday.
  • You have driven off the road while examining your neighbor’s fields.
  • You have borrowed gravel from the country road to fill potholes in your driveway.
  • You have buried a dog and cried like a baby.
  • You have used a tractor front-end loader as scaffolding.
  • You wave at every vehicle whether you know the driver or not.
  • You always look when a vehicle passes your house, even at night.
  • You refer to ranches by who owned them 50 years ago or more.
  • You give directions to your ranch using landmarks, not road numbers.
  • You know “Checkoff” is not a Russian diplomat.
  • Your early morning prayer covers rain and cattle.
  • Your ranch truck’s seat heater has four legs and a tail.
  • Using the elevator involves a grain truck.
  • You wake up when it’s dark and you go to bed after the evening news.
  • You wear your boots to church.
  • Family weddings and special events are planned around haying, gathering, and calving.

Counting Your Blessings

The winter season is the slowdown time at the ranch. Yes, we still have our chores but things are not so hectic and we can stop and “smell the roses” so to speak. In the early months of every New Year, we stop and reflect on the happenings of the past year.  Maybe, we are just reflecting because we are working on completing the book work for taxes.  All kidding aside, this time of year causes us to count our blessings.  Each year always has its struggles but the good times always outweigh the hard times.

Some of our blessings in 2012 were:

  • As always, living near the best neighbors around who are always willing to lend a helping hand without a moment of hesitation on any project.
  • Our animals staying healthy and content in extreme drought and heat conditions.
  • Our ranch being spared from devastating prairie fires.
  • The land providing 98% of our food needs- we wish we could grow oranges and lemons and sugar cane in South Dakota but haven’t found a successful way yet.
  • The support and help from our families in ways big and small.
  • Answered prayers from the good Lord above.

For our readers,  What are some of the blessings in your life?

A BIG THANK YOU

George and I want to thank all of the buyers of our 2012 livestock, garden produce, and goat soap.  Without all of you, we would not make a living off of our land.  People’s positive comments make our day. Everyone inspires us to be the best stewards and caretakers of our land and livestock that we can be. We always welcome visitors to the ranch and can provide a home-cooked meal and comfortable place to rest.

Have a great 2013, Everyone!

Stonewall

A second Savanna buck was purchased from Kenneth Mincey.  He has been dubbed Stonewall after the famous Confederate general Stonewall Jackson and it is fitting since he was born in Georgia. The plan is to have him breed our does that were sired by our first herd buck, Ice-Man. It will be exciting to see the combination of genetics in the Spring.

Magnum on the range!

magnum on the range
Magnum on the range

Meet, Magnum, our new herd bull. Magnum is a registered Hereford bull JR CCF DEEN 434V 1105 with a 5 frame size and comes a line of Dam and Sire Distinction. He weighed 83 lbs at birth and will be a good addition to our herd!

2012 Bucks for Sale!!

Posted here are photos of our 2012 crop of Savanna bucks that we have for sale. Enjoy!

Bustling Ranch Activity

The blog has been silent due to the beehive of activity on the ranch. Calving and kidding kept us on our toes in the early Spring. Now we are onto handling livestock in drought situations and being prepared for prairie fires. The gardens are producing well. Fencing, repairing stock dams and buildings are daily activities.

We have butchered and sold our first batch of pastured broilers and now have half-grown chickens with our second batch of broilers. We consider ourselves lucky to stay busy with Nature’s bounty and enjoy the challenge that Life brings our way living on the prairie.

Fruits of the Prairie

Summer is the time for picking fruit of the prairie. 2012 has proven to be an excellent chokecherry and currant year.

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes for currant jelly and chokecherry syrup.

Currant Jelly

  • 3 3/4 cup black currant juice
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pkg. powdered pectin
  • 6 cups sugar

Pour black currant juice into a 6 or 8 quart kettle. If short of juice, fill last cup with water to equal exact amount of juice. Add lemon juice. Add pectin to juice in kettle; stir well.

Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar, mix well. Continue stirring and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 2 minutes, remove from heat. Pour into sterile 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Hot water bath for 5 minutes. Makes 7 half pint jelly jars.

Chokecherry Syrup

  • 3 cups chokecherry juice
  • 6 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Pour the chokecherry juice in a large kettle. Next add sugar. Cook on high stirring constantly. Bring to a rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and skim foam. Add almond extract. Pour into sterile pint jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Hot water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 3-4 pint jars. Great for making milkshakes or over pancakes.

Mobile Chicken House

This Spring, we bought a new Wilson stock trailer which was proudly made in South Dakota! The next question was “What to do with our old trailer?”

The trailer has now become a dual functioning piece of ranch equipment. George made moveable chicken nest boxes with hooks when remodeling our chicken house in 2011. Now he has created a portable roost with hooks and made a swinging bar for holding the feeder. All of the equipment inside the trailer is removable so the trailer can still be used as a stock trailer as needed. He used tin from the 2007 barn remodel to keep the elements off of the chickens so they can stay warm and dry in their mobile unit. He cut and placed plexiglass on the back gate and front sides so we could see what is happening inside the trailer when hauling livestock.

The chickens will have fresh pasture daily and will be fertilizing various areas of the pasture with their manure.  While they enjoy their summer home,  we will be cleaning out their winter chicken house and the vegetation in their winter chicken yard can grow back lush to wait for the chickens return in late Fall.

Promoting Your Agricultural Endeavors

It is important to promote one’s ranch or farm. It can be done easily
without having to take out an operating loan from the bank. We have found
the following ideas to be inexpensive and effective marketing tools.

It is quite easy to make quality business cards using a home computer and
printer.  Use pictures of your homestead and or your agricultural livestock
or products to individualize your business cards.  Quality cardstock or
printable magnets can be bought for under $20.00 for about 100 cards.
(Picture above is magnet and below is card).

Vista Prints is a company that is quite useful for small marketing projects
with fast quality results.  We ordered magnetized vehicle door banners, hats
and my soap labels.  We received our order within 7 days. Also this company
has no minimum or maximum amounts of items to purchase  and they keep a file
so a person is able to repeatedly order the same items as needed- a good
example is our soap labels.  The company has pre-designed items or blank
templates for you to use your creativity.

Now more than ever, it is time to put rancher/farmer ingenuity to good use
and be proud to promote our livelihood in agriculture.

Easter Gift

On April 7, 2012, around 11:30, our Nubian doe, Polka Dot delivered by
herself a set of quad bucks!  All four bucks are uniform in size and are active. Polka Dot is claiming all her babies.

We had been wondering about her because her udder looked like she was already being milked twice a day.  She was just building up a food supply to
feed 4 hungry babies.

The kids weighed 6lb 8oz, 6lb, and the last two weighed 5lb 6 oz.
We are off to a good start kidding!

Making Goat Milk Soap

The best way to make goat milk soap is to freeze the milk. We keep a supply
of frozen goat milk and during the winter months when life tends to be a bit
slower on the ranch. We can make many batches of goat milk soap.

The ingredients are goat milk, coconut oil, tallow, olive oil and lye.
Essential oils, honey and ground up oatmeal is added to the soap to make
different variations.

We have been making goat milk soap for about 4 years and that is the only soap we use in the house. The soap is a great moisturizer.