Questions and Answers

Wow… I am SO HAPPY some of you sent in questions! 

 
I had this *great fear* that no one would ask anything and I’d be twiddling my thumbs or having to cruise eBay for entertainment tonight!
 
So, first off, thanks to you who gave me some inspiration…
 
Let’s go!
 
 (The bar)  Love it, love it .. so creative,unique, meaningful and beautiful! I’m interested in how you put the arrowhead and other things into the wood and end up making it even and smooth?  Sandy G.
The one photo shows Vernon using his router… We cut down into the bar just enough to sink them down so that they were level… Then we used an epoxy coating called Envirotex Lite.  A little tricky to use, and nerve wracking cause we’d never done it before.  We did end up with drips on the side, but you reach a point you can’t wipe it anymore, it gets too sticky, and though we left it with no drips on the side, it did continue to drip… but, hey, that just proves we did it and we are NOT professionals!
 
The place you call “the Mills place” where all the beautiful wood work is done…. is that your house?  Sara
 
Yes.  And no.  We purchased the Mills place a few years back, so yes, we’re buying it!  However, we don’t live there yet… We gave the people a few years to move all their stuff… You think you have household belongings… try a house, multiple shops, barns, equipment, etc., etc.  Then we are remodeling it… and just manage to work on it during the winter…  There’s no rush to move there, so we aren’t rushing!
 
Have you made any progress on your studio?  Kris
 
Alas, poor Studio… no.  My plan… was to ask for a full day’s work from my kids and husband for Christmas… get some windows in, finish some chinking, some electrical wiring.  Then my mother got sick… and here it is March and I haven’t even walked out there in 3 months.  Maybe Mother’s Day???  Hey… I did get a cool .22 for Christmas though.  Come to think of it, I haven’t even shot it yet…
 
Myth or true…. I was once told that a cow that gives birth to twins will often abandon one of them? Also, that twins being one male one female are often sterile?  Katt
 
Well, cows are like people… a few can handle twins, some don’t even want the one they have!  We try to take a twin off and give it another mother if we have another cow that lost a calf.  They usually do much better that way…  True.  If twins are one of each sex, they cannot reproduce… usually good for a laugh when the vet is preg testing and gets a puzzled look on his face…  If the twins are both heifers or both bulls, they are fine to go…
 
I almost forgot (but remembered while I was out doing chores)! What happened to the rest of the pups? How are Dally’s ribs?  Kris
 
Ooohhh… OK… Sadie went to future son-in-law in Kaycee, Wy.  Devon went to Montana.  Liberty went to Minnesota.  Patriot Blue went clear to North Carolina!   Chisum went to South Dakota.  Bogie went to Washington.  Dillon went to Wisconsin.  Toffee is in Arizona.  Sprite went to Idaho.  I’m occasionally working on my website with updates… new names, new adventures!  Dally has recovered, though she still has the bare spot where the hair was ripped out!  She was very sore for a week, and couldn’t even bark… but she’s okey dokey.
 
What fascinated me about Dally was that she was nursing Elsa’s pups and she actually produced milk! I had no idea that dogs could physically do that when they had never been pregnant. I was curious if you plan to breed Dally now that Elsa is fixed, or are you taking a break from puppies? (Personally I hope you don’t because they are so darned cute to read about!)  Sarah
 
My vet had never seen it happen in real life either… but she’s done it twice now!  Yes, Dally will hopefully be bred next spring.  I plan on getting her hips checked and finding an unrelated male will be tough… well, one that’s close anyway!  But that’s my plan.
 
Calving: 

You seem to have a lot of bull calves. Is this coincidence on the blof or are there really a preponderance of boys?
 
Laura, I split your question up here… Uhm… it really does work out 50/50, we might have a line of heifers or bulls, but at the end it is pretty evenly balanced.  You might be looking at the pictures and are noticing the umbilical cord area… 
 
Morbid questions: what happens to the calves that don’t make it?
 
We do have a dead animal pit.  My dogs and coyotes and carrion birds love it.
 
Ranch:

How big is your ranch? What advice would you give to people who wanted to adopt a more rural lifestyle, though perhaps not launch themselves into a full-fledged ranch like yours? I am wanting (once school is done and all) to buy some land and have chickens and a few cows to raise for beef.

-Laura

 
Hmmm.  OK.  I’m going to take this opportunity to educate people on Western Manners, and Laura, I’m not meaning to pick on you! BUT… it happens often… and I’ll take my tiny soapbox for a split second.  I have had this happen many many MANY times.  People do want to know this and I understand totally because it is something people can relate to… When you ask ranchers either 1) “How many acres do you own?” or 2) “How many cows do you have?”  it is equivalent to walking up to some stranger in town and saying “How much money do you make in a year?”  Now, I know people aren’t trying to be rude, but many ranchers, especially the older ones, DO see it that way.  You don’t ask someone you don’t know how many houses, cars, RVs, and boats they own, or trips to the Bahamas they can afford.  If you DO ask a rancher/farmer that question, you’ll often get a vague answer…  “enough”, “too many!” or “more than you” if you persist with your questioning! Please keep in mind, an acre of Wyoming prairie is far different than an acre of Kentucky bluegrass!  OK, Laura, I thank you for giving me that opportunity.  I know you are curious and I’m off my soapbox. Let me answer you this way… we’re average-sized for the state of Wyoming! 
 
Your second part of your question is a good one.  SAVE.  EVERY.  PENNY.  Check land prices in your area.  When you’ve given yourself CPR and picked yourself up off the floor… breathe.  Investigate the rules in various subdivisions… some allow cows, no pigs, contained chickens, no free ranging chickens, horses, no goats.  There are ways to be more “rural”… raising container gardens… using chicken tractors… canning fresh veggies from the farmer’s market… sharing ownership in milk cows or buying quarters or halves of beef from the butchers.  Purchasing even small acreages can be a challenge in certain parts of the country… if you have a good paying job, keep it and be a weekend warrior until payments are low… or work really hard and try to find a rundown farm you could basically rebuild from scratch.  Many, many ranch and farm kids… the ones that have the knowledge of cattle and irrigation and farm machinery and crops… can’t get into the business because land prices are too high and inheritance taxes are insane.  That should worry every person in America that eats… but it doesn’t.  Whoa.  I’m stopping now.  😉
 
When did you buy the ranch? Do the doggies sleep outside? I hope you haven’t forgotten about your wonderful tipi for the coming nicer weather.
I really enjoy your blog!   Marilyn

 
Marilyn, we celebrated our centennial of ranching last year!  Yes, the dogs sleep outside.  Well… the girls do.  They can’t sleep through the night inside, so we kick them out so they don’t wake us up at 3 am to pee. Boomer sleeps inside because he’s stupid and barks at shadows.  Lucas is inside most of the time, except summer when it is too hot in here!  My tipi needs some repairing, but I will put it up next summer again!
 
You use A.I. is that only on the heifers? I remember you going to a bull sale, is that for the cows? How many bulls do you have per head of cows?  Ginny
 
Yes, we only AI our heifers.  The cows are all natural.  Let’s see… I think we run about 1 bull for 20-25 cows?  I think.  Hmmmm.  Numbers.  I’m really bad with numbers.  I’m guessing that’s it.  And, hey, there’s another bull sale Saturday.  I might go along.  Maybe I’ll confirm that! 
 
Thanks everyone… the questions were great… and if I could have figured out why sometimes I could change font colors and other times I couldn’t… this Q & A would have been perfect!

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