Friday, May 22, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
You might wonder what potatoes have to do with beef cows?
For one thing this potato patch is part of their view from the pasture. It also becomes part of their diet when there is a surplus of potatoes or there are some culls to get rid of. These spuds are entirely organic with fish bone meal the only fertilizer. Note the drip irrigation tapes hanging out from each row. They will be hooked up to a tank of warm water when there is no rain.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
This morning Dan Rowland, son of Keith and Lori Rowland, and his Granddad Ken went with me to check the cows. We didn't have carrots to offer them but Dan had some cooky crumbs to offer them. They checked them out but didn't decide to prefer cookies over fresh grass!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Yesterday the cows switched from drinking from melt ponds and snow drifts to the spring that is on the cliff over the Matanuska River. The vanishing ponds indicate that the frost is going out and letting the water go into the subsoil. We did provide an alternate water source this afternoon by filling a large stock tank up by the well. That will probably be a preferred option for the mothers with very small calves because they have been known to fall off the cliff when they get to crowding.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Most of our cows are white now. Ten years ago they were all black. We still have some of the better black genetics but the bull last summer was white so we expected all white calves this year but Arctic Coal has a nice little black heifer as you can see!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Arctic Bell finally had a bull. They are both doing well. This will be Bell's third gestation.
Her mothering technique is to nest the calf away in the brush while she eats and drinks. Most of the mothers keep their calves with them but for the first few days it is confusing for both mother and baby when there are several newborns co mingling. They seem to get it figured out pretty quickly though.
For the first time I can remember we have lost a heifer in the calving process. Princess Wilamina is the second calf of Arctic Chloe- the current matriarch. She got in a bad position with her head down hill and had more than half delivered the calf in a normal presentation but could not finish the job. The calf looked to be normal size. The foxes, coyotes, and bald eagles are cleaning her up.