Questions and Answers – November Edition

It’s the November edition of “Question and Answers”!  As usual, you came up with some good questions… let’s get to ’em.

Did I ever tell you that my Taffy and your Lucas are related (through their Grandpa, Sparkplug)?  Marilyn

Marilyn, I think I knew that at one time… Sparkplug threw good looking genes through Boston and on to Lucas!  He is a good looking dog!  We LOVE our ESs!

My question is on cowboying days what do you do about your night meal? Is it sandwhichs or do you prepare something the day before or do you have some standby items that are easy to fix?Marg in Mo

Marg, I wish I had a wife on those days!  If I’m lucky and organized, I’ll throw something in the crockpot!  In all these years of working out and about… I’ve only burned *one* thing in the crockpot… glad we weren’t too much later!  Sandwiches aren’t a real popular item around here, but if we’re working days in a row… the guys have to live with it!  Leftovers come into play… usually I have something in the freezer, even a cardboard pizza if I have to!  But yes, I’m the one that heats stuff up and gets it all organized 95% of the time.  Everytime I tell myself I’m gonna walk in the house and sit my duff down on the couch like other inhabitants of this household… those are the days someone volunteers to help and I have to lose my grouchiness!  It’s definitely been a pet peeve over the years…  I mean, really?  I have been RIGHT at their sides all day and now I have to COOK?  GRRRRR.  I should have slapped ’em alongside their heads long ago…

So here’s my question–do you do DNA blood work to make sure you have the best cattle? These ranchers kept computer files of their herd’s lineage not only by paper, but DNA also. They also took tissue samples when they were tagging the yearlings… that’s a LOT of work!!  I then though of the ‘good old days’ and what the good ol boys would think of all of the technology today.Robin

Robin, I agree, RFD TV is awesome… I like watching lots of its programming, though I’ve written and suggested multiple times that they find some more dog training shows… they have a ton of horse training shows!  We do something called Angus Source… where we proof all herd sires are registered Angus.  We don’t follow it more than that, because A) it is time consuming it is expensive to do DNA tests C) our cows are commercial grade, not registered.  We’ve discussed it for various reasons… but are just sticking to paper/computer records.  When I first heard about selling livestock on the internet, I was amazed it could be done… and now we’ve done it for years.  We really have come a LOOONG way in the past 100 years on this ranch!

I didn’t know you used to work at a library. Love to know more about Carol before she became a cowgirl. One more thing…..would also love to see a picture of your Christmas tree.  Sharon

Sharon, I worked at the Ten Sleep Library for 9 years… that doesn’t mean I have a degree in Library Science, however!  My degree is in Anthropology… Let’s see… Here’s a bit of trivia for you… My dad worked for Conoco for 19.5 years and we moved a lot when I was a kid.  By the time I was in 7th grade I had been in 6 different schools!  I credit that with my love of Girl Scouting, wherever I went, Girl Scouting was basically the same.  Some troops were more active than others, but the structure was the same!    Last year’s Christmas tree is here .

Do you come up short on cattle at the end of the year?  Ginny

OOOOH.  We sure try NOT to!  Every time we change pastures we count.  Then the next time, we all try to remember did we have 87 in here or was it 89?  Didn’t we throw in those lame two as well?  Then that one died from larkspur.  Then the elk knock the fence down and did we get them all back in?  We REALLY TRY to keep track… but sometimes we forget to write the number down right away.  Johnny’s really the best at that… but Victoria and Daniel can remember numbers quite well.  Brandon’s getting good at packing a little record book.  Me?   I forget as soon as I ride away.

My question is about your dogs. Do you only breed them for “working homes”? I live in Las Vegas so my yard is much too small for the amount of exercise their breed requires, but I was still curious nonetheless!  Rhonda

Rhonda, I *try* to place my dogs in working homes.  However, some dogs I’ve let go to ACTIVE town homes.  That’s fairly rare… about 90% go to working homes of some sort!

How do your cows not run off when they are out in the field/land? Or do they just kinda stay put wherever you leave them?   Alice

Well, look closely at my photos and you’ll see barbed wire fences.  That’s all that holds them *in*.  It’s kind of a constant job keeping them in fairly good condition.  Elk herds are HARD on fences, so are deer, snowbanks, and RUST!  Wyoming is a *fence them OUT* state.  So, you really are fencing everyone else’s cattle OUT of your pasture.  If you want to protect your land from strange cattle, *you* must fence them out.  Of course, if you do it right, you’ll split the work and materials with your neighbor.  Out here, “Good fences make good neighbors” holds true!  No, they won’t necessarily stay where you put them.  Hence, the 5 hours of riding I did today!

I have a question about brands: First, do you legally have to brand your cattle? Or is it something that most people just do because it’s smart? Second, do most neighbors know each other’s brands?  Taylor

You have to show proof of ownership of livestock.  Easy for horses if you have your bill of sale with a photo.  With a herd of black cows?  You gotta brand!  You must get a brand inspection to cross county/state lines and when you sell them.  The brand inspector comes out, looks at them as you’re sorting, and makes sure you’ve only got yours as you load them on the truck.  We also have an earmark and eartag and bangs vaccination tag.  Tags can get lost though, so branding is the safest way to protect your herd.  Yes, people still rustle cattle.  We run our herd over thousands of acres, and it is the only practical way to do that.  We do know our closest neighbor’s brands, but we also own the Wyoming Brand book, so we can look it up if we can figure out what it is called.  Sometimes that’s tricky.

I hear you mention “leased cows”…heard of leased land for cows, can you explain for this city boy?Randy, and Taylor too!

Leased cows.  Well, for various reasons sometimes the people that own cattle can’t run them on their land.  They could be short on help, they may have no grass due to drouth, or health reasons… They will then lease out their cows.  The new people take care of them, feed ’em, vaccinate ’em, doctor ’em.  Whatever.  Sometimes that is up to the original owners, it just depends on your contract.  In return you can get part or all of the calf “crop”, or even end up owning some of the cows.  It’s a good way to build up your herd without a big outlay of cash.  When your contract ends, the cows return to the owners.  It is hard to describe since it can be set up so many different ways.  But hopefully I helped your basic understanding!

Thanks so much for the questions, folks, great job!

November 7, 2008   The Huntress

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